Must-Read Guide to Travel Safely in Europe

Europe is a well-loved destination, especially amongst Singaporean travellers but this charming continent has its share of challenges and risks.

This year, tens of thousands of flights and trains have been delayed or cancelled due to labour strikes (and other unfortunate events) across European cities. As if that’s not all, there are rampant pickpocketing, civil unrest, and overwhelming crowds during travel peak seasons. However, don’t be too quick to strike Europe off your travel bucket list or banish it to a life sentence of “I-will-never-visit-again”.

In spite of its challenges and risks, Europe with her Old World charm has plenty to offer. Here’s a practical guide to help you prepare for a (at least) once-in-a-lifetime Europe trip with easy tips for travelling safely that goes beyond purchasing travel insurance.

☝ Travel insurance is important, of course! Tiq Travel Insurance is ideal for your Europe trip for various benefits. Besides the flight check-in reminder(s), travellers enjoy an automated flight delay benefit, which means you’ll get paid upon a 3-hour flight delay, even without submitting a claim!

Petty thefts in Europe are common

Based on the European Pickpocketing Index, Europe’s top five countries with the most occurrences of the petty crimes are Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Italy. Contrary to thinking that petty thefts are targeted at solo backpackers or small travel groups, nobody’s really safe from the rampant pickpocketing and thefts.

This Singaporean tour group in Italy had their luggages stolen from their tour bus, which resulted in extensive losses for at least three families! In fact, just a mother-daughter duo from the tour group lost S$15,000 of new designer bags, shoes and clothes!

According to a UK-based website, thousands of travellers have been victims of petty thefts when travelling in Europe, and tourist hotspots are ‘convenient places’ for criminals. Thefts often take place in train stations, on trams, buses and ferries, especially when luggage is left unattended.

How to avoid being a victim of petty theft?

Know the enemy – Take it from Sun Tze, Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher! Before going on your Europe trip, do your homework and research online for “the most common pickpocketing scams in X (your destination)”. You may also want to seek advice from family or friends who have visited the same places.

Take precaution – With the knowledge of potential travel pitfalls, you can prepare for your trip by investing in accessories such as an anti-theft phone strap (to make things tougher for phone snatchers!), anti-theft travel backpack, safety pouch for your valuables or outerwear with inside pockets.

It’d be wise to keep e-copies of important travel documents too. Don’t forget to get Tiq Travel Insurance that covers loss of valuables and travel documents amongst other benefits.

Know yourself – You’ve got it but you don’t need to flaunt it, at least not during your Europe vacation unless you want to become a victim of theft. Don’t leave your belongings lying around, and try to be situationally aware. It goes without saying that you should stay alert at all times, especially at crowded spots.

What to do if your belongings are stolen?

Prevention is always better than cure but sometimes, travel disruptions can happen no matter how well-prepared you are. In the unfortunate event where your belongings (i.e. handphone, luggage, money, etc.) are stolen on vacation, try to stay calm. Double check to ensure that your belongings are definitely missing before you proceed with these steps:

Report to relevant authorities – Depending on where you are (e.g. hotel, airport, attractions, public transport), report the situation to the relevant authorities and get a written documentation of the situation and what you have lost. You’d also need to make a police report within 24 hours for your travel insurance claim.

If unsure of how to proceed, you can contact your travel operator or travel insurer for guidance. F.Y.I. Tiq Travel Insurance provides 24-hour worldwide emergency travel support, so you can get ever-ready support should you be in need.

Cut your losses – Be sure to block your credit card(s), handphone or any mobile devices at the first instance that you realise they are missing. If your passport is stolen (and we all know how valuable Singapore passports are), report it immediately online at the ICA website or approach the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission with the relevant documents.

Now you see why it is important to take precaution before your trip and have e-copies of important documents. As scams get more sophisticated with technology, identity thefts can even go digital and do extensive damage. Perhaps you may want to consider Personal Cyber Insurance too. 🤪

Recover your losses – Some of you may not be aware but some travel insurers such as Tiq by Etiqa cover the loss of travel documents such as your passport and travel money. After reporting to relevant local authorities and cutting your losses, you may want to do a quick check on what and how much can be claimed to recover your losses.

With Tiq Travel Insurance, belongings such as your luggage and its content (including your laptop) are covered under Personal Effects. You can file your travel insurance claim conveniently online through Tiq by Etiqa App or TiqConnect.

Europe airport and rail strikes are increasingly common

Did you know that the chances of you encountering a flight delay at the London Gatwick Airport (LWG) is more than 50%? Sad but true, airports and rails across Europe have been seeing thousands of flights and trains delayed and cancelled by industrial action.

As labour strikes become increasingly common, many of them timed with world events such as the France’s Rugby World Cup or the holiday season, it is highly probable for holidaymakers in Europe to encounter travel disruptions such as travel delays, travel misconnection, flight diversion, flight overbooking, baggage delay or loss, etc.

How to avoid or minimise travel disruptions?

