There’s hardly any other region in the world that caters to so many different purposes of travel than Europe. Even though most people from overseas struggle with the fact that Europe is not one big country, this densely-populated continent has always been a big destination for tourism.
Weekend city trip? Amsterdam.
Alpine sports? The Alps.
Business trip? Brussels.
Family vacay? Greek Islands.
Romantic Getaway? Paris.
Party with the squad? Ibiza.
Culture? All of Europe.
Just to mention a few. Oh and yes, not that I could forget: All these places can be easily reached within 3 hour trip by plane.
Did I raise your interest yet? Well, say no more! In this post I will show you how to travel Europe as effective as possible. By effective I mean spending less time dealing with transportation and ticketing, but also making the most out of your cultural experience in Europe.
Keep reading for my top 5 on keeping traveling in Europe effective!
1. Stick to a carry on
All major European airlines have switched to carry-ons being the only luggage free of charge on short flights. Not only does this save you a lot of unnecessary time spent waiting at the airport, it also helps limiting yourself to the things you will really need. I have dedicated a whole post to the advantages of using a carry-on and you can read about it here.
2. Give the local language a try
What you give is what you get – How often do you hear a native English-speaking person try to strike up a conversation in the local language? Never, really. On the other hand, most foreigners expect Europeans to switch to English immediately. Trust me, we don’t mind it, because we can sense folks from overseas from kilometers away and all have a good command of English. But just them giving in and trying a local greeting shows some interest for our culture and language. Next time you think Europeans are stuck up and arrogant, try cracking us open by giving our native tongues a go!
3. Check the local currency
Just like many foreigners assume Europe is just one big country, the Euro is seen as the only legal tender around – but that’s not true! Scandinavia still relies on ‘kroner’ and most Eastern European countries rely on their own Slavic-rooted currencies. Southern European countries have switched to the Euro during the past decades, due to the boom of tourism. Even though the Euro is a safe choice and credit cards can convert any currency in a matter of seconds, it is still greatly advised to have some emergency dough in the local currency in your pocket.
Oh yeah, and keep some spare change for paying the bathroom cleaning staff. I know this seems weird and I have yet to see this happen outside of Europe, but they do usually charge you a Euro or two to go to the bathroom. Yes, welcome to Europe, where everything costs money.
TripSavvy made an elaborate post on all things concerning currencies in Europe
4. Book all tickets beforehand
This seems like a no brainer but many people prefer to just go with the flow and not stick with a steady travel plan. I recommend you make all the major bookings at home and plan your trip around them. That way you don’t miss out any places you really wanted to see. Many attractions and sights offer great online ticketing systems, sometimes even giving discounts for certain tickets and skip-the-line passes. Vienna’s Schloss Schönbrunn has a really user-friendly site, so be sure to check it out and book your tickets in advance.
5. Trains, Planes, Taxis, Ubers, Trams, Buses…
Europe is small when compared to other continents, but it does make up in population density. Therefore, we have elaborate public transport systems, yet they are not connected via one central system. Luckily there’s many sites on the internet that tell you which ticket you need for which route. There’s many of them, but I decided to list three very helpful ones below:
- RailEurope is a very helpful ticketing provider for train tickets across Europe.
- GoEuro takes this even further by providing additional bus tickets.
- Rome2Rio provides elaborate routes of public transport all over the world