Christmas Markets are a highlight of the season for many families in the UK and Europe, with millions of Britons planning to enjoy what the UK and abroad have to offer this winter.
But sadly the markets have become a target for terror, with the Berlin terror attack at the Christmas Market in December 2016, killing 12 and injuring 56 people.
However there are things tourists can do to prepare and stay safe, travel expert Frank Brehany told Express.co.uk.
Giving travel advice, Frank said there were various things travellers could do, including using Google Maps.
He advised: “The first thing for consumers – for any holiday – is they should always research their destinations, and understand what has happened there in the past, as that will indicate what their comfort level will be.
“How much risk are you prepared to accept? Deciding that is really important.
“Next, follow any advice – not just from the UK foreign office. Look across countries, so the UK, Ireland, France, Germany; do a mix and match and compare and contrast as you get a great set set of information.
“When travelling, I have also looked at advice from the USA and Australia, and the more information you have the more informed you are.
Christmas Market terror: A travel expert has given practical advice for tourists
Christmas Market terror: Frank Brehany advised travellers to use Google Maps to get to know an area
One of the things I do when I’m going somewhere unfamiliar is to go into Google Maps
“It really is down to how people feel about risk – because of the deficit in what I see as travel industry/FCO advice to UK citizens, in recent years consumers have had to become their own risk assessors. I’m no different, I do this too.”
Giving further practical advice, Frank said: “Once consumers decide they are going to a particular destination, they can start to think about what real time advice they can get from those destinations.
“One of the things I do when I’m going somewhere unfamiliar is to go into Google Maps, go for a ‘walk’, take routes from the hotel, to tourist attractions, wander around the area get a sense of what the streets look like.
“It can be fun as well as you might see something that isn’t in the guidebooks. It pays dividends, as if there is a problem with your phone you already know the way around.
Christmas Market terror: Frank Brehany advised downloading apps such as SAIP to get up-to-date info
Christmas Market terror: Across Europe and the UK, markets have become a popular festive day out
For on the ground advice, France, for example, has the SAIP app. You put your location in and get up to the date advice on what is going on in that area.
“In the event of a crisis you can be updated in real time as to what to do. This is the problem in chaos – you need someone to post their finger to tell you what to do.”
Frank also advised travellers to keep an eye out for posters giving safety information, but not to forget “they may be in a foreign language”.
Last month, Frank issued a terror warning for those planning to visit Christmas Market’s this year.