Traveling to Europe when you’re not from the continent can be a really big deal. It typically involves at least a five-hour (expensive) flight, meticulous hotel or Airbnb planning, thinking carefully about your luggage and packing, getting your travel documents in order, and so on. You put in a ton of effort upfront so you don’t waste the big trip.
In order to help you with your grand European undertaking, here’s our Babbel guide to travel Europe.
Start With The Basics
If you’re reading this, you’re probably the conscientious type — you want to make sure you don’t miss out on something or forget an important step. For this, we present to you our Ultimate European Travel Checklist. Read it, internalize it, and watch your anxieties drift away.
After you get the most important points down, there are a few other items you might want to look into ahead of time, such as:
- How to Tip in Popular Travel Destinations
- Emergency Numbers for Traveling Abroad
- Public Transit Etiquette Across Europe (and the World)
- Hand Gestures You Should Avoid Abroad
- How to Find Quality Souvenirs
- How to Travel with Dietary Restrictions
Learn A Bit Of The Local Language
We know what you’re thinking: Me? Learn a language? The last time I tried speaking a foreign language was in high school, and it was a mess. For better or worse, this is the experience lots of people from English-speaking countries have with language learning. Still, you can’t just waltz through your European trip on English alone. It’s not the most-spoken language in Europe, and not everyone speaks English.
Worse yet, using translation apps for your holiday is a bad idea. They’re extremely faulty, and they don’t buy you any goodwill from the locals. So let’s circle back to learning a bit of the language. The benefits include:
- Saving you money abroad
- Allowing you to experience your destinations like a local
- Giving you a boost while traveling alone
- And it gives you a leg up making friends abroad
So how do you actually learn anything before you arrive? Luckily, you can learn a language with only 15 minutes of study time per day. Better yet, our language experts at Babbel also have created learning plans for French and Spanish, so you can get key phrases under your belt in only two weeks!
Get The Phrases Down
Many people spend their big Europe trip going to as many countries as possible to soak up the culture and make the trip really worth their money. If this is the case for you, you probably can’t get conversational in every country’s language that you visit, but you absolutely can learn some phrases to be polite. Here are a couple of shortcuts:
- The Most Useful Phrases for Traveling Europe
- Phrases for Your Spanish Vacation
- Vacation Cheat Sheet: French Edition
- Vacation Cheat Sheet: Italian Edition
- Vacation Cheat Sheet: German Edition
Plan Your Sightseeing In Advance
There’s a bit of a free spirit in all of us, but with every place you go, you should have at least a couple things planned. This ensures that you don’t dwell at the hotel pool or spend all your time in a shopping center. Here are some of our best city guides, written by locals themselves:
- How to Do London Like a Local
- Unconventional Places to See in Paris
- Under-the-Radar Spots in Berlin
- Unforgettable Things to Do in Spain
- Experience Barcelona in 24 Hours
- Lisbon Without the Tourist Traps
- Things to Do in Porto, Portugal
- Our Riga, Latvia Travel Guide
- Why You Should See Macedonia
In case you also want a couple of cultural tips, we also have your back when it comes to passing as a local in Paris, drinking and ordering coffee in Italy, and even distinguishing all the types of German beer. Remember, you’ve traveled all this way — you need to experience your trip to the fullest!