Wanting to go to a trip can turn out very nicely, especially if you know how to choose your destination carefully. Given vacations don’t happen on a daily basis, sometimes you want to go to places you haven’t been to before, and not settle for just going to the mountains or the beach. At the same time, finding the country to visit is not so easy, as there are plenty of countries with nice places to visit and a lot of things to do.
If you’ve never thought about it, Moldova probably wasn’t the first thing coming to your mind when picturing your vacation. Located in Eastern Europe, north of the Balkans, it’s not really a place with a good reputation. It’s said to be one of the poorest countries on the continent, and one of the saddest ones. However, lately it started getting a better reputation, thus making people pleased with the experience overall. Conversely, it leaves you to wonder “Is Moldova safe to visit?”
Safety is important, so if you want to know how safe you will be if you visit this European country, we’ve prepared this Moldova safety guide for you. As such, you will get a lot of information through these Moldova safety travel tips, so you can ensure you and your family will have a worry-free trip.
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Moldova
Overall Risks in Moldova: MEDIUM
Moldova is not the safest country you will find, but it’s also not the most dangerous country in the world either. It’s not too popular with tourists, but over the last years, the tourism has started to develop. Moldova has some issues when it comes to crime, which makes it a little unsafe in that regard. Still, the chances to be a crime victim are decreased if you take the basic precaution measures.
One of the biggest threats inside the country is pickpocketing, as well as bag snatching. It can happen in normal areas, but buses and trains are not safe either. This is why tourists need to be vigilant.
Scams are not unheard of either, especially involving restaurant and bar staff, taxi drivers and more. They tend to overcharge tourists for services, which is why anyone should maintain a certain level of vigilance and double check everything. Moreover, there have also been ATM scams taking place.
Natural disasters are also not uncommon, because the country is located in a seismically active area. Therefore, earthquakes can happen, and they are recorded throughout the year without consequence.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Moldova: HIGH
Pickpocketing and theft are probably the most common crimes a tourist will come across when visiting Moldova. These events usually occur in public places, in areas that are crowded. When you’re in a crowd of people, it’s hard to feel or see when someone is stealing your belongings. There are just too many things to pay attention to, which is why your pockets or bad are usually not taken care of properly. Also, even if you end up realizing something is missing from your pockets, it’s usually too late, and the thief can’t be found anymore.
Places such as buses and trains aren’t safe either, as tourists have reported incidents in the past. Also, there were cases when tourists have reported that items were missing from accommodations too.
- How to Avoid pickpocketing and theft in Moldova?
In order to avoid being a victim, you need to, first, be vigilant wherever you’re going. When you’re out in public, make sure you always hold your bag or handbag tightly in front of you, and never leave it out of your sight. Also, be careful at everyone surrounding you when in a crowd, so you notice in case someone is trying to pickpocket you.
Make sure you don’t take all of your money with you all the time, and keep them somewhere safe, where you know nobody has access to except for yourself. Avoid flashing your valuables in public too.
Scam Risk in Moldova: HIGH
“How safe is Moldova for tourists” may be one of the questions to pop up in your mind if you’ve heard about the scam risk. Basically, Moldova is not the safest country when it comes to scams, because tourists are often targeted by nationals.
There have been cases where taxi drivers, as well as bar or restaurant staff have overcharged visitors for services. You would be asked for a bigger amount of money than you normally would, or you could get smaller change at the end.
ATM scams are not something uncommon either. There have been reports from tourists concerning unauthorized transactions, which could be because of hidden cameras stealing pins or skimming devices.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Moldova?
First of all, make sure you always double-check your change after going to a restaurant or bar, as well as using a taxi. Ash to see a menu in writing before you order anything, so don’t just go along with what the waiter is saying. You should also negotiate everything in advance, and never pay upfront.
Avoid using ATMs on the street – if you need money, try to get them from the ATM inside the bank. It’s much safer.
Kidnapping Risk in Moldova: MEDIUM
In terms of kidnappings, Moldova is not the worst country out there, but you should definitely still maintain your vigilance. Data from 2005 to 2014 has shown an increase in kidnappings. More specifically, the average value for Moldova during the period was 1.2 kidnappings per 100,000 people. In 2005, there was a minimum of 0.4 kidnappings per 100,000 people, and a maximum of 2.8 in 2013.
Therefore, whereas it doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly get taken by strangers and took inside a van as soon as you arrive there, kidnappings are not extinct.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Moldova?
If you want to avoid getting kidnapped, you can do some things to decrease the chance of it happening. Therefore, ensure you don’t trust strangers offering you services, as you never know their true intentions. Also, do no walk alone in quiet and deserted areas, because you’re making their job easier if there’s nobody around to witness the incident.
