Traveling through Europe is an inspiring and unforgettable experience. From the art, history and architecture, to the beautiful landscapes and cultural diversity, it offers something for everyone. However, before you pack your bags and jump on the next east-bound flight, here are a few tips on getting around overseas. Having been to Europe a handful of times I have learned some of the secrets to saving money and having a better experience. Here are a few tips for those of you who will be traveling to Europe for the first time.
Play It Safe
The first time I traveled to Europe both of my friends were discreetly robbed: one on a metro in France and the other by a passing thief in Spain. My first tip for travelers is to play it safe, and keep your belongings either in your front pockets or in a waist pouch that fits under your clothes. These pouches, although uncomfortable at first, can save you from the stress and frustration of losing your personal belongings. This is not to say that Europe is not safe, but all metropolitan districts have their share of pick pockets, and unprepared tourist are the easiest victims. So make sure to start your trip off by safely guarding your possessions.
Save Time and Money
If this is your first time in Europe, chances are you will want to move around and explore different countries. One tip for saving time and money is to take advantage of the local airlines. Although it can be convenient to travel by train at times, one thing I have learned is that flying throughout Europe via England can be your best bet. Flying into England is usually cheaper from the states than going directly into continental Europe. Once there, you will find that there are airlines such as Ryan Air and Easy Jet that offer flights from London to all major cities throughout Europe for as low as one British pound, plus taxes. I was able to get round trip flights to Sweden, Belgium and Italy for less than forty euros each. This can be much cheaper than taking trains, save you time and alleviate the stresses of traveling extensively by train, which does get exhausting. Before you arrive in Europe take the opportunity to research these airlines to see if they can provide you with an easier way to travel.
Often times, the most rewarding part of traveling is the experiences you have meeting new people. I have found that the best way to do this is to get out of your comfort zone, and stay at a hostel. Although there are many preconceived notions about hostels, most are clean, safe and inexpensive and nearly match the quality of similarly-priced European hotels. Also, by booking on Hostelworld.com, you can get traveler reviews, see photos and find the best location and hostel type for your visit. The benefit of staying at hostels is that they act as a social network for travelers where you will meet people from all over the world. Hostels are also a great way to get ideas on where to go next. You will get many tips and opinions that might change the course of your trip and often make it much more rewarding. So on your next trip to Europe remember to play is safe, save time and money and meet people.