Travelling to Europe is a dream come true for many Americans. This continent boasts an amazing cultural legacy, stunning natural surroundings and numerous historic sites to discover. However, an enjoyable trip requires planning and familiarization with the European lifestyle and customs. Here are some helpful travel tips for Americans visiting Europe.
1. Passport And Visa Requirements
Before embarking on your European trip, it’s essential that your passport remains valid at least six months beyond the return date. Most European countries require American tourists to obtain a tourist visa; however, many also participate in the Schengen Agreement, allowing visa-free travel in its area for up to 90 days – always make sure you check each country’s requirements prior to travelling and obtain any necessary visas in plenty of time!
2. Currency Exchange
While the Euro is widely used across European nations, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with each destination’s local currency before planning your visit. While credit cards may be accepted in most places you visit (e.g. local markets or small businesses that may not accept them).
3. Power Adapters And Voltage Regulation
Europe uses different power outlets and voltage than the United States. To ensure that your devices stay charged up, invest in a universal power adapter and make sure your electronics can handle European voltage (typically 220-240V). Furthermore, consider packing portable chargers in case they’re needed during your stay in Europe.
4. Language Barriers
Europe is home to an incredible variety of languages that vary by country. While English may be commonly spoken among tourist areas, taking the time to learn a few phrases of local languages could prove immensely helpful in building connections with locals and exploring less touristy parts of town.
European cities are well known for their extensive public transportation systems. Consider investing in city passes or travel cards for unlimited access to buses, trams and subways in urban areas with congested streets – often more cost-effective and efficient than renting a car!
6. Health And Travel Insurance Policies
Travel insurance is essential when travelling in Europe. Make sure your coverage includes medical emergencies and trip cancellations. Also consider getting a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which gives access to public healthcare at local prices. With a round-trip flight itinerary, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your entire journey is organized from start to finish.
7. Anti-Pickpocketing Measures And Security Issues
Europe is generally safe for tourists, yet it’s essential that they remain alert in crowded tourist areas where pickpocketing occurs. Keep your valuables secure by using a money belt or hidden pouch to keep your passport, credit cards, and cash safe from thieves.
8. Local Customs And Etiquette
European cultures and customs differ considerably from what you might be used to in the US, for instance, it may be common practice to greet each person you meet with both cheek kisses, while tipping practices vary between countries. Be sure to research what customs apply in each place you plan on visiting in order to prevent unintended cultural miscommunications.
9. Plan In Advance
Europe offers an abundance of experiences. Plan your itinerary carefully, taking note of must-see attractions like museums and historical landmarks; but leave room for spontaneity by being flexible with your schedule and exploring off-the-beaten-path gems.
10. Pack Light
Packing lights when travelling Europe can be challenging due to cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways, making transportation of luggage an ordeal. A versatile wardrobe and comfortable walking shoes will be key.