Football fans worldwide are eagerly awaiting the ultimate showdown between Europe's top football clubs, with the UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul and the UEFA Final in Budapest just months away. But how can football fans best protect themselves whilst away, particularly if spending a few days in these two exciting cities?
The first event and location on which the eyes of the football world will be trained is the UEFA Europa League Final, to be staged at Budapest's 67,000-seater Puskás Aréna on May 31, 2023. This is one of the most modern and technologically advanced football venues in Europe but care will still need to be taken around the ground and within the city itself.
Budapest has a relatively low crime rate, but fans should be aware of the common occurrence of petty crime on public transport and within tourist areas, just as is the case in any city. Protecting possessions and passport is important, making sure that valuables are kept out of show as much as possible, not tucked into the back pocket of jeans and not easily accessible from a rucksack that can be easily unzipped.
If there's time during your stay in Budapest, you could visit Buda Castle, a magnificent Baroque palace, or enjoy a leisurely Danube river cruise. For a little luxury, visit the famous Széchenyi thermal baths - the largest spa complex in Europe with a superb outdoor aesthetic. Finish off a day of exploring, by feasting on a few traditional Hungarian dishes such as goulash, chimney cake and strudel.
The UEFA Champions League season concludes at Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium on June 10, 2023, with the crowning of this year’s champions. Although Istanbul is considered moderately safe for travellers, it is a region that unfortunately now comes with a threat of terrorist attacks, following the relatively recent November 2022 bomb explosion on the popular tourist street, İstiklal Avenue.
If travelling to this final, you might want to buy some extra peace of mind, by adding a terrorism disruption extension to your travel insurance policy. Europesure offers an optional extension, which could be useful, should a regulatory authority prohibit travel, should you need to evacuate a destination because of terrorism, or should you wish to curtail a trip following an act of terrorism. Just make sure your cover is in place as soon as possible, after you book your flights and make your plans.
Aside from football, Istanbul offers a rich cultural experience, with a unique blend of European and Asian influences. Visitors can explore the vibrant markets, indulge in traditional Turkish cuisine (kebabs, baklava, and Turkish delight are just a few) and soak up the city's rich history.
Do remember that the health service is under great strain in Turkey, following the recent earthquakes, with stocks low and medical professionals suffering burnout.[i] Having a travel insurance policy that could repatriate you, or transfer you to where you can get the best treatment, might be important, should you suffer any health incident or injury.
High-profile sporting events can create bigger risks for spectators and those taking part in the football festivities are advised to research the local culture and abide by local etiquette, take on board advised safety tips and stay aware of what is happening around them, throughout the day. Expect a lively atmosphere inside and outside the venue. With both stadiums seating over 65,000 people, there will be crowds and lots of social interaction. This kind of environment can be a pickpocket’s dream, so keep valuables safe.
Any advice provided by football tournament organisers should be followed and fans should be very careful about drinking too much alcohol. Any resulting accident, deemed to have been caused by alcohol consumption, can result in any insurance claim for health treatment being refused. Staying clear of bars and possible conflicts with rival fans also makes great sense, in terms of personal safety.
Whether you're a keen football fan or simply looking for an exciting travel experience, arranging travel insurance in advance of your travels makes great sense. Head to www.europesuretravelinsurance.com to choose the right package for you.