Every trip I take teaches me something new and helps me grow as a traveller (and person to be honest). Here are a few of the things I took away from this last Eurotrip.
You have to order uncommon money
I’ve mostly travelled in the EU where the currency is Euros and, unless you’re taking out large amount of cash, banks will typically have some bills day of. Other, less common, currencies (such as the Czech crowns and Hungarian Forint) need to be ordered from banks at least one week in advance. So, when I went in the day before I was leaving, they only had Euros! I ended up taking out cash at the ICE kiosk in the airport (which charges a high exchange rate and commission). I was more worried about trying to find an ATM in Europe than the fee and wanted to have the cash. (I ran into the issue in Germany where many places did not take Visa).
Do not check bags
I have travelled with just a carry-on the last few times but this trip I brought a checked bag (it was included in the price of my flight so I figured why not). Never again (unless absolutely necessary). My bag didn’t make it from Paris to Prague with me so I had to wait around for them to deliver it to my hostel and then dragging it around in Europe (think: cobblestones and a heavy piece of luggage) was not fun. I know I can pack lightly which is what I’ll plan to do next time.
How to meet people when travelling
As my second solo trip to Europe (and I think my fourth trip to Europe overall) I think I finally figured out how to meet over travellers! I might do a blog post on it if there is interest, but sticking around the hostel and striking up conversations while out and about (either on walking tours or pub crawls or in the hostel common areas) I made a few friends and had some great nights! I’m not overly outgoing or chatty but other people are, which works for me. Having a few questions up my sleeve to initiate a conversation (“where are you from”, “where are you going/have you been”) is enough to get talking and then take it from there! Even if you don’t become best friends, at least you’ve had someone to talk to for a few hours.
I read this article about slow travel before heading out and decided to adopt it to my usual travel style. Honestly, it made the trip much more pleasant and I was way more relaxed coming back home than I have in the past. There are probably a few things I missed but I loved giving myself time to wander around, sit down and enjoy a tea and a book, spend time in places I was enjoyed etc. rather than always running off to the next thing.
As much as I prepared for this trip (bringing sanitary wipes for planes/buses/trains, having hand sanitizer on my and bringing medicine) I STILL managed to get sick! I think taking the precautions were great but I think I just don’t spend a lot of time around germs in my everyday life and planes and hostels are chock full of them! I managed to get a full blown cold in Budapest but, with the slow travel mentality, missing a day wasn’t the end of the world for me!
What are some lessons you’ve learned while travelling. Leave a comment and help out a fellow traveller!