You’ve saved up for months and will be taking your first flight out to Europe soon. You’re excited to finally be able to see the Eiffel Tower with your own eyes and you won’t forget about your first visit to the Anne Frank’s House to see the secret annex. But, if you go unprepared, these could-be beautiful memories can be tarnished by simple mistakes.
Don’t let that happen to you! While you’re deep in the list-making process, now is the perfect time to review your trip strategy to make sure you’re not about to make any common mistakes that could result in unnecessary costs. Avoiding these mistakes ahead and during your travels will save you from the stress of traveling, while saving your time and money. Avoid these rookie mistakes on your trip to Europe and enjoy yourself!
Taking over-priced taxis
Taxis in Europe are expensive and rarely necessary as the public transportation systems in Europe are generally quite well-connected. Unless you’re traveling with kids, mobility challenged travelers or lugging a lot of luggage, there’s no need for you to get a taxi, and yes — even from the airport! With a bit of pre-planning and research, you can find a cheaper alternative of getting to and from the airport, like an airport express train or local bus.
Renting a car
Unless you’re planning to take a road trip throughout Europe, renting a car is unnecessary. If you’re staying in one or two cities for the duration of your trip, a rented car will be a nuisance and expensive. Do remember that the money for the rental and parking fees can be channeled towards tours and food! With a functional and efficient public transportation system that interlinks all the major cities across Europe, you really won’t need to splash out on an expensive car rental. Buses, trains, and trams will do it all for you!
Not buying travel insurance
If you can’t afford to buy travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel. While the crime level in Europe is quite low, unforeseen health emergencies can happen. Your local health insurance usually doesn’t cover injuries or illnesses that happen overseas. Have a peace of mind when you purchase travel insurance as it can cover the never-ending travel delays, stolen or lost luggage, getting mugged and even death. The last thing you want when traveling in a foreign country is not knowing what to do when an emergency comes up. Good news is, you can easily get your travel insurance from Traveloka when you buy flight tickets!
Not buying tickets in advance
There is nothing worse than planning for months to visit some of Europe’s most famous museums and attractions only to arrive and seeing the long queues. Skip the hassle and buy your tickets in advance! Want to save even more? Get your tickets on Traveloka! Most attractions start selling the tickets in advance which guarantees admission at a certain time, so, be the envy of hundreds of tourists sweating (or freezing) in long lines as you breeze right in!
Not checking the opening hours
The opening hours of museums, restaurants or shops can be different from what we’re used to in Asia. If you’re traveling during the festive season, be sure to check in advance as to whether the places you’re going to are open, as an entire town can go to sleep when you arrive. Usually, most shops and attractions are closed on Christmas day so be sure to make proper planning! Also, be on the lookout for workers strike or natural disasters as this could disrupt your travel plans.
Trust us, you’re not gonna need that red dress that you haven’t worn for the past five years in Europe. Even when you’re spending a month-long trip around the European continent, you don’t need fifty outfits in your backpack. There are many downsides of overpacking — you’ll pay extra fees to the airlines and moving between train platforms with a giant luggage is a nightmare as most underground train stations in Europe do not have elevators! So, only bring what you need as you can always find a laundromat anywhere in Europe. Be creative in recycling your outfits for your Instagram posts!
Settling for the first restaurant you see
This is one of the biggest mistakes you definitely should avoid, not just in Europe but anywhere you travel. When it comes to mealtimes, restaurants in close proximity to major attractions are often overpriced and the quality of the food won’t be as great. The best way to see a city is through its food, so, do a pre-planning by creating a meal itinerary with reservations to local hot spots. This way, you’ll be able to plan your day better and avoid being hangry!
Not claiming your VAT refund
Went to Paris and bringing home some luxury goods? Be sure to save your receipt and ask the cashier for a VAT tax refund form. They will stamp your completed form, and all you’ll have to do is to bring it to the tax refund counter at the airport before you leave Europe. As a tourist, you are eligible to receive a 19-25% cash refund on all purchases with minimums that range from zero (Germany, Ireland and the UK) to €175 in France. Then, you can spend all that extra money at the airport’s duty-free shops!
Booking accommodation in the wrong part of the city
If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is. Don’t be fooled by the dirt-cheap prices and hotels claiming to be “within walking distance from all the main attractions”, because more often than not, they’re not. When booking an accommodation on Traveloka, be sure to check the hotel’s location using the Map tab. Make use of it to book accommodation as central as possible.
Trying to squeeze EVERYTHING into one trip
Yes, we know that you want to make the most out of you vacation time (hands up if you only have 14 days of annual leave!). So, of course you want to see everything on your European trip. However, this could backfire and you might be spending more time on buses and trains than experiencing the place itself. For example, if you’re planning to see London, Paris and Barcelona in eight days, you’ll be spending most of your time in transit. Instead, pick a region and travel deeply. This way, you’ll be able to get to know the local culture better and maybe even make new friends! Don’t worry if you can’t see as much as you want, there’s always a next time!