For the first-time traveler, Europe can be a daunting prospect. When a user asked on an online forum, “What should people avoid while traveling to Europe,” he received numerous responses.
Follow these tips to make your European tour more enjoyable.
WATCH OUT FOR PICKPOCKETS
“Watch out for pickpockets in Western Europe. There is a stigma that Eastern Europe, like Romania and Bulgaria, is dangerous, but pickpocketing happens more in Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, etc.”
DON’T ENTER A RESTAURANT THAT STRONG-ARMS YOU TO DO SO
“Avoid any restaurant that tries to strong-arm you into entering.”
DON’T GET PICTURES CLICKED WITH PEOPLE IN COSTUMES
“People in costumes (mostly Roman centurions) will accost you for pictures with them and demand an absurd amount of money for the pictures.”
DON’T HELP PEOPLE ASKING FOR DIRECTIONS
“DO NOT STOP to “help” people asking for directions. You’re a tourist; you look like a tourist; you’re the last person someone would legitimately ask for directions. They’re trying to get you to stop so they can pickpocket you. It’s usually a woman, too, looking helpless. Just keep moving.”
DON’T RENT A CAR
“Don’t rent a car if you’re going to stay at a major capital; it’s not worth it; it’s much better to use public transport and get an occasional Uber.”
DON’T TAKE A RENTAL CAR FROM ONE COUNTRY TO THE OTHER
“One thing to remember is you will pay a fee if you drive from one country to another and don’t drive back to return the car. For example, if you rent a car in Frankfurt, drive through Switzerland, and into Italy, you’ll pay a hefty fee to return the car to Hertz in Italy. Best to drive around in the same country with a rental, then take the train between countries. At least that has been my experience.”
BE RESPECTFUL OF MEMORIAL PLACES
“Don’t come to the idea to make selfies or similar.”
“I remember visiting the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and seeing a police officer arrest a kid trying to graffiti part of the structure. Like, who tries to vandalize a Holocaust memorial in Germany?”
LEARN THE TRADITIONS OF THE COUNTRY YOU VISIT
“Inform yourself about the traditions of the country. In some countries, you can openly make small talk with strangers, while in another one, you do have to approach them like a wild animal.”
ORDER MEAL ON TIME IN PARIS
“In Paris, get to lunch or dinner before you’re hungry, as it can take a while for the food to come. They’re also not quick to come with the check. Ask for city water.”
NEVER SIT NEXT TO A STRANGER UNLESS THE BUS IS CRAMPED
“When you are in Finland, Never sit next to a stranger unless the bus is super cramped. Otherwise, you’ll be regarded as a creep. Also, don’t walk or stand too close to people if there is space. Finnish bus stops are funny because people spread horizontally as far away as possible while still near the bus stop.”
AVOID GETTING SCAMMED
“If someone asks you if you dropped your wallet, don’t reach for where you keep it. You’re telling them exactly where you keep your valuables.”
AVOID LETTING A TOURIST GROUP PLAN YOUR TRIP
“I recommend avoiding letting any tourist group plan your trip. You will only see the most touristy stuff, and everything you eat will be costly. If you research enough, you can do well in Europe and eat for much less.”
LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE COUNTRY YOU ARE TRAVELING TO
“I’d avoid social media and watching TV in the month before your trip and spend that time on Duolingo instead. Not sure where exactly you’re going in Europe, but it’ll help you to know a couple of phrases in the language.”
DRESS CONSERVATIVELY TO HOLY PLACES
“If you’re a woman going to Italy, you should know it’s more conservative than you think. You can’t enter holy places and churches with bare arms or knees showing, and that’s more places than you would expect (like the Colosseum and the Pantheon). Even in the height of blistering summer, bring something for your shoulders or a light poncho cover-up.”
DON’T BE LOUD
“For Americans, lower your speaking voice, especially indoors. You can tell once there that they don’t shout; they speak in a quieter conversational tone.
I was horrified when my mom shouted across a quiet restaurant in Florence. The waitress came over and asked what was wrong.”
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