When my husband and I decided to drive through Europe we noticed some things that other people didn’t warn us about. So I’m hoping with this blog post, if you’re traveling through Europe, this will help you make some better choices.
*Please note that this won’t be just a straight up list, I will be doing some explaining and telling a few stories. If you want just a list than this blog post might not be for you.*
*I will though do a quick list of things you need before going out of the country*
- A valid drivers license
- Some countries require a driving permit which you can get at AAA
- You can go ahead and get currency, if you do then go to the bank because it is way too expensive at the airport OR you can use the ATM in the countries which is actually what my husband and I did (we don’t get charged for using a different banks ATM so you might want to find out if you would get charged or not before you go.
- Call your bank and let them know you will be leaving the country
- If you are going to anything that requires a ticket, go ahead and purchase them before hand online to avoid standing in two very long lines everywhere you go.
- Call your phone provider, you can purchase a SIM card that will allow you to use data but the phone calls might still cost. If you have T-mobile like us I suggest going ahead and getting a SIM card anyways because the service they give you is terrible. It wouldn’t hurt to download some good music on your phone because Chris and I have been stuck listening to the same songs over and over again due to service.
- Download the offline language packages for google translate
- They have different plugins so you will need to buy a converter. Go ahead a buy a battery pack while you’re at it, trust me you will use it.
- BRING YOUR BLOWDRYER -I made the mistake of not bringing mine and only a couple of the places we stayed in had them.
Planning this trip we had no idea how involved it actually was, but was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. One major piece of advice -plan ahead as much as you can. Go head and know where you’re staying for those nights, plan out your days as much as possible. Make an itinerary!
If you haven’t been to a different country before keep in mind the plane ride is very long and if you aren’t one of those people who can sleep on planes then you might want to bring plenty of things to do (on longer flights they do have screens for movies and feed you which is pretty nice). When you arrive in the country, you have to go straight in line to show your passport and be aware that this line can be very long.
Your first day in the country don’t plan anything big, maybe even for the second day too. You will be VERY jet lagged and trust me you will want to rest, don’t fight it, just relax and take it easy but also pick up some bottled water because that is all you will want to drink for water while you’re there. When you’re up to it, driving around in a different country will be extremely different. The lights are different, the roads are different, the cars, the speed limit is by kilometers. The weather is measured differently as well. People just walk everywhere, and if you think the drivers in the U.S. are crazy..
When you are ready to explore the city DO NOT DRIVE to all the things you want to see. Parking is extremely expensive, it is MUCH cheaper to walk and ride trains. Which is actually a lot of fun because you get to see how the locals get around. I also wanted to mention that depending on where you go, people will act differently towards you. Some countries the people will be very rude to you and stare at you like you don’t belong there, other countries the people will be very generous and incredibly sweet.
Driving to the next destination? Be aware of toll roads. I don’t mean little cheap ones either, or only a few of them. We have spent a couple hundred just on tolls, which is something no one mentioned to us when we decided to drive through the countries. Driving to different places you would think that the land might be different and in a few areas it was, but in most areas it looked like the interstate in the U.S.
Now that you’re traveling around, where do you even get food? You will actually be surprised about this but most gas stations are really nice and have awesome food. Some of the best food we had on our trip was at a gas station. So after you fill up the car, go fill up your tummy!
I think one of the major things we wish we would have done is skip renting a car and take public transportation to all the countries. Yeah it would have been hard with all our luggage but it would of been worth it. However, now we have some funny and interesting memories that will last a lifetime. Also not having a good internet connection is probably the worst so buy that SIM card!
Take the train as much as you can, eat amazing food, look around at the incredible places surrounding you, get lost, stay up much later than usual, don’t just stay in the hotel or watch t.v., explore the city at night, soak up every single inch of these places because before you know it the trip will end and I promise you, you wont want to leave.