So, you’ve booked your flights, packed your bags, and you’re ready to embark on your first Eurotrip! One of the best things about travelling around Europe is how easy it is to get around. And thanks to our good pals at Easyjet and Ryanair, travelling around Europe is basically as cheap as going to the corner shop to buy a six pack of beer! But before you embark on your budget airline adventure across the continent, allow me to instill in you the “dos” and “don’ts” of backpacking that will guide you on your Eurotrip, and help you avoid getting stranded in Bratislava (though I’m sure in real life it’s nothing like how it is portrayed in Eurotrip).
Do: Sneak bottled water from the corner shop into restaurants.
Unless you want to settle for a €3.50 bottle of fancy restaurant water that is a fraction of the size, you will do well to follow this tip. Tap water in a restaurant? Fo-get about it.
Don’t: Be surprised if you are required to pay to use a toilet.
Sadly, being forced to pay actual currency to carry out your excretory needs is the norm in many European countries. You can complain and ask “what is wrong with this country” all you want, but at the end of the day, you will be the one wetting your pants (or worse).
Do: Order all the alcohol.
If you fail to follow my advice and find yourself sitting in a restaurant after a long day spent roasting at the Colosseum with no water to relieve your poor dehydrated body, I suggest you take a second look at the beverage menu. You will likely discover that it is cheaper to order a shot of vodka than a bottle of water. Well, if you ask me, there is only one economical solution – BOOZE IT UP!
Don’t: Take a million pictures of churches.
Throughout your travels, you are inevitably going to see a bazillion churches. In the moment, you might be thinking “Ooo, a church! I must take a photo!” I mean, you can if you want. But if you’re like me, later you will go through your photos and realize that they all look exactly the same on a camera, therefore, a waste of space on your memory stick. Of course, some there are some exceptions to this (St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and many many more).
Do: Make sure your hostel actually exists before booking it.
Ah, the infamous case of the “phantom hostel”. Fortunately, I have never been a victim of the “phantom hostel,” however, friends of mine have, and from what I hear, it ain’t much fun. It’s like trying to find Platform 9 ¾, except that there’s no hostel entrance that will magically reveal itself when you run into it at full speed.
Don’t: Be afraid to go out of your comfort zone!
When travelling to a new place, some things may intimidate you at first. Massive crowds, foreign languages, and not knowing east from west. But rather than let this hold you back, embrace the challenges! Eat new foods! Learn some new words in the local language! Try an activity you wouldn’t normally do, like surfing or rock climbing! If you step out of your comfort zone, I guarantee you will return home with a huge sense of fulfillment, and not to mention, some great stories to tell your friends!
Do: Talk to new people
One of the best parts of travelling is meeting fellow travellers who you can explore with. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to people! I know your mother may have told you “don’t talk to strangers,” but I think it’s safe to say this rule doesn’t apply here. I’ve met some amazing people while travelling, and it truly adds value to the whole experience. Besides, it’s much more fun to enjoy 2 Euro wine in Paris with new friends than on your own!
Don’t: Have sex in your hostel bed.
Don’t be that person. Seriously. Just don’t. Because you will get Chlamydia. AND DIE!!!!! (Ok, not actually, but I just really wanted to use that Mean Girls reference).
Do: Try the local cuisine.
At the risk of sounding a wee bit cliché, “when in Rome,” DO eat authentic Roman food. Try the escargot in France. Have the paella in Spain. One of the best parts of visiting new countries is, indeed, eating! So try all the foods! It is 100% acceptable to get pregnant while you are away, just so long as it is with a food baby and not an actual baby…
Don’t: Spend all your time partying
Unless you have booked a trip to Ibiza with the sole intention of staying up all night to party your socks off, make sure you find a balance between partying, sightseeing, and relaxing. If you wake up every day too hungover to explore the amazing new place you are in, then what’s really the point? You can party at home any time, but how often will you get to see historical landmarks like the Acropolis or relax on the beaches of Portugal? A little party never killed nobody, but a lot of party might do a little bit of damage.
Do: Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain à la Lizzie McGuire.
After all, this is what dreams are made of!
Don’t: Try to get away with paying discounted fares on public transport.
I mean, you can try to play the whole “I’m foreign” card, but if they don’t let you off the hook, you could land yourself a hefty fine – money that could be much better spent on, say, eating and sightseeing!
Do: Pretend to speak a made up language when approached by creepy street vendors trying to sell you things.
Street vendor: “Hello. You are very beautiful. Would you like to buy a rose?”
Street vendor: “ :/ “
Don’t: Share a hostel dorm with an old man who has no problem with publicly undressing.
Do: Take nerdy touristy pics wherever you go.
Holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Yes. Selfie with the Mona Lisa? Duh. “I Amsterdam” letters photoshoot? Um, YEAH! Do it all!
And there you have it! Now you are ready for your departure. Throughout your travels, I’m sure you will discover your own list of “dos” and “don’ts,” so get pumped for to what’s to come on your wild and crazy adventure! #YOLO, “When in Rome,” and all that jazz.
Are there any other “dos” and “don’ts” you follow while travelling in Europe, or anywhere? Let me know in the comments!