Travel Tips for Europe

 
1

Check the weather

Weather & Packing

Europe is a diverse region, located within four climatic belts! Browse weather in Europe before the start of your trip. Consequently, the content of your bags will vary from country to country. Firstly, pack suitable clothing and comfortable footwear depending on the season. If you head to the south, don't forget sunscreen, sunglasses, and caps to avoid sunstrokes and sunburns. Among the indispensable things to take in Scandinavia, there is an umbrella or a raincoat as well as a bug spray in case you are planning long hikes. You can find more information and packing tips in the Pre-Departure Checklist.

 
 
2

Money & Payments in Europe

Cash or Card?

Of course, choosing the way of payment is always up to you, but we would like to provide you with more useful information to make your journey easy and worry-free. Regarding credit cards, you should know that they are not accepted by all European establishments. Moreover, using a credit card you may come across foreign transactions fees which can significantly increase your expenses. However, you are unlikely to have a glitch paying by debit cards which are more widespread on the territory of Europe. Thus, Visa and MasterCard can become your trustworthy assistants during the trip. As for cash, having some with you is definitely a wise decision as they can really save the situation sometimes. But you should bear in mind that, despite the majority of European countries have joined the eurozone, such countries as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, and a few others have their own currencies.

ATMs

It's quite easy to find an ATM in European cities (big or small) plus most of them have the option to choose the English language. Note, though, that in both cases (when paying with your debit card and withdrawing local currency from ATMs), conversion fees may apply, especially if your card is issued in a currency different from the local one, therefore, check with your bank regarding such policies before you go.

Tipping

In most cases, giving a tip when you're satisfied with the quality of services is voluntary in Europe. Generally, a 10% tip is considered as a nice gesture and fair amount. Keep in mind, sometimes in some restaurants, for example, the tip may be already included in your check, thus, read carefully.

 
 
3

Language Advice

Do locals know English?

English, as an international language, becomes more and more popular for learning in schools, universities and language courses. Generally, people involved in the tourism industry tend to know English better so you'll have no problems explaining yourself in hotels, shops, and restaurants. However, when it comes to locals, the level of language proficiency greatly varies from country to country. According to different statistics, the best English speakers in Europe are Scandinavians, followed by western and central Europeans (the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium). The lowest percentage of the English speaking population is observed in southern countries like Italy and Spain as well as Russia, where you are likely to speak mostly with younger people.

Should I learn some foreign words?

We are pretty convinced that speaking English will be enough to explain your wants and needs while traveling Europe. Nevertheless, it can be a good idea to learn at least some greetings and basic words of the countries you are going to as each nation is proud of its culture so locals will definitely appreciate your effort to pronounce some words in their native language. Thus, learning at least such words as "hello", "thank you", and "please" is a sign of fine breeding. You can learn how to greet people in different countries here.

 
 
4

Electricity in Europe

Plugs

Traveling European countries, it's important to know that the electricity used there can differ from the one you have at home. In order to charge your devices in Europe, you should be aware of the European standard of sockets which have the voltage of 220V. This means that you need a special plug adapter to charge your phone or camera, so take care of it in advance or don't forget to buy an adapter upon arrival in Europe. One more important thing is checking the characteristics of your devices. As European sockets deliver 220V which is stronger than a usual American one, some of your 120V devices can simply go dead and spoil the impressions of the journey.

 
 
5

Safety in Europe

General safety precautions

Europe is considered to be quite a safe destination to travel around so you shouldn't have serious concerns regarding your safety during the journey. However, as you are going to visit public places and touristy landmarks, don't neglect the measures of pickpockets precaution! We recommend keeping valuable things in carry-on bags or, better, in some inner zippable pockets as well as leaving your documents and other valuable belongings in your hotel's deposit box.