Tips on smarter European travel
So you’re just about done planning your dream vacation to Europe. Whether it is a romantic month for two in Tuscany or a wild getaway to Dublin with your best buds, chances are you will encounter a few new experiences along the way. While your trip will no doubt be memorable, knowing more about where you’re going is always good information for any traveler. Here are some helpful tips to travel smart when you venture to any part of Europe.
Skip the traveler’s check for ATM machines: In the year 2010, most people carry around some sort of plastic in their pocket. Besides being convenient, using an ATM machine in a foreign country can be less expensive at times since they usually provide the best rates. But just be wary of ATM fees and surcharges and if possible skip ATMs located in shops, as they can be less secure then machines located in or outside a bank.
When in Rome…get some pizza: Always try to adapt to the local culture when visiting a European country. I recently enjoyed some amazing whiskey on a trip to Glasgow, Scotland, devoured many bowls of borscht (beet soup) on a vacation to Poland last year and always make sure to get some pizza when in Italy. Not only do certain destinations offer the best quality of a particular meal or drink, but it is often times much cheaper there as well.
Easy on the tipping Rockefeller: Before you head to Europe, understand that Americans are often times labeled as “over-tippers” by locals. While we are used to forking over 15-20% of the bill, it is not necessary in most parts of Europe and by knowing how to tip in Europe, it will save you big bucks on your next vacation.
Buy a pass to save time & money: Whenever I visit a European city, you can bet that I will be buying a pass that enables me to see more of that destination’s top attractions for less. Not only will you keep more “moolah” in our wallet, but most passes allow you to skip long lines.
Travel guides are not vacation bibles: Now I am not saying throw out the Lonely Planet guidebook at all. Full of helpful information that fits in your backpack or purse, guidebooks can often times be a godsend when in an unfamiliar land. Try wandering aimlessly throughout the new city to experience it in your own unique way. My wife and I still talk about a restaurant we stumbled upon a few years ago when walking through Lucerne, Switzerland while on our honeymoon. Little “finds” like these add more memories to already amazing journeys.
For more help planning your big vacation abroad, check out CheapOair’s “Top Ten Budget Travel Tips to Europe.”