For now, we’re carrying on – how to make the most of your journey around one of the most incredibly continents our beautiful planet has to offer us. Are you ready? Sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin…
8 – Don’t follow the crowds
Yes, Prague is a beautiful place but at certain times of the year, it’s ram-packed with hen and stag weekends and generally rowdy holiday-makers. If you want the taste of Prague but without all the hustle and bustle, look for a place like Olomouc in the Czech Republic. It’s like Prague, perhaps a smaller version of it, but it’s slightly more under the radar and therefore won’t be as busy.
There are plenty of hidden places to explore if you don’t enjoy tourist hotspots. Just take a look at TripAdvisor and other similar websites and you’ll find plenty of reviews from people staying in under-the-radar treat hotels.
9 – Stay safe
Remember, if you’re going across country by train or staying in hostels and similar places, you are putting yourself at risk of being mugged or robbed. Don’t fall asleep on the train unless there is something else with you, and if you do, make sure your belongings are safely tucked up right beside you with your hand through the handle. At least then, if someone does try to swipe your stuff, your lightning-quick reflexes will kick in and they won’t get a chance to. You could always consider padlocking your bag’s handle or strap to yourself too. You can pick up cheap padlocks from most airports and train stations.
As much as we recommend traveling with one portable internet-ready device, don’t travel with all of your worldly belongings. Do you really need your tablet AND your laptop? AND your phone too? Be smart – the more you take the more you’ll need to carry and the more you’ll be responsible for.
You shouldn’t prepare yourself to be a victim of crime but just remember – you are responsible for keeping yourself safe so keep yourself safe!
10 – Car rentals…
This one can be a tricky one so we’ll talk you through it slowly.
When you pick up a car, you often pick it up in a dark and dingy underground parking lot which means you won’t necessarily see any scrapes or scratches / dents. When you pick the car up, if you do so in a dark place, drive outside and stop to take a look around the vehicle, taking any photos with your smart phone of scratches and dents. If you notice anything that isn’t already mentioned on the paperwork, make sure you report it as soon as possible before driving away any further. You don’t want to be held responsible for someone else’s damage, nor do you want to pay for it.
11 – Get your phone / tablet ready
There are hundreds of apps you can download for your mobile phone which can be stored OFFLINE. This means even when you don’t have internet access or use of free wifi, you can still check out the map and see where local places of interest are, or restaurants, hotels, etc. Prepare yourself before you go away and download maps of the places you want to head to. At least then, if all else goes horribly wrong, you at least have access to a map to work out where you are.
12 – Make sure you have ear phones / plugs
Whether you’re on a train, a plane, in a car, make sure you have ear plugs or headphones. When you find yourself in a packed train car with a bunch of screaming kids, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you had them with you. Shove them in your ears and turn the music up and you’ll chill out in no time. I tend to have two pairs of ear phones / ear plugs and I keep them in my luggage separately. One will be kept in my suitcase or travel bag and the other will be on my person. It helps if you lose or a break a pair, and then you don’t need to g rummaging around for them later either.
13 – Think about your duty free
You may find that sometimes, buying from duty free isn’t actually that much cheaper than what you could have picked the item up for at home. People are often enthralled by the idea of a good bargain but you do need to ask yourself whether it’s actually a good bargain or not. If it’s only a little cheaper than back home, it might not be worth the hassle of carrying it around with you for the duration of your holiday.
14 – Grab a portable charger
If a train or plane gets delayed, will you have enough battery power to carry you through? What happens if your phone or tablet dies? Are you going to be able to charge it up? Do you have a travel adapter? Can you even find a plug socket spare?
Always travel with one of these portable phone chargers and make sure it’s fully charged up before you go off on your jollies too. You’ll regret it if you don’t and you end up getting delayed somewhere. There’s nothing more boring than waiting around in an airport or train / bus station and having a powerless mobile phone or tablet.
15 – Don’t get lured in by the promise of breakfast
Honestly, you’ll pay a lot more for a bed AND breakfast, or even just breakfast included in the rate of your hotel than you would have done if you’d stayed at a night-only hotel and bought breakfast on the run. You never ever make full use of the breakfast buffet like you say you’re going to, and you can’t really get away with shoving a few croissants up your sweater and saving them for later.
There’s a few more tips to keep you going on your jollies around Europe. Remember, part three will be coming soon! If you have any more tips or tricks you learned from your vacationing all around the world (not just Europe), get yourself involved on our social networking pages! We’d love to hear your stories and see your holiday snaps!