Austria Travel Guide: Safety Tips in Austria. Travel Safety Tips.
Generally speaking, traveling to Austria is very safe. In fact, Austria is probably one of the safest European cities you can go to. Austria enjoys a very low crime rate and violent crimes are almost unheard of. Also, travelers can be rest assured that terrorist activities in Austria aren’t very likely, even with its open border policy. Tourists can even enjoy taking a leisurely stroll on Viennese streets even at nighttime, although it is probably a better idea to take a taxi back to your hotel during the late hours of the evening. Even women traveling alone will feel safe in the streets of the country.
Just like in other countries, travelers should take common sense precautions and observe Austria travel safety tips when going around the city. The two most likely places for pickpockets to roam are in the vicinity of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the shopping district. Be especially mindful of your wallet when riding public transportation, especially when the tramway or underground train is packed during peak hours. No city is 100 percent crime free, so be vigilant, especially when at the Prater (park) as pickpockets are known to abound.
A basic Austria travel safety tip that is highly recommended is to have photocopies of your passport and other travel documents. It’s a good idea to leave the original documents in your hotel’s safety deposit box. Also, when you are bringing out your wallet to pay for purchases in public or when you want use the ATM machine, you should be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of your valuables. When shopping, avoid buying bootleg items. Many of these are illegal to bring back into the United States and you may become subject to fines when you reach customs.
When it comes to your health, Austria is a very clean nation. Food establishments do follow food safety preparation procedures and much of the cuisine is fresh and well cooked. The water from the faucet is potable, as it is fresh from the mountains and is quite refreshing. It’s not likely you’ll get diarrhea during your trip, but you may want to take some anti-acids and other medication to treat an upset stomach, in case you overindulge in Sachertortes and Weiner schnitzels, or find some of the food items too oily or rich for your taste.
All travelers are recommended to get their own travel health insurance when visiting Austria and other Schengen countries, in case you have a medical emergency during your stay. Most regular health insurance coverage does not extend outside of the United States so it is necessary to purchase travel insurance that covers you for the entire duration of your trip. Generally, travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis so be sure to keep all your receipts or make the charges on your credit card rather than using cash when paying for emergency medical services. If you wish to avail of the free travel medical insurance through your credit card, be sure to get the details about this before you leave so you know what to do in case you need to make a claim.
Bring your own prescription medication, which you should carry with your in your handcarry luggage rather than in your check in luggage. These should only be in the quantities you will need for the duration of your trip. Use the original containers of your medication and bring the corresponding prescription from your doctor just in case. There are pharmacies available in the major cities for basic over the counter medication. A medical alert bracelet is also a good item to wear at all times, especially if you suffer from some medical ailments or have allergies to specific medication.
If you plan to drive in Vienna, it’s generally safe to do so and there are a number of parking garages around the city. You will need an international driver’s license with you, even if you have a US issued driver’s license. Also, an international driver’s license is only valid for up to six months. If you plan to stay longer, then you need to get an Austrian driver’s license. If you plan on going up to the higher altitude areas, be careful especially if you aren’t used to driving on the mountainside, and especially during the winter season when it is likely to rain, snow or in the worst case, encounter an avalanche. This will also allow you to take in the majestic views that surround you. Winter tires are also legally required from the 1st of November till the 15th of April. The speed limit on the Autobahn is 130km/hr and your vehicle must have an Autobahn vignette sticker on display on the vehicle windshield or you may be subject to a $150 fine. If you are using a rental car, check to make sure you have the correct tires and necessary vignette. Also keep in mind that it is illegal to make a right hand turn on a red light at all streets of Austria. Don’t drink and drive, as the maximum blood alcohol level allowed is 0.05 percent.
Austria travel safety tips also include taking precautions when enjoying the many ski resorts and outdoors sports on the Alps. There have been tourist deaths brought about by avalanches. However, this can be prevented if travelers stay on the marked paths and avoid straying or venturing out on their own. If you plan to enjoy some winter sports, it’s a good idea to use avalanche beepers that can help rescuers locate you much faster. Be aware of weather advisories and check with your hotel concierge for any weather bulletins before you head out.
While Austria is generally laid back, it is illegal to use, sell, carry or bring in drugs to the country. There are very strict laws against drug use and distribution in Austria.
These are just some Austria travel safety tips that you may find useful. This way, you can be assured of a safe and wonderful time during your stay in this beautiful country. Use our handy Travel Guide Austria so you can easily look up what you need and have an accessible and up to date reference at all times.
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