Last year, Chris and I went on a little tour of Europe and got to visit Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. It was one of the most exciting trips I had ever been on and was fascinated by the culture, history, food, and architecture of each city. The people were friendly and our accommodations were great.
Many of you are probably thinking that traveling to 4 cities (3 different countries) in 10 days is a bit much and very intimidating… I was actually second guessing it myself before we went as well!
It ended up being so much fun and nowhere near as stressful as I thought it would be. I think this had to do with the crazy amount of research and planning I did before we left. So what I’d like to do, is share some tips that helped us travel around Europe in 10 days seamlessly.
Tip # 1: Do your research
I can’t express enough how important this step is. I must have spent hours upon hours on TripAdvisor.com and Pinterest reading reviews and articles about each of the cities. It was important to me that we stayed in a decent hotel that wasn’t too expensive. And as a lover of food, I wanted to eat the best authentic food I could, so knowing what to order at each restaurant was helpful.
Traveling around a foreign country can be scary but knowing about the culture, city and where you are going definitely put me at ease.
Tip # 2: Make an Agenda
After doing all of your research, make a decision on where you want to stay, the things you want to see, the places you wish to eat at, and make an agenda. I was a bit nuts with the Agenda and made a play-by-play of each day. I made sure that the Agenda always had the name of where we were to go, notes about that place (example: if a restaurant was known for a certain dish, I would mark that down so I knew to order it) and it’s address and phone number. I suggest printing out a copy of your agenda and keeping it on you so that you have it as a guide, or have a digital version available.
We didn’t always follow the plan, but having it was helpful because we always knew where we were going and what was around us.
Tip # 3: Know the Basics
This is part of your research but it needed to be its own separate tip to stress the importance of knowing the basics of the country you are visiting.
Here are some things you should know
Basic Phrases: Although many of the major cities are full of English speakers, you should try to understand some of the basic phrases. I’m not saying you need to be fluent by any means, but it’s polite and well appreciated if you try to speak the local language. Some phrases you might want to learn are – Hello, Goodbye, Please, Thank You, Your Welcome, Yes, No and of course CHEERS. Knowing how to say “Where is the bathroom?” helped in many cases too :).
Currency: Before you travel, always know about the local currency and exchange rates. Most places take credit cards but you’ll get hit with foreign transaction fees (or have your card shut off if you didn’t tell your bank you were traveling…eeekkk!). It helps to have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees and to also research local banks in the area so you can take money out if needed.
Tipping Rules: What I found is that many of the countries in Europe do not require you to tip, or the tip is included in the menu prices, however, it is appreciated. Knowing this as a general rule of thumb could help you to save money so make sure to do your research on tipping wait staff, bartenders, tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff before you travel.
Tip # 4: Stay Near a Train Station
Much of your time in doing a trip to multiple European cities is travel and one of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to get around Europe is via train. We didn’t always stay near a train station, but when we did it saved a lot of time, money (that you would spend on a taxi otherwise) and was extremely convenient. In the four cities we went to, the train station went right into the prime areas you wanted to explore in the cities.
I loved being able to get right off our train, walk a few blocks and immediately drop off our stuff so that we could spend more of our time exploring the beautiful cities. We also did a couple of day trips outside the cities we were staying in and took the train to these places, so that was convenient too.
Tip # 5: Pack Light
There is nothing more annoying than lugging multiple bags and huge suitcases throughout Europe. If possible, try your best to fit everything in a carry-on and a backpack. This may seem impossible but it’s really not. You can do this by packing layers and colors that coordinate well with each other. When we went, I brought a lot of neutrals and re-wore some of the basic items I brought like t-shirts and jeans.
Something that helped me was doing a search for packing lists on Pinterest. There are some really great posts that came up for packing examples and ways you can mix and match your clothing.
Anyways! I hope this helps make your life a little bit easier when traveling to Europe. I followed these tips for the places we have traveled to since Europe and it definitely makes touring so much easier.
What tips do you have that makes traveling easier for you?