7 Insider Travel Tips for Europe

Are you planning a holiday in Europe? You know to double-check your passport expiry date and the importance of packing layers. You probably already have a sturdy suitcase and a backpack for daytrips organised.

Basics like these are important for ensuring your travels go smoothly. But we’re not looking at the basics today.

Instead, we’ve got some travel tips for Europe that your friendly neighbour probably hasn’t already told you. Unless, of course, your friendly neighbour is one of our expert tour managers.

1. Travel Less, Stay Longer

Edinburgh, Scotland

Yes, it’s tempting to squeeze as many stops into your European holiday as you can. There’s just so much to see and do!

But let’s face it: We’re not 20-something backpackers anymore. Packing up your suitcase every morning is exhausting. Constant time on the road can drain your energy and quickly get boring. And, even worse, you don’t get to really experience any of the places you stay when travelling this way. Cities like Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Salzburg and Naples deserve 3 nights minimum.

2. Walk, Walk, Walk

Europe street

Once you’re in a town centre, the best way to explore and immerse yourself in the local neighbourhood is on foot. You’ll get to see things that would otherwise rush by in a blur. You could miss out on hearing a fantastic busker singing in Italian if you drive a hire car to the Trevi Fountain. And you won’t discover that quirky café for afternoon tea if you catch a taxi straight from your hotel to Cádiz Cathedral.

Note: Towns with cobblestone streets are particularly lovely for casual strolls. Big cities, however, might not be so manageable on foot. Be sure to check your route and use public transport if your next stop isn’t within reasonable walking distance.   

3. Pick a Picnic

Tapas

There are exquisite seafood restaurants in Croatia. And there are countless chic cafés in France. But sometimes the best lunch is the one you buy from a local street market and eat in a park or by the riverside. Try to treat yourself to at least one picnic during your European holiday (you can discover 4 of our favourite food markets here).

4. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Capitals

Positano, courtesy of Albatross traveller L. Appleby

We’d never tell you to skip Rome or London or Vienna entirely. But try to avoid scheduling your entire itinerary around a long stay in a capital city.

Yes, there are those unmissable tourist attractions. But once you’ve checked the essentials off your bucket list, it’s time to get out and see the smaller cities, the towns, and the countryside. For instance, we wouldn’t trade a detour to the Amalfi Coast for an extra night in Rome.  

5. Hold Off on Tipping

Cafe bill

You’re travelling to Europe, not the US. You don’t need to overthink every café bill or perform complex calculations to work out how much cash to leave on the table. In most European destinations, tipping is unnecessary and not expected.

To be sure, check the menu. If it says ‘service not included’ or similar, then it’s courteous to leave a tip. Otherwise, you shouldn’t feel pressured to do so (though you certainly still can if you’ve received exceptional service). There is no fixed amount expected for tips in Europe, so the simplest way to show your appreciation is to round up the bill. For example, if your meal comes to €45.50, you might pay with a €50 note and not request the change.

6. Don’t Stress About Becoming Fluent

Almost every travel blog says that learning some of the local language is a good idea. We’ve said it too. And it’s true – to an extent. Knowing some basic phrases can definitely be helpful in certain situations, and it does make it easier to strike up a conversation.

But you don’t need to stay up all night practising your pronunciations. And you don’t need to spend the whole flight studying a translated dictionary. Most of Europe is perfectly accessible to people who only speak English. You’ll be fine.

7. Schedule Some Unscheduled Time

Le Chalet, Gruyeres, courtesy of Albatross traveller S. Deaves

Not every second of your holiday needs to be carefully planned. Allow yourself some free time to simply enjoy the travelling experience and immerse yourself in culture. Some time out of scheduled sightseeing can give you a wonderful chance to discover what the day-to-day lifestyle is like in a foreign city or town.

We hope these less well-known travel tips for Europe have helped you feel more excited about your upcoming trip. If you know anyone else planning a European holiday soon, please feel free to share this article with them. Happy travels!
 

Julia's picture
Julia Higginbotham

Julia Higginbotham is the Marketing Executive at Albatross Tours