Five important tips when visiting Europe


Europe is a vast and an exciting destination well worth visiting. Use the guidelines below to have a safe and an enjoyable visit.

1). Documents

Never attempt to visit Europe unless your documents are in order, and the appropriate visas are included.

Wherever you go within Europe, carry some identification. Keep photocopies of important documents such as passports separately.

Make sure that you are familiar to the correct amount of duty free items such as alcohol and tobacco that you are allowed. If your duty free exceeds the allowed quota, declare it at the customs. Remember- countries that are not part of the European Union, may well have different regulations.

Never agree to carry parcels/ packages from strangers. If caught carrying illegal substances such as drugs, it carries hefty penalties in ALL countries.

2). Languages

In Europe there are some 320 different mixture of languages. But in all major European towns and cities, English is widely spoken.

If your stay is for a relatively long period, consider taking a phrase- book along. All nationalities will appreciate your attempts at the local language(s)- however badly that may be!

Most European countries tend to favor the 24- hour clock for timetable of buses, trains, and so on. It is a good idea to become familiar with the 24- hour clock before the date of travel.

Be alert to time differences between some European countries. For example, apart from a short window, there is usually an hour time difference between Britain and the rest of the continent.

3). Electricity

Most European countries operate a different voltage than the American system. For example, in many European countries the standard voltage is 230. For some electrical items such as electric razor, you’ll almost certainly need to include an adapter.

4). Cars and driving

To drive in European countries, the minimum legal age is eighteen. Furthermore, some European countries require an ‘international’ driving license.

Do not attempt to drive, unless you are fully entitled to do so. For example, all countries require some kind of insurance.

Ensure that the car you’ll be driving complies with all the requirements of the country involved.

Ensure that you have a practical road map.

The legal alcohol limit for driving varies between many European countries. Driving over the permitted alcohol limit usually carries a fine. If involved in an accident while driving over the alcohol limit, a custodial sentence is usually followed. If unsure to the exact alcohol limit, do not risk it, consume no alcohol at all.

5). Research

Prior to travel, do a little research regarding costs in the country that you’ll visit. Some items such as food and gas do cost more in Europe than in the US. So when you have an idea of the general prices, budgeting will become that much easier.

Try and make reservations for important parts of your trip such as hotel, car hire, and sear reservation for trains. Do not take chances in turning up on the day of arrival without some prior reservations. Remember- just like home, popular establishments will fill up quickly. No reservation can mean having to put up with another less desirable place, which can effect the ‘quality’ of your visit.

As much as possible, plan ahead. The more chores such as hotel, and car hire that you cover in advance, the more hassle- free time you’re likely to have.

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