After many disasters while travelling around Europe i’ve decided to give you all these travel tips that will help you successfully cross europe without complications. Most tips also apply to other countries.
Tip 1: Book entrances to touristic places online
In big cities like paris, barcelona, rome and many other you can buy entrances to the tour eiffel, the Gaudi buildings and the Colosseum and Vatican online. Sometimes it will cost 2 or 3 euros more but you don’t have to do a line and it will save you very valuable time that can be spend eating croissants or gelato.
Tip 2: Always carry a notebook and pen and write all addresses in it
I always write the addresses of all the hostels, airbnbs and hotels plus indications of how to get there. You may say ‘well that’s on my phone’, but what if you run out of battery, don’t have internet or worse get your cellphone stolen. If you don’t have anything written down it will be chaos. You will need to find a cafe internet (which are almost non-existent nowadays, or ask someone for their phone, not a good idea).
Tip 3: Download maps
Always download the map in google maps to use it without internet. You can pin the positions of your hotel and touristic places to have easy access to walking routes. Don’t rely blindly on having internet you never know when it will fail. There’s another app called maps.me in case google maps doesn’t work.
One time I drew a map on my notebook thinking it would be easy to arrive to a hostel at 4am with a poorly drawn map. Never again!
Tip 4: Book flexible tickets and accommodation
Usually, when booking in hostelworld or booking you have the option to pay instantly or way when you arrive, with possibilities of change for 2 to 10 euros. I know sometimes saving money is a priority but you never know what will happen, if you have to cancel or postpone for some reason and it’s better to pay these 10 euros in advance than to loose the whole reservation.
Bus and train tickets can be refundable. Flixbus will return the full amount on a voucher and Euroline will return around 80% of your money but you have to email them and follow annoying processes.
Tip 5. Always read reviews
I know reading reviews for everyplace you visit can be annoying but it’s well worth it. Many times i’ve read just a few reviews on hostelworld only to realize upon arriving to the hostel that it’s basically a horror movie film site. Reading the reviews on tripadvisor can give you a way better feel of the place. Do the same for restaurants and touristic places.
Trip 6: Use a fanny pack
I know it’s not the most stylish thing but now they sell very thin ones where you can put just your passport, money, cards and important papers and carry it around with you in sketchy places. I went to brazil during carnival and everyone had one, it’s the best way to not get pickpocketed. They also work for concerts, festivals and massive events.
Tip 7: Do not sign any petition for any cause (deaf people, save the children, handicapped)
In Paris, Rome and big cities there will always be people trying to get you to sign a petition for a noble cause. Do not do it! If you engage they will definitely make you ‘donate’ at least 20 euros. Sometimes I feel bad for not trusting these people but one time an uncle who is deaf started talking in sign language to a supposedly deaf person asking for money and couldn’t answer, freaked out and left.
This also applies to any kind of street vendor. Do not engage unless you are 100%sure you want to buy.
Tip 8: Use comfortable shoes and bag
It happened once, many years ago, I decided to wear flats because they were better for my outfit. Horrible mistake! After 3 hours the pain was unbearable, I didn’t want to walk anymore, and I couldn’t find a band-aid for my blisters, but I was in Paris so I had to push through the pain and cut my feet off when I got home. Always, always wear running shoes, or shoes you know for a fact will never hurt you.
Also wear a comfortable backpack or purse where you can carry your phone, camera and water. You will be walking a lot and back pains are not recommendable.
Tip 9: Always do free walking tours
I’ve done tons and they are amazing! you get to see the architecture, discover new places and ask the guide for advice. They usually last around 3 hours so after that you can decide what places you want to explore further. They are always very informative and fun, plus its a chance to meet new people. I always do them with this company: http://www.neweuropetours.eu/ they are the most professional and the guides are always super helpful and full of kowledge.
Tip 10: Buy a sim card
Since 15 june 2017 there will be no roaming charges within europe, this means you can buy a simcard and use it freely in any european country. We’ll have to wait and see how this works.
These are the 10 basic tips you need to follow to have a chaos-free travel experience! Do you have any other useful tips? Write them in the comment section.
Thanks to my cousin/sis Caro (Ig @carolinnau) for helping me with the inspiration for this post 🙂