19 Europe Travel Tips You Need to Know
Last Updated on December 4, 2022
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There’s nothing quite like exploring the vast continent of Europe.
From pristine beaches that mimic paradise to ancient ruins and fairy-tale castles, there is such a vast amount to see and do here.
And knowing some insider Europe travel tips will help you get the most out of your trip and improve your overall experience.
Don’t get me wrong; it can be exciting to just jump into a new place and discover things completely fresh.
But a little advice is always valuable, and researching what things to know when traveling to Europe can help avoid falling into an unexpected pitfall!
For first-time visitors (and also some frequent flyers), I’ve put together this list of tips for Europe travel to help improve your journey, and maybe highlight something you didn’t think of before.
Whether you’re on your first travel adventure, going on one of the many holiday packages on offer, or are travelling solo, here are 19 Europe travel tips you should know before you leave!
Table of Contents
19 Europe Travel Tips
1. Go for as Long as you Can
Travelling to Europe is a mission. Being at least a 24-hour flight away from New Zealand you will want to take this Europe travel tip seriously.
Europe is made of a whopping 44 countries that are each unique and have something different to offer.
Therefore, it’s best to get as much time off work as you can so you can really take advantage of exploring different parts of Europe.
2. Be Sure to Check Visa Requirements
Although 16 countries are within the Schengen zone, there’s still 18 that are not and all have their own visa requirements.
Before you leave home make sure you do a quick check to make sure that you can visit the country for the amount of time you are planning to visit.
This is one of the most important things to remember when traveling to Europe!
3. Pack Wisely
Chances are that you will want to buy some goodies to take home with you after your trip and to be honest, you probably won’t use half of the things you are planning to pack.
Make sure you pack wisely and only take the essentials such as:
- 2 pairs of shoes (sneakers and something a bit dressier)
- 2 pairs of pants/shorts
- 4 T-shirts
- 1 dressy shirt
- 2 light dresses
- Toiletries (take Ethique to save room and be more environmentally friendly)
4. Don’t Forget to Check Out the Markets
There are some incredible markets to visit in Europe. If there’s one thing Europe does well, it’s markets!
From clothing to fresh food and local crafts you can find everything.
When you get to your destination be sure to ask where the local markets are to see the best of what the area can bring – it’s one of my top Europe traveling tips for first-time visitors.
It’s also a great place to people watch and to learn more about the local way of life. You find out a lot about a place by visiting the markets!
5. Travel Slower
Don’t try and see everything at once. Europe is HUGE and chances are that you won’t have a whole decade to explore it.
If there’s one mistake that a lot of people, make it’s that they plan to see too much in a short space of time.
You cannot see and learn a lot within a country if you’re only spending a few days in it so pick a few countries instead of 10!
Remember, one of the top travel tips to Europe or anywhere else is: quality travel is far better than quantity travel!
If you really want to make the most out of your time in Europe, you could opt to work abroad as there are many opportunities to volunteer or gain paid work throughout Europe.
6. Visit in the Off-Season
One of the best Europe travel tips I have is to visit in the off-season if you can.
Some places within Europe can get quite crowded in the summer and prices can rocket so try and visit in spring or autumn.
Even Europe in winter is lovely because in places like Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom, the Christmas cheer and lively Christmas markets are in full swing!
7. Don’t Forget Scotland
If you get the chance, visit Scotland.
For New Zealanders, it has this charm because a lot of New Zealand Europeans originally come from Scotland so there’s lots of family history.
Scotland is also surprisingly just like New Zealand in many ways with the same rolling hills however the country has a much older history than NZ.
But this isn’t one of the top Europe travel tips just for New Zealanders; everyone can expect to see beautiful castles and hear tonnes of great Scottish tales.
🧳 Joining a Contiki tour was one of the best things I did when I took my first solo trip. Check out their latest deals here.
8. Do a Train Journey
Whilst you’re in Europe make sure you have a train journey planned. There are many great train trips within the continent.
So take a European train, whether it’s the West Highland line in Scotland or the Golden Pass in Switzerland which is arguably one of the best train journeys in the world.
You are bound to be left speechless after a train journey in Europe, so this is one of my strongest Europe travel recommendations!
9. Don’t be Afraid to Try the Food
One of the best ways to learn about a country is through its food. Don’t be afraid to try new and exciting cuisine that you come across.
There’s a wide range of cuisines within Europe.
One of my favourites must be Albanian as the food is so fresh and comes straight from the garden (or the sea) onto your dinner plate.
