Five things you should know before going to Europe

Oh, Europe.  The culture, the history, the locations, what could be better? Europe is one of the most popular destinations for vacation-goers, and its close proximity to neighboring countries allows you to travel to different places more easily.  So if you’re looking to take a trip, take a look at the five things you should know before traveling to Europe.

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Combat jet lag before you go

America is a long way away from Europe. And long distances mean different time zones which equal one disastrous outcome: jet lag. Nobody wants to waste their precious vacation time being sleepy and tired.  Working out your time difference before you travel is a must. If you can, try to get your body onto your European time zone a day or so before you are due to fly. Training your body to eat and sleep at times they would in Europe could be a big lifesaver.

Stock up on the local currency

Just because you’re going to Europe does not mean you need Euros. Different countries use different currencies in and around Europe. If you’re going to London, stock up on Sterling. If you’re going to Croatia, you’ll need to stock up on the Kuna, and so on. Long story short, know your currency. Try and work out before you go your budget for your travels. Having cash in European countries is the best option for all visitors as using credit or debit cards, and using ATM’s can add on extra charges that you weren’t expecting. Having cash on you is also handy, as you’ll find that some independent stores and cafes in the European cities and towns will not accept cards.

The cities are very walkable

More often than not, getting a cab or subway through US cities is so much easier than walking, because, quite frankly it would take an age. In Europe, the main cities are easily walkable. You can see Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Paris, London and Edinburgh without spending a cent on public transport. And also, everyone else is doing it! These cities are cram packed full of tourists and natives walking the streets rather than getting the bus, tram or cab. This also allows you to see more of the main attractions, as well as the lesser known sights. The best part about a new place is finding the hidden gems in the middle of the cities. If you do find yourself wanting to a bit further afield, the public transport in Europe is incredibly easy to use, and most cities have underground systems that can allow you to get around. You’ll also find it easy to venture outside of the cities and explore the countryside that Europe has to offer.

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Yes, you really do wait in line

Waiting in a line for something is never fun, but it’s also a huge part of European life – especially in the UK. The worst thing you could do as a visitor is to cut the line, shout or complain while waiting in line. Europeans do it, so should you. You’ll find that in doing so, the lines will decrease at a much faster pace than they do back home. So it’s a win-win situation.

Tell your credit card company

If you find yourself strapped for foreign currency, you may turn to your credit card. However, if you haven’t told your credit card company that you’re going away – especially as far away as Europe – you may find that your card will be cut off. If these companies notice unusual activity on your account, such as the card being used in a different country, they will most likely suspend your account. To avoid this, make sure you phone them before you leave to make them aware of where you’re going, and the dates of when you are leaving and when you are returning. There’s nothing worse than seeing a great pair of shoes in a store window in Milan, and not being able to buy them.