Well, I have recently been on a European month long trip and am on my way home back to Sydney and whilst being on a long trip it made me think about the things I have learnt over many years of Jet Setting. One old saying which rings true is to bring fewer clothes and more money which is so very true. I try to travel as light as possible and trust me, you will be pleased when you have less to lug about when being on the move from the airport to hotel or trying to get onto a train. Less is definitely more when it comes to travel and the reality is that you are there for the experience, not the possessions so leave your stuff at home and carry the bare essentials.
An important thing I have learnt over the years when doing trips that involve a lot of sightseeing is to bring more walking clothes. Sure you will want some nice things to wear when going out on the town at night but to be honest you probably won’t see the same people more than once so pack your good clothes in such a way as to be able to mix and match and wear a few times out with some subtle variations. For the touristy things pack three pairs of jeans and two weeks worth of socks and T-shirt’s and underwear.
# GET A GOOD PORTABLE CHARGER
In these days of devices, you will want something that is powerful enough to get you through the day when on a train or on a plane. You are likely to be using your devices for video and pictures, maps, bookings, research and possibly blogging so you will need power on the go.
# Get a Big Data Plan
Just as I mentioned in the previous point about devices, you will need data and I suggest buying a prepaid plan that is large when you land. Sure Wifi is about but it’s better to have more than less
#PRE ARRANGE TRANSFERS
You don’t what to be at the mercy of taxi drivers and quite frankly you have to be careful. There is nothing more obvious than a tourist walking around lost with bags. This makes you vulnerable to thieves and con artists. You need to get to the hotel as quickly and easily as possible. There are plenty of unscrupulous drivers out there so set the price at home and you will avoid hassles.
I suggest breaking a $10 or $20 bill into lots of small change to leave in your pocket. There are good reasons for this, firstly in some countries, beggars are everywhere and if you are like me and well aware of your good fortune, it is nice to be able to spread a little goodwill wherever you go, secondly, sometimes you need it to just move freely around with easy tips in hand. Thirdly some European places demand money for use of the toilets and let’s face it, sometimes you just have to go!
# GUIDED TOURS
Don’t be tight about this, you will get more out of a place when someone can help you understand the history and significance of a place. Trust me you will get more out of a tour than just reading the cards on the wall. Also, if you do get a tour, make sure you tip your guide. Most are badly paid and rely on the tips. An alternative is one of the many guided tour apps you can download. I used some of these in some places where you couldn’t get a guide but be wary, you need all your senses when in another country to avoid pickpockets so be aware of where you are before tuning out with headphones.
# DO YOUR STUDY BEFORE YOU GO
When it comes to historical places I recommend watching documentaries, doing some reading and being well versed on where you are going. Trust me when I say you will get more out of the trip when you know what you want to see and why.
# BOOK APARTMENTS NOT HOTELS
Thanks to the rise of the internet there a billion ways to avoid hotels which are expensive and cold. I would much rather stay in an apartment with the luxuries of home than a cold hotel in a small cramped room. The other advantage is that you will feel more part of the community that you are visiting. If you are on a budget you won’t have to eat out constantly because you can grab some local ingredients and cook for yourself.
# BUY CITY BUS RIDER PASSES
These are incredibly low budget high convenience tools that will help you get around quickly and easily. Avoid renting a car because you won’t know the road rules, it can be dangerous and costly if you have even a small accident. The other advantage is that it’s padi for you and you can zoom around town at your own pace and see more
#TRAVEL BY TRAIN
There is nothing more painful than going through security at airports constantly. The train can be a very comfortable way of getting around with little hassle and let’s face it, you are holidays and have all the time the world so just slow down and enjoy a train ride when going from country to country. Oh and the other great thing is that you will have time to read or write that blog as you fly past little towns to your destination.
# BUDGET FOR COFFEE MONEY
I love my coffee and found myself watching the world go by in coffee shops all over Europe. Make sure you don’t rob yourself of this experience. I know I consumed more coffee than normal while enjoying the sights from a sidewalk cafe!