There’s some incredible Balkan food in general within that region so make sure you check it out.
10. Don’t Forget Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe has some of the most interesting countries including Poland, Romania, Hungary and Ukraine.
The cultures are rich, the prices are very affordable for travellers and Eastern Europe offers a completely different experience than from the likes of Western Europe.
One of my best travel tips for Europe is that you check out at least one of the Eastern Europe countries whilst on holiday!
11. Try to Visit During a Festival
If you can, try to time your holiday as a festival is happening.
Festivals often bring out the best vibes in the locals, whether it’s a festival for local history, music, beer (a European favourite) or a national holiday.
Even if you’ve been before, visiting during a popular festival will show you a different side of a place, which is why it’s one of my top Europe travel tips!
Some of the most popular ones in Europe are:
- Oktoberfest in Germany (October)
- Tomorrowland music festival in Belgium (July)
- St Patrick’s day in Ireland (March)
- Hogmanay in Scotland (New Year’s)
12. Take Note of the Currency
Take note that not all countries use Euros as their currency.
Most countries have a different currency than the Euro so it’s always a juggle when you’re visiting a few different European destinations.
One of my top tips for traveling in Europe is to withdraw money as you go from the ATMs. These days the fees are usually not too high but do check with your bank.
13. Get to Know the Locals
Don’t miss out on getting to know the locals. Many travellers miss the opportunity to learn more about the country’s customs and cultures.
The best way to get to know a country is to strike up a conversation with your waiter or bartender and ask them about life.
A great question you can ask is “What’s the most interesting thing about your country?” That’s always a great icebreaker!
🚗 Travelling Europe by car? For the best prices on car hire in Europe, opt for Europcar.
14. Secure Cheaper Flights by Doing This
When purchasing flights overseas make sure you do a few things. I always search for flights on Skyscanner as they are always the cheapest. Before you do your search:
- Go to incognito mode
- Change your location to somewhere in Asia like Vietnam or India
- Don’t look at the weekends as flights are always more expensive
- Look into the middle of the week for the cheapest flights
- Choose a time within the day that people are busy at work (not on a lunch break or when they have finished work)
Those are my top Europe travel tips for getting cheaper flights!
15. Buy Local Sim Cards
Here’s one of the solid gold travel tips in Europe: it’s always cheaper to buy a local sim card rather than use your phone plan.
You can usually just go into the closest telephone shop and ask to purchase a sim card.
Make sure you bring your passport with you as you nearly always need to have that to register.
16. Bring a Reusable Drink Bottle
Cut down on plastic bottles during your trip and bring a reusable water bottle. You will have saved so much plastic and money by not buying water bottles every day.
In most countries, it’s safe to drink water from the tap or if not, grab a bottle with a water filter system built in.
17. Try Public Transportation at Least Once
This is one of my personal favourite Europe trip tips: make sure you jump on the local bus or train at least once on your trip.
Taking public transport is one of the best ways to see the place from the point of view of a local, and what they see every day will be fresh and new for you!
What makes this one of the even more useful Europe vacation tips is that usually using public transport is far cheaper and sometimes quicker than using a taxi all the time.
So you’ll be saving money and getting the full local experience at the same time!
18. Bring Comfortable Walking Shoes
Make sure you bring some great sneakers with you because I can guarantee you will do lots of walking when visiting Europe!
This is one of the Europe travel tips which I wish I had known about before my first trip abroad. Forget fashion; go for comfort.
👡 PACKING TIP: Looking for the best shoes for travelling? I highly recommend getting a pair of Chaco’s – They are my favourite!
19. Always Carry your Passport
In a lot of European countries, they require that you always carry your passport in case the police need to identify you.
You can grab one of those passport waist holders if you don’t want to keep it in your bag or pocket, so it’s always kept safe!
Frequently Asked Questions
Because of the amount of Europe there is to see, you probably won’t see all of it in one visit. 10-14 days is enough to get a feel for the part you go to, but longer periods of travel are better!
Fortunately, Europe has parts that are great to visit all year round! Many people come for the summer months of June to September, but winter in Europe also has charm and fewer people!
One of the best Europe travel tips to keep in mind is that many of the countries of Europe are vastly different from each other. It’s not just one big place; it’s 44 different places!
So there are my 19 Europe travel tips to take with you! If you have another tip, make sure you leave it in the comments below!
Other articles you will love:
- Super Cheap European Destinations You Must-Visit
- Incredible Castles in Europe You Must See!
- Amazing Must-Try Traditional Nonalcoholic European Drinks
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