10 Things Every Traveler Should Know Before Visiting Europe
Hello and welcome below features a guide to successful European travel. After spending seven months living in Europe as a solo traveler, I encountered various experiences from good to ugly. Here are ten things I wish I would’ve known before visiting Europe. Everything you see below is what I found to be the most helpful and is not sponsored/affiliated with anyone.
1. Have a copy of a map that does not require internet.
Getting lost in a foreign city happens often when the street signs are in different languages or the streets are completely missing signs. To avoid spending countless hours lost, I recommend downloading MAPS.ME, this free app allows you to see a detailed map without internet this is perfect for finding sights or even looking for the best restaurant close by. Also as another tip, you can load directions to a place prior through Apple Maps and it will continue to work after the internet connection lost. This can be helpful if you are going to a metro or a specific location.
2. Looking at the public transportation map prior to arrival.
All throughout Europe public transportation is the most common way to get around as space for cars is limited. Depending on the city you are in you will find taxis, however, they can add up and can be risky. I recommend the metro, bus, or train, the reason being the are affordable and offer a more authentic experience. The metro is usually very clean and runs for almost 24 hours. I always like to look up how to get my hostel from the airport before arriving as it makes it less stressful. For longer trips from city to city I suggest Rome2Rio. It is an awesome platform that allows you to buy all tickets in one place and shows all options available.
3. Check out STA Travel card/website.
STA Travel is student-friendly organization that helps students save money while traveling. From discounted flights to saving on museums, this site is a helpful resource for planning trips to anywhere. Even if you are not a student you can find discounted tours, health insurance, hotels, and more.
4. Beware of the country’s currency and card fees.
While most of Europe uses your Euros it is important to look up the correct currency and conversion rate. In my experience, I have found it is best to bring 50 to 100 euros per week for each week you plan on staying. Though you may spend more it is always important to have cash because not all places take card. Also while using your debit card in Europe you will be charged an international fee. This fee can range based on your bank, I would recommend looking into a travel rewards card to avoid this. Bank of America Travelcard is my personal favorite. If possible I would try to get Euros from a currency exchange prior to leaving as the exchange rate is usually better.
5. Get health insurance and travel insurance if you are planning on traveling for more than two weeks.
Accidents while traveling can be unpredictable to altitude sickness to missing flights you never know when something might happen. In my travel experiences, I have never had anything go wrong. However, I have had friends that have used their insurance and it has saved them thousands of dollars. I would recommend looking into these sites for the best health and travel insurance options:IMG Global, Seven Corners, and Travel Guard.
6. Beware of pocket pickers and people “giving” things on the streets.
All Throughout Europe, there are notorious pocket pickers these people are most common on trains, crowds, or even walking around door sitting of restaurants. I would recommend carry a money bag and avoid big bags at all costs. When I refer to people giving things it very common in tourist areas or outdoor shopping malls for people to walk up and give you a bracelet or rose. These people will insist you take the item then ask for money. These people sometimes can be children, there are also circumstances when while you are buying someone walk up and steal something from you. My best advice to not even look in these people’s direction and if they come to you to ignore them.
7. Your usual cell phone plan will not work in Europe.
Before traveling to Europe it is important to look into international data or SIM cards. Many countries have SIM cards you can pop in your phone when you get there and have a phone plan. The thing to keep in mind is the internet is not quite as fast. Be a little more patient when comes to dealing with this service. It is not necessary to have a cell phone plan in Europe as many places offer free wifi. I went 5 months without a phone and was fine, it just depends on if having connect your whole trip is important.
8. Free walking tours are everywhere and be joined on the spot.
All through Europe, there are companies that offers free walking tours. Most tours last about 2-3 hours, show majority of the city sites and come with a map. These tours are great for kick-starting your trip many offer tips and restaurants as well for the city. All of these tours accept tips at the end for anyone wanting to pay the guide’s money. I have done these tours in about 10 counties and have found all of them to be super helpful. Your hotel or hostel will have more information about this and do not need be joined in advance.
9. Always pay attention to people that are noticing you.
The best to do this is by looking at the people in the eyes that are staring at you it signals to them you see them and are watching them. Sometimes as a female traveler it is common to have man stare at you or even try to talk to you. Remember to use your best judgment and never give away you are traveling alone. Just beware of your surroundings and avoid public transportation alone late at night, then you should be perfectly fine. I have never had any issues while visiting your Europe, however, you never know when something might happen.
10. Be open-minded and embrace other cultures.
Europe is a beautiful place with so much to do, taste, and experience. By keeping an open mind and taking the European lifestyle it really can enhance your journey. I suggest seeing as many sights, museums, and festivals as you can as they offer a new perspective into the European way of living.
For more travel guides, tips, and stories abroad check out my blog weekly. Every week I feature a new travel blog in the hopes of inspiring people to wander.
” Travel not escape life, but so life doesn’t escape you.”Unknown
For travel guides in Europe check these out: