Hi, all! My husband & I moved from USA to Europe six months ago, & have been lucky enough to explore cities in multiple countries. Traveling here is different than it is in the states, & TBH… we’ve become some pretty skilled travelers! Andddd we’ve got some tips for ya if you’re planning on traveling in Europe, too!
WHEN TO USE TRAINS, PLANES, OR JUST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN GENERAL
When to take a flight somewhere: When you are traveling a further distance [country to country] Gas is more expensive in Europe than it is in the states, however flights can be found with amazing prices! Ryanair & Eurowings are known for having some prettttty sweet deals. I’ve seen flights from Germany to Spain for only €11! Like what?!!
Mini tip for flying: Get a small rolling suitcase that you can bring as a carry on. Checked bags can add up real quick! Also, we’ve carried too many heavy backpacks around on trips, which inevitably lead to back pain pretty quickly. Whereas rolling backpacks are easy to push around the airport, & travel with!
When to take a train: I recommend trains from small town to small town / further distance within a city. The trains in Germany are clean, have bathrooms, AC, overhead room for baggage, coat hangers, screens that display upcoming stops, & bigger openings for people carrying on bikes or strollers. Oh, & don’t lose your ticket, because workers eventually come around & check them!
When to take public transportation: When going to multiple places within a city. We prefer to purchase all day passes that provide transport for the metro, trams, & busses. This saves money if you’re going to be hopping on & off of transportation multiple times in a day. We also download railway apps for the city we are in! This way we always have the full city map transportation with us for navigation. Even if you don’t download a local transportation app, each stop has a map you can reference [& inside the public transportation, as well]
ALWAYS CARRY EUROS
We’ve come across our fair share of businesses that do not take card, & only accept euros as payment. Definitely different than back home! It’s always good to carry some euros on you just in case this happens, or else you might find yourself scrambling searching for an ATM. Yes, this has happened to us. Yes, this has happened to us more than once. Hehe, oopsies! Also, some bathrooms require payment before going in — Usually a 1€ coin. Always always carry euros, just in case!
KNOW THE BASICS OF THE LANGUAGE
Two things we’ve learned are 1. Not everyone speaks English [lots of Europeans do, but not everyone] & 2. Locals always appreciate when you at least try to speak their language to them. Whenever we travel to a different country, we always prioritize learning the basics of the local language such as:
-Where is the _______
& last but definitely not least….
-Do you speak English?
These simple sayings really do go a long way no matter what country you are visiting!
WHERE TO BOOK A ROOM
Whether you choose to stay in a hotel, hostel, or airbnb, try to book it as c l o s e to public transportation as possible [If that is how you are traveling around] I cannot stress this enough! Especially if you have lots of luggage. I’ve had trips where our hotel was further away from our stop than we realized, & struggled lugging my things through the streets. I’ve also had trips where my hotel was right next to public transport, & sooo much time // energy was saved due to the short walk!!
THINGS ARE GOING TO BE DIFFERENT, & THAT’S OKAY
Life in Europe is different than life in America. The culture, traditions, buildings, languages, etc. & I understand how intimidating this can be. I really do. BUT, I will say that the sooner you accept that things will be different, the sooner you can start to learn from the experience, & grow.♡
-Make sure your electronics are dual voltage, & carry an adapter — the plugs are different!
-Check local events before you book. In Germany alone there are around 10,000 events annually – from beer fests, to medieval festivals, to Christmas markets. There are always fun activities happening, you just have to do your research!
♡ Valerie Karen.