Traveling to Europe and driving from country to country, city to city, you'll learn a lot. You're introduced to new cultures, you're taste buds will tingle or cringe with new tastes, and you're swimming in History you're mind may have never touched. While you're planning and anticipating your descent into an untraveled map, there are some things that can be overlooked. Here's a list of things I learned during my two week adventure to Austria, Germany, and Hungary.
1. Make a plan. Don't go to a city blindly.
There's a lot of ground to cover. Research the cities you'll be visiting and make a list of places you'd like to see. You can still roam freely, but creating this will allow you to see what you want and make the most out of your time.
2. Write out addresses of places you want to visit.
It's never the best idea to rely solely on your GPS to pull up the correct address. Finding addresses beforehand prevents you from aimlessly driving or walking around and it will help you map out your travels better. Plus, if you're unfamiliar with the language, you can bypass that barrier.
3.Download a currency app.
This is a life saver for your wallet! Out to dinner or a day of shopping? Plug in the countries currency to see what it would cost you in American dollars.
4. Contact your service provider.
Decide what you're going to use your phone for. If you can do without texting and calling, ask how you can turn those services off to avoid outrageous charges. If you need to text or call, ask how you can use your phone oversees. It may be a better option to purchase a phone with prepaid cards where you're going. Although, in my case it ended up being a pain.
5. Make sure your hotels have wifi. Well, make sure you know if you're being charged or not.
Don't just assume that every hotel has wifi or that it will be free. While that's what you hope for, many hotels charge. Some hotels may only offer free wifi for the first day. Don't be tricked. Asked questions. Wifi at hotels can get pretty pricey.
6. Check the locations of your hotels.
Is it close to where you plan on visiting? Is it in a good part of the city? These are just two questions you should be able to answer before booking. We stayed in a nice hotel, however it was far away from everything we wanted to see and it wasn't in the safest area.
7. Carry cash + keep change around
As a person who NEVER carries cash, this was huge for me. Credit Cards are not as widely accepted in Europe as they are in America. Carrying cash not only ensures that you'll be able to pay for whatever you want but you'll bypass all of those extra exchange fees your credit card or bank may charge.
If you plan on using a public restroom, get out that loose change! Just about every place charges you a small fee to use the restroom.
8. If driving - Have a GPS and a map
Technology is a blessing, but it doesn't always pull through. Maps aren't updated, batteries die, and sometimes they're just plain hard to understand. Bring a map as back up for directions and a source to double check your GPS directions. Another tip? Have the passenger seat rider keep an eye on the map.
9. Communicate with the people you're traveling with
With anything we do, communication is ultimately key. Share your plans and expectations of the trip with those that you're traveling with. They may not realize you want to do something or they may have not even thought about it. Off schedule because of the company your with? Speak up! They'll understand that you're on a time crunch.