Most seasoned pilgrims will readily tell you they felt safer on the Camino than in their home towns. If you compare stats on violent crime you will understand how they feel. People living along the routes are generally helpful to respectful pilgrims. Incidents of violence are very rare. More often pilgrims need some help along the Way regarding injuries or illness. Be sure to train physically and touch base with your doctor before undertaking your journey. Take care of yourself as you walk by eating well and getting the rest you need. These excerpts from our Guidebook are full of valuable tips and emergency contact information.
Take Your Phone
Though some famous guide books might tell you to leave your smart phone at home, we disagree. While there is good reason to observe a “tech fast” and unplug from your daily life schedule and routines while you walk, there are many ways your phone can serve you, rather than enslave you. Your phone can provide you with a valuable connection to transportation, lodging, and help of all kinds. You, and your family and friends back home, will appreciate the peace of mind that comes from having a way to call for help if you need it. We discuss our “hands down favorite” phone plan for international travel in our Guidebook, as well as the many other reasons to take your phone with you.
Call 112 (no area code needed)
Tourist police in Madrid
Call 91 548 85 37
Emergency helpline in English
Call 902 102 112
Your Country’s Embassy
Most countries have several consular offices throughout Spain. However, emergency consular services to citizens are generally provided by the main embassy only:
United States Madrid Tel: 91 587 2200;
United Kingdom Madrid Tel: 91 714 6300;
Ireland Madrid Tel: 91 436 4093;
Canada Madrid Tel: 91 382 8400;
Australia Madrid Tel: 91 353 6600;
South Africa Madrid Tel: 91 677 53 51 46;
New Zealand Madrid Tel: 915 230 226;
How to Help Yourself & When to Go for Help
A favorite resource to recommend!! Download this FREE book from our website-- Camino First Aid: How to Survive and Thrive (and Help Your Fellow Pilgrims) on the Camino de Santiago, and read through it as a worthy reference about preventing and treating the most common injuries on the Camino. You will be entertained and informed by the authors, Tom and Em Hill, and because it is digital, you can have it with you in your smart phone library to use as a handy reference if you need help along the way. It is full of great Camino advice in general, in addition to the professional first aid guidance with excellent diagrams. They help you diagnose your injuries, know how to treat them, and know when it is time to seek professional help from local medical personnel.
Travel Medical Insurance
It's a good idea to have travel medical insurance in case something injury or illness. Minor medical treatments are not expensive in Spain even if you elect not to buy insurance. Non-EU citizens must be prepared to cover clinic and hospital bills. Canadian citizens should note that when booking their flights to Spain, travel insurance may be more expensive if you fly through the U.S. than if you fly directly to Europe from your home country. We look for a policy that includes coverage for the travel expenses connected to medical treatment, plus coverage for treatment for illness while you are traveling internationally. Consider what amount of risk and insurance coverage will give you peace of mind. You can purchase travel medical insurance from World Nomads. Get details below, or go to our page on Travel Insurance.
On our family's first Camino journey we stopped counting different languages we encountered at #17. The most common language spoken on the Camino is English, but it will be helpful to have a translation app on your phone.
Learn a Little Spanish
The most common language used on the Camino is definitely English, but remember, after all, you are in Spain, and it is a nice gesture to learn how to say a few things to the residents along the Camino, and helpful to you as well. Speak as best as you can with a smile, and that will go a long way to show you are trying. Free apps are available to help you with this. You will hear many other languages along the Camino. In fact on our first trip we lost count at 17. Group interaction at pilgrim gatherings and meals often goes like this: A French native speaker says something in French to an Italian, who also speaks French, Italian and English, and the Italian translates into English, while a German, who also speaks English and French, translates the response back into French! It is great fun and all part of the Camino experience. Our Guidebook gives details about helpful translation apps available for your phone.