5 European Travel Tips That Will Save You Hassle
Europe is made up of 50 countries, each being different and unique from another. This diversity, yet the continents’ closeness, makes Europe a perfect destination for backpacking or even just a trip around several countries for a week at a time. From east to west, you can find a mixture of languages, history, architecture, traditions, landscapes and since most of the countries are in the EU (European Union) this would mean that crossing the border from one country to another is easier, cheaper, and safer!
As an avid traveler and wanderluster, I feel like I have researched enough to provide a few tips about how to make the most out of Europe:
Travel during non-peak seasons.
Most of the travelling that I’m used to is during the summer months, the busiest time of the year. Unless you are going to Italy, in mid-August prices are a bit lower in the cities on the mainland as most locals want to be next to the sea. When I was living on the mainland of Europe, I wanted to try something different and took an opportunity that was handed to me: I managed to travel a bit during off season. Best decision I ever made! There are less queues to museums and places, and it is less crowded. You get the chance to actually meet with the locals and live in their way of live. I felt like I got the real experience of a city as it should be.
Utilize the many modes of transportation.
Since most of the countries in Europe do not have a border control due to Schengen mobility throughout, so one can just cross the border (but always make sure to have your passport handy just in case). It is so much easier to visit different places because of this. With just a bus ride, in the span of five days, I managed to visit Vienna, Austria, Budapest, Hungary, and Bratislava, Slovakia for a relatively cheap price, hassle and border-free.
There are so many travel modes to choose from: travel by train, or by bus or even by plane. Try Budget Airlines, honestly, they are a gift! I have traveled from Malta to Amsterdam or London with flights under €100. Minimal costs!
If you are tight on money but you still want to fulfill that travelling urge, traveling by bus might be the cheapest option. Some buses are equipped with the commodity of electric plugs next to your seat so that you can do some work while sitting in the bus for long hours until arrival. Yes, traveling by bus takes a bit longer, but you also get to take in the nature and scenery that is surrounding the highways in this way, too. Also, always leave some extra money in your pocket; I’m planning to go to Copenhagen in the coming months from Sweden and it will only cost me about €40. It’s a win-win really.
Get to know your location on foot.
So, you picked the location, you arrive there and you ask – what’s next? I would recommend wherever you go, to take a walking tour. Get to know your surroundings on foot and with a little help from your tourist guide, you get to know more about the place, and the history behind certain buildings, structures, areas, and monuments. In some cities, you might be lucky enough to find a free walking tour done by some really fun and energetic people. And, if you find a friendly local, he or she might give you a walking tour themselves. My grandpa, for one, is passionate about doing this, of being a local tour guide. Sometimes tourists come up to him to ask questions about where a building may be and he ends up showing them around the quaint, old city that he lives in instead.
Visit a less popular destination.
If you really have no particular destination in mind, but want to take a break from your everyday routine, I sincerely recommend going to a country in Eastern Europe that still holds its own currency. Eastern Europe is full of beautiful, historic countries and are relatively cheap in comparison to their western or northern neighbors. My visit to Budapest was one of the cheapest I’ve ever been on. A story I always recall from my travels there is having a homemade burger from a ruin bar (bars set up in abandoned buildings). It was as big as my face, and it only cost €2.50! I was so shocked when I made the conversion from Hungarian Forint to Euros that I thought I was getting tricked. Definitely worth the shock when your wallet isn’t suffering!
Try to get accustomed with the language.
Personally, whenever I visit a new place or country whose people speak in a language I am not familiar with, I try to learn some basic phrases regardless. One of the biggest tips is learning food items. It makes reading a menu so much easier! Especially if you are in a non-touristic area or place where English menus are close to non-existent. There are also many apps to download on your phone that will help you through difficult language barriers, and it is perfect to use these in your free time or on your long bus journey to your destination. Having these little helpers makes the whole experience of visiting a new, unconventional place more exciting!
I hope that these five tips will be helpful for your next upcoming trip to Europe. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips you may have in mind when visiting the diverse continent. Have a safe journey!