Things You Shouldn’t Forget When Traveling to Europe

A young female tourist holding her backpack's straps and smiling in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain.

Woohoo, you’re going to Europe! Or you’re at least planning to go to Europe. Whatever the case, you’re in for such a treat. However, many people underestimate how much planning they need to do for a European vacation simply because the continent is a widely popular destination with developed-country amenities. Don’t make rookie mistakes—read on to learn the things you shouldn’t forget when traveling to Europe.

Not Everyone Speaks English

First things first: not everyone in Europe will answer you in English, even if you speak slowly and loudly. It’s a continent rich in culture and languages, so barging in on any European country assuming they’ll cater to your language is disrespectful.

Just a little effort in the language department goes a long way. Learn a few basic phrases like “Please,” “Thank you,” and the all-important “Where is the closest winery?” Your attempts at the local language might also make you some friends along the way!

Not Everyone Uses the Euro

While the euro might seem like the universal currency in Europe, the continent is a patchwork of economies. There are 44 countries in Europe, and only 20 of them use the euro. Countries like the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Denmark—among many others—march to the beat of their own monetary system. A quick currency check before you enter a new country can save you a lot of trouble and confusion.

Europe Is Very Interconnected

Europe’s interconnectedness is a dream for travelers—most of the time. You can start your morning with a croissant in Paris and end the day with tapas in Madrid. However, don’t underestimate the need to check visa requirements, especially if you’re venturing into non-Schengen countries. The ease of travel can make it tempting to hop borders without much thought, but a little planning ensures you stay legal and hassle-free, contributing to a better and safer travel experience.

Your Tech Setup Might Need To Change

Assuming your phone and gadgets will just work everywhere in Europe is a rookie mistake. Different countries have different plugs—and voltage variations! On top of knowing which computer cables you should bring when traveling, invest in a universal adapter and consider a SIM card or international plan to stay connected.

Public Transportation Is Your Friend

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of public transport in Europe. It’s often efficient, reliable, and much cheaper than renting a car. Trains, buses, and trams are your friends and can get you up close and personal with places that cars can’t reach. Plus, there’s something inherently romantic about deciphering a foreign subway map, isn’t there?

The last thing you want is to be the person who journeys to Europe only to struggle because they didn’t do their research. Fortunately, you now know the key things you shouldn’t forget when traveling to Europe, so you’re already a step ahead. Explore, immerse, and above all, enjoy the ride across this diverse and beautiful continent!