Traveling to Europe can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be! With this list of things you need to know before traveling to Europe, you’ll save money, travel smarter and be a much more relaxed traveler. These are the things I wish I knew on my first trip to Europe!
Things You Need To Know Before Traveling to Europe
Call Your Credit Card Company
If you don’t call your credit card company before traveling, there’s a good chance that their security teams will see some red flags when your card is suddenly used in Italy. Go ahead and let them know you’re traveling so that you don’t have any issues paying for important items such as train tickets and hotel rooms or purchasing unique mementos throughout your trip.
A Rail Pass Can Save You Money
A Rail Pass is a great way to travel to multiple locations in one trip without spending tons of money. Plus, if you haven’t experienced travel by train before, that in itself is an adventure. However, if you plan to purchase one, it is cheaper to buy it online and easier to have it delivered to your home address – rather than dealing with it on your trip.
Read more: Essential Guide To Train Travel In Europe
Make Reservations in Advance
Sure, taking a gamble might work out, but making your reservations in advance, especially during peak travel season, is the smart way to make sure that your trip goes the way you want to and that you’re staying at that quaint hotel by the river instead of the fifth one on your preferred list.
The urge to do and see everything can be overwhelming, but who wants to spend most of their vacation in transit? If you overload your days, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up doing even less than you want because you’ll get burnt out.
Make sure that you allow sufficient time for sleep and adequate rest between activities. Your body will thank you, and at the end of the trip, you’ll find that you’ve had a more fulfilling experience.
Don’t Avoid the Cliché Sites and Activities
The popular sites are popular for a reason. You don’t go to Paris and pass up on the Eiffel Tower. Just because everyone else is doing it and you’ll seem like a tourist, which by the way, isn’t a big deal, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t just go for it. The cliché sites and activities are tried and true, offering their own important experience to a trip.
Read more: The Best Weekend Trips in Europe
Don’t Only Visit the Popular Spots
That being said, you shouldn’t allow for only the popular spots in your trip. Make a point to hit up some more overlooked areas where you may run into some locals. Often, you’ll get a better glimpse of the culture of the country you’re in, and you’ll have a story to tell that few others do. Picking up travel books or just looking online yields plenty of ideas for experiences off the beaten path.
Not many hotels in Europe have elevators, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re capable of really lugging your suitcase around. This goes double for traveling by train as you’ll encounter similar moments wherein elevators are just not available.
Every wonderful new country you see is another time you have to move your belongings around, so carefully consider what you really need and cut out the rest to save yourself the hassle. Also, don’t forget your electrical plug adapters!
For more packing tips, visit these guides:
Be Prepared to Go Over Budget
Even the most budget-conscious among us struggle with spending on trips. It’s nigh impossible to account for all of the various scenarios in which you’ll incur extra costs. So go ahead and add a decent cushion when planning and realize the likelihood with which you’ll go over.
Be Cell Phone Savvy
Some cell phone plans allow international travel and use without extra costs and fees. Others will require you to activate an international plan and pay accordingly. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your cell carrier’s plans before leaving if you intend on using your phone abroad. You wouldn’t want to unknowingly rack up the extra costs or find yourself unable to use your phone at all.
Check Visa Requirements
Most of the time, you won’t find yourself needing a visa just to make a short trip. However, it’s still incredibly important to check the visa requirements before you take off, especially if you are planning a longer trip. You can easily find such information online. We consult this checklist for overseas travel before every trip abroad.