Tips for Travelling Through Europe
By Tanya Jacobs
Tips for Travelling Through Europe
Europe is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, and it’s not hard to see why. Comprised of dozens of different countries, all with their own unique cultures, there are few other ways to experience quite so much in a relatively short amount of time.
It’s a long trek that will take travellers through some of the best landscapes and cities that our world has to offer and is an adventure that most need to take at least once in their lives if they are able.
The diversity of such an expedition is also the reason that many become extremely lost when attempting to travel the span of Europe. Different countries, different languages, and different travel requirements means that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that a traveller needs to wrap their head around when starting their journey. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to navigate Europe without becoming too lost.
1. Visa Requirements
This is the most important factor to consider when first laying down plans to travel the continent. Not every country has the same visa requirements, regardless of whether that country is part of the European Union or not. That means that travellers need to check each country’s visa requirements and ensure that they have the right visas before heading off.
A tourist visa is the most common that will be needed to enter most countries, and not having the right documentation is a good way to end a trip early, especially if one country is in the way of getting to others.
Visas can apply to a number of aspects, from simply going to certain cities to enjoy their activities, or simply for passing through.
2. Make Use of Trains
Europe has one of the most expansive train networks on the globe, and trains are one of the best ways to get from country to country without overspending. Trains are efficient, cheap, and they can take you through to most major cities within a few hours at a time.
Always be sure that you have booked your tickets through the correct outlets, as often some train options are not available at the self-help kiosks found at train stations.
Also, always make sure that the tickets you’ve purchased have been validated to avoid the risk of being kicked off the train.
3. Wear Comfortable Shoes
This may seem like a rabbit in the hat trick, but many foreign travellers don’t realise just how much walking has to be done in order to reach some of Europe’s more iconic locations.
Exploring the cities by walking is the cheapest and most exciting way to do it, allowing you to come across little shops, eateries, and sites that you would otherwise miss in a train or car.
Having a comfortable, durable set of shoes is almost essential when making your way through the region.
4. Always Carry Cash
While many will tell you that carrying cash while travelling is never a good idea due to pickpockets, it’s also extremely common to come across places in Europe that simply don’t accept cards of any variety. Having Euros on hand is incredibly useful, especially for making purchases at local markets or restaurants, and for emergency taxi rides.
Make sure that you have the correct foreign currency before heading out – while almost all of Europe makes use of the Euro, it’s not the case everywhere; and preparation is key to not getting stuck somewhere without any cash.
5. Travel During the Off-Season
The summer months may seem like the best time to travel Europe; being able to bathe on one of the continent's famous beaches is like hitting the lottery – but it’s also what most people do, meaning that many places tend to be overflowing with tourists, meaning long queues and not much space. Consider, instead, to travel Europe rather in the colder months.
It means taking extra clothing and doing a little extra preparation, but in terms of sheer convenience, and being able to see the sights without being stuck in a queue can vastly improve your experience. It also means that most places won’t cost quite as much, which includes both airline and train tickets.
6. Make Use of Airlines
While it’s a romantic idea to travel Europe by train or by car, sometimes the best way to do it is by hopping in a plane and setting off. There are over a dozen budget airlines in the region, and they can take you to any major city within an hour.
Flying also tends to be the cheapest way to get from place-to-place in a short amount of time. Most airline tickets can be easily bought on the go from their online sites.
Always keep in mind, however, that the cheapest seats tend to go the fastest, so try and book as early as possible.