Now that I have been abroad for two months, I’ve become quite the traveler! So far, I have traveled to Rome, Cortona, Cinque Terre, Holland, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, and Cagliari. If I have learned anything from my travels, it is that things are never going to go exactly as planned. Whether there is an issue with your housing, transportation, or even weather, the best thing to do is stay calm and make the best of the situation. Even a rainy day traveling Europe can be more exciting than a sunny day at home. So, here are some tips for making the most of your travels in Europe.
1. Always check out the local food markets
In nearly any city you visit, there will be local food markets with tons and tons of stands offering food and drink options beyond your imagination. This is the best way to experience the tastes of the city, and then some! If you’re with a group of people, I recommend doing it tapas style – order multiple entrees so everyone can try a taste of everything! My favorite market thus far was the Time Out Market in Lisbon, Portugal.
2. Don’t forget to take pictures!
While you are exploring, it can be easy to get caught up in the sights and forget to take pictures. Your friends and family are living through you while you’re adventuring, and they want to see what you’re up to! You’re going to want to look back on these memories for the rest of your life, and maybe even compile your pictures into a scrapbook when you return home. I already find myself forgetting little details of trips and referring back to my photos.
3. Air B&B’s are your best friend
Housing can get expensive in European cities with high tourism rates, especially when staying in hotels! If you’re traveling with a group, air B&B’s are the way to go. My friends and I have stayed in the most adorable apartments with really welcoming hosts for less than half of what a hotel would have cost, and it’s completely safe. In addition, these apartments often have washing machines and full kitchens, which makes life much easier and feels more like home.
4. Try something new wherever you go
Something I picked up since I began traveling was trying things I never would have considered eating in the states. One of the best ways to experience a country’s culture is through food, and it’s a lot of fun to try new things with your friends and family! When I traveled to Portugal, known for their seafood, I tried raw oysters for the first time with my friends. We had so much fun experiencing this new thing together, and now we can check it off our bucket lists! I have noticed that it also brings you closer with the locals, since they often recommend local delicacies that some are not brave enough to try.
5. Take public transportation
When you’re traveling on a budget, taking taxi’s everywhere can get pricey! Unfortunately for my generation, Uber is not available in many European countries. Rather than dropping some big bucks on taxiing everywhere, or wasting half of your trip walking from place to place, try public transportation! Buying a day pass is really cheap, and you still get to see the beautiful city without tiring yourself out. While public transportation also presents the opportunity to meet locals, do beware of pick pockets and keep your belongings close! I have never personally fell victim to pickpocketing, but trams and trollies are known for tourists having their wallets stolen from their pockets.
These tips have made my travels much more enjoyable, and I hope they help you, too!