Advice
|22 May|4 mins

6 Ways to Make a European Holiday Even Better

Stuff to know before you go
Laura Collins
22 May
Share:

Heading to Europe for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday? SO LUCKY, HATE YOU. Just kidding, very happy for you because it’s an incredible, beautiful, inspiring and awesome place filled with more unique cities, cultural icons and delicious food than anywhere else in the world. But before you throw yourself into the deep end, heed our advice...

Travel in the mid-season

In an ideal world, you’d travel to Europe in July, August or September because it’s summer there and winter in Australia and who wants to suffer through grey, miserable days when you could be chilling on a beach in Mykonos? But summer, or ‘high season’, is expensive. Travel in the few months before, or after, the peak times and you’ll avoid the high costs, huge crowds and sometimes stifling heat that comes with European summer (because FYI, air-conditioning is not considered standard in these parts).

Live locally

Book a week in a stylish-but-affordable apartment off AirBnB or Booking.com, sniff out a local market and stock up on fresh produce and spend your days wandering the streets to experience daily life as a local would. Moving at a slower pace will help keep your costs down too. Most of the bucket list destinations in Europe can be viewed free of charge (think: Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio) from the outside, so save your hard-earned cash for the places you really want to experience in full and spend the rest on tasty, exotic snacks and cult pharmacy beauty buys.

Advice
|22 May|4 mins

6 Ways to Make a European Holiday Even Better

Stuff to know before you go
Laura Collins
22 May
Share:

Heading to Europe for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday? SO LUCKY, HATE YOU. Just kidding, very happy for you because it’s an incredible, beautiful, inspiring and awesome place filled with more unique cities, cultural icons and delicious food than anywhere else in the world. But before you throw yourself into the deep end, heed our advice...

Travel in the mid-season

In an ideal world, you’d travel to Europe in July, August or September because it’s summer there and winter in Australia and who wants to suffer through grey, miserable days when you could be chilling on a beach in Mykonos? But summer, or ‘high season’, is expensive. Travel in the few months before, or after, the peak times and you’ll avoid the high costs, huge crowds and sometimes stifling heat that comes with European summer (because FYI, air-conditioning is not considered standard in these parts).

Live locally

Book a week in a stylish-but-affordable apartment off AirBnB or Booking.com, sniff out a local market and stock up on fresh produce and spend your days wandering the streets to experience daily life as a local would. Moving at a slower pace will help keep your costs down too. Most of the bucket list destinations in Europe can be viewed free of charge (think: Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio) from the outside, so save your hard-earned cash for the places you really want to experience in full and spend the rest on tasty, exotic snacks and cult pharmacy beauty buys.

Brush up on the language

It’s not essential that you spend hours on Duolingo before you board your flight, but it is worth memorising a few key phrases in the local language of your destination/s. Most major cities in Europe experience huge tourist numbers year-round, so being polite enough to greet or thank someone in their mother tongue – like a friendly ‘Bonjour’ (a polite hello in French) or ‘Dankuwel’ (thank you in Dutch) – will go a long way.

Research the weather

Some cities, like Amsterdam and Brussels, often experience four seasons in a day. Others, like Seville and Rome, have 40-degree days back-to-back and with no breeze whatsoever. If you’re doing the quintessential Europe trip and trying to tick off as many destinations as possible, you’ll need to plan for all kinds of weather. We’re not saying you should run out and buy a puffer vest but, ya know… foresight.

Download the essentials

Cruising the streets of Berlin with your data roaming on is going to cost you a small fortune. Before you head to a new city, download the area’s Google map to offline. Likewise, use the ‘star’ function in the app to save the secret foodie spots and best viewpoints friends recommend – when you’re in a neighbourhood and feel like grabbing a coffee, just consult the map and see if any of the places you’ve saved are close by. A few other apps worth downloading: Timesnap, for coordinating the best time to call your ‘rents back home; CityMapper, to help you master the local public transport system, and if you're ever struggling to get in touch with your AirBnB host, chances are you’ll be able to connect with them via WhatsApp quickly and easily.

Everyone loves Australians

Strike up a conversation with just about anyone you meet – whether it’s a local greengrocer, a hip bartender or your taxi driver – and they’ll tell you they’ve been to Australia, or are going soon, or have always wanted to go. Everyone loves to talk about their connection to Australia, no matter how random or confusing it is. Use it to your advantage whenever possible – it might get you a seat in a crowded restaurant faster, or earn you a free round at a bar.

Laura Collins
Writer
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