Traveling to Eastern Europe can seem like a daunting or intimidating experience if you've never been. While there are things you will have to do to make sure you're safe while in some of these beautiful countries, you can still have a blast. Here are some ground rules to follow in order to have a safe and fun trip in any of the countries on the large list of Eastern European nations.
Stick to Tourist Hot Spots
Although it can be a pain to be one person in a big sea of tourists flitting from one place to the next, you really should stick to the same places that other tourists visit. Off the beaten path is fun and adventurous, but because you don't speak the language and have no clue what's legitimate and what's a scam, it's important to stick to the same trail as everyone else.
Try to Get Advice From Other Travelers and Helpful Locals
Sometimes to have the most pleasurable and eye-opening trip, you need to enlist the advice of friends and locals who can impart some of their wisdom with you before you go or while you're on vacation. Having a local around to help you understand things better can make it easier to communicate your needs, such as ordering food or as involved as booking a new hotel room. It's also important to listen to what other travelers have to say about their experiences abroad in these nations. They can tell you what places to avoid and what kinds of scams they've run into in each town or city they've visited. It's not like there's a fraud lurking around every corner, but you can easily be taken advantage of if you end up in the wrong area or in the company of shifty people.
Don't Leave Your Drink Unattended
This is common sense no matter where in the world you're traveling to, but people tend to forget that you can still be drugged in other nations. For the most part, people's aim is to incapacitate you so they can take your things, but it's still a very real danger that isn't limited to places like Cancun or Colombia. Just be sure never to leave your drink unattended –even for a second.
There's Strength in Numbers
Traveling in groups through the streets is a lot safer than going it alone after partying at the club or enjoying a late dinner. Stay together with your travel partners and avoid dark areas or alleys. Shortcuts that look like they're potential risks, usually are, and you never know who's hiding behind the next bush. You're also less likely to find yourself cornered or in a confrontation with locals if you're in a group, and you'll also have plenty of witnesses if something goes awry or an unscrupulous police officer wants to haul you in to get a bribe out of you. Remember to stick together and all will be well.
Always Keep Travel Documents Safe
You can opt to carry all of your travel documents with you and around your waist wherever you go, but you can easily be pick-pocketed or robbed while in busy places like local markets, lineups and more. Try to see about safety deposit boxes at your hotel, and if you must travel with your stuff strapped to you, wear your pouch or bag on your front so you can see it at all times and it cannot be accessed without you knowing.
As previously mentioned, don't be afraid to travel to Eastern Europe. It's a historically-rich portion of Europe with a lot of unique cultures to learn about and sights to see. As long as you follow the ground rules that are meant to keep everyone safe no matter where in the world they're traveling to, you'll be just fine and have the time of your life doing it.