Traveling in Europe

Traveling in Europe can be an exciting thrill for most of us, but equally overwhelming too. Europe is that classic American vacation get-away. Most people believe that Europe is full of adventure and has the ability to provide an exotic memory that you could cherish forever. Well, it just so happens, Europe really does provide those pleasures. Europe offers unique experiences that are foreign to the western side of the world. Although there are many similarities that can be measured between the U.S. and Europe, Europe has a special aspect to it that makes all experiences personable.

Photo by Rain Reinauer

When traveling to Europe it is important to do research and plan your trip. If you travel on a whim for two weeks with no guidance or planned activities, it could be overwhelming. I’m not saying you need to plan for every single minute that you are on vacation, but you should have a few activities planned out.

Traveling with a budget is pretty important too; you have to remember that when you get back, you still need to live your day-to-day life. This means buying regular food for yourself or family, getting gas for the car, rent or house payments, etc. It is also important to mention that when you are on vacation you don’t need go out to eat for every meal. I recommend 30-35 Euros a day per person for all of your meals. Some people can go less, depending where you are, others might be closer to 40. This only counts for meals that are eaten too. Not sure where to eat for cheap? Go where the locals eat. Street food is also a great way to save money and try new local food. Street food is probably the cheapest option, too. Most street food is hot and ready for you right away. Except gelato, you don’t want that to be hot.

Photo by Rain Reinauer

The next step in preparing for Europe would be understanding the transportation system. Now, if you’re from the U.S. and have never been to Europe it will blow your mind how well developed the system really is. The train network alone is massively impressive and you can go from the most southern point of Italy all the way to Finland on trains. The subways and buses work just like most of our cities here in the United States. Make it a priority to take a few minutes and orient yourself with the stops and destinations. Using the Metro in Europe is really simple, first look for the signs with a big “M” and follow the stairs or path towards the subway. Then, look at the map and find out where you are and where you want to be. The names of the stops are generally either the road or intersection you are currently at, or a major building/monument. This also helps when you’re looking for attractions. Buses work pretty much the same way; just make sure you know all the fees beforehand. Some buses are free to everyone and paid for by the city, so just know which buses are which. Don’t be fooled by the buses that run private touring services.

Best advice I can give you, would be take daily walks about a month before you leave. You won’t know it until you are there, but you might end up walking for miles a day. If walking isn’t part of your daily routine, then you will feel it. Sometimes taking public transportation isn’t necessary for those who want to freely explore.  Is it a language barrier hinders you from taking a cab? No worries, just bring a nice pair of shoes that can take the miles.

In short:

  • Plan excursions for every day
  • Budget food spending (30-35 Euros a person/day)
  • Learn the transportation methods and routes
  • Prepare to walk a lot
  • Invest in decent sneakers

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