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Top 6 Europe Train Safety Tips

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Europe train safety requires a little special care, but for the most part, staying safe on European trains is a matter of using the same common sense that you do while traveling anywhere (most of the same safety precautions you take at home). Some special Europe train safety tips:

1. Stay with your backpack at stops

Never, ever leave your backpack on the train while you're out of the car, especially if a stranger is gesturing for or asks you to come outside -- it's probably a scam and a partner may be waiting to grab your backpack when you get out. Your backpack can live in the rack above your seat; if it's too big for that, it has to go in a luggage rack at the end of the car by the door. Only leave the car without your backpack -- like hitting the bar or bathroom -- when the train is moving.

2. Sleeping in train stations and safety

Sleeping in European train stations happens all the time -- just bear in mind that it's possibly a place to get ripped off. If you do sleep in a European train station, use your backpack as a pillow, pull both backpack zippers toward your body and lock it.

3. Double secret backpack security

If you want to sleep on the train without fear of losing of your backpack, invest in carabiners and use it to hook a bungee cord, string, belt -- whatever you want -- through a backpack strap and to an overhead rack. Thanks to reader Nina for this tip!

4. When in Rome...

Bella Roma is beautiful, a wonderful place, and okay, can be kinda sketchy -- take special care to keep an eye on your backpack on the train. Keep your backpack with you if you get off the train or leave your compartment while the train is stopped. And keep it locked.

5. The artful dodger in train stations

The possibility of being pickpocketed is always a problem for travelers... that said, I've been traveling for years and never been pickpocketed (robbed, yes). The bigger problem can be driving oneself crazy trying not to be stolen from. Your backpack's unlikely to be stolen if you're sleeping on, watching, or holding it, but chances of losing stuff out of it increase dramatically in train stations. Lock it up, stash your cash, and try not to worry.

6. Basic travel safety

Being safe while you travel is largely a matter of staying aware. Just because a part of town has narrow streets and few streetlights doesn't mean you should avoid it, for instance -- the coolest cantina in the world could be down there. Just be aware -- read a few tips, don't get loaded in unfamiliar surroundings, and enjoy! (Women -- read a load of travel safety tips just for gals.)

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