Traveling FAILS

Traveling FAILS

I like to think ignorance is bliss at times while traveling. It’s nice to stumble upon things like unique cafes or the occasional dive bar, but whats not bliss is running through a train station, knowing your about to miss your train, and having absolutely NO IDEA where that train departs! There are somethings that are essential to learn before traveling to another country and based on my experiences the top three would be means of transportation, language and culture, and weather.

1. Transportation

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Upon arrival, do some research on local transportation. When arriving in Paris, my aunt and I caught on to local transportation pretty fast. We walked to the information desk where they instructed us to get on the metro, located within the airport. This was the easiest and fastest way to travel through Paris. When we arrived in Amsterdam, the transportation was NOTHING like Paris. They used trams as public transportation which would have been fine, had we done some research before hand instead of wasting time trying to figure out how we were supposed to get to our hotel. Wandering around is great and all but not while trying to roll a luggage across cobblestone… so miserable.

2. Language and Culture

Along with transportation, language and culture is something you don’t want to be ignorant about. You don’t have to be fluent in the language, a few simple words and phrases will do. Learning the tip system in that country is also important. You don’t want to over tip, but you don’t want to offend anyone by under tipping either.

3. WEATHER

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It’s so simple to google the weather of the destination you’re traveling to and it’s just as easy to forget and think the weather is going to be similar to weather at home. When I traveled to Europe last year, I completely forgot and packed a jean jacket when I needed a winter coat at times. Luckily there are clothing stores where you could buy a jacket if you needed one, but why would you want to buy a jacket when you have a 20 at home? Why would you have to spend money on a jacket you don’t need when you could spend that money on memories to be made.

You live and you learn. Anyone who travels knows that no matter how much research you do you will never be fully prepared to take on a new country/city. With that being said, take those fails and create memories with them. One of the best memories I have is walking in circles around Amsterdam in the freezing rain trying to find a specific tram. Some of the best memories are unplanned for and unexpected. Fill free to comment with any stories of your own and follow for tips and stories of my travels!

 

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1 Week in Europe: Tips and Tricks

1 Week in Europe: Tips and Tricks

Let me just start off with saying one week in Europe is just not enough time to do it all (which gives you a great excuse return.) With that being said, don’t feel like you have to see it all in one trip because if you go with that mentality you will be greatly disappointed. While my experiences may be different than others, I can help with some do’s and don’t. Follow these tips and your trip will feel longer and you’ll get to see as much as you can in a week.

1. Number of Countries

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Gravensteen

When I bought my first plane ticket to Europe I had this dream of me going from country to country seeing anything and everything. Once it came to picking countries we would be traveling to, I had a quick news flash that I wasn’t going to be able to see everything I wanted to see. It’s pretty impossible to see 15 countries in 7 days, but hey, if anyone has done it, leave a comment to tell me how!

So my aunt and I are sitting in the kitchen coming up with a list of things we want to see and places we wanted to travel to. We decided we wanted to travel to 3 countries in 7 days, which didn’t sound that bad at the time. Little did we realize trains had departing times and it’s their world and we’re just living in it. We also didn’t realize how tired we were going to be traveling from place to place.

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Notre-Dame de Paris

The first 3 days were spent in Pairs, which was amazing and we were able to see everything we wanted to see. After those 3 days, we took a train to Amsterdam. The train left around 1:00 pm which seems like enough time to explore Amsterdam, but arrived at the train station an hour early to make sure we knew where we were going, from there it was a 2.5 hour ride. When arriving to Amsterdam we had to figure out where to get our tram passes so we could get to our hotel. Once we received the passes we had to check into the hotel and drop our bags off. By the time we were ready to explore, it was 4:30 pm. The whole day had been wasted. This unfortunately was the only time we had in Amsterdam. We walked around Rembrandt Square, the floating flower market, and went to a couple bars and restaurants. This was not enough time to see the things we wanted to see. The next morning we took a train to Ghent, Belgium where we had a repeat schedule. By the time we arrived in Ghent most attraction were closing. We spent the night there and returned to Paris in the morning.

If I could have changed anything about our trip it would be to give yourself at least 2-3 days per country. Your first morning and afternoon will be ruined by traveling so you’ll need that extra day to explore.

2. Transportation

The best way and most exciting way to travel Europe is by train. Thalys and the EuRail were the trains we decided to use, although there are other train options. A tip for the trains would be to arrive an hour early to get familiar with your departure site and to try and book over night trains or early trains. This will help you see more of the city.

Last transportation tip would be to do research on the city’s transportation before arriving. You want to make sure you don’t waste time looking for a tram pass to realize it’s easier to use the metro system.

3. Hotels

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The Eiffel Tower

Lastly picking a hotel in or close to the city center will help you get more out of your trip. When you can easily walk to your destination rather than taking a tram, taxi, metro, etc. you save time and money. You also receive a more authentic city feel rather than staying outside the city.

These are just a few tips and tricks that I wish I would have known before traveling. Fill free to leave comments if you have any tips of yourself or questions. Stay tuned for more tips and stories!

Consumed by Wanderlust