The dos and don'ts of travelling in Europe
Europe is a great place to explore, as I have quickly realised! There are so many amazing places to visit so make sure you do it right. Here are a few dos and don’ts which I have learnt during my travels around Europe. I hope you find them helpful and please feel free to comment with any of your own tips for travelling.
DO make sure you save up enough money beforehand. The last thing you want to happen is your trip to be cut short because you’ve ran out of money! You need to prepare financially for your trip before you set off. Some people may go with the intention to earn money whilst they’re travelling but you have to be realistic. Finding a job on the way, which is willing to hire you for a very short amount of time, whilst paying you enough to fund your travels is very unlikely, therefore make sure that you have enough money saved up before you go!
DO try to find the best mode of transport. This depends on your own preference. You need to look around, spend time researching the best modes of transport and remember that as well as public transport; buses, trains, planes, ferries etc. you can also find transport using websites such as ‘blablacar’ where you can share car journeys with other people who are driving to the same place. From my experience, I have learnt that the more uncomfortable the journey is, the cheaper it is, for example a seven hour bus ride through the night costs a fraction of the price of a half an hour flight. So it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it!
DO spend time choosing your accommodation. Although travelling needs to have a sense of spontaneity in order to keep it exciting, taking time to make sure that you’ve chosen the best place to stay, really does pay off. Believe me, there are so many different options in Europe … from campsites to hotels, hostels, B&Bs (bed and breakfast) … even pitching up a tent wherever you find a nice spot, you have to consider every option. Also, it’s very helpful to look at the reviews of your accommodation choices; it will give you an insight into the type of place it is. For instance, if you’re looking for lots of partying and nightlife then a family B&B is not for you and the reviews will be quick to highlight the type of place it is.
DO make the most of the culture. Embrace the differences of your surroundings and try to sample the traditions, who knows when you’ll be back again … if ever! So make the most of it.
DO make sure that you’ll remember the experience forever! Take pictures and videos, buy postcards and souvenirs, write a journal … whatever it takes. At the time it will seem like you’ll never forget it so it can be tempting to put it off, but you’ll be surprised at how easily your memories can blur into one. It’s always so nice to look back on your time travelling at a later date to refresh your memory and it can also be so much fun to make memories by taking pictures and writing along the way.
DO meet new people and make travel buddies along the way. Whilst travelling, it’s easy to meet other, like-minded travellers too. It can be great fun to make friends and travel together, often they’ll be from different countries and it’ll be a great opportunity to find out about even more cultures and also to tell them about your own. Who knows, you may even make friends for life! When it comes to travelling, the more the merrier!
DON’T be scared to travel alone. In contrast to my previous point, for some people they may prefer to travel on their own, which is not a problem! By doing this you will be free to go wherever and whenever you want. You won’t have to wait for anyone else or argue about where to go next, instead you can do as you please. Although having travel buddies can be great, for some it may feel inhibiting so don’t be scared to go it alone.
DON’T be tempted to stay inside all day. Being in a foreign country can seem extremely daunting but don’t let it get it to you! Go out and explore and you will soon feel better and at ease. Remember why you went there in the first place and make sure that you make the most of it.
DON’T spend your money like there's no tomorrow; remember your supply is not ever-lasting. Having no permanent house (or kitchen) means eating out … a lot! Try to keep the costs to a minimum so that you can spend that money elsewhere. Also, don’t buy too many things along the way because you will have to transport it all and you do not want to be throwing things away!
DON’T forget to keep in touch with family and friends from home. Remember to let them know that you’re OK, send them a postcard, call them, or even just send a quick text! Although you may be having the time of your life, living the care-free dream you’ve always wanted, don’t forget that there may still be people sat at home worrying about you so put their minds at rest by letting them know how you are.
DON’T be careless. We all like to have fun but you should always keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings. Being in a foreign country which you’re not used to, can be dangerous and scary at the best of times so make sure that you’re always in control and that you look after yourself!