Travel often can sound pretty intimidating. At times it can be, but it doesn’t always have to be. Backpacking can also sound pretty strange, especially to those who’ve never tried it before. The truth is backpacking is pretty simple. It’s actually much more simple than traveling with a bunch of bags! Whether you’re choosing to backpack or not, before traveling to Europe there are some things to know.
If it’s your first time traveling internationally, Europe can be an amazing place to start. You get the amazing feel of a new environment, discover new things and experience the life overseas without the culture shock or much of a language barrier. I personally am so glad I started in Europe! It makes preparing for my next trip (to southeast Asia) way less of a worry.
Some awesome things about Europe:
- Many people are bilingual. Although their English may be broken, many people in Europe at least know the basics enough to hold a conversation or point you in the direction of what you’re looking for.
- Diversity. Yes, diversity is a thing in Europe. If you’re worried about traveling as a minority, don’t.
- Cheap flights! OMG. There are so many cheap flights to Europe! Especially if you’re looking to start in a popular destination like London or Paris!
Although London and Paris were beautiful, there were quite a few things I wish I would have known in advance to better prepare. I will share these tips in hopes of it making your trip a lil smoother than mine!
The main thing I would have wanted to know before my trip is how common strikes are! Apparently it’s not uncommon for workers of the train station to go on strike! Trains along with many other forms of public transportation are pretty common overseas and serve as an amazing, cheap and efficient way to travel across countries in Europe. Unfortunately, I accidentally booked my train ticket (from London to Paris) through a third party site so it was extra difficult to change my bookings when my first train was canceled. Another tip, if you’re traveling across countries in Europe by train, be sure to check your ticket. Make sure it has a seat number on it. I noticed on my second ticket I had no seat and eventually learned I was basically paying the same price as everyone else, but not guaranteed a ride. Of course it was not necessarily anyone’s fault. The strike causes a lot of commotion, just be extra careful with that kind of thing.
A lot of places in Europe accept cards. This is great because our US dollar is valued less there. – The exchange rate on top of the fees merchants charge to exchange currency may lead you to simply swipe your card for the duration of your stay. In London we used the British Pound, in Paris we used Euros. Euros were slightly easier on the pockets, but still added up. I decided to use my card during the stay. I maybe withdrew cash once or twice for local stores, but for the most part I stuck to my card. It’s pretty convenient. The main tip I have for using cards is to make sure you have a (backup/) visa just in case. I never thought about it but, most if not all of our travel credit/ cards are visas! Some places don’t accept Mastercard or Amex. I only ran into this problem a few times and lucky for me my friend had her visa. Another perk is that Bank of America fees for international transactions were literally cents! They charged me no more than $1 total for swiping my card overseas! – And trust me, I swiped it a lot!
Okay, let’s talk hydration! I had a serious issue with staying hydrated overseas! Partially because I forgot my Drip Drop! Drip Drop is an ORS, Oral Rehydration Solution. It was created by a doctor and works wonders in preventing and treating dehydration. It’s easy to get caught up in the amazing views, food and people of another country, but you don’t want to forget to take care of yourself while you enjoy. Drip Drop is super easy and convenient. It even comes in a powder pack so you don’t have to worry about being stopped by TSA! A huge thank you to Drip Drop for sponsoring this post and doing so much in the Chronic Community. By the way… Did you know Drip Drop is currently doing a giveaway?!? Click here to enter to win!
BUT WAIT… That’s not all!
Want more tips?! I share all of my tips of traveling cheap and safely around Europe, scammers, culture shock and more in the video below. Check it out! If you find it helpful be sure to Like and Subscribe to keep our family growing!