Stay in the know – Changes may take place unexpectedly, remember the onset of COVID-19 outbreak? While unexpected circumstances are out of one’s control, you can try to avoid potential travel disruptions by staying informed. Prior to travelling, it is recommended to stay tuned to online news on your intended destination and check your flight information at the relevant airport’s website to ensure all is in good order.

e-Register with MFA – This voluntary and free service is open to all Singapore citizens who are travelling or residing overseas. It allows you to record information on your travel itinerary, so that in the event of an emergency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) can contact you and render assistance, if required.

Imagine being stranded overseas in the middle of a civil unrest or a major earthquake where all flights are cancelled. Sometimes, dire situations may call for government-level intervention, so besides getting a good travel insurance, don’t forget to e-register with MFA when you travel.

Get good travel insurance – While some travel insurance provide the flexibility to mix and match benefits so you only pay for what you need, do read the policy wordings carefully to ensure that you are properly covered. Not all travel insurance covers travel disruptions caused by manmade factors, e.g. labour strikes. The good news is, Tiq Travel Insurance does cover you for that, across all forms of transportation.

Now that you know how common airport and rail strikes in Europe are, you may further appreciate Tiq Travel Insurance’s automated flight delay benefit, where you’d get paid upon a 3-hour flight delay, even without submitting a claim.

Here’s how it works: You can expect $50 for every 3 hours’ travel delay, up to the benefit’s limit. That means, in the unfortunate event that your flight get delayed for 12 hours due to a strike, you’d be compensated $200 ($50 x 4 blocks of 3 hours’ delay).

Stay aware and alert – You may have come across this news on a Singapore-born doctor being shot in the head in front of family by South African protestors during his vacation. Sometimes, we may find ourselves in unexpected situations in spite of our best efforts to take precautions.

That’s why it is important to stay aware and alert when you are travelling. It’d also be helpful if you’re prepared for what to do in an emergency.

Extreme weather in Europe

Extreme weather is happening around the world due to climate change, and it is no exception in Europe. This summer, soaring temperatures and autumn-like storms from northern Europe to southern Europe has resulted in raging wildfires and deadly floods. If you are planning a winter holiday in Europe during the year end school holiday, it is best to be prepared.

Extreme weather can cause travel delays, forcing you to postpone a much-anticipated trip, or worse, be stranded overseas. That’s why it is important to purchase travel insurance once you have your air tickets.

Plan and stay informed – Last-minute impromptu travel can be exhilarating but without proper planning, your holiday can be “exciting” in ways different from your expectations. Imagine flying more than 10 hours to your dream European city only to be trapped indoors due to bad weather conditions. That’s why it is so important to plan ahead and stay informed.

Pack appropriately – Are you expecting a wet autumn or cold winter holiday? Never underestimate the weather overseas. A quick check on the weather forecast at your intended European destination can give you an idea of what clothes, accessories and medications to pack. Remember to pack for protection over fashion.

Also, think twice about scrimping on COVID-19 add-on, especially if you are travelling during peak holiday seasons, or during the colder months.

Travel sustainably – While we’re on the topic of packing, you’d want to ensure that you don’t over pack and risk getting offloaded your flight or having baggage delay, which can be common at busy airports. Travelling light(er) is also a way towards reducing your carbon footprint, and doing your part to slow climate change.

There are various sustainable travel options such as opting for public transport, e.g. travelling by rail instead of renting a car to self-drive during your Europe trip.

Travel safely in Europe with Tiq Travel Insurance

From bad weather to strikes and petty crimes in Europe, there are so many unknown factors that are out of our control. Yet, there are good reasons to follow our heart and travel to see and learn all that we can from a region so different from Asia. So, don’t be deterred by potential travel pitfalls or disruptions – that’s part of the allure of travel.

Before you travel though, be sure to research, plan ahead, and be protected with Tiq Travel Insurance – the best annual travel insurance at Tripzilla Excellence Awards 2022. You’d be covered for up to 60 days before your trip in case of trip cancellation or deposit loss. There’s also a COVID-19 add-on to ensure you are well protected as you’re enjoying yourself. Learn more now.


Information is accurate as at 4 October 2023. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No. 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC (excluding Personal Cyber Insurance).

Tiq by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.

A digital insurance channel that embraces changes to provide simple and convenient protection, Tiq’s mission is to make insurance transparent and accessible, inspiring you today to be prepared for life’s surprises and inevitabilities, while empowering you to “Live Unlimited” and take control of your tomorrow.

With a shared vision to change the paradigm of insurance and reshape customer experience, Etiqa created the strong foundation for Tiq. Because life never stops changing, Etiqa never stops progressing. A licensed life and general insurance company registered in the Republic of Singapore and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Etiqa is governed by the Insurance Act and has been providing insurance solutions since 1961. It is 69% owned by Maybank, Southeast Asia’s fourth largest banking group, with more than 22 million customers in 20 countries; and 31% owned by Ageas, an international insurance group with 33 million customers across 16 countries.

Discover the full range of Tiq online insurance plans here.



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