• Have at least one copy of your passport. You never know if you’ll lose it while running on the beach. Plus, you don’t have to carry it around with you this way. It’s probably a good idea to photocopy all other important documents too.
  • Listen to your instincts. Just because some blog says it’s totally safe to walk down a specific side street alone at night, doesn’t mean that it actually is. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
  • Sign up for a homestay, if it’s an option. It immerses you in the culture and really lets you know where the “hidden treasures” are. It is nice to have an apartment to go back to, and to hang out with other students around you, but chances are, you probably won’t have an opportunity to live with another family from a different culture again.


  • Look like a tourist. This includes those dumb neck-passport bags and looking at your map a lot in the middle of the street with a confused expression on your face. Go to a restroom and look at your map, and get a security belt instead of the lanyards. Flip flops are worn around the house, not in public (at least in mainland Europe). It shows you aren’t from the area. Every city has pickpockets, don’t make it easy for them and make yourself a target.
  • Just talk to anyone. It’s all fine to get to know locals and others (especially in hostels) but if someone approaches you in a manner that is too friendly and touchy, they’re probably not safe for you (or your wallet).

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