My Top Ten Tips For Traveling Smart In Europe 

November 16, 2015
0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Filament.io 0 Flares ×

Michelangelo’s Dome At St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City

I wrote this post while at an airport in Rome en route to Paris. My goal was to provide value to people who would be planning a Europe trip. We had no idea what we would experience next.

Our flight from Rome arrived in Paris at approximately 9:20pm. At that exact time, the first terrorist attacks were launched virtually simultaneously, with two explosions close to the Stade de France.

I will be working on a full post and podcast recap of our time here in Paris and what we through while Paris, France experienced the worst tragedy since World War II and the deadliest in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.

This year my wife and I are traveling through Europe. If you want to listen to a podcast I recorded along with my wife about our Europe trip last year, click here and take a listen. In this blog post, I want to share our top ten tips for traveling smart when in Europe. 

If you are planning a trip to Europe, I believe this post will help you. If you found it helpful, please share it with your social network.

When taken out of your every day element and your everyday routine, you begin to see things clearer and your perspective becomes sharper. This is the moment that I’m currently in.

For the past few days, I’ve created countless new projects and thought of at least a hundred different things I want to do differently in 2016. But one concept remains sure. That without hard work, without diligence, without perseverance, without consistency – all of that will remain bits and pieces within my mentality, words for the wind, bullet points in my Evernote journal, scribbles in my Moleskine, ink on paper, effortlessly proclaimed cliche phrases which garner occasional eye rolls, and nothing more than that.

So that’s why when immersed into unfamiliar territory, you begin to gain fresh revelations, experience a second wind and develop a tenacity you thought wasn’t there. All the while being wrecked by realizing that God isn’t done working with you, He has just begun working on you.

So taking a trip and exiting your familiar surroundings is actually therapeutic and highly effective at pressing the proverbial reset button on your mentality.

Follow Me On Instagram and Snapchat. To see more pictures and snaps of our current trip, follow me on Instagram: instagram.com/kipko or click here and follow my wife Victoria: instagram.com/v_ko or click here. Also, add me on snapchat. My username there is: Bogdan Kipko.

Now, onward to the practical side of things.

Here Are My Top Ten Tips for Traveling Smart in Europe:

1. Go To Europe In The Fall. The fact that we went to Europe in November was not coincidental but rather intentional. We purposefully wanted to avoid the crowds, the tourists, the delays, the long queues, the hot weather and the general misery of having to travel during hot weather. Since we live in Southern California, we already have the great weather year around, the beaches and anything else that has to do with the sun. Going to Europe in the fall or towards the end of the year is awesome for multiple reasons. The weather is mild and perfect and very pleasant. Europe is beautiful this time of year. There are fewer people traveling because it is the off-season. There are less tourists everywhere. There are less crowds everywhere. It’s almost like Europe is all yours personally for exploring and enjoying.

It took us less than ten minutes to enter the Colosseum in Rome. It took us less than thirty minutes to enter into and also ascend to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (551 steps in total).Were we to go in the summer, both of the aforementioned places would most likely have taken us three or more hours, depending on the queues. The streets are not overcrowded and you can walk around at your own pace, not having to worry about lines, queues or swarms of people everywhere.

2. The Euro Has Fallen. This is caused by a number of factors not least of which the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. When we were in the airport in Rome this year, I bought an Acqua Panna (bottled water), a Pellegrino and a cappuccino and my total was 5.70 euros. That is $7.53. If you go to any airport Starbucks in the United States, you will pay at least $13+ for a bottle of water plus a latte. So if you are planning a trip to Europe, monitor the Euro, the Franc or whatever other currency of the country you will be visiting so that your dollar can actually go a long way.

3. Advance Purchase Of Tickets Is The Best. Like I mentioned before, we wanted to go see the Colosseum. So I purchased two tickets in advance, the night before. The queue for advanced purchased tickets literally had no one in it. It was really cool to walk past about two hundred people who were waiting in line for their tickets. If you simply go online and buy the tickets for whatever sight-seeing destination you want to visit, you are fall less likely to stand in a long queue.

4. Invest In A Comfortable Pair Of Shoes. This might sound obvious but I’ve heard so many horror stories from friends who were miserable because they did not have comfortable shoes. Honestly, the best way to see Europe is by walking. My wife and I literally walk close to six miles per day and it’s great to see everything up close and personal. My comfortable shoes of choice were the Nike SB Stefan Janoski Max. I ordered them right from the Nike website. The color that I got was white and I just checked and they don’t have the white anymore. However, all the other colors look super good too. These shoes are also unisex. I wore these shoes the entire day, walking over six miles and my feet felt like they were on pillows the entire day. Now, I did have loafers with me but I wore those out to dinner in the evening and not during the day.

5. Portable Phone Chargers Will Save You. The worst thing that can happen is for your iPhone battery to die in the middle of you taking that epic selfie with your spouse at the Eiffel Tower. I know, #firstworldproblems. I personally have an iPhone 6 and the battery still drains pretty quickly. Two things I do to help prolong the battery life is to turn on the setting on the phone that puts it on Low Power Mode and I turn down the screen brightness to about thirty percent. In addition, I have three fully charged block chargers along with my usb cord. So if my iPhone or my wife’s iPhone battery dies during our outing, no need to panic. In Europe, charging stations are not as prevalent as they are in the United States. So having these charging packs is super helpful.

