European travel can be a dream come true for any travel adventurer. The site of thousands of years of battles, romances, great artistic triumphs, and general high drama, Europe is truly a feast for the senses and the imagination. There are many simple things a person can do to make European travel simpler, less expensive, and more fulfilling. Though every traveler may have a different itinerary, following some basic, sensible tips can make vacationing in Europe easier for nearly everyone.
Europe is a large and varied place, and a week or two of European travel is simply not enough time to truly see it all. Consider focusing a trip on a specific country, or even specific city, to really get an in-depth feel for the culture, history, and atmosphere. A whirlwind tour of Europe can leave a traveler with only vague memories and impressions, while a more structured, specific vacation can create a portrait of a city or nation that will linger a lifetime.
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Travel review websites are one of the best ways to get current information on every aspect of European travel, from lodging to restaurants to guided tours. While guidebooks can be helpful, they may only be updated every few years, while a review website may have current reviews from travelers who have visited a hotel or cafe yesterday. Most websites have extremely customizable search options; if a person is looking for the best budget hotel in Prague, or the finest Vietnamese lunch in London, it may be simple to track down through one of these websites.
European voltage levels are often different from one another. Before traveling, buy a universal adapter to ensure that laptops, cell phones, and rechargeable camera batteries don't die or explode when plugged in to an unfamiliar power source. Adapters are usually available at electronics stores or online, and can save a traveler from a variety of headaches while abroad.
Consider traveling during the off-season. Summer and Christmas are generally the most popular times to vacation, and prices on lodgings and tours may reflect this popularity. Traveling in late spring or early autumn can bring lower prices, better availability of attractions and activities, and still a fairly good chance of favorable weather. Off-season traveling may also be preferred by travelers who like to get off the beaten tourist path and see what life is truly like for locals. With less tourists crowding the area, more of the natural culture and character of a destination may be apparent.
Though many European travel destinations are extremely safe, tourists are often targets of theft, crime, and accidents, regardless of the location. Lock valuables in a safe, and exercise basic precautions while out and about. Pickpockets are common in tourist destinations, so tuck wallets into an interior pocket of a jacket, and use a purse that can be wrapped across the body to prevent snatching. Traffic directions and signals are often very different in different European countries, so exercise extreme caution when crossing the street or driving.