Europe has always been a continent immersed in a rich culture, history, and awe-inspiring landscapes. When traveling to this part of the world, it’s important to consider a few things to ensure a pleasurable journey. Here are 19 things to keep in mind before you plan your trip.
Managing your finances
Many travelers visit the European continent for multiple reasons, one of which is its affordability. Managing your finances can help stretch your funds and get more done than in most other countries. It’s imperative, however, to make sure you have enough funds for everything from the start of your journey right to the end. Europe’s holidays usually offer lucrative budget or low-cost options, so it’s best to do your homework and budget accordingly to avoid any surprises.
Understanding the Schengen visa
The passport-free zones led by the Schengen visa offer the opportunity for many tourists to travel freely within their boundaries. For those who do not have this visa, it’s a good idea to acquire one sooner rather than later. Read up on the requirements for this document and start your application as early as possible to avoid any delays or potential disappointments.
Especially for first-time travelers, investing in travel insurance is an advisable thing to do. Travel insurance covers expenses such as incidents of lost luggage, any unforeseen disruptions or cancellations, and other expenses. Comparing different policies to make sure they cover all your needs is essential to getting the right one that covers your entire trip or any activities you’re planning to embark on.
Anyone who has been to the European continent is well aware of its unpredictable weather. In some regions, days are hot, and nighttime temperatures can drop significantly. It may be surprising to read that you should take a warm jersey as a backup, but this can be a life-saver. Pack appropriately to accommodate both hot and cold weather. The same goes with your shoes; pack comfortable walking shoes as well as open shoes.
There’s nothing worse than losing mobile connectivity when you’re in an unknown country. Making sure you have a constant mobile connection is essential while traveling to any country away from your own. Checking your mobile plan beforehand can be helpful. Also, using different SIM cards can be helpful, so check that your phone’s capabilities are up to par.
Paying heed to its culture
The diversity of European countries is well-known throughout the world. When visiting countries in Europe, it’s advantageous to be clued up on the various cultures, etiquette, and customs of the places you’ll be visiting. Learning simple words such as greetings and saying thank you and please can go a long way toward an enjoyable and hassle-free trip. Carrying a language translation guidebook can help tremendously.
The European transportation system is modern and effective, especially in recent years when extensive work has been done on the continent’s infrastructure, making it easier and more comfortable for tourists to travel from one place to another via train, bus, taxi, or rental car. If you’re not familiar with the country’s transportation system, it’s advisable to read some information on it before visiting. Similar to other countries, they have travel passes you can use for convenience’s sake.
Possible language barriers
English is spoken a lot more in European countries nowadays than it was a few decades ago. It’s still helpful to learn the basics of the language if you’re visiting places like Spain, Germany, Italy, France, or elsewhere. Locals appreciate foreigners who try to learn and speak their language. Plus, it narrows the chance of getting things wrong. Additionally, there are tons of benefits to learning a second language in general.
Many travelers have faced the issue of not thinking about what wall plugs to take when traveling to a new country. The suggestion here, and much to your advantage, is to take a universal adapter with you, especially when visiting a European country. Some hotels have all types, but you may not be that lucky in all destinations.
Different countries’ currencies
The majority of European countries use euros as their currency. To make sure this is the case, check ahead of time to see which currency to take as well as how much things cost compared to your own country. Another thing you’ll need on a trip is enough funds to buy the essentials. It’s also beneficial to know that not all places accept cards, so having cash on hand is helpful.
Safety and security
As with any country you travel to, safety should be your main priority. In general, most places are safe for tourists; however, never take that for granted. Occurrences such as cameras or phones being stolen can still happen. It’s also important to stay vigilant and use your common sense at all times. Especially when you’re in a crowded area, make sure you either leave your belongings in your accommodation safe or keep them close to you.
Most restaurants and eateries have menus in both their local language and English, so make sure to ask for this. With a diverse range of local cuisines that are worth indulging in, you want to make sure you know what you’re eating. Ask for help or suggestions on what foods to eat; you may be pleasantly surprised. Also, make sure you check the country’s government’s advice on whether tap water is safe to drink.
Options for accommodation
Another highly attractive aspect of visiting a European country is the array of different types of accommodations. From hotels, Airbnb rentals, resorts, beach huts, budget-friendly places, camping, and glamping opportunities, it’s no wonder everyone flocks to that side of the world during the summer months. Because of its popularity, it’s always a good idea to book way in advance to avoid disappointment and to acquire an accommodation that you’re happy with.
This point goes hand in hand with the previous one. Deciding whether to go to Europe during peak or off-peak seasons is key to a successful holiday. It is, of course, advisable to travel during the off-peak seasons if you’re not into big crowds and waiting in line. The added advantage is that the prices of holidays during the off-peak season are a lot more reasonable and cheaper.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are a multitude of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit while in Europe. Some places need to be booked in advance, while others don’t. Doing your homework and planning properly ahead of time is essential. If you’re a cultural enthusiast, include some of the lesser-known local sites, as well as the iconic ones, to make the most of your holidays!
Booking outdoor activities is, for some, the main reason for their holidays. This is one thing this continent does not lack—outdoor and indoor activities. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone, however. If you’re into a more leisurely atmosphere, the beaches and poolside resorts have lots to offer. As always, make sure you pack accordingly.
Shopping and refunds
There is the option of VAT refunds offered by many European retailers. You can also claim VAT refunds at your local airport in most cases for goods declared. Look into this, as it may be beneficial to you financially.
Other exciting opportunities include exuberant nightlife and all that entertainment options provide. There’s always something for everyone, and once the sun sets, the streets start to come alive with music, parties, and clubs that offer specials on their food and beverages.
Local events and festivities
Throughout the year, many places celebrate various events and festivals, and their local websites always have an updated calendar of events that you can check out and buy tickets for well ahead of time and enjoy local festivities and events to make the most of your experience while in the country. It’s worth doing a search and planning for these to add some extra excitement to things, if that’s what you’re into.
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