Tips When Traveling to Europe

Coming to Europe has been an eye opening experience.  Not a bad experience… just things that we wouldn’t normally do in the USA.  My family and I have been living in Germany for a little over 18 months now. And we have learned some tricks of the trade. So I hope that these little tricks will you help you get ready for your trip to Europe.  Some of them are more country-related, but majority of them are Europe-wide.. probably even more worldwide too.

  1. ALWAYS have cash on hand. Many places (i.e. restaurant, grocery stores etc) do not accept credit card but sometimes excepts a EUROPEAN bankcard (if you have by any chance).
    1. Also if you get pulled over by police, you may have to pay something right then and there.
  2. Get a credit card that has a chip (and remember your pin! Ooopsy)
    1. There are ATMs (autogeldmat: German) everywhere. Although I highly recommend that you go inside of actual banks and not ATMs that are right on the street because sometimes they have card readers that can/may/will steal your personal information.
  3. Coming with small children? Bring CUPS WITH LIDS! Restaurants don’t always have them.
    1. And on top of that bring plastic wear… period.
  4. Need to take food home from restaurants? Bring some baggies… you know just in case.
    1. Most places don’t have to-go containers. BUT most places that do have them are in touristy areas.
  5. Save some money by buying some water, sodas and juices at the grocery store when you first arrive. Buying in bulk usually helps.
    1. In most places, grocery stores add a pfand (deposit) and you get that money back. So collect your bottles and return for your deposit back!
    2. You will hardly EVER see water fountains in Germany… BUT you will find them in parks!
  6. Don’t pack so heavy. That is especially if you are going from one place to another.  Do you really need 4 pairs of shoes?  Or 10 pairs of jeans?  There are laundromats!
  7. Book tickets to everything in advance!
    1. For train tickets book at least 90 days in advance.
  8. EXPLORE EXPLORE EXPLORE!!! Ask the locals where they would go.
  9. Sprechen sie Englisch? NOOOOO!!!! Don’t be afraid to try to speak their language. In most cases they will be eternally grateful that you tried!
  10. Unlike the USA, where everything is open 24/7 even on holidays. Please keep in mind that in some locations stores are closed on holidays and Sundays (Germany). Countries around the world DO NOT celebrate the same holidays as we do (except religious holidays).  Please keep that in mind when are planning your trips.  Be sure to research your locations to see if there are any holidays.

Thank you for reading.  You are more than welcome to add yours below!

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36 thoughts on “Tips When Traveling to Europe

    1. We’ve been to Paris, France; Edinburgh, Scotland, all over Rhineland Pfalz (Germany), Zadar, Croatia, Savona, Rome and Sicily, Italy; Malta; Malloroca, Barcelona; Prague, CZ, Switzerland, & Austria. It isn’t that is underdeveloped. These are just tips.

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  1. Great post, Jennifer. You are so right that many things are vastly different than in America. If people come with the info you have given them, they will have a better chance of enjoying the experience and not complaining because it it ‘different than at home.’

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  2. We learned we couldn’t return a rental car on the morning after Easter in Germany. Many European countries also celebrate Easter Monday. It’s so important to read up and know about the places you are going!

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  3. Good tips. It is amazing how many people travel to complain how it isn’t like “home”. We also find it is more common now for no bags to be provide in store, we carry our own fold up nylon ones. The double as a beach bag, more room if you shop or need to take a jacket off etc.

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  4. This is funny to read – like the opposites of our cultures. Europeans are always blown away by the doggy bags in North America and we are all about chip and pin, I was dumbstruck when I visited the States for the first time and everyone was still signing receipts! Great tips!

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  5. HAHA! Some of these tips are pure commonsense and you’d expect everyone to know them and/or think of them, but I can tell you I’ve been guilty of making some of the mistakes you’ve mentioend up there! HA 😉

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