Sometimes roughing it for the sake of roughing it when adventuring can be extremely rewarding. On the flip side I’m never one to balk enjoying the finer things, but I don’t want to waste my hard earned money. Sometimes it is worth spending a few extra bucks. Unless you’ve got plenty of cash to burn, planning a trip carefully can definitely get you high levels of enjoyment while foregoing certain things that can potentially leave you spending money unnecessarily, only to leave you more frustrated. Learn from some high level must-dos and mistakes so you can enjoy your first adventure experience minus the headache.
While many of these points are not necessarily unique to Americans traveling to Europe, I have seen many making traveling there making these mistakes. So, to make it handy I’ll just use some Europe specifics as an example.
1. Do not overbook yourself.
It may be the first and only time you will ever be in Paris but there are only so many museums that you can comfortably fit in consecutively. By the third day of Parisian culture and 8th art tour, it would not be unheard of to be ready to pitch a fit before seeing a even a Chagall exhibit. Reaching a special ‘cultural saturation’ point happens, where no new images are welcome. It can be utterly surprising to find this feeling existed. Sometimes in your head, your brain will simply put up an, “Out for Lunch”, sign and leave you feeling maxed. While art viewing is the example here, regardless of your pleasure…mix it up with a few hours in a park, a boat ride or a leisurely lunch while people-watching to give yourself a break.
2. Do not buy the attraction passes that are often sold on Tourist sites.
Many tend to enjoy a blend of tourist must-dos and off-the-beaten path activities that are not always listed. Make a list of a maximum of three places to visit a day and arrange your itinerary with activities in the same general location on a select day. This means less wear and tear for you, less money spent on local transportation (it adds up fast!), and more time to slow down and have a gelato or two.
3. Take some time finding out opening hours, closures, and special offers.
Pre-purchase those tickets to avoid the long lines. You will spend an extra dollar or two but can possibly reward you by avoiding a one or two hour wait just to get in. What’s more, in can ensure you don’t get there to find out that your museum is closed. Please look at the official tourist and cultural attraction sites to find out what to expect. If you are in Europe, there can be additional public holidays you may not even be aware of that can result in closures.
4. Heed travel warnings.
For example, when reviews suggest not renting a car. While Spain has lovely wide well-kept roads that are a pleasure to use (thank you Euro). Sicily has tiny, crooked roads that can end up looking more like an alleyway. For your sanity in navigating unfamiliar terrain or the back of the mind thought of dinging up a rental, sometimes opting for public transport (especially in Europe!) is the easier way to go.
5. Location, location, location.
Sure, Airbnb can score you some killer rental rates and plant you in an apartment in the middle of the city, but booking a place to stay without reading the nitty-gritty location details on any booking site can mean you end up just outside of the city Commuting an hour or more to get anywhere that you want is rarely a joy when simply keeping an eye a rental’s location, places you want to see, and spending a couple dollars more a night can get you nice and close. Balance cost, reviews, and location for the best value.
You have most likely saved up for your holiday and potentially using precious vacation days. A little preparation can make a world of difference.