6. Book Everything Early. This includes hotels, airline tickets, train tickets, whatever you can book early, do it. I love to plan ahead so that is the way that works for me. Generally speaking, booking early and ahead will be more economical.

7. Ignore The Sales People. In most popular tourist destinations, you will always encounter a gang of people that are trying to sell you a selfie stick, an umbrella, a useless trinket or something else that you don’t need. Just say no in whatever language of the country you are in and keep moving along. The slightest bit of interest you show will immediately energize them to keep selling you.

8. Musicians Aren’t Playing For You For Free. When you are sitting down at a cafe or restaurant, there will be occasional musicians that come around on the street and begin to play music for you. This might also happen if you are traveling on a city train or a bus. If you are inexperienced, you will begin to enjoy the music and will make eye contact with the musicians. That is completely fine. Except for the fact that they expect, nay, demand a tip for their performance. If you enjoy the music and want to leave them a tip, that’s awesome. But just know that this is what they expect. If you don’t want to leave a tip, simply keep scrolling through Instagram or Snapchat and they will find another target. Also, keep in mind that when you eat at a restaurant or a cafe, you don’t necessarily need to leave a tip because if you look closely at your receipt, you will see that the gratuity has already been included within the price of whatever you purchased. 

9. Learn Basic Phrases In Each Language. Knowing basic phrases in each language actually goes a long way. Just download an app on your phone and practice these phrases while you fly to your destination. The locals really appreciate you knowing even the simplest of phrases in their native language. Plus, you won’t come across as a basic tourist who doesn’t know anything other than your own native culture.

10. Keep A Travel Journal. Whether you like writing on paper or you like typing on a laptop, I highly recommend keeping a travel journal. This is an excellent way to etch your great memories into a device or a journal so that you can revisit them later. Trips and vacations usually pass by super quick and often our greatest moments from the trip are immediately forgotten. Even if you aren’t a writer, simply jot down a few bullet points every day of the places you visited, the foods you have eaten, the moments you enjoyed and the highlights you experienced.

When I look at our 2014 Europe Trip journal, I am reminded once again of the amazing time that my wife and I had. I again begin to re-live the experiences. Plus, when telling your friends or family about your trip, it really helps to have a journal because then you can easily reference the places you went and the favorite things that you have experienced. Imagine twenty or more years from now, your family can read your travel journal. I personally would have loved to read the travel journal from my parents when they were my age. Now you can create the same experience for generations.

Bonus Tip. Invest In Noise Canceling Headphones. If you’ve ever experienced noise-cancelling headphones, you know exactly the beauty and value of them. If you are going to be traveling to Europe from the United States, at the very least, your first flight will be about nine hours.

I recommend that you invest in noise canceling headphones. The reason being is that they eliminate the majority of airplane noise during your flight and they make the flight significantly more enjoyable. I personally have the following two types of noise canceling headphones and I recommend both of them, depending on what your preference is. I also believe that these headphones are the absolute best of the best in terms of what the current market has to offer. I have tried many different types and these are the clear winners. I have the Bose QC 25 Noise Canceling Headphones and the Bose QuietComfort 20i In-Ear Headphones.

My wife prefers the Bose QC 25 because they are “over the ear,” headphones. They cover your entire ears while you are wearing them and they provide excellent noise canceling, not to mention the amazing sound quality of the music you will listen to or the movie or show you will be watching on your device.

I personally prefer the Bose In-Ear Headphones. These go directly into your ear and they come with a small noise canceling adapter that does need to be charged. I like the In-Ear model because they are so small and compact. But if you don’t like the In-Ear model, the over the ear model is amazing.

Here is the thing though: I know that both of these types of headphones are a bit on the high-end in terms of the price. But I believe that the investment you will make into these headphones will be well worth it. I personally would rather invest in something that is higher quality, than continuously have to buy more of the same type of low quality headphones because they quit working or experience a malfunction. In the end, you will end up paying the same as you would for the high-end headphones, or worse, much more. Think of it this way: If you are spending five dollars a day on a latte, how about skipping buying that latte for fifty nine days and then, taking the money you saved to purchase these headphones?

I often hear people complain that certain high-end items, such as headphones, are way over-priced. My philosophy is that I am too poor to buy cheap products. We’ve all experienced buying something that was super cheap, only to have it break on us prematurely. Whether you buy these headphones or not, it’s entirely up to you. I just want to help you make a decision if you are in the market. I do believe that noise canceling headphones, especially the Bose brand, are the best out there and it will make your flight incredibly more enjoyable.

So there you have it. My ten tips for traveling smart in Europe. Be sure to stay tuned for the upcoming podcast where my wife and I will recap our trip and the adventures we had.

Follow Me On Instagram and Snapchat. To see more pictures and snaps of our current trip, follow me on Instagram: instagram.com/kipko or click here and follow my wife Victoria: instagram.com/v_ko or click here. Also, add me on snapchat. My username there is: Bogdan Kipko.

If you’ve never travelled to Europe, what questions do you have about it? Feel free to leave a comment here, leave a comment on my Instagram or send me a snap.

If you are a seasoned Europe traveler, what others tips would you add?

If you found this post helpful, please share it with your social network.

Bogdan Kipko

Posts Twitter Facebook Google+

Internet evangelist. Social media fanatic. Unashamed about consuming lots of coffee. Fueling your life daily on iTunes. My show: The Fuel For Life. Follow me as I follow Him.