Europe travel is sure a major milestone soon to be struck off your bucket list, but are you travelling alone? Yes, Europe is indeed much safer than most other destinations on your list like the America, Asian or African countries but solo travel needs you to be prepped up more than you have to be in a group. Here are 12 important tips to make that solo Europe trip be swift and full of lovely memories.
Plan and book your travel in advance
Travelling solo often has that lazy vibe with flexibility of travel plans, but with the pricing of Europe trains being similar to airlines, the earlier you book, the more you save. Moreover, planning in advance can save you a lot on accommodation costs as you could plan to travel overnight for journeys longer than 5 hours. There are full chances you’d get the ticket last minute as you require just one, but not only will it be expensive, it might eat out on potential touristy time. Also, it gets easier to book accommodation and remain stress free when the travel is booked in advance. A Eurail pass is not essential if you aren’t planning to switch a lot of cities. Booking train tickets in advance will cost you lesser than other modes of transport unless you book into the no frills airlines which are incredibly cheap within Europe.
Book into hostels and make friends
If you’re planning to splurge, you may as well book at luxurious hotels, but solo travel is best done when staying at hostels. Europe has a variety of hostels ranging from basic bed and breakfast to almost a hotel like experience. Not only are you going to save money, but you will also end up making friends with whom you could spend the rest of your time in that city. They might be people who know the city well, or you could discover places together, feeling safe at the same time. Moreover, these hostels offer food at lower costs than outside, again making you feel more at home. You must decide the hostel, only after knowing what all parts of the city do you want to explore.
Give false information to keep stalkers off
Every place has its own sets of creeps and your encounters in Europe won’t be few. When travelling alone, especially if you are a female traveler, keep a false name, city and the place you are staying ready to be told to anyone who intrudes. If you see someone following walk into the closest designer store or a reputed hotel lobby. You’d find a lot of pickpockets in the tube stations and the trains. It is best to get off at a crowded station when you suspect a stalker or simply miss your station to avoid having them know your whereabouts.
Allot your budget to different cities before booking accommodation
While certain countries would be cheaper than others, know of the currencies, the tourist spots and the local grocery costs to allot a certain budget to each city of currency. Prague and Budapest may cost way less than Amsterdam and Paris. Istanbul can be travelled in luxury in the amount that would suffice for three meals a day in London. Plan the budget accordingly, checking the ticket costs of tourist attractions you seek to visit and the local rents. Staying at Champs Elysees might hamper your budget while shifting to the Opera Boulevard will be an equally central location with lower associated costs.
Take your student ID everywhere
Most places in Europe provide for free or extremely subsidized student entries. It can help you save a major portion of the budget allocated to tourist attractions to carry your student ID and flash it while purchasing the ticket. In most instances, they are flexible to the rule of student belonging to European Union and just give you the subsidized rates as experienced in Notre Dame Cathedral and Palace of Versailles. Also, many restaurants offer students discount in particular hours. It doesn’t hurt to try your luck, does it?
Try local cuisine or opt for set lunches
Lunching in Europe often comes cheaper than dinners. Similarly, as everywhere else, the local cuisine will be cheaper and more widely available. What’s the harm in having pizza in Italy, Croissants in France, Tapas in Spain and Waffles in Belgium when it could save on your eating costs while tantalizing your taste buds to different cuisines through your trip. Or you could simply opt for all you can eat set menu lunches at local restaurants often under Euro 10 per person and eat to your heart’s delight. That’s almost the price you’d pay for coffee at a high street coffee shop.
Join in on a walking guided tour
Most places in Europe have certain charitable groups carry out free walking tours around the city. The paid ones might be better, but why not experience it if you don’t have to pay the money. You can tip the guide if you wish to, but it is not compulsory. You could also opt for paid tours to the more shady areas like with Montmartre in Paris or the Blue and Red light areas in Amsterdam, if you don’t wish otherwise. It’s always good to have company, even if the plan was to travel solo. Also, you wouldn’t have to worry about the drinking costs for hanging in too long at a bar for the nightlife as you could split the bills with those you have in company. More fun at a lesser price is sure a perk.
Pack super light
You are travelling alone and you do not want to be burdened with your own luggage over everything else. There is little chance you’d get any help and there sure going to be a lot of walking involved, with the luggage if you’re travelling by train. Travel as light as possible and maybe packing in advance could make you sure of how light your bags are and you could book for the no frills flight at the same cost.
Avoid looking expensive
The Burberry Trench might be your favorite through the winters and the Furla boots your go to through the rains but it is best to avoid looking expensive when travelling solo in Europe. A simple Swarovski studded watch invited me three potential theft threats in Paris and I wouldn’t have realized had I not narrated the incident to the receptionist at the hotel. Avoid solitaire diamonds, expensive bags and cameras or anything that makes you look expensive enough to be looted. Try and not carry too much cash and depend on credit cards as far as possible and avoid being caught studying the map in public. The last thing you want is to return looted from your travel.
Know the places, rules and tax refunds
To know where you want to go, the places you want to visit and the knowledge of local rules and manners is an added plus. In Brussels, for instance, takeaway meals would cost less as they’d charge you an added price to sit around while having your meal. Similarly, in certain places they charge you more to sit on the rooftop or outside in the open than inside during rush and party hours in London. Also, the local legal rules are immensely important too as you do not want to end up seeing the police for offending the rules. If you plan on shopping, know in advance of the tax refunds as they could add up to a lot. Also, carry your passport along if you’re looking to receive tax refunds.
Learn a few words in the Local Language
A simple Bonjour can make the experience better in France and Hola could really break the ice in Spain. Learn on a few words in the local language like good morning, how are you? , Thankyou, Sorry, Please, and any other words to be used in daily life. Also you could purchase an Internet pack and translate any words you need instantly for swifter communication in countries with fewer English-speaking people.
Stay centrally near public attractions
Staying at Paddington in London, Dam Square in Amsterdam, Las Ramblas in Barcelona and Taksim Square in Istanbul can be added plus as you’d be in and around most public attractions in round the clock crowded areas. It doesn’t only mean added security but also lower costs of using public transport around the city. Moreover, you could take delight in the nightlife and be around till late hours without having to worry of isolated streets back to your hostel. There’d be shopping, food, and groceries all at a very short distance and you’d love your stay even more when you stay in the heart of the town.
So are you set to travel solo? Let these tips come in handy for Europe to be your best memory.