Spanish American Institute of International Education - SAIIE - Safety

If a country has a pattern of tourists being targeted by criminals on public transport, that information is mentioned in the Consular Information Sheets under the “Crime Information” section.

Spain is considered a very safe country and to travelled within as well. However, it does not mean we do not have small crime. Pickpocketing is the most common one among tourist and foreign students that visit the Spanish country.

Taxis. Taxis are safe in Spain and Europe but from time to time they will try to make an extra penny, especially if they notice they are carrying someone from not local. Fortunately in Seville you will not need to use a cab that much as most places can be walked too. However, try to make sure when you do need to grab a taxi that you know the shortest route. Taxi drivers in Seville have been known to take longer routes to be able to make more money. Thats one of the reasons why we always advise our students to carry a local map of Seville.

Trains. When you travel around Europe a lot of you will use the train transportation which is very well-organized and cheap. On trains again be aware of thieves. It is more common at night and especially on overnight trains. If you see your way being blocked by a stranger and another person is very close to you from behind, move away. This can happen in the corridor of the train or on the platform or station.

Where possible, lock your compartment. If it cannot be locked securely, take turns sleeping in shifts with your traveling companions. If that is not possible, stay awake. If you must sleep unprotected, tie down your luggage, strap your valuables to you and sleep on top of them as much as possible.

Do not accept food or drink from strangers. Criminals have been known to drug food or drink offered to passengers.

Buses. The same type of criminal activity found on trains can be found on public buses on popular tourist routes.

Please note that this is not the general case and trains and buses in Spain and in Europe are very safe but you never can be too cautious.

The following is a list of tips SAIIE has come up over the years for you students to be aware of when walking on the streets:

  • Don’t use narrow alleys or poorly lit streets during the late night. Try not to travel alone at night. Catch a cab if necessary.
  • Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances.
  • Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments. Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
  • Avoid scam artists. Beware of strangers who approach you, offering bargains or to be your guide.
  • Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will: jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance.
  • A child or even a woman carrying a baby can be a pickpocket. Beware of groups of vagrant children who create a distraction while picking your pocket.
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid driveby-purse-snatchers.
  • Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. When possible, ask directions only from individuals in authority.
  • Know how to use a pay telephone and have the proper change or token on hand.
  • Learn a few phrases in the local language so you can signal your need for help, the police, or a doctor. Make a note of emergency telephone numbers you may need: police, fire, your home-stay, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • If you are confronted, don’t fight back. Give up your valuables. Your money and passport can be replaced, but you cannot.