Tips for Travelling in Europe
Mainly tips for hostelling, based on my three trips to Europe, including five months studying in England.
- •Bring a lock for hostel lockersMost hostels have lockers, but you have to buy or hire a lock. It will end up being cheaper if you bring your own lock. You can also use the lock on your luggage, which brings some piece of mind while on trains, buses, etc, where you don't always have your stuff right next to you.
- •Keep some coins on hand for the toiletsNearly all of the cities I visited had toilets that you had to pay for (even in McDonalds). The price ranged from 0.20 to 1.50 euros. Most of the time these toilets have attendants, so at least it means that the toilets are cleaner than the average public restrooms. Alternatively, use the toilets for free while you are at museums.
- •Get free wifi from places like McDonalds and StarbucksWhile you're out and about you can visit a McDonalds or Starbucks to get free wifi. If you're super strapped for cash, then you can always stand outside and still get a decent signal.
- •Go on a free walking tourProbably the best advice I can give you is to start your time in every city with a free walking tour. You see many of the major landmarks of the city and hear some interesting tales about places you usually wouldn't give a second glance too. You choose what to pay your guide at the end of the tour, which encourages the guides to make your experience a wonderful one.
- •Take advantage of the hostel kitchenWhile you obviously want to get out and taste the local cuisine, you should also use the hostel's kitchen occasionally, so you can save some money. I recommend cooking pasta.
- •Choose a hostel based on it's cleanliness and safety ratingMost things can be overcome- price, location and atmosphere are all important, but for me to have a good experience at a hostel it has to be clean and safe. It really puts a dampener on things when you feel unsafe or are using a dirty bathroom.
- •Interact with others at your hostelOne of the best parts of travelling is meeting people from all over the world. One American friend that I met in Edinburgh three years ago is visiting Melbourne in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to see her again.
- •Take some washing powder and a sewing kitBring some washing powder to use with the hostel washing machine (expensive enough without buying some powder). Bring a sewing kit because you never know when some part of your clothing will need to be repaired.
- •Bring an international student card, if you're a studentIt is always nice to get cheaper entry into touristy places and an easy way to do that is to purchase an international student card. They are accepted all over Europe and you will quickly get back the money that you outlay for the card.
- •Wear comfortable shoesFor me, fashion comes a distant second to comfort when travelling. I will admit that I wore runners with jeans. After wearing more fashionable shoes for the first few days of my latest trip, I soon swapped them for runners and my feet certainly thanked me.