A trip to Europe is on the agenda of many high school and college students. Here are a few additional tips to consider, no matter what your age.
Be aware of different business hours, especially banks!
In Europe, businesses, especially banks, are conducted at different hours that we are used to in the United States. For example, many banks are only open from 8 AM to 4 PM; with a long lunch break in between. In addition, in Spain, most businesses close mid-afternoon for a siesta. However, with the exception of banks, most reopen for the evening. When you arrive at your destination, do a little research into business hours and take care of your money situation right away. With those two pieces of advice, you will never be without cash and won’t be disappointed.
Always utilize your travel time, whether that means time on a plane, train, or bus.
During my semester in Spain, I traveled nearly every weekend. For me, that meant a lot of time on buses and trains. I made the most of it. I used that time to read, listen music, or finalize trip plans. It was also nice to simply write or take in scenery. The point is, make the most of the dead time. It will mean that you can make the most of your trip.
Visit Cathedrals, but you can take in too many at once! The same goes for historic churches.
Europe is filled with historic churches and cathedrals! They are wonderful to visit and the architecture is simply amazing. No two are exactly alike. That having been said, you can do too much of a good thing. By the end of my trip to Spain, I could have cared less as to whether or not I would ever see another cathedral in my life. If you are into visiting cathedrals and churches, just don’t overdue it. Mix it up and go shopping for a day!
Do hit the main sites.
Many college students who are into being non-conventional may wish to skip the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of London, and the like, but such huge tourist attractions are big tourist attractions for a reason. You owe it to yourself to do the touristy thing at least once or twice, just try not to stick out like a sore thumb.
Plan fun, out of the way excursions.
While it is fun visiting the main sites in a city, it also can get boring, especially after a full day or two of doing the touristy thing. There is so much more to Europe than what is in the guidebooks! For example, I was in Cáceres, Spain during Valentine’s Day 2002. I decided to get all dressed up, go to a free play all by myself, and then met up with a bunch of friends at a local hang out. It was a blast! I had the best of both worlds: I spent time alone and then had the time of my life partying with all of my friends. It was a great evening and took very little planning. In many places in Europe, all you need to do is visit a café or small store in order to find out what is going on locally. You won’t be disappointed.
By following the advice given above, you won’t go wrong. You will have a European experience that you won’t soon forget.