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Keeping Safe - General Advice for Your Trip to Spain


Everyone has heard horror stories about people being mugged or pickpocketed while on holiday. However, usually they haven't followed basic safety advice, leaving themselves as easy targets. Even if you have read this sort of advice before, its always worth having it fresh in your mind.

Be wary of tricksters

  • Conmen work in pairs or groups, so be extra careful when approached in street.
  • Watch out for the classic tricks - people are still falling for them. These include: asking for change, asking for directions, someone 'helping' you with your bags and hustling tricks such as the cup-and-ball game.
For some examples of the tricks these thieves use, see this article on Barcelona Safety.

Don’t look like a tourist

  • Dress appropriately. I’m not saying buy a whole new wardrobe, but that University of Denver hooded sweatshirt might be best left at home.
  • Try to keep maps out of sight. If you need to follow a complicated set of directions, sit down in a bar for ten minutes and write them down.
  • Look confident. This goes hand in hand with the above point. Look like you know where you are going, even if you don’t.
  • Keep your voice down. You can spot a tourist from a mile away - for some reason they always talk louder than everyone else. It may just be the fact that they're speaking English and everyone else is speaking in Spanish. Whatever the reason, talking loudly makes you stand out.

Be Secure

  • Be careful where you put your valuables. Internal pockets are better than external ones. If you do need to put things in external pockets, try to keep your hands over them so you can feel where your valuables are.
  • Use the security provisions provided by your hotel. Do you really need to take your camera out? If not, leave it behind.
  • Women - keep your handbag under your arm. Thieves have been known to use scissors to cut shoulder straps and make off with the bag.
  • Be vigilant when sat in bars and cafes. Don’t leave money in your jacket when you hang it over your chair and keep an eye on your bags when you put them down.

But the best advice is simple - use your common sense. Most of this is pretty obvious stuff and to list every single thing you can do to keep safe would take forever. Take the same precautions you would back home (such as not walking alone down dark alleys), remembering to add into the equation the fact that you look like a tourist and are probably carrying more expensive equipment than you would at home.

But don't let worrying about safety ruin your holiday. Most trips are uneventful and trouble free. Enjoy yourselves!

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