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Prague: Tourist Safety & Recommendations

Prague: Tourist Safety & Recommendations

Old May 20, 18, 4:34 am
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Prague: Tourist Safety & Recommendations

I've been researching Prague and a lot of the videos I've seen on YouTube concern the alarming levels of pickpocketing, rip-off currency exchange places and taxi drivers ripping tourists off. I was thinking about a long weekend there but have been put off a little so am seeking real-life recent experiences of the possibility of being pickpocketed or scammed by taxi drivers.

I was pickpocketed in St Petersburg, Russia on the Metro there and it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience which has left me quite wary of visiting cities where such crime appears to be rife.
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Old May 20, 18, 5:39 am
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Perhaps it's me leaning towards the old-style approach to most things but getting to the point of wondering whether to visit a place or not based on YouTube videos is possibly just overreaction, even though I understand you are significantly more sensitive to such things as opposed to many others given that you had a bad experience before (and it goes without saying that I'm genuinely sorry to hear that). That said, petty crime such as pickpocketing or taxi drivers taking the mickey is common to any large (or small, if it matters) city attracting a significant number of tourists, that doesn't mean that they are unsafe as such, a bit of the usual common sense and you'd be sound pretty much anywhere. I visited Prague for work and on holiday quite a few times and never had a bad experience. Forget about YouTube, just go and enjoy the place.

G
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Old May 20, 18, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by rumbataz View Post
I've been researching Prague and a lot of the videos I've seen on YouTube concern the alarming levels of pickpocketing, rip-off currency exchange places and taxi drivers ripping tourists off.
I highly recommend you visit Prague. It's a beautiful city, and the odds are that you'll just have a wonderful time and nothing will happen. You're more likely to get mugged in North or South America than in Prague. And you can avoid pick-pocketing by making it not worth it for the criminal. Don't carry much with you except a credit card and the cash you're likely to need for the day, and keep those things in FRONT pockets, not in back pockets, a purse, etc. Also, avoid getting caught up in large crowds, where pick-pockets operate most frequently. It doesn't mean to stay away from tourist attractions, it just means that you stand back a little so there aren't people crowded in around you. I've been to Prague in July, and it's entirely possible to do that and see everything you want to see.

That said, I think it's likely at least one merchant will try to rip you off in Prague. Maybe a taxi driver, a street vendor, or a waiter. My first time, I bought a sausage from a street stall and didn't pay attention to the change I was given. It wasn't a huge amount, but I ended up paying about twice the actual cost. IME, this scenario is what you're most likely to encounter, so just be aware and you'll be fine.

Originally Posted by AlicorporateUK View Post
That said, petty crime such as pickpocketing or taxi drivers taking the mickey is common to any large (or small, if it matters) city attracting a significant number of tourists, that doesn't mean that they are unsafe as such, a bit of the usual common sense and you'd be sound pretty much anywhere.
I would clarify, these things are common in Europe. I have not noticed this in most other parts of the world. In the US and Canada, for example, pick-pocketing is extremely rare. Getting cheated by a taxi driver is almost non-existent. But on the other hand, you're highly unlikely to be a victim of violent crime in Europe compared to N. America, S. America, and even parts of Asia. Seems like an OK tradeoff .
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Old May 20, 18, 11:09 am
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Pickpockets - avoid crowded areas and crowded times, be aware of where your stuff is

Rip-off currency exchange - if you don't want to use ATMs, Prague exchanges have some of the better rates across Europe, almost certainly better than anywhere in North America; and with limited exceptions, exchanging money at airports without booking in advance is always a rip-off

Taxi scams - if this is a concern then don't take taxis in Prague, there is no need unless you have mobility problems / lots of children
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Old May 20, 18, 5:59 pm
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Prague is no different to any other European city for me.

If you're concerned about taxi drivers, use Uber. It works perfectly fine there, albeit with more frequent surge pricing last time I used it.
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Old May 21, 18, 1:35 am
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Originally Posted by Skatering View Post
Prague is no different to any other European city for me.

If you're concerned about taxi drivers, use Uber. It works perfectly fine there, albeit with more frequent surge pricing last time I used it.
...or prebook a taxi from your hotel. They will usuall get you a good deal
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Old May 21, 18, 1:46 am
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I've spent many days in Prague (and have had a few good friends live there) and can honestly say that I've never been overly worried about crime. Of course, crime exists just like any there major city but being sensible reduces the chance of most of it. Can't say I've ever taken a taxi there though, as I prefer the trams
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Old May 21, 18, 4:49 am
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coincidentally, the only traveling incident ive had was my friend, with whom i was traveling, getting pickpocketed in st petersburg. he also had stupendously poor situational awareness.

the things that you mentioned is not anywhere as rife in prague as it is in pockets of barcelona, paris, etc. basically, the highly touristed parts of europe.

prague is not not absolutely standout for any of those things. doesnt mean you shouldnt keep your wits about you.
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Old May 21, 18, 6:02 am
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Originally Posted by Skatering View Post
Prague is no different to any other European city for me.

