The flights are booked, new travel wardrobe purchased and passport located from behind the sofa/wardrobe/underwear draw. Your summer in Europe is just around the corner, time to make it one to remember…
A piece of advice – you can never, never, NEVER be too prepared. Agreed there is something thrilling about venturing into the unknown with just your suitcase and a head full of optimism, but to get the very best from your experience, plan ahead. Wandering the streets in search of Italy’s most exquisite pizza or Berlin’s hottest new bar sounds theoretically idyllic but the reality? Aching feet, moaning friends and a hungry belly. Before you jet off spend time checking out recommendations for the best local joints and secret spots. Your post holiday self will thank you for it.
Bring enough spending money
You’ve saved for months, possibly even years for this adventure and you damn well deserve to enjoy it. That means tasty dinners, flamboyant cocktails and a shopping spurge (or three). We know it’s easier said than done – money’s like that elusive hottie on the bus who you can never quite talk to – but travelling without constantly having to check the pennies will be a weight off your mind. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not advocating magnums of Cristal and general P.I.M.P. living, but treating yourself on the little touches will make your experience all the more memorable.
Leave your preconceptions on the plane
Whatever you think you know about a country, you don’t. Until you’ve experienced a country for itself, immersed yourself in its culture, shared secret smiles and belly laughs with its locals, danced till dawn, watched the sunrise and eaten every plate, bowl, glass or bottle of edible goods going, you can’t possibly make your mind up. Come with an open mind and a willingness to learn and you won’t regret it.
Travel is a big deal, don’t forget that. For many people an adventure to Europe is their first time out of their home country, sometimes even their first time on a plane. Independence is knocking, Mum and Dad have said their teary goodbyes and you’re off into the big open world. Basically, terrifying. So what do you do? Panic, scream, cry like a baby? No, you challenge yourself. Talk to that friendly stranger (sometimes Mum’s don’t know best). Take the other fork in the road. Friggin’ bungee jump off the top of a mountain. The random, crazy, unexpected experiences are the stories you’ll be telling for years to come.
OK OK so we know we said it pays to be prepared but sometimes getting lost is pretty cool too, especially when you’re in Rome, or Barca, or Sweden, or Istanbul, or basically any of Europe’s sweet cities with a gizzilion winding alleys, tasty cafes and friendly locals on every corner. Ditch the map and just follow your nose, you might be surprised by just how intuitive you actually are.
Have a yes day
Do I want Dutch pancakes for breakfast? YES. Do I want to hire a bike for the day and explore the vineyards of Southern France? YES. Do I want to jump out of a plane over the Swiss Alps at 20,000 ft. HELL YES. Yes days are the best days.
Take a million pictures
A pictures worth a thousand words so make sure you get snap happy on your travels. Soon these adventures will be just memories so you want to make sure you’ve got something to remember them by. Investing in an expensive DSLR will get you the best results but really, there’s nothing a decent smart phone and a few choice photo editing apps can’t do. Just make sure you bring spare memory cards/have enough phone memory space.
Open yourself up to new friends
Because let’s face it, life’s better with friends. Whether travelling independently or in a group, travel is just as much about the people you meet as the places you go. That third glass of wine, impulsive decision to go jet skiing or 3am skinny dip we’ll bet will be influenced by your NBTF (new best travel friend). And the best part about making friends from all over the world? Free holidays for the next 10 years obviously…