Europe is an incredible place. Whether you’re being pushed up the Venetian canals in a gondola or on a double decker bus in the heart of London, it has so much to offer. But lately the global mood has been a bit unsettled. This, however, does not mean that you should be avoiding your favourite European destinations. Instead, here are a couple of travel tips that should help calm your nerves.
1. Utilise Google
Doing your research is one of the most important aspects of travel. Even if you aren’t planning on taking part in any particularly risky activities (for example skydiving), it’s important to know the background information about the place you’re visiting. Make sure that before you go, you look out for any travel warnings around Europe to give you some context around the situation over there. Are there any political disruptions happening at the moment? Is there a particularly high crime rate in certain areas? Knowing this sort of information can give you a good idea of how to approach it when you get there.
2. Invest in some apps
There is so much technology out there to help you travel. Something as simple as getting lost can genuinely throw you in the deep end, especially in a city you aren’t particularly familiar with. Instead, download a couple of apps that will help you when you really need it. For example, something like City Maps 2 Go is a great option. It’s packed full of information about basically everywhere in the world, and on top of giving you insider knowledge on the hottest places to visit, it has a free offline maps feature. This means that even if you’ve turned off your international roaming, the app will track your location offline and tell you where you are so you don’t get lost.
3. Be aware
Many European cities, especially further south (like in Spain and Italy), are famous for their gypsy presence. Now this isn’t something that should completely deter you from your trip, but you should definitely be aware. Usually, they won’t do anything particularly scary and will stay away from you. Sometimes, they’ll shove something into your hands and expect payment. But there is always a horror story or two that you should be wary of. For example, don’t let anyone put anything in your hands. Even if it’s in the form of a pretty flower or a picture they’ve drawn of you, holding something can compromise your ability to protect your other belongings.
4. Get yourself covered
Travel insurance is important, especially when going overseas. In the case that any unforeseen issues arise (cancelled flights, illness, theft, etc.), your provider should generally cover you and provide you with a reimbursement. As there are many policies that are specific for different continents, have a look at a comparison website. Make sure you read the policies to gain a better understanding of what you’ll be covered for if anything happens.
5. Put your valuables somewhere safe
Finally, it’s usually best not to carry your valuables around with you if you can avoid it. Most hostels and hotels will provide safes either in the lobby or on your room, which means you can lock your passport and spare cash away. Storing emergency cash around is also a good idea on the off chance that your wallet or travel money card is stolen. If you keep a bit of extra money dispersed through your suitcase (like in a pair of socks) or in your carry on, you will probably avoid the dilemma of being money-less overseas – a big problem if it occurs.
And my last tip? Have an awesome time! Europe is an incredible place to travel like a local. Just have your wits about you.
Thank you to Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert and travel lover at finder.com.au for her tips!