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The Six Nations Is Here!! How to Stay Safe at the Six Nations!

Your guide to fun, safe travel for the event.

  • Published on

Northern Hemisphere rugby union fans are about to be treated to seven weeks of heaven when the Six Nations gets underway in earnest this weekend. Whilst many will choose to head down their local boozer to watch all the action, the close vicinity of all six host cities makes it a doddle to travel and watch the oval-ball shaped game in some of Europe’s most iconic destinations.

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Every year Europe’s best rugby union nations get together for the 6 Nations in order to decide the best side in the Northern Hemisphere. Each team plays the other five once and the decision on whether they are home or away is decided by a rotation. For example, this year England are at home to France, Italy and Scotland. Next year they will visit all three of those countries and vice versa.

Six Nations: How to Stay Safe at the Six Nations

 There’s one big change this season and it comes in the way points are awarded for wins and losses. For the first time in the history of the tournament, a team that scores four tries in a single game will get a bonus point. There is also a bonus point on offer for any losing team that goes down by less than seven points to their opponent. Any team that wins all five games gets an additional three points and almost certainly wins the title as a result.

 So, now you know what the Six Nations is and how it works, it’s time to start planning your away trip. To help you make the most of it, we’ve put together a quick fire guide on staying safe in the host cities.

Remember Where You’re Staying!

All six of the cities that host games are known for excellent public transport links and a plentiful supply of good accommodation that combined together make travelling to away matches an attractive proposition. Going to a game is an all day experience so don’t be left wandering around a city at the end of the night without the foggiest where your digs are. Save the details of your hotel, hostel, BnB or AirBnB in your smartphone and print out a paper map that you can show to a cabbie if it comes to it. Google Maps also allows you to save maps for offline use and this can be incredibly valuable in cities like Rome and Paris where mobile phone roaming charges can be steep on certain tariffs.

Bring a Phrase Book

Brits abroad usually think they know best and try to muddle along with English and nothing else. Everyone speaks English around the world any way, don’t they? It’s one myth that becomes very clear when you pitch up in Paris or Rome on 6 Nations duty, ask for a cheese and ham baguette and get no response…

Why go through that sometimes embarrassing process when you can dive even further into the culture of the city by having a good crack at the local lingo? At least two (well, three if you count Cardiff!) of the host cities speak a different language to English and you’re far more likely to find a couple of hidden gems if you indulge in a bit of Francais or Italiano by carrying a phrase book around.

Taking a book along isn’t even a necessity in this day and age. Go to the App Store on your smartphone, punch in phrase book and you’ll soon notice plenty of apps geared towards traveller that offer translations on the spot. It means that the excuse that you didn’t want to carry around an annoying book all weekend long no longer washes!

It’s also safer to have just a tiny bit of local lingo at hand when travelling overseas. Travelling with a phrase book or translate app will certainly be something you’re be thankful for when trying to order the next round of beers in the middle of a packed bar in Rome!

Watch Those Pockets!

Anyone that has ever been to a busy piazza in Rome, square in Paris or packed side street in Cardiff on a Six Nations match day will be well versed in looking out for pickpockets. The fact that the six cities hosting the games are among the biggest the continent has to offer and full of tourists even when there are no games on makes them even more of a magnet for pesky thieves. Don’t let the prospect of having your valuables stolen occupy your mind though. Prepare before you leave for the game and you needn’t let it bother you.

Leave anything of value back at the place you’re staying at or, if you have to bring it along, get yourself a money belt. Some even come with an RFID blocker that make your contactless cards and devices even safer! If you insist on using pockets to keep your stuff close to hand, choose a pair of zip up pockets or keep your hands in there. Pickpockets are pro’s at what they do and won’t think twice about trying anything to get their hands on your goodies. Credit and debit cards are accepted very widely these days and it negates the need to carry large amounts of foreign currency. Set up a card that charges little to withdraw cash or use abroad and rely on it as your source for cash. Also, never EVER bring your passport out with you. An EU driving license will suffice in all of the Six Nations cities.

EHIC Still Works in the EU

 Brexit is looming over the continent but the European Health Insurance Card is still knocking around for the moment at least and it offers a simple way to access healthcare across the European Union. EHIC gives its users free or discounted medical care in all 28 EU member states and is completely free of charge. Basically, you get the same level of care that the locals do and if they offer free medical care then you have the peace of mind that treatment will be the same as it is at home.

 Stats released late last year showed that almost half of UK residents don’t have an EHIC and millions of the free cards expired in the last year alone. Therefore be sure to check your EHIC is in date and if you don’t have one yet, apply now!

 Applying for the card is an easy as completing an online form at this link ( Beware of Googling ‘EHIC’ as there are plenty of copycat websites that will offer to fast track the process for a fee. These are bogus and should be avoided at all costs!

 Whilst it should never be used as a substitute for travel insurance, EHIC is a good way to get speedy access to state-run medical care in EU countries.

Make A Weekend of It

 The quality of the cities on offer in the 6 Nations means that making a weekend of your trip is a must! Rome and Paris are two of the continent’s most iconic destinations and there is more than enough sightseeing to do both before and after the showpiece of the game itself. Plan your trip well and two days will be plenty of time to sample the local delicacies, see the major sights and generally just immerse yourself in the culture enough that you’ll probably never want to leave!

 Budget accommodation from the likes of AirBnB means that it no longer costs an arm-and-a-leg to stay in the most central of locations and it makes it all the safer when you are not having to trek back to your room in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of the city.

Andy Chapman

Andy Chapman

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