I recently returned from my honeymoon (and my first European trip since I was a baby!) My husband and I visited Santorini, but also spent a night in Athens, and a night in London. While I certainly don’t claim to know everything about Europe, I wanted to share 10 things I learned while abroad.
- It’s not all glamorous. Travel can be frustrating and exhausting, but oh-so worth it.
- Talk to the locals for recommendations on restaurants, beaches, etc . Get away from the popular tourist locations because the views are just as beautiful, but you don’t have to share the experience with dozens/hundreds of others.
- Expectations lead to disappointment. Try to go with an open mind and you will enjoy your time even more!
- You will miss routine and “normalcy”. But then when you get back home, you will miss the craziness of travel. It’s a cycle.
- The little things are what get the most expensive. Buying drinks with dinner. Paying for taxis and transportation. It can be really easy to spend an extra $20 a day that you don’t NEED to spend. But if you’re smart and plan ahead, you can avoid these costs and save a lot of money.
- Don’t try to see too much in a short period of time. We spent 8 nights in Santorini. I thought that would be too much and I was worried we would get bored. But there was SO much to see, plus we still had time to relax. We met several people who only had 24-48 hours on the island, which is still great, but I can’t imagine how you’d get an authentic experience in such a rushed period of time. Not to mention, staying in one place for longer will save you money on travel expenses!
- European airlines aren’t the same as North American airlines. I had read about the lack of leg space, and the expensive baggage charges, but it was even worse than I expected. On our Vueling flight, my knees actually hit the seat in front of me before the person even put it in recline. After, it was even worse. They also didn’t offer us water, snacks, etc. unless you wanted to pay for it!
- Water isn’t free at most restaurants. You can ask for tap water, but it isn’t safe to drink everywhere. We bought a 6-pack of water every few days because this girl needs to stay hydrated!
- You’ll miss your own bathroom. The bathrooms aren’t cleaned to the same standard as ours at home, you often have to pay to use them, and sometimes you aren’t allowed to throw your toilet paper in the toilet. I was pretty excited to be back in a Canadian airport with a “normal” toilet.
- It truly will change you, you’ll come home a different person with stories, experiences and lessons that you’ll cherish forever.