3 Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Trip to Europe
If you’re planning to embark on your first ever trip to Europe, then you’re in for a real treat. This wonderfully diverse and accessible continent is so packed with places to explore, the biggest problem you’ll face is deciding what and where to leave out. Here are five mistakes travelers make which you should avoid on your first trip to Europe.
Don’t Try to Cover Too Much Ground
Let’s start with the big one: Europe looks pretty small on that world map, so it’s a good idea to try to see all of it in a couple of weeks? Sadly, that’s a recipe for burnout, yet an all too common mistake. Sights and cities are densely packed – there’s enough in Rome to keep you occupied for one trip, so don’t try to add on the rest of the Italy during the same vacation if you’re hoping to hang on to your sanity. Instead, plan to do day trips and focus on just one or two areas. Prioritize your time so that you spend it doing the things you love rather than on getting there. There’s no need to complete a circuit, however. Open jaw flights make a lot of sense and avoid the wastefulness of backtracking just to get to the airport. Travel between the two by train and if you choose one of Europe’s many scenic rail routes, you can make the journey part of your holiday.
The widespread tipping culture of the United States hasn’t yet got much of a foothold in Europe. While adding 10% onto your bill will be appreciated, there’s no need to go wild. Each country’s slightly different, so do your homework and find out what the norm is. Rounding up a taxi fare and sticking with the service charge that’s already on your bill in a restaurant – that’s likely to be enough. Save your change for the public toilets, but if those unwanted coins are burning a hole in your pocket, why not give them to charity at the end of your trip? You’ll usually find a donation box at the airport so you can have a clear out before you head home.
Don't Ignore Public Transportation
It’s tempting to think that public transport is off the cards simply because you’re in an unfamiliar environment. In Europe, that’s often a mistake. Catching a cab from the airport might seem convenient, but it can be more costly and more time-consuming than hopping on the train or subway. Likewise, on paper, hiring a car gives you the ultimate freedom – until you struggle to find a parking space or realize that much of where you wish to explore can be better seen on foot or by bicycle. Roads are often narrow and space tight. If you’re not used to the car – or in some cases, driving on the other side of the road – a rental could well increase your anxiety levels. Look at your itinerary and check train and bus routes. You’ll be surprised at how much of Europe you can see by public transport, which is generally reliable, clean and affordable. Sit back, relax and let someone else do the driving.
This article was originally published on The Discoverer.