Friday, February 27, 2015

7 Tips For Traveling to Europe

Love to travel? So do I! We just visited Europe for the third time and found that it would be helpful to post some tips that we have learned from our trips.

Here are 7 tips for traveling to Europe that should spare you some headaches.

1. Contact your bank to exchange currency before going overseas. 

They will offer you the best exchange rate (especially if you arrive in Europe on a Sunday when none of the exchange places are open).

2. Find out your credit card company's international exchange rate fee (%). 

This is a great way to travel without having to deal with exchanging or using your cash. Saving your cash for those "cash only" places is easy when you use your credit card. Your credit card will get the lowest exchange rate on the market that day and charge you a small fee per transaction. Find out if that fee is worth it. Some credit card companies don't charge a fee at all. Either way, it was a HUGE asset for us. Bonus: we earned more points on our card!

3. Know your pin number!

If you choose to use your credit card overseas, make sure to get your pin number. There are several places where pin is required even if it's not a debit card.

4. Download train routes in advance

If you're going to a city where they use the "tube," "metro," or "subway" download the apps that show the routes of each one. This really saved us and helped us get around easily!

5. Look into the free tours offered by Sandeman's New Europe Tours. 

We took these tours in London, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. They offer them all over Europe's major cities and are a wealth of information mixed with humor. Do this on the first day so you get a good feel for the city you're visiting. Don't forget to bring some of that cash - they work off of tips. 

6. Don't overlook Airbnb!

This is a great, affordable way to stay in the best parts of the cities without compromising your budget (that way you can spend more on food and wine). We had some great experiences with them this trip.

7. Pack a carry-on luggage

We have never packed more than what can fit in a carry-on so that we don't check-in luggage. We've been spared from the hassle of waiting and paying extra. On top of that, if you're visiting multiple cities in one trip, it's much easier to travel with through all the trains and modes of transportation. Make sure to review the weight standards of the airline so that they don't charge you on the way home. (This almost happened to us and we weren't carrying more on the way back)


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