Europe Hotels Articles

August 28, 2010

Budget Traveling to Europe, What Do You Need to Know?

If you plan to cross the Atlantic Ocean, there are a few tips that can help you before starting your first Europe vacation.

First of all, you need to understand and be fully aware during your trip that Europe is very different from the United States in every possible way. Even in the UK.

In consequence traveling through Europe is also completely different than traveling to any American city.

Transport

Even if you can afford it, you should never rent a car to move around any city. There is completely lack of space, there is no place to park and driving directions in most European cities are not as straightforward as we are used to know.

Public transportation in most major cities is very affordable and easy to use. It is the most used method of transportation for everybody either tourists or locals. If you do not like public transportation, you can always hire a cab.

The countryside is very nice all over Europe, and driving conditions differ from what I described above. Traveling from one city to another with a rented car, will allow you to stop in incredible and nice towns where you will discover very nice things almost in anyone, if you can afford the time.

I rented a car once in the French Riviera to travel from Nice to Monaco, very nice, but I did it for a couple of days, returned it and continued my trip.

However, roads are very narrow and dangerous, so be extremely careful. Trains are the most used transport all over Europe to go from one city to another. They are cheap, safe and reliable.

Safety

Most European cities are safe, at least in the tourist areas. However, pick pockets are all around Europe looking for tourists. Take extremely care about them. Split your money, hide it very well and be careful when taking money out because they will notice where do you hide it.

Do not leave bags or purses unattended or hanging from restaurant chairs. If you use a back pack, do not carry money or passports within it. I personally saw once, how they cut the bottom of a back pack with a knife to steal a passport.

I always use a special pocket which hangs from my neck and goes under the underwear shirt. This shirt has to be inside your pants to avoid any falling in case the string is cut.

Money should never be taken out from that bag in public and you should carry the money that you will use for each day somewhere else, therefore if you loose that part, you won’t regret it very much, or at least you won’t be broke.

Traveler’s checks are sometimes difficult to change in Europe. Therefore if you prefer to take them, consider some time to change them in a bank, as they are not widely accepted everywhere as in the US.

When eating, check menu prices before sitting. Most restaurants display their menus at the entrance. If the menu is not displayed, avoid going into that restaurant or at least ask for a menu with prices before ordering anything.

There are some places in Europe, where they charge you differently according to the place you sit in the restaurant.

City Guides

Carefully plan your days and get city guides for every place you will visit. You can get them on the Internet or printed in any bookstore. Time is very valuable as there is always more to see than time available.

The Euros have made life easier for tourism and now you don’t need to change money in every country as it used to be, but there are still some countries like UK, that do not use Euros yet.

There are hundreds of money exchange stations all over Europe in every city, train station or major attraction, but be careful about the exchange rate. Always ask local people for the best place to change money. Or do your own research writing down the exchange rate in every place you see near your hotel.

Exchange your money before going anywhere. Usually the exchange stations near tourist attractions have very bad exchange rate.

Do not forget to exchange back the money you won’t use anymore or that can’t be used in countries you will visit next, as some currencies are difficult to change once you leave Europe. Also, remember that coins are not changed, so get rid of them before leaving the country.

These above are some general tips and information, to make your travel nicer. You will always need to research further and carefully plan your trip to get the most out of it, and you can find thousands of sites with additional resources.

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