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Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

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Hong Kong, China
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Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

I have bought air ticket to Spain (Barcelona and Madrid) for 1 week at the end of Jan 2014 during the Chinese New Year holiday. Quite many friends said it is very unsafe for a girl travelling alone nowadays in Spain, especially when she carries a Chinese face as people always think Chinese are rich and the best target for robbery. Friends said the situation is much worse as compared with some years ago as economy in Europe worsen.

Is it really so unsafe in Spain nowadays? I start to be scared and wonder I should change my destiny :={

Thanks for all valuable feedbacks in advances!

MissHK2009

Malaga, Spain
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1. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

MissHK:

Spain has many Chinese inhabitants today and you can see them everywhere, especially in big cities. They own many of the inexpensive bazaars. You can tell that most are not rich by the way they dress.

The rich Chinese come to shop and they are the ones who buy in the boutiques on Calle Serrano in Madrid. This shopping street is located in the Salamanca Barrio, which is the safest in Madrid. I advise you to choose a hotel in this barrio, where you will feel very safe.

I travel a lot in Spain and often see many Chinese women traveling alone. This is not rare anymore.

The person who scared you has no knowledge of safety in Spain. Spain is one of the safest European countries. There are pickpockets in the metros of Madrid and Barcelona, but you can take taxis and avoid them. I always take taxis when I travel in Spain to save time and avoid these pickpockets. Taxis are inexpensive.

For your information, the latest news is that Spain is now leaving its recession behind and the economy is improving.

So do visit us. You will enjoy the Spanish food. If you want to try Chinese food, go to Tse-Yang Restaurant in Madrid at the Paseo de la Castellana, 22. This is the best Chinese restaurant in Spain, filled with Chinese antiques and frequented by high society and futbol players.

You will also enjoy the cochinillo in Madrid. This is roasted suckling pig. Try this food at Botin.

Cairns, Australia
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2. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

Miss HK,

Spain is no different to other countries in the world when it comes to petty crime.

Read as much as you can and pick up on the tips and experiences of others,remain alert and you should not have a problem.

Spain is a great country to visit and the petty crime is generally not violent, just be cautious and alert and you will be fine.

Have a great time!

Malaga, Spain
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3. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

A few weeks ago a newspaper I read had a census of how many Chinese live in Spain. The number of Chinese now living in Spain is about 70,000.

Barcelona, Spain
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4. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

.. and as per statistics from January 2013, 16000 of them in Barcelona (bcn.cat/estadistica/…pobest13.pdf)

Barcelona, Spain
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5. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

You will actually be safer traveling alone. A group of obvious tourists is more a target than a person (from any origin) alone, and you are usually more aware of your surroundings when you're on your own. Certain nationalities of tourists (not only Chinese) tend to be "flashy" so they are more targeted. But remember, pickpockets go for the easier prey, they do not care about your origin, age or size, they only care about how easy to pick your belongings are.

I know a few people from Asian origin who live here or visit frequently and they had no different experiences than anyone else.

Use your common sense and you will have a great trip.

US
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6. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

I am Asian oriental descent and will be going with my husband and 2 kids. Would we make easy targets? Plus with strollers? Honestly safety is the only thing making me hesitate. Are there serious crimes? Losing some pocket change may make you furious but nothing more. I am concern about safety for kids and any harm or real danger.

US
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7. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

Do money belts keep your most important belongings absolutely safe?

I guess all thieves know where you are carrying 'it' by now.

Have they managed to figure away to getting to the money bag?

Just curious.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

A money belt is a silk purse worn around your waist under your clothes. I use one when changing accommodation and I may have my hands full with luggage, otherwise I take a small amount of money and one credit card inside a zipped pocket inside a closed handbag.

It is very difficult indeed for someone to get at anything inside a money belt. No one should even know you are wearing one.

People travel all the time and only a very small number have any difficulties, usually ones who carry their money in obvious places like a jeans pocket or an open handbag, or in backpacks and bum bags.

Actual violence is very rare against tourists. Pickpockets work quickly and quietly on people who are mainly unprepared. Take some sensible precautions that make your money and valuables difficult to access and you will be fine. Spain is a magnificent country and you and your children should really enjoy yourselves.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

Hola Hulahoop,

I would happily walk down most Barcelona streets way past midnight - not the same case in many North American cities (including some parts of my hometown Toronto). Don't worry about the colour of your skin. Barcelona is a very cosmopolitan place with residents from all over the world. You and your kids will be perfectly safe.

Edited: 12:12 am, November 23, 2013
Mtwapa, Kenya
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10. Re: Is it Safe for a Chinese-face Girl to Travel Alone in Spain?

Hulahoop,

Barcelona is not a violent city, physical violence, muggings, etc are relatively rare, I have always felt safe there no matter where I have been or at what time of day, night or early hours. What it does have a problem with is pickpocketing and other opportunistic crime. Pickpockets are surreptitious and very skilful, you don't discover your loss until later. Your part-oriental features are irrelevant, I would guess that oriental people constitute a tiny minority of Barcelona pickpocket victims but they don't pick their targets by race but by opportunity, they tend to work where people are distracted and might not be aware of who or what is around them, or in crowded situations where it is not unnatural for people to bump into each other. Why would they waste time and effort trying to get into a body / money belt when there are easier pickings all around, people with wallets in back pockets, backpacks on their back, handbags hanging on the backs of chairs at pavement cafe, etc. Or people who are not being particularly careless but have handbags and pockets to be investigated on packed trains or in the crush of people around a turnstile entrance to the metro or the doors of a Metro train.

The thing that might make you a little more vulnerable is that there might be more scope for you being distracted than most people if you have two kids in strollers, there may be situations where you are concentrating exclusively on your kids in their strollers to the exclusion of being aware of your possessions and who might be around you and what they might be doing. For peace of mind I'd suggest you only carry what you need for the day and ensure any money, cards, etc are safely secured, not in a bag hanging on the back of a stroller for example

Edited: 12:49 am, November 23, 2013