As many of you in today’s world, in the time when I’m not traveling and writing I actually work for a multinational company having its headquarters in a Western European country. Corporations stand for rules and regulations, processes and process steps, and of course having to travel for work in different countries around the world (in some cases). When someone travels for work, the company is very concerned with the person’s safety and if you are visiting a country for the first time you might be concerned as well, thus you will receive a booklet with a lot of useful information about that certain country.
Being from Romania and having people traveling here for the first time for work I often get asked a lot of things, mostly about safety, because as I’ve understood, the information received is far from the truth, I would say even alarming. Let’s say that if I would receive the booklet my colleagues receive, I would think twice before coming and most probably would take a lot of vaccines.
Therefore, I said to myself I should write this post in order to ask the questions you all have: Is Romania safe to visit? How safe is Romania really?
What do you need to know about safety before traveling here?
So here it goes, the honest truth from a Romanian lady, living in Bucharest the country’s capital, who has had some wild days and nights in her life without anything ever happening to her. Maybe I was lucky or maybe I was just a little bit aware of what was going on around me, and that’s all you need to be doing. But let me take it one thing at a time, destroying all the misconceptions (or at least most of them).
Elevated risk of crime, including fraud and street crime
Sorry but that’s just pure BS! Ok, there may be some reasons behind this and you might have to pay some extra attention to some particular things but please don’t expect people will aggress you on the street (I have never seen a gun in my whole life) or you will have your belongings stolen while you are walking by admiring the view by people on scooters (as I’ve heard stories about other far away places). If you pay extra attention to the below tips you will be safe:
- Taxies – taxi drivers have the tendency of trying to rip you off, especially if you are a tourist and you don’t know your way around. Usually, a taxi ride is really cheap (compared to other cities in Europe, it goes as low as 0.3 euro cents/km) but they will try to make you pay a fixed, higher rate. What to do in this case? At the airport, use the machines available next to the Arrivals. Use Uber! Or try downloading and using a taxi app.
- If you choose to use the public transport, make sure you keep an eye on your purse. It does not happen often to get pickpocketed but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You won’t have any problem if you choose to travel on public transport after dark (the only problem is you won’t find public transport after 23:30).
- Walking alone at night – especially if you are a woman and in some particular areas of the city (outside the line of the city center, but in some neighborhoods where I wouldn’t go on my own either by day, ha ha) it might not be advisable to do so. But either way, chances are you won’t end up in the more “dangerous” places because there is nothing to do or see there.
Elevated risk of civil unrest
It is true, some street protests have happened in the past years, however, this does not affect the public safety. Protests have usually been peaceful ones and people down in the streets in the evenings were the same ones working in the multinational companies during the days. Of course, since large gatherings of people are not usually predictable, you might find it better if you avoid the area where crowds gather.
Elevated general risks, in particular, due to poor road safety
When reading this some thoughts come to mind: the traffic in Istanbul and the one in Sicily. Ok, driving in Romania is not as safe as it might be in more developed countries, mainly because of the infrastructure, but also because people are more..latin to say so. But trust me, if I can drive in Bucharest (without any accidents), you too can do it in Romania.
Major medical risks (gastrointestinal diseases transmitted through food and water)
I guess one thing holds true no matter where you travel: if you don’t think the place you are eating in is clean enough, don’t eat! You will find all sorts of restaurants and we don’t have street food, water is not infested and some might even drink it directly from the tap (I don’t advise you to do so, but you don’t have to fear for your life and it is certainly ok for rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables). I’ve even read somewhere that you should refrain from consuming ice cream and ice cubes – that’s pure folly and you don’t have to worry about it.
As a conclusion, from my point of view, Romania is as safe as any other country and if you use common sense nothing will happen to you.
I will just leave you with a few pictures of my hometown Bucharest 🙂 Enjoy!