Europe

A First-Timer’s Guide to Travelling Europe

Reading time: 3 minutes

Europe beckons with its mesmerising blend of rich history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes. For Aussies planning their first European adventure, it can be both exciting and a tad confusing at times. This guide is packed with essential tips, cultural etiquettes, and must-see destinations to ensure you make the most of your European holiday.

Embrace the Local Etiquette

Europe is a tapestry of cultures and each country prides itself on its unique identity. Whether you’re sipping espresso at a quaint Italian café or wandering through the fairytale-like streets of Prague, respecting local customs is key. Here are a few tips:

  • Language Matters: Even if English is widely spoken in the country you’re visiting, learning a few phrases in the local language goes a long way in endearing yourself to the locals.
  • Dining Etiquette: In France, bread is placed directly on the table, not on a bread plate. In Spain, don’t be surprised to see napkins thrown on the floor in a Spanish bar while having tapas — it’s all part of the charm!
  • Tipping Etiquette: Tipping practices vary. In Germany, round up to the nearest euro, while in Italy, a service charge might already be included in your bill.
    Pro-tip: you may see “free” walking tours in the cities, but for many tours it is customary to give the guide a tip if you enjoyed it.

Transportation Tricks

Navigating Europe is relatively straightforward thanks to its efficient public transportation systems. These are some popular options:

  • Trains: Eurail passes can offer great value and flexibility for exploring multiple European countries.
  • Flights: Budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet can make country-hopping efficient and affordable, but watch out for extra fees that can add up before you checkout. Remember, the extra waiting time at the airport and transport to your accommodation may mean you’re not actually saving that much time compared to other transport options. It’s best to compare the different routes available.
  • Public Transit: In cities, use apps like CityMapper or Google Maps to find the best routes by bus, tram, or metro.

Must-Visit Spots

From the classics to the hidden gems, here’s where you should pin on your map:

  • The Classics: Don’t miss the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Louvre Museum in France.
  • Off the Beaten Path: Explore the lavender fields in Provence, France, or the fir trees of the Black Forest in Germany.

Travel Hacks

  • Packing: Travel light with layers that can handle Europe’s unpredictable weather. A good travel adapter and phone charger is a must.
  • Money-Saving Tips: Check out city tourist cards for free public transport and entry to major attractions. Eating like a local at markets or small eateries not only saves money but also tickles your taste buds with authentic flavours.

Cultural Insights

Understanding and embracing the cultural nuances can enrich your travel experience. For instance, did you know that in Portugal, it’s customary to walk on the right side of the sidewalk? Or that you should never chew gum while talking to someone in Germany.

Safety

While Europe is relatively safe, staying alert is crucial. Keep an eye on your belongings and keep them close to you, especially in tourist hotspots where pickpockets are common. Be wary of scam artists who prey on tourists, often with distractions or too-good-to-be-true offers.

Travel Insurance

We all know that the good times can take a slight detour when travelling. When the going gets tough, Travel Insurance Direct policies aim to do the heavy lifting and may assist to help keep your trip moving in the right direction, so you can refocus on the fun.

Conclusion

Travelling to Europe for the first time is an exhilarating experience that promises not just a journey through places, but through time and tradition. With these tips, you’re better equipped to navigate the continent’s complexities and to embrace its myriad of unique offerings. So pack your bags, bring your spirit of adventure, and prepare to be enchanted by the rich tapestry that is Europe. Happy travels!


Author

TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.

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