If you're concerned about taxi drivers, use Uber. It works perfectly fine there, albeit with more frequent surge pricing last time I used it.
Or use Liftago the local taxi app. When you order a taxi with them the drive will bid on the ride and your and choose between the different offers. I was very satisfied with the service.
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Old May 21, 18, 12:23 pm
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I got done in Prague, although it was 100% my own fault (left my passport & wallet in my jacket over my chair). A mistake you only make once.

I've been back a few times since and not had any issues.

It's a very walkable city - and as has been said, Uber works fine.

I'm not sure why people exchange money these days. Just use a "no exchange fee" credit or debit card wherever you go.
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Old May 21, 18, 2:12 pm
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OP, watching the Honest Guide series on YouTube?

Originally Posted by JBord View Post
I highly recommend you visit Prague. It's a beautiful city, and the odds are that you'll just have a wonderful time and nothing will happen. You're more likely to get mugged in North or South America than in Prague. And you can avoid pick-pocketing by making it not worth it for the criminal. Don't carry much with you except a credit card and the cash you're likely to need for the day, and keep those things in FRONT pockets, not in back pockets, a purse, etc. Also, avoid getting caught up in large crowds, where pick-pockets operate most frequently. It doesn't mean to stay away from tourist attractions, it just means that you stand back a little so there aren't people crowded in around you. I've been to Prague in July, and it's entirely possible to do that and see everything you want to see.

That said, I think it's likely at least one merchant will try to rip you off in Prague. Maybe a taxi driver, a street vendor, or a waiter. My first time, I bought a sausage from a street stall and didn't pay attention to the change I was given. It wasn't a huge amount, but I ended up paying about twice the actual cost. IME, this scenario is what you're most likely to encounter, so just be aware and you'll be fine.

I would clarify, these things are common in Europe. I have not noticed this in most other parts of the world. In the US and Canada, for example, pick-pocketing is extremely rare. Getting cheated by a taxi driver is almost non-existent. But on the other hand, you're highly unlikely to be a victim of violent crime in Europe compared to N. America, S. America, and even parts of Asia. Seems like an OK tradeoff .
I didn't get ripped off in Prague, nor did people try. That said, I was smart about things--avoided the touristy restaurants, didn't take a taxi, did crowded areas but with things in front pockets and paying attention to crowds.

OP, avoid the taxis in Prague, but Uber or their metro system will get you basically anywhere you need to go. I wore shirts that covered my pockets, and kept things in my front pockets. We did all of the touristy spots, but kept our distance from the crowds (made sure there was some space).

As far as exchanging money, we brought some with us and then pulled more from ATMs as necessary. We used credit as much as we could.
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Old May 21, 18, 3:08 pm
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Okay thanks all. Trip is on.
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Old May 22, 18, 5:43 am
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Actually, if you really want to avoid a ripoff in Prague, make sure you bring plenty of your own water if you walk up to see the castle. I recall not being able to find water there on a 90F day, and having to pay 5 euros for a bottle...enough to make it down to the bottom of the hill, where I bought another bottle for 2 euros.
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Old May 22, 18, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Actually, if you really want to avoid a ripoff in Prague, make sure you bring plenty of your own water if you walk up to see the castle. I recall not being able to find water there on a 90F day, and having to pay 5 euros for a bottle...enough to make it down to the bottom of the hill, where I bought another bottle for 2 euros.
Drink beer in Prague. It is usually cheaper than water.
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Old May 23, 18, 7:22 pm
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
I highly recommend you visit Prague. It's a beautiful city, and the odds are that you'll just have a wonderful time and nothing will happen. You're more likely to get mugged in North or South America than in Prague. And you can avoid pick-pocketing by making it not worth it for the criminal. Don't carry much with you except a credit card and the cash you're likely to need for the day, and keep those things in FRONT pockets, not in back pockets, a purse, etc. Also, avoid getting caught up in large crowds, where pick-pockets operate most frequently. It doesn't mean to stay away from tourist attractions, it just means that you stand back a little so there aren't people crowded in around you. I've been to Prague in July, and it's entirely possible to do that and see everything you want to see.

That said, I think it's likely at least one merchant will try to rip you off in Prague. Maybe a taxi driver, a street vendor, or a waiter. My first time, I bought a sausage from a street stall and didn't pay attention to the change I was given. It wasn't a huge amount, but I ended up paying about twice the actual cost. IME, this scenario is what you're most likely to encounter, so just be aware and you'll be fine.



I would clarify, these things are common in Europe. I have not noticed this in most other parts of the world. In the US and Canada, for example, pick-pocketing is extremely rare. Getting cheated by a taxi driver is almost non-existent. But on the other hand, you're highly unlikely to be a victim of violent crime in Europe compared to N. America, S. America, and even parts of Asia. Seems like an OK tradeoff .
Las Vegas may be the exception: "the tunnel" route scam inflates the cost of a ride = more $ in drivers pocket.
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