So, you’re going to Europe? You’re going to have the time of your life. To make it absolutely wonderful, let’s reduce your stress by planning for what to expect. Here are more of my top travel tips for Europe.
- Eat like a local. Make a list of restaurants around your hotel and the main places you want to visit. I love food, so prepping for success in this area is important to me. Instead of waiting until I get there, I watch tv shows, YouTube videos, read blogs, and read TripAdvisor reviews of popular eateries near where I will be. I pick places that fit my budget with menus that look satisfying to me and Jon. We eat far better now on our vacations. I keep a list on my phone (divided by area) of restaurant addresses, prices, and general offerings. Also, I make reservations in advance, if needed.
- Pick a hotel/lodging in an area that fits you and your needs. I always recommend city center so that you can rely less on transportation and are able to walk out your door and experience the charms of the city you have chosen to visit.
- Prep for how you will get from the airport to your lodging. You know yourself best, so pick transportation that fits your budget and your threshold for DIY travel. Many of the big European cities have a train that goes to the city center or their taxis have set rates for points within the main part of the city.
- Use public transportation and trains. I find that buses and trains are a cheaper way to travel in Europe and also very convenient. The trains can be quite luxurious, too!
- Get an International Driver’s Permit if you plan to rent a car. Your national driver’s license needs to be translated for Europe. In the United States, AAA can issue you an IDP. You will need to fill out an application, bring two passport photos, show your valid driver’s license, and pay the fee (around $20 at time of publication).
- Have cash. Make sure you have a plan so you can get cash out of the ATM and always have it with you. Although many places accept credit cards, I find that the smaller, local restaurants may not, nor do farmer’s markets or artisanal markets. My blog about currency conversion has many more Euro tips.
- Put your mail on hold. This service from the USPS is a valuable one that keeps your mailbox empty and would-be thieves from knowing that nobody is home.
- Make sure you have necessary visas and vaccinations. If you’re from the United States, you can tour around most of Europe under the Schengen visa, which grants us the ability to travel for 90 days or fewer out of every 180 days without an additional visa. The European Union has also suggested that Americans will need to have their security check through the ETIAS system in the future, but at the time of publication this wasn’t operational.
- Make sure you have enough travel insurance. One of the reasons I love Chase Sapphire Preferred credit cards is for the built-in travel insurance, but occasionally you might want additional coverage. There are many policies ranging in price depending on how much coverage you need and whether you want a rider to cancel for any reason. I always make sure to have trip cancellation, trip interruption, and baggage loss fully covered.
- Buy one bottle of water and carry with you. Some places, like Rome, have amazing water flowing from fountains all over. Get a disposable bottle of water when you’re there so you can just refill.
- Bring OTC pain relievers. Although most first-aid supplies can easily be found at a local pharmacy, I’ve found ibuprofen and acetaminophen pricier and harder to come by than in the US so I always bring a supply.
Lastly…and this is not just a travel tip for Europe but one for any vacation…take a picture of anything you worry about having not done when you go on vacation (stove off, iron unplugged, door locked, etc). Refer back to said picture every time that nagging feeling creeps up.
Make sure you check out my first blog on traveling to Europe for additional, essential travel tips for your next European vacation. And if you want a fabulous tour in many European cities, I highly recommend the Tour Guy.
Part One of Travel Tips for Europe:
Tour Guy Links:
Tour Guy Europe Page: https://roaminghistorian.com/european-tours/
Florence Tours: https://thetourguy.com/tours/florence-tuscany?partner=2
Venice tours: https://thetourguy.com/tours/venice?partner=2
London Tours: https://roaminghistorian.com/2022/05/29/london-day-tour/
Barcelona Tours: https://www.thetourguy.com/tours/barcelona?partner=2
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