No matter what, safety while traveling is most important. Luckily, Europe has a stellar safety record, and more than a dozen of its countries regularly appear at the top end of safest places to live and travel lists. To make your adventure safe and secure, consider these tips and best practices!
There are many forms of travel insurance, but most policies share one key component: they cover you in case something unexpected or unfortunate happens. This typically applies if you have unexpected medical expenses, lost luggage, stolen items, or delays or cancellations of travel plans. In many cases, travel insurance policies will even cover you in the case of a medivac, especially from remote places.
Your home country will surely have several travel insurance providers. The best way to move forward and choose the right policy for you is to compare options online, and then phone the providers if you still have questions. Remember to read the fine print! A good rule of thumb is that a travel insurance policy should cost about 5-12% of your trip’s cost, but rates will vary depending on where you are.
Good to know: some insurers offer travel policies as part of bigger existing bundles. That means you might be surprised to learn that you already have travel insurance. The best thing to do is contact your company and inquire about what your policy covers.
Every person is different, which means each of us will have slightly different health needs. The best thing to ensure your health while in Europe is to follow what works best for you in your everyday life. For example, does pollen in the spring make your nose run? You might run into the same thing in Europe, so plan accordingly.
Generally speaking, there are no required vaccinations to visit Europe. That said, being up to date with common vaccines like the one for tetanus is always a good idea—better to do it at home with no stress and your current health insurance than have to do it in an emergency while abroad. Before leaving, have a discussion with your general practitioner. Ask him what he recommends, given your planned itinerary.
Important tip: before leaving, it’s essential you contact your health insurance provider to enquire about what—if any—coverage they offer you while abroad. Though travel insurance often covers health emergencies, you might be presented with a health expense that falls under your regular insurance. Before leaving, be sure you know what they cover and bring your health insurance card or other paperwork with you. Last but not least, if you do need to seek medical help while in Europe, make sure you save all your receipts and results. These will be crucial for getting a refund when you’re back home.
If you take any prescriptions, make sure you bring enough medicine (perhaps even a week’s supply extra, just in case) to last your trip. Though well-stocked pharmacies exist in every corner of Europe, getting any medicine that isn’t over the counter requires a prescription from a doctor who is licensed in that particular country. Also, keep in mind that even if you have a valid European prescription, you might pay a high price for medication, since you won’t have local health coverage.
Good to know: pharmacies are usually indicated by an illuminated green cross above the shop. Most European cities have an abundance of pharmacies, and small villages typically have a local pharmacist. Need medicine in the middle of the night? Search online for 24-hour pharmacies. Most city districts will have one.
Tip: learn a few linguistic variations of the word pharmacy, such as Chemist, Pharmacie, Pharmacia, or Apotheek.
Got questions about Covid-19? For more information and the latest travel advice, please refer to our COVID-19 Information Page.
Phoning emergency services in Europe is simple and effective. Dial the number 112 anywhere in Europe and you will be automatically connected to an English-speaking representative of the country from which you are calling. Once they know what help you require, they can connect you to the relevant local services.