So you want to Europe? Or the first time you go to Europe? You can check these 10 Tips for traveling Europe.
10 Tips for Traveling Europe to the fullest!
From east to west, Europe is a mixture of cultures, languages, heritage, architecture, and customs all across the continent. The dissolution of border checks within the EU means that travel in Europe has never been easier, more affordable or more convenient!
Learn the Local Language
Practice a few phrases before you arrive and use them with locals if you feel comfortable. In most cases, they’ll appreciate a tourist trying to speak the local tongue.
Try listening to a few podcasts to get the right pronunciation, or spend some time with a language program like Rosetta Stone leading up to your trip.
Do As the Locals Do
You don’t want to be that tourist standing out from the crowd with bad manners or loud exclamations, so observe what the locals do and follow suit.
For example, don’t wear tank tops in conservative Orthodox churches, or lower your tone—most Europeans speak at a softer tone than Americans. Just be aware of your surroundings, and research local etiquette for your destination if you’re not sure what to expect.
Visit During Off-Season
Europe can be a mess in peak-travel season, with crowds and queues lining up in Paris and London, and even smaller hamlets like Avignon and Verona. Avoid the months of June, July, and August if you’d rather not stand in long lines and crowds to see the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel.
Plus, summertime is when Europeans themselves head elsewhere for vacation, so my suggestion to get a real feel on what locals are like in your destination, visit cusp-season- early spring or in the fall!
Stay Longer in One Place
t always feels more rewarding to stay in one place for a week or two rather than city-hopping every few days. Not only does that mean less packing and unpacking, but you also have the chance to get to know a neighborhood, find a favorite cafe, and even make a few friendships by sticking it out in one place.
Shop at Family Businesses
Head off the beaten track of Eiffel Towers and Galeries Lafayettes to check out the smaller businesses, the family-run patisserie or the mom-and-pop gelato place on the corner.
You’re here to meet and mingle with locals, so you might as well support local businesses, and while you’re at it, you can even try a ‘Bonjour’ or ‘Ciao’ with them. Restaurants and shops off the main roads tend to be cheaper anyways!
Helpful Tip: Restaurants with pictures on the menu tend to cater to a tourist crowd, which means their prices are marked up as well. Learn some food phrases in your destination’s language, or carry a translator, so you don’t need the pictures anyways!
Be Aware of Afternoon Closures
A quick tip—Europeans value their lunch breaks, and midday meals often extend over hours. So you may find a ticket office or post is closed from noon until 2pm.
Take the late lunch into account when you plan your daily itinerary. And guess what—it’s a perfect chance to indulge in a long lunch yourself. When in Rome!
Stray From the Beaten Path
By all means, see the Eiffel Tower and ride a gondola in Venice—sometimes the beaten path can be its own fun experience.
But for the most part, you can see and do so much more if you stay off of it. Ask locals at the bar for their recommendations of where to eat and drink, or read online. It’s locals who really know their city—the best place to have a picnic, the best view of gargoyles, the best place to catch the underground music scene.
Stay in a Smaller City
Choose a smaller town with its own city center, and one that doesn’t get as many tourists, but are still just a short train ride away from the main hubs: Girona near Barcelona, Bologna near Florence.
These cities are usually quieter and run at a slower pace, allowing you to enjoy yourself with less pressure. You will also find there are more accommodations in the form of apartment rentals and homestays available farther from the city center!
Talk to People
Don’t be shy—there’s no better way to meet locals and like-minded travelers than striking up a conversation.
Street vendors, shopkeepers, bar patrons, even people staying at your hostel—smile and be open to people. You may end up meeting some lifelong friends!
Stay Central and Walk Everywhere
It may seem logical to spend the night in a cheap hotel in the suburbs, but trust me—it’s not always worth it. When you take into account the transportation to and from the city, or the hassle of trying to find a restaurant in a residential area— sleeping far from downtown can be a real pain.
Instead, splurge a bit and book a moderate place in or near the city center. You’ll be able to reach the main sights and find cafes and restaurants with no trouble at all. Plus, you’ll see more of the city if you’re walking around rather than taking the metro or a bus.
Packing Essentials for Europe
- Travel Umbrella: It’s always a good idea to pack a small travel umbrella — especially during the winter and spring.
- Earplugs: Bring a pair of decent earplugs just in case you end up in a noisy location. I find that I’m always using my earplugs in European hotels and Airbnbs.
- Daypack: You’ll need something to carry your phone, camera and souvenirs while you’re out exploring in Europe. I love this medium-sized purse that also converts into a backpack!
- Sunglasses: Don’t forget your sunnies — even in winter. This pair of aviators come with a case!
- Travel Adapter: You don’t want to be stuck without a way to charge your electronics once you get to your hotel. This all-in-one travel adapter lets you simultaneously charge 5 devices and can be used in the USA, Europe, United Kingdom and Australia, so you won’t have to buy a separate adapter for each trip!
- Face Moisturizer with SPF: Traveling with a daily moisturizer that also has SPF is a must for me. You’ll never forget to put on sunblock again!
- Water Bottle: I ALWAYS carry a water bottle when I’m traveling. It’s so much better for the environment, it reminds me to hydrate, and I save so much money on unnecessary water purchases. This collapsible water bottle is a no-brainer since it folds up when you’re not using it.
Do you have any tips for traveling to Europe? Let me know in the comments below!
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