Touching down on the old continent can be a little daunting for many North Americans making their first flight across the Atlantic. GoEuro have some tips and tools however to make your holiday go smoother…
Your flights are booked, and you’ve made a list of the sights you want to see in Europe. That’s only the beginning of making your European vacation as amazing as it can be. Remember things like culture shock, language barriers, and jet lag so they don’t hinder your enjoyment.
Plan All Travel in Advance
All travel really means all travel. Not just your plane ticket and shuttle to and from hotels, but everything. Book train tickets between cities and countries. Check bus routes. Map out the subway routes you’ll be taking from your hotel to the sights you want to see. Get technology on your side, too. Download city maps, bus schedules, and subway routes to your phone. Get the GoEuro app so you can book impromptu travel tickets when your plans change. Finally, call to confirm shuttle and rental car reservations a day before.
Assume Good Intentions
Culture clashes are going to happen. Some natives are impatient that you don’t speak the language, even if you’re trying your best with the phrasebook you bought. Sometimes, misunderstandings happen. The best thing you can do is assume the other person has good intentions, even when it seems like they probably don’t. Creating an argument is going to put a damper on part of your day. If you can, just walk away from that person and find someone else to talk to instead. If you can’t, know that in a few minutes the interaction will be over and you’ll be on to the next exciting thing.
A hotel on the outskirts of the city will save you €10 or €20 a night. Saving money is great, but not at the expense of convenience. You’re visiting an unfamiliar European city. You probably want to do lots of things while you’re there. You might not speak the language. Giving yourself a 30-minute commute by bus or subway every morning and evening is going to cause extra stress. Use that time to linger over dinner or relax in bed for a couple minutes every morning. Instead, recoup those savings somewhere else, like on your airline ticket.
You’re in Europe, and you want to spend every minute soaking up the culture, the food, and the sights. Give yourself break time. You need extra time for two reasons: one, you’re going to get tired. Two, not all of your plans will go perfectly, and you’ll need time to adjust. Downtime keeps you from spending your last few days of vacation tired, crabby, and ready to go home. You can schedule a whole free day every five or six days, or do a free morning or afternoon every two or three.
Not every part of your trip will be perfect. But Europe is a beautiful place with amazing opportunities. If you’re prepared, your European vacation will be one of the best times of your life. Remember: Don’t worry about what you’re “supposed” to do while in Europe. Do what you want to do.