8 Practical Tips When Going on a Europe Tour

May 01, 2016

Hello dear readers!  My family and I are finally back in Abu Dhabi after two weeks of an exhausting yet fun family holiday in Europe.  As promised, I will be posting several blog entries about our travel adventures in Italy, France, and Spain.  However, allow me to first share with you these 8 practical tips that I've learned from this trip, which could also help make your next Europe tour more enjoyable.  Here they go:

1.  TRAVEL LIGHT.  I know how tempting it is to bring your most fashionable outfits that would be perfect for those ootd shots with the Eiffel Tower on the background, but believe me, you won't look cute either walking along the streets, climbing a lot of stairs, or standing on a jam packed metro with a huge luggage in tow.  If you're going on a Europe tour, that means you'll be spending a lot of time traveling from one country to another (which also equates to transferring from one public transport to another).  Thus, having a huge and heavy luggage will definitely just make it difficult for you to move around more efficiently.  In addition, some of their low cost airlines, take Easyjet for example, will charge you extra for any check-in luggages.  We had highly anticipated this scenario already, hence we made sure to (1) use our backpacks instead of big luggages; (2) bring clothes that are enough only for one week's use; and (3) stay in a fully furnished apartment where we can do our laundry.  That way, each of us had only one carry-on baggage to look after, which gave us the freedom to move around easily and also eliminated the risk of losing our checked-in luggage (click here to see the most common reasons airlines lose luggages).

2.  RIDE PUBLIC TRANSPORT.  Taxis are pretty expensive in Europe, especially in Paris, where the traffic is horrible or in Venice, where a ride would automatically cost you 60 euros.  Therefore, it is obviously more practical and highly recommended to use their public transportation instead.  Italy, France, and Spain have this unlimited day pass which entitles the card holder to an unlimited metro and bus ride.  It's really super "sulit" especially for tourists who wish to see a lot of tourist attractions.  Not to mention it also helps you save a few euros in case you find yourself lost in the middle of an unfamiliar place (because it's basically a ride-all-you-can pass).

3.  CHOOSE AN ACCOMMODATION THAT IS ACCESSIBLE TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.  Since riding a public transport is the way to go in Europe, then it would be best if you could get a hotel that's just a few meters away from a bus/metro station.  This will help you save a lot of time and energy from walking, which you'll do ALL.THE.TIME.  Believe me, your sore feet will thank me later for this tip!

4.  WEAR YOUR COMFIEST SHOES.  Have I mentioned already that you'll do a lot of walking?  And when I say A LOT, that means you'd be walking the whole day, everyday!  So make sure to prioritize comfort over fashion when choosing your footwear.  Remember, not all flat shoes are comfortable.  Don't make the same mistake my sister did during our trip when she decided to wear boots.  Sure, it was flat (no heels), but it wasn't as comfy as what she thought because she ended up having sore feet on the third day of our trip, which left us with no other choice but to buy a new pair of rubber shoes.

The buildings and streets of Madrid, Spain

A bird's eye view of the Vatican City (shot from the dome of St. Peter's Basilica)

5.  INSTALL A NAVIGATION APP ON YOUR PHONE.  This will be your lifesaver in exploring an unfamiliar place.  We used HERE mobile app to help us navigate through the cities of Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Madrid, and Barcelona -- even without an active data plan (just make sure to download and save the map on your phone beforehand).

6.  SKIP THE LINE.  Expect the major attractions in every city to have a long queue of tourists at the ticketing office, so it's always best to book a reservation online instead of wasting your time on the line.  Advanced reservations will cost you a little bit more, but it will certainly help you have a more efficient and productive day.

The Grand Canal of Venice, Italy

The classic yet sophisticated streets of Paris, France

7.  BE CAREFUL OF PICKPOCKETS. Rome and Paris are highly touristy areas, so always be vigilant and make it a point to guard your valuables ALL THE TIME.  Even yours truly was not spared from these thieves.  Can you imagine someone tried to stole something in my bag while we were inside a church (in Rome)?!  I was completely unaware about it, good thing a fellow Filipino tourist cared to tell me that my backpack's zipper was open.  Luckily, they didn't get anything aside from Rafa's wet wipes!  And if in case they were fortunate enough to reach for my wallet, at least I wouldn't lose all my cash because I made it a point to keep my funds in different spots.  For more information on how to outsmart pickpockets and thieves, click here. 

8.  PLAN.  Having a detailed itinerary of the tourist spots you wish to visit in Europe will not only give you a structured activity for the day, but it will also help you accomplish more and ensure a smooth and hassle free trip.  Do your homework in advance -- search for accommodations with good customer reviews, select the must-see tourist attractions you shouldn't miss, get a rough estimate of the expenses you'll have to pay, and read blogs for travel tips.  My dear husband did all these six months prior to our trip, so I would have to give him all the credit for we were able to undeniably make the most out of our two weeks vacation in Europe.

***For more photos, stories, and tips about our adventures in Europe, you may check the following blog posts: 

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