With the recent news about Ukraine and the Crimea, you might be scared to go to Eastern Europe. Don’t.
You can even be safe in Ukraine, but in this guest post, Jenny Corteza focuses on far away Eastern European lands….
In early 2014, a lot of travelers are asking if Eastern Europe is safe for travel. I’ve been to the area and I wanted to let you know what I think.
Even if you read a lot of other travel blogs and keep up with the recent news in the region, it’s still a good idea to get advice from someone who knows the area well.
And I do because I’ve traveled there frequently over the past two decades of my life – both for business and pleasure.
Staying Safe in 7 Eastern European Countries
Bosnia and Herzegovina – If you’re not familiar with the Bosnian war of 1992-1995, you need to remember one thing – a lot of landmines are still in the area. If you travel to rural areas, make sure you stay on paved roads if at all possible to avoid any unnecessary dangers.
Bulgaria – Sticking to the tourist areas is the safest, of course, but if you’re like me and like to stray from the beaten path, make sure you pack your common sense and use it at all times. The big thing is to be aware of what’s going on around you.
Croatia – Anyone who loves old stone walls is going to enjoy time spent in certain areas of Croatia. A good idea is to NOT go during peak season in June and July. If you wait until there are less tourists around, you’re going to be safer.
Poland – Warsaw is generally safe, but if you do go out at night, make sure you avoid the locals who are drunk. You can find these types in all cities of the world, of course, but there’s something about Poland that makes you want to be a bit extra safe.
Romania – Try to avoid dimly lit areas of the city if you’re out and about at night, but overall you’re not going to have any trouble with people in this country if you’re a tourist.
Turkey – If you’re going to be in the southeast portions of the country, you’ll want to be a little bit more vigilant. Beyond that, Istanbul is generally safe for travelers if you follow common sense.
Montenegro – Remember the number 122 if you’re in Montenegro and get into trouble. You might also use your mobile phone to dial 112, which is the international distress call number. It’s a good idea to have this on speed dial on your mobile.
As you can see, there are a lot of great countries to visit in Eastern Europe, but you really need to make sure you pay attention to the small details so you can ensure your safety – even if you travel alone like I do.
My Eastern Europe Safety Pack
Here’s a breakdown of what I like to keep with me at all times when I’m backpacking or cycling through Eastern Europe.
Extra Clothing – When backpacking, you want to keep your pack light, of course, but make sure you have at least a couple changes of clothes available at all times.
Rain Jacket – If you plan to be outdoors frequently, you want to make sure you have a way to protect yourself from the elements. A waterproof jacket will keep your hands free at all times.
Mobile Phone – Having a mobile phone is a necessity these days. Just make sure you check with your wireless provider before you leave to make sure you have coverage and won’t have to pay outrageous fees.
Eastern Europe Travel in 2014
The same might not have been said just a few short decades ago, but a lot of Eastern Europe is now a lot safer for travel. If you’ve been thinking about going, you shouldn’t let a few bad stories stop you from experiencing all this region of the planet has to offer. Whether it’s the natural beauty of the landscape, the majestic and ancient castles, forts and towns or the people themselves, there’s a lot that Eastern Europe has to offer travelers of all ages.
Guest post by: Jenny Corteza
Francis Tapon is half Chilean and half French and he was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He’s been to over 80 countries, but he keeps coming back to this magical city because he loves earthquakes.
He spoke Spanish at home, French at school, and English everywhere else. He can get by in Portuguese and Italian, barely survive in Russian and Slovenian, and speak a few other languages.
Francis has an MBA from Harvard Business School and co-founded a successful Silicon Valley company that did robotic vision. He left his technology life to walk across America four times. He has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and in 2007, became the first to do a round-trip on the Continental Divide Trail. In 2009, he was one of the finalists for the California Outdoors Hall of Fame, which “features nominees who are world-renowned for their skills and who have helped inspire thousands of others to take part in the great outdoors.”
Francis has written a couple of travel books including The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us and Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America. He also produced a 77-minute video about his CDT Yo-Yo.