Europe has become a popular travel destination for many. Its rich historical heritage, unique architecture, the plurality of cultures, and dreamy locations make it suitable for an ideal holiday. Europe has something to appeal to all, from young to old, from cultural enthusiasts to avid shoppers, and from lazy wanderers to adventure seekers. However, some people might avoid travelling to Europe, considering it an expensive trip or having apprehensions about navigating foreign systems and cultures. This article would help in dispelling such doubts by enumerating certain tips to keep in mind while travelling to Europe.
The primary concern of people is the large expense involved in travelling to European cities. While it is true that many European places are among the most expensive cities in the world, there are certain places which are relatively cheaper, yet still enjoyable. You can easily gain the European vibe by exploring places like Poland, Slovakia, or Croatia if the mainstream places like Italy, Switzerland, and France seem unapproachable. While exploring these comparatively unknown gems, you would also benefit from fewer crowds, an untainted environment, and a lack of inflated pricing. Lottie Gross provides a guide to such off-beaten places to visit in Europe for people on a budget. This guide provides alternatives to all sorts of European vacations: Mediterranean beaches, Alpine getaways, and picturesque cities.
However, if you decide to visit popular, normative destinations, then there are some tips that you can use to have a more pocket-friendly vacation. Foremostly, hotels and flights occupy the major chunk of your travel expense, and it is important to be attentive while booking these. You can opt for budget airlines such as Ryanair, Buzz, Wizz Air, etc., or you can choose stopover flights which may allow you to visit more than one place. I would suggest avoiding off-peak timings to get a cheaper flight as that could compromise the time you get to explore the place or could mean a very tiring experience: not what you want a holiday to do! While selecting the hotel, you can always choose budget-friendly options such as hostels, but make sure that you prioritize the location of your accommodation. This would save you travel costs within the city and would make important tourist sites more accessible.
Within the city, you must avoid frivolous spending due to a lack of knowledge. For instance, you should do preliminary research about the local grocery stores in that place for getting reasonably priced supplies. Usually, these grocery stores provide a variety of foods and beverages which can easily become your ‘to-go’ meals: saving time and money simultaneously. Also, one should avoid off-license stores and places near popular tourist hubs to buy basic snacks, water, and coolers as these places sell overly priced commodities. You should also know that tap water is safe to drink in most parts of Europe (just check on the specific regulations of the place you are visiting). Moreover, while travelling within the city, it is encouraged to use public transport rather than cabs; that would not only be cheaper but would allow you to gain a better insight into the place. Although, the best way to get a hang of the European cities is through walking: you will uncover much more through aimless strolling than guided transportation from one place to another!
Another important fact to keep in mind is to avoid tourist traps. There are a lot of people and groups which try to trick tourists through overpriced activities, low-quality products, and fake information. It is important to do your research online before visiting any tourist sites. Most authentic information is available on government websites, including the timings, tickets and their prices, and other miscellaneous facts. In fact, while buying tickets online for various attractions, choose the official websites for buying those tickets, instead of third-party sources, to ensure transparency. While booking guided tours too, you should look for free walking tours readily available in Europe; these are not only free but informative and engaging, as they are usually headed by locals. Also, try to create your own itinerary, which would not only reflect your interests but would also be the most cost-effective without unnecessary commissions.
Finally, it is highly recommended that, occasionally, you leave the garb of tourists and try to immerse within the culture of the place. Just ticking off the touristy places to go would not complete your travels. It is significant to try the local cuisine, interact with the local people, enjoy the local arts and crafts, and so on. This is identified as “cultural tourism”, as explained by an article on eTravel: “Cultural tourism is a type of tourism that allows the tourist to participate in local cultural activities, like festivals and rituals. As a result, the tourist can enjoy a genuine cultural exchange with the locals”. While making your bucket list for the trip, try to inculcate such cultural experiences: adding regional flavour to your travels. You could always ask the local tourist information points for such recommendations, or you could directly talk to the locals. If there are language barriers, you can try various translation apps; they might not be completely accurate, but they will help you convey your meaning. All of this should be done with keeping safety in mind, of course.
In conclusion, I would say that even though these tips are useful while planning your next trip to Europe, it is also important to experiment, to have your own unique experience. You need to embrace the newness of the journey, and you never know you might stumble upon something completely different and unexplored. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of travelling to a foreign environment as it can turn out to be an experience of a lifetime!
Edited by Kavya
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