Always traveling in your home country might make you think that exploring around you is the only way to go or you are trapped into only specific continent and that's the only way to go! No, you are not trapped! There are plenty of countries to explore.
Europe was always on my list for a very long time. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my office job and my overall feel that America has enough for me to offer, I was delaying my trip. Let's over 5 main reasons why you should visit Europe
Europe visit can be done on a budget
Yes, yes and yes! You don't need to spend a fortune on your trip. Even the most expensive destinations have plenty of hostels available and cheap eating out options.
The key here is to be prepared. I'll give you one of the examples where being unprepared made me do some mistakes. First of all, when you come visit a new country or city make sure that you have some internet connection or you have done some research beforehand.
I've been looking for a place to exchange money (from dollars to euros) and I just saw a place around the corner nearby the hostel where I have stayed in. It seemed to me like a good deal... until I've checked out the actual exchange rates and read the reviews of this place on the Internet. It was clearly a really bad deal.
Lesson learned. If you research and check before you do something you will be able to control your spendings. Of course it doesn't mean that you must be super cautious about everything, but generally keeping track of your spendings is a great idea.
Generally speaking, if you want to save money the best idea would be focusing on a Eastern part of a Europe. I'll give an example of the countries that I visited and got generally a good band for a buck:
- Czeck Republic
This is no a full list of the countries, of course. It's just a short list of the places where you can relax a bit and have a feeling that your get much better deal comparing to a Western Europe.
If you are concerned about the cost of the flight, there are always enough cheap options available, especially if you are willing to travel off-season and on a weekday.
Europe is a very diverse mix of cultures
When people tell me that USA has very different feel from state to state, they have clearly never been in Europe. Yes, there is definitely a difference between places when you travel across the United States, but Europe has much more diversity. Let's name a main differences between European countries:
- Currency (yes, euro is not adopted everywhere)
- Political situation
- Mentality of the people
- Cultural aspects
Even though there are no borders within a Schengen states, it still varies a lot. No matter where you go it will feel like a different place each time. It's not like in the United States where no matter you go you'll see a Target and Walmart and the typical set of stores that you got used to.
All in all, you are getting a great cultural deal if you are willing to go to Europe. I can reassure you that you won't regret it.
Driving in Europe is not hard
When I was preparing for my trip, many people told me that driving in Europe might be a challenge because of the narrow cobblestone roads, bad road conditions, weird signs and other things like that.
What I have discovered in practice is that it's not true at all. Road condition is mostly good throughout Schengen area at least. Yes, there are some rough spots, but it's not like it's consistently bad. Roads are indeed more narrow, but you are getting used to it easily.
The only thing to be prepared for is that you need to buy Vignette sticker before you enter a specific country. It's a way of paying highway tolls in many European countries. It's a quite smart decision, but better to be aware of it before traveling, otherwise you might end up with many fines.
What about renting a car, you might ask? My approach on that is that it's better to shop around. I have found that a car rental in Bratislava, Slovakia was almost two times cheaper than renting a car in Budapest, Hungary. Your milage may vary, but you can rent a car for 2 weeks for less than 200$ (excluding insurance) which I consider very affordable.
Don't be afraid to drive in Europe, just don't rush yourself too much and get used to a road signs. Oh, and don't forget that turning right on red is not permitted in most of the world.
If you don't like driving it's not a problem either - there are plenty or railroad connections between the cities as well as buses like FlixBus.
You'll have lots of memories from your trip
Memories might come in a different form. It might be either travel stories, things happened to you, photos or anything else in between. Don't limit yourself to just taking pictures anywhere possible.
You might discover that the things that are triggering inside your soul or people you meet along the way are much better than a rushed tour around the city. Value everything around you and appreciate it.
Stay in the hostels, stay in the hotels, mix everything together. Don't eat out in one type of the restaurant and don't be afraid - everything is going to be just fine.
You might find what you are looking for
Let's be honest. We travel not only to get that typical tourist activities and experiences. Most of the time we just want to see what life has to offer and meet people with very different life outlook.
Europe feels much more relaxed, has more history and there is something for everyone. Who knows, maybe it's exactly what you need right now?
What do you think about planning your European trip?