Last May I traveled to Europe for the first time in my life, and because I’m a human cliché, it changed me. So here’s some ‘travel etiquette’ type tips I picked up along the way.
#1 -always say yes to coffee.
Coffee is one of those things that is virtually universal. Everybody drinks coffee everywhere. And if you don’t drink coffee then try a cappucino, because they also drink that in most places and it’s delicious.
Besides literally getting to taste the different flavors of different countries; coffee is a great way to combat jet lag.
I had a cup of coffee and/or cappucino in every country I visited (even if it was just a pit stop like Germany) and they were all unique, picture-perfect, and incredible.
#2 – Let Go Of Any Assumptions You Have About The People.
If you go into a country with an idea of how the people are going to be, forget it. I had entirely too many assumptions about the places I was traveling to and they were all proven wrong by the actual people themselves.
Stereotyping doesn’t do anyone any good. It hurts the people and could put a damper on the experience you have. Forget what you’ve been told, and let the people show you who they really are.
Try to go into new places with an open mind and you might be pleasantly surprised by how much better the experience becomes.
#3 – Pick Up Your Souvenirs on the Streets instead of the Stores.
I love shopping anywhere. I will always say yes to going shopping; it’s one of my favorite activities. And shopping abroad feels even more special.
Whether you have ten people on your list to bring souvenirs back to, or you’re just shopping for yourself, I suggest perusing the street markets instead of the classic stores. Not only is it generally cheaper, there’s just a special feeling of being able to tell people their memento didn’t come from a store we have were we live.
Bonus tip: buy yourself something that you’ll actually use, not just something that will sit on a shelf and collect dust. My friend Maren taught me this (you can see her buying scarves in the picture below) and I think its brilliant… she always buys scarves or earrings so that when she wears them in real life and people ask her about them she has a cool story to tell.
I had heart eyes emojis for all of the flower stands in both Romania and Bulgaria, but the one above on the leftt was too cute not to picture. And I bought myself an adorable scarf from the ‘shop’ pictured on the left in Bulgaria.
#4 – Don’t Forget to Document Your Trip.
This one is so important. I took pictures the entire time I was on my trip of pretty much every possible thing I could think of because let’s face it: memories in your head by themselves will not stand the test of time, but pictures will.
I’ve been on plenty of trips and the ones I remember most are the ones that I documented the best. I want to kick myself for not keeping better records of all my trips because it is so hard for me to remember now the minute details of the trip, and those are my favorite parts.
For this last trip I have pictures and a long post-trip journal entry I wrote on the flight back home. I don’t have to worry about forgetting the stories or faces of people I met because I have living proof that I can look back on for years to come.
We live in a technological age people, take advantage of this and preserve your memories!