Europe for Beginners: What I Wish I Knew

It’s been a couple of weeks since I embarked on my month long journey to Europe, during the break. With high hopes and dreams, I remember tossing and turning over all the different opportunities that I will face over my time there, the people I will meet and the memories I will create. I originally thought it would end up like the movie Euro Trip, but it proved to be something much more than that.

Today, after reviewing my time in Europe, I want to share with you my experiences (the appropriate ones…) and maybe even give you all a few tips on travelling Europe.

  • You’re going to get lost!

I don’t know if this is obvious to everyone else, but it wasn’t to me. I like to think of myself as a well-rounded navigator who can follow a map. Hmm, turns out maybe I’m not! The streets of Italy and Amsterdam will have your mind spinning in circles, wondering if you just saw that guy on the street trying to sell you a ‘selfie stick’ just five minutes ago. The truth is, you’re probably lost. But don’t get too worried, take it as an adventure, and when you get the chance, maybe check with someone for directions!

  • Always check the weather in advance

So… I wish I listened to my mother on this one. I went to Europe late June through to the end of July. All I can say is I wasted a lot of space in my bag with unnecessary jumpers, jeans and beanies! Although my Mum gave me a good stern warning, I still didn’t listen. Instead I listened too many of my friends who told me it would be cold in the European Summer, sorry Mum! SO always have a bit of a check on google for rough weather forecasts of the locations you’re heading too.

  • Money! Money! Money!

Money, we all love to have it and sure, we all hate to use it sometimes. But money makes the world go around… and it keeps you travelling. So, please, make sure you have enough. Budget for all your travels appropriately before you get over there, way too many times I saw people frantically calling Mum and Dad back home begging for a couple hundred dollars to keep their trip rolling!

  • Be prepared to make lifelong friends

When I was talking to other friends about their experiences in Europe, time after time I was told, “you make the best friends, you’ll see how hard it is once you have to leave them”. I thought, “Ok, yeah, possibly it’ll be a little hard, but I’ll only know them for a month so how hard could it be”. Well, as my friends all said, very hard! Many nights were spent hugging and drinking until 4-5am in the morning wishing new friends a safe departure and reminiscing on the times you had together during your trip. Also, remember many hours will be consumed whilst intoxicated, planning trips to meet with one another in alternate locations around the world, always!

  • Push past the hangover!

Now this isn’t for the faint hearted, you have to be strong to follow this tip. After the morning spent out on the town until 5am saying goodbye to your new friends, you might not be so keen to wake up at 8am to start your day and get outside and continue your explorations. All I can say is, I’m sorry, you have too. There is no time to waste when you’re away, so either your friend, or the creepy guy under your bunk in your hostel will wake you up eventually. Just drink lots of water, and keep on pushing!

  • Take every opportunity you get!

Last but definitely not least… Way too often I saw people backing down from a challenge, not facing a fear or missing out on an awesome opportunity, please, don’t be this person! It’s an amazing place with so many incredible things to see, and no one wants to go home with regrets. So do everything you set out to do and make it a trip filled with memories and experiences that you can share with everyone for the rest of your life!

So, ciao, au revoir, auf Wiedersehen, adios!
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Make the most of the life you have and make it something special to remember.

// Luke Duff.

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