Travelling in Europe: Safety tips and support

1 November 2017

Student Support and Wellbeing provide some safety tips and support reminders for those of you travelling to Europe during reading week.

Bridge in Paris

We are already at reading week! I'm sure many of you have exciting plans for the holidays and if you are traveling to Europe, it's good to be aware of the support available to you. Although Europe is generally a very safe place to visit, you can take a few easy steps to make sure that you minimise any risks. So here are 10 safety tips and support advise, if you are going to Europe!

  1. Have a look at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s travel advice for the country/countries that you’re visiting before you leave, and ensure that you follow their recommendations during your trip.
  2. Try to figure out what to do in an emergency, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Calling 112 from a mobile phone will connect you to at least some of the emergency services in all Schengen area countries, but make sure you note down the local emergency contact numbers as well.
  3. It goes without saying, but always follow the instructions of local authorities and obey all local laws.
  4. Take care of your possessions, and be aware that pickpockets operate in busy areas in some European cities. Try to keep your wallet and phone in front pockets, and make sure that your bags and valuables aren’t visible in restaurants, bars and other public places.
  5. Always report any robberies or other crimes to the local police immediately, and try to obtain some kind of police report if you can.
  6. If you’re an international student and need a Schengen visa to visit, then you’ll also need to buy travel insurance. Even if a visa isn’t necessary, travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover you for any emergency costs you might face while travelling – you never know what might happen!
  7. It’s a good idea to make a paper copy of the information pages of your passport before you travel, as well as the UK visa sticker page or your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) card if you’re an international student. Keep these separate from the originals in your luggage. This will make it easier to get replacements if the originals are lost or stolen.
  8. In the unlikely event that your passport or BRP is stolen, don’t panic! If you’re an international student, follow the instructions on this page of our website for full details on what to do. If you’re a UK student and lose your passport, cancel it online and follow the instructions given.   
  9. UCL’s out-of-hours telephone support line, Care First, is available to all students and can be reached while abroad by calling +44 (0)800 197 4510. The service offers information, advice and telephone counselling overnight from 5 pm to 9 am from Monday to Friday, as well as throughout the weekend and even during UCL closure periods. Further information on Care First is available on their website.  
  10. If you’re an international student and have any questions about travelling to Europe, or if you need to contact us for whatever reason while you’re overseas, email internationalsupport@ucl.ac.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

Bon voyage!

Wes Durdle, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing Coordinator (Communications and Projects)