Terrorism Risk in Moldova: LOW
Was one of the questions bugging you “Is Moldova safe to visit concerning terrorism?”, you can breathe in relief. Terrorist attacks haven’t been taking place in Moldova recently, so everyone was safe from them. At the same time, the fact that there’s a global terrorist threat shouldn’t be overlooked, so everyone should be equally careful, regardless of their geographical location at that moment.
- How to avoid terrorism in Moldova?
You should always be aware of the risk, as well as take precautions so you are safe in case an attack occurs. Therefore, stay vigilant, especially in public areas, as well as those that tourists frequent. Furthermore, if there’s an attack somewhere close to you, keep the distance as much as you can, so you’re not caught in the middle of it.
Risks for Women Traveling Alone in Moldova: MEDIUM
Being a woman who likes to travel alone is not that easy, because there always comes the question about personal safety. So, if you’re asking yourself “Is Moldova safe for solo women travelers?” you’re not in the wrong.
Generally, women are not encountering problems when traveling to Moldova, but that doesn’t make it fully safe altogether. Moldova is not the safest country in the world, meaning you should expect bad things to happen too, even as a solo female traveler. You would be an easier target, as there’s nobody to protect you from potential perpetrators.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Moldova?
Avoiding crime might be hard as you can’t predict something that’s about to happen, but you should still maintain some vigilance and take precautions. Make sure you don’t walk around at night, especially in deserted areas, and don’t wear purses. Do not trust strangers who get too friendly with you either.
Rape Risk in Moldova: MEDIUM
One of the most horrific things to experience is rape. It’s a severe crime that seriously makes you question safety everywhere, especially if you’re a woman traveling alone. In Moldova, there have been a lot of rape cases in the past, some more serious than others. Tourists could be targeted too, as criminals don’t take that fact into consideration when they want to go forward with their action. Despite not meaning it’s surely going to happen, it’s better to not rule it out.
- How to avoid getting raped in Moldova?
In order to decrease the risk considerably, one of the things you could do is dress appropriately. Make sure you’re not too provocative. Moreover, if you’re going to pubs or bars, never let your drink unattended, and never accept drinks from strangers either.
Risks for People Traveling With Children in Moldova: LOW
If you bring your child with you in Moldova, it won’t be that hard to find something to keep the little one entertained, like playgrounds and similar things. At the same time, there are no wealth or child-friendly attractions like some popular countries do.
Regarding safety, there’s rarely anything to worry about, but you shouldn’t rule risks out either.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
Children have a tendency of distancing themselves from their parents and run to explore the surroundings. Make sure your child is always near you, and don’t leave him/her out of sight. Bring them to the hotel room before the sun goes down, so you avoid them being caught in a possible attack.
Natural Disaster Risks in Moldova: MEDIUM
“Is Moldova safe to visit regarding natural disasters?” may be one of the rambling thoughts that won’t let you sleep. While you’re safe from things such as tsunamis, Moldova is still located in a seismically active area, so earthquakes are something pretty common.
You should know what to do in case of an earthquake, so you’re prepared in the event one occurs during your trip.
Transportation Risks Moldova: MEDIUM
Transportation is usually safe here, but you could encounter certain things depending on the area and situation. Taxis from the airport tend to charge tourists more than expected, which is why you should use official “yellow taxis” so incidents are avoided. Also, the most reliable means of transportation is the bus, so you should consider it if you get there. Small minibuses are the fastest form of transport, though, but they only seat around 15 people.
The safest ones are larger buses, though, which is what makes them such a great option.
Night-clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Moldova: MEDIUM
Not only you should be careful so you don’t get a spiked drink, but there’s also something you should know before you decide to go to a bar. In certain situations, visitors of Afro-Caribbean or Asian descent have reported being either denied entrance into some clubs or being assaulted or harassed by the police.
You should be careful at every aspect so you don’t end up in a bad or dangerous situation.
Health Risks in Moldova: LOW
There are rarely big risks in Moldova, but you could still contact rabies from bats, dogs or other mammals in the country. Hepatitis is not uncommon either, which is why vaccinations are required before your trip.
There’s apparently an outbreak of measles in the country, so make sure you get the proper vaccinations upon visiting.
List of Vaccines You Need in Moldova
Before you end up visiting Moldova, visit your doctor, as you could find out whether you need the following vaccinations:
- Routine vaccines
- Hepatitis A and B
Most Dangerous Area in Moldova
One dangerous area is Transnistria, because it’s not under government control and it seeks independence. Considering it’s riskier, it would be harder to do something in case of a crime, as there’s no Moldavian control. You should also avoid taking pictures of certain places, such as military facilities.
Concluding Remarks: Is Moldova Safe to Visit?
Moldova is not the safest country, but it’s not the worst either, and if you end up visiting it, you might have a wonderful time. If you weren’t sure what to do during your next vacation and thought visiting Moldova would be a good idea, hopefully this Moldova safety guide was helpful enough.
Put these Moldova safety travel tips to use, and you should a trouble-free trip.