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When I am on a trip on some city I've never before, how can I avoid the 'bad' neighborhoods? Usually there is one at most cities.Like, there are some bad neighborhoods here in Athens I wouldn't recommend.

Suppose I don't travel with an organized group, but with some friends.

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closed as too broad by Kate Gregory, Karlson, choster, Dirty-flow, Vince Jan 13 '14 at 8:02

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Do you mean how to find out where they are, or just how to not go there? – Mark Mayo Jan 13 '14 at 0:14
internet (this site / wikivoyage / google), book guides, local tourist information office, local people – Geeo Jan 13 '14 at 7:27
I really don't think this is 'too broad' we've had questions before about generic staying safe, avoiding crime, or handling the aftermath. Humbly I think my answer proves there are valid answers to this question that are still OK for this format. – SpaceDog Jan 14 '14 at 3:09
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Interesting question, I did a quick Google and it turns out there's an app for that although I've no idea if it's any good.

The general answer is research, wikivoyage will generally point out potential trouble spots in the 'Stay Safe' section, here's part of the one for Athens:

Rough areas

Athenians hold negative perceptions for the areas around Omonoia Square and locals advise you to avoid these areas late at night.

There are many beggars and homeless people who walk around the streets asking for money or food. Often they use children as sympathy tools. Places to avoid are Vathis Square (can be populated by druggies using even at 5 o'clock in the afternoon), the roads on the right of the National Archaeological Museum (almost a gathering place for the beggars of the city - the density is enormous) and the south end of 3 September Street.

The back streets of Piraeus are probably also places where it's unwise to wander around late at night. More recently, Sofokleous Street (a major street south of Omonia), especially the western part near Pireos Street, has gotten a reputation for crime and drugs; some Athenians will advise you to avoid it even during the daytime. Some may also argue that wandering around the Zappeio gardens and the Pedion Areos parks at night time may not be wise.

That also gives the best clue as to how to find out more -- ask a local. If you're staying with locals you can ask them, otherwise taxi drivers are a great source of information if they speak your language, also bartenders. The concierge at any decent hotel can help (if you're polite, and tip if appropriate, you probably don't even need to be staying there). Also check out if you have access to a 'virtual concierge' with your credit card, they can find out for you too.

Failing all of that, use common sense. Avoid poorly lit areas with little foot traffic, beware of people randomly hanging around, try and stick where there are other tourists -- or at least business people or families. Although beware of criminals hanging around in tourist areas to pick on tourists.

There are plenty of other threads on staying safe while abroad.

If your questions was not about finding the areas but avoiding them, well there's no real difference. First you have to know where they are. There's probably no reason you'd have to go to an area like that but if you do I'd recommend not going alone, if you're going to specific place take a taxi and arrange to have one pick you up (or a hotel car, etc).

Finally, listen to your instincts -- if something feels 'off' then leave the area.

Here's an interesting reddit thread that I lifted some of the above from, although it's mostly common sense.

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"There's probably no reason you'd have to go to an area like that ..." - Sometimes there's a reason. If you're sightseeing specific things. For instance a couple of the builgings of Gaudí in Barcelona are on the "wrong side" of La Rambla. And Barcelona is one of the most crime-ridden cities I've ever been to. – hippietrail Jan 13 '14 at 6:28
Yeah, I thought about it and you're right -- the example I was thinking of was a gig in a small venue in a bad area. Also, I almost used Barcelona (and La Rambla) as an example of 'bad tourist areas' but I thought I'd just been unlucky when I was there. – SpaceDog Jan 13 '14 at 6:44
Another example I've just thought of is taking the long distance bus through Central America. All or almost all of the bus stations were in or at least on the edge of dodgy areas. Since the bus doesn't travel at night you have to spend a night in each capital city you pass. – hippietrail Jan 13 '14 at 6:52
I was lucky in Barcelona. I stayed over a week and every single day I either saw at least one person robbed in front of me, or met at least one person who had been robbed. And I went to lots of "bad areas" but I knew how to be careful in such places. – hippietrail Jan 13 '14 at 6:53

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