Being the center of so much art and culture, Europe makes it onto the list of travelers from all over the world. With summer quickly approaching, you might be one of the countless tourists planning to finally see some of the iconic sights. If this is your first time, here’s a list of pointers to remember that will keep your whole trip running smoothly and safely…
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Check your Passport
As soon as you know your trip is going to happen, find your passport and check that it’s valid. Remember that many countries in Europe require your passport to be valid for six months after arrival, no matter how long you’re intending to stay. Europe’s border security isn’t any more lax than in other parts of the world, so don’t let this one detail slip through the net and turn your trip into a disaster!
Bring an Extra Bag
Europe has some of the most popular and prestigious shops in the world, and you’re probably going to want a few souvenirs to bring back from your trip. With this in mind, be sure to pick up a small, light, duffel bag that will fit in your suitcase with everything else. This way, if you can’t pack everything you want for your return trip, you can use this and check in an extra bag. On the subject of packing, if you buy anything particularly expensive or fragile, try to keep it in your carry-on if possible. It’s unlikely that your suitcase will get lost on the way, but these things happen.
If you’ve always kept to more local locations with your previous travels, then you’ll have no idea how irritating jet lag can be. Obviously, you want to get the most out of your trip, so make a point to combat jet lag when you travel. The best way to do this is trying to get onto the destination’s schedule as soon as possible. Start doing this the day before you fly by going to bed earlier or later depending on where you’re flying from. If you have an overnight flight and don’t get a wink of sleep, try to resist the urge to go to sleep as soon as you touch down. Fight it instead. The longer you manage to stay awake, the easier it will be to get into the rhythm of the local time zone.
Stock Up on Local Currency
Europe gets a massive influx of tourists every year, and the store owners around the major tourist sites know this. One of the most popular scams committed by these stores is waiting for someone to swipe a credit card, and asking them whether they’d like to pay in the local currency, or whatever currency the card is registered as holding. Paying in your own currency may sound more convenient, but in almost every situation, you’re better off paying in cash with the local currency, as many of these stores charge a much higher exchange fee than your bank back home will. Just don’t flash big wads of cash too much and make yourself a target for thieves!