Travel Safety

Traveling Outside Florence

While most of Europe is fairly safe, it is important to follow basic safety tips when traveling:

  • Travel in pairs; it is easier to handle emergency situations when you have someone to assist you.

  • Do your homework before visiting a new place. As you plan a trip, surf the web, read some guides, take a look at the online Consular Information Sheet for the country or the CIA Factbook.

  • Pick up a pocket dictionary or use an app or online translator. Although many Europeans speak English, knowing some phrases in the local language can be very useful. Learn to say “help”.

  • When searching for a hotel, note that cheaper isn’t always safer or better. If you choose to stay in a youth hostel, read online reviews (check for reports of bed bugs!) and call ahead to make sure that the bedrooms have locks on the doors.

  • Keep a low profile and avoid places where Americans tend to congregate. These places are sometimes the focus of those who engage in political violence.

  • Pay attention to the news and keep track of world events. You’ll have a better chance of avoiding civil unrest, natural disasters, transportation strikes, and other disturbances if you have an idea of what’s happening in the world. One outstanding resource for travel advisories is the U.S. Department of State website.

  • Notify your roommates or friends and the University about your travel plans. Report your travel plans to NYU online through NYU Traveler. NYU only accesses the travel information submitted in the event of need.

  • Crimes can occur on trains. Keep your bags where you can see them at all times. A commonly reported trick on trains involves one or more thieves who pretend to befriend a traveler, offer drugged food or drink and then steal the traveler’s belongings. Also, thieves have reportedly impersonated police officers to gain the confidence of tourists. In this instance, the thief shows the prospective victim a circular plastic sign with the words “police” or “international police” on it. If you encounter such a situation, insist on seeing the officer’s identification card (or tesserino), as impersonators tend not to carry forged documents. On trains, be especially careful when using overnight couchettes or sleeping cars. Locking the door of the couchette when you go to sleep, for example, can help prevent trouble.