- Go on a walking tour – you’ll get your bearings of the city, you learn lots of facts, it’s usually tip-based (you pay how much you think it was worth, guides will work really hard to make their tours interesting and memorable!); get food recommendations from the guide (they know all the local favourites especially for those whom authentic cuisine)Get your bearings, or you could get lost. Santorini looks pretty terrible, right? 😋
- Sock money – tuck money (in £, € or USD – easily exchanged) in your sock for emergencies and/or have been pickpocketed (it happens sometimes)
- Don’t stand too close to an open flame – Are you travelling during European winter? If you’re an Aussie, you’re probably not used to excessive rain/cold/snow. Fire places are a wonderful novelty, if you haven’t experienced these environments. Seriously, don’t stand too close. You could get burnt or melt your clothing. Layer up and cover all your extremities including your head!
- Stay at hostels – Are you budget conscious? Are you travelling with children? Do you like free breakfast/free wifi/free activities? Hostels are perfect for all of the above. Hostels can have a bit of a reputation for cheap lodgings for dirty, smell backpackers, but not always true. There’s a range of room types (dorm v private), easily accessible by public transport, and I’ve seen (well-behaved) kiddies as young as 6 months old (We would know, we were travelling with our friends and they brought their baby with them! 😉). Use search sites such hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com (*Bonus tip: search both sites, prices and availability can vary! Read the reviews- especially for recent bedbug outbreaks or poor plumbing)
- There’s no such thing as bad weather – just incorrect footwear. If you know what kind of activities you are going to do, bring suitable socks and pack accordingly. Consider how much walking you’ll do, summer v winter, versatility (can it be worn during the day and on a night out?), any hardcore adventure sports, how heavy are they?? Most importantly, bring a pair of thongs (jandals, flip flops, etc) to wear in the shower. You don’t want to risk foot fungi Hiking in Switzerland
- Helpful apps: Google Maps (download the offline map or screenshot where you’re heading), Google Translate (again, download regularly used language for offline use or use to speak to a local if your pronunciation sucks), Kindle/Audible (to read or listen to books; keep yourself entertained or any creepers at a safe distance), Google Drive/DropBox (cloud storage for all your precious photos, notes and journal entries)On an overnight train with my Kindle
- Have fun and be observant – be a ‘yes man’ and say yes to new adventures. Try new food, explore places not listed in guide books, breathe deeply, be present and enjoy. People watch – take note of what the locals are doing, so you don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourselves. Are they standing on the left or right side of the escalator? Are you sunbathing somewhere you shouldn’t? Are you being loud and inappropriate at a place of worship? Use all your senses. Reflect on them. Go slow. Take the train. Realise how lucky you are to travel to Europe!
- Passport and credit card – if there’s two absolute must-haves, bring passport and have access to money. It’s Europe, not the backstreets of (insert place most ‘foreign’ to you). You can buy everything you need. (*Bonus tip: tell your bank where you are travelling and for how long, so they don’t put a hold on your card thinking its’suspicious activity’ 😋)Bring your passport, and send a copy to your email address
So, what do you think? Have we missed any key tips?
Prue and Rob: Bag Most Travelled