Here are 13 Travel Tips to Europe with Sam, Myla and myself visiting 8 countries in 21 days in cities such as: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Malmo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague.
- Ask yourself: Am I adventurous enough to travel to a country and appreciate all the bumps in the road and culture shock you are going to get? If so, enjoy the ride, you don't need the rest of the tips.
- Do your homework and find the best deal online. Before and during your travel, post a public question on Facebook pages of the agency to get you answered fast and connect with them in your entire trip such as: Eurail, Ryan Air, RailEurope, rental car, regional rail stations http://www.raileurope.com/en/index.html
- Pack light. Invest on a good carry on luggage that you can maneuver on and off the train or airport. Checking in luggage not only delays you while waiting for it to load but takes extra effort to carry them on and off air, planes and automobile (my favorite movie by the way).
- Get a reliable phone preferably an open line. Don't rely on the promises of your local service provider that they have Global services. TMobile was not recognized by local counterpart in France or in Brussels nor in Amsterdam. Europe is not united as in the USA. Get a SIM card once you arrive in each country.
- Don't be afraid to ask - in their dialect. Always start to ask in their own language specially in France or Germany. They are very proud of their language and all they ask is a courtesy to acknowledge that. After you greet them with "Bonjour, puis-je poser une question" then ask them if you can speak in English then they will open up and assist you. Always carry a map or phone contact of your host or hotel, just in case.
- Be flexible. People who are anal about planning always ends up disappointed and so it ruins their vacation. Be open to new ideas such as changes in itinerary and last minute visit to special deals. You may end up more disappointed later because you decided not to do things because it was not part of your plan. Early booking is not always a good idea, you may find a better deal when you book late on hotels and rail reservation. In Europe most reservation are not refundable or exchangeable. Use the app Hotel Tonight if you want to stay in a big city hotel for last minute booking.
- Use the following reliable smart phone or tablet apps:
- - Rick Steves Europe for Audio Guide tour.
- - Hotels.com or Booking.com for those who wants to stay in hotel.
- - AirBNB for lodging which I highly recommend because of unlimited option of renting a room, a house or villa at a fraction cost of a hotel.
- - Trip Advisor Guide are user review site so it is reliable and very user friendly and does not need a WiFi to use when you download each specific city.
- - Get Your Guide - this app can reserve you a free walk tour provided by Dept of Tourism in some major cities. You can book them here in a snap, the hard part is to show up on time in designated location.
- - Rail Planner - this will give you the best accurate time on when the next National, regional train and tram is available to your chosen destination. Other apps: DB Navigator, Europe Map Guide, National Rail.
- - Couchsurfing - if you are single or couple and want free lodging (better than hostels), check out some host who are willing to give you a room. Most Europeans are very sociable, open minded and friendly. This will be hard for those with kids.
1. Plan and monitor each air terminal. For Europe, Norfolk and Dover is the main hub to fly to Italy, Spain, Germany or England. Travis for Asia Pacific including Hawaii. Sign up via email as soon as you have your leave papers approved. For veterans, sign up as early as 30 days. Like their individual Facebook page to track everyday flight but always contact them by phone to verify any changes. Each terminal has different reliability, some uses social media more than updating their recorded flight information.
2. Use tools or phone app like Take A Hop to streamline your registration. Remember, you must register to every possible places you might end up getting bump into. Make sure you get a confirmation email on the date of your sign up because this makes a difference in your priority.
Until next time, hope you visit my blog for the 2nd part called: 10 Things We Learned About Life from Europe That We Never Knew Before.