These are the travel tips you need to follow to get the most out of your trip.
Europe is a top destination for Americans and for obvious reasons – from ancient ruins and grand basilicas to the best museums in the world, sweeping mountain towns, and the best food you’ll ever taste.
Here are the top five travel tips for Europe that Americans should know to have a better, more authentic experience. But don’t forget, your personal travel guide by Guidester includes even more information, so you have the best trip to Europe possible.
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1. Learn key foreign phrases
DO NOT IGNORE! It’s important to learn some key phrases of places you’ll be going to. By learning local words or key sentences, you can get a deeper experience and appreciation for that country’s culture. Locals will see that you’re making an effort and are more likely to be helpful and friendly in return. Don’t let your embarrassment at the pronunciation prevent you from trying – locals will appreciate the effort.
Note: It’s definitely doable to travel Europe knowing only English, but you certainly shouldn’t expect that everyone can speak it, especially older people.
Tip: You can also use non-verbal communication to help you get your point across.
What phrases should I know where I am going?
Your Guidester™ comes with a short cultural guide for your destination that provides you with a list of popular phrases and how to say them.
2. Blend in with the crowd
We’ve all heard travel horror tales of pick-pocketing or theft, and it’s normal to be worried about that before your trip. The good news is there are some way to avoid or lower your risk of being a target. The first is to blend in with the locals and avoid dressing like a tourist. Dress like the locals, and wear neutral colors, layers, and scarves if the weather permits.
Tip: Any bags like a fanny pack or a backpack make you a target as a tourist, as does clothing that has reference to the United States. You should also act like you know where you’re walking to even if you don’t. It’s obvious that you’re a tourist if you’re standing confused on a street corner looking at a map. Instead, duck into a nearby mall or coffee shop and look up the directions on your phone.
The Guidester Difference: Your personal travel guide from Guidester comes with custom Google maps, so you will never look like a tourist as you navigate from one place to another – just follow the directions on your phone!
3. Behave well
Unfortunately, American travelers tend to get negatively stereotyped in Europe, so you want to keep that in mind that when you’re traveling abroad – you’re representing the United States. Instead of matching the stereotype of loud, judgmental and entitled America tourists, go there with an open mind and be on your best behavior. Keep a low tone of voice and your hand gestures to a minimum, and don’t expect that customer service will be the same in Europe as in America.
What are the customs I need to know?
Don’t get turned away somewhere because you didn’t know the proper attire or miss your train in Italy because you didn’t know you had to validate your ticket. The cultural guide in your Guidester™ includes all the important customs you should know to avoid these mistakes an more.
4. Be open to new experiences
In Europe, the lifestyle is actually quite different from America. The rooms are usually smaller, as are the appliances, and there is usually more focus on environmentally friendly measures. Be prepared not to have air conditioning in the summer, and you may find it difficult to get a clothes dryer, which is an appliance that many Europeans simply don’t have.
Europeans also walk or bike much more than in the United States and many Europeans don’t have a car. Join in on walking everywhere and you’ll find it’s very pleasant and allows you to see a lot more sights (plus it will work off all that amazing food you will be enjoying). A walking tour is a great way to get an introductory taste for a destination – book the best walking tours through your personal travel guide by Guidester.
5. Check out the small towns in Europe
This is one of the best travel tips for Europe and how to have a truly authentic experience on your trip. A lot of the European trips seem to focus on the biggest and most famous European cities, but you can see the real culture at work in the smaller towns.
If you’re in Ireland, pop into a small-town pub in the middle of the day and chat with the locals that are there. Or, head out to a small French village and explore the medieval heritage that’s there. There is so much history in Europe and some of the best things to see and do are found in the smallest towns. Plus, the locals won’t be tired of seeing so many tourists and are more likely to greet you with open arms and proudly show you around.
What small towns are close that I should visit?
How do I get the small towns?
Where is the local pub?
Check out how your Guidester™ includes everything from day trips to dining to nightlife – all tailored to your interests. What’s more? Your custom maps will let you navigate like a local.
Author Bio: Katrina Hatchett is a lifestyle blogger for Academic Brits as well as a writer for Origin Writings. In the course of her work, she focuses on traveling and European culture, history, and lifestyle. Her passion is opening up her readers’ eyes to the experiences in other places. Katrina also works as a writer for PhD Kingdom.