Crossing the Atlantic to Europe is a very exciting prospect. When we think of Europe, we think of culture, of history, of some jaw-dropping natural beauty. But we don’t always think of the barriers we might face when we get there. More often than not this leads to an embarrassing faux pas if not being turned away before we even get to enjoy the holiday. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you by avoiding some of the mistakes mentioned below.
Skipping some essential steps
Travel within Europe seems easy and lots of people backpack and road trip through multiple countries at once. However, that doesn’t mean you can just touch down wherever you like. Visiting the EU from outside the Schengen Zone means that you’re likely to have to apply for a VISA. With changes in EU border management update happening right now and further in future, you should always look online to see what you have to do, even if you’ve been before. It’s a transformative time for Europe and the rules won’t always stay the same.
Thinking you can see it all in a week
Compared some of the states in the US, the countries of Europe might look much smaller. But it’s still a very large area. A lot of people severely hamper their trip by planning stops from one country to the next imagining they can see it all. It’s better to keep your focus local unless you have the weeks and months to really dedicate to a big roaming trip. Pick one out of the many great European travel destinations and scale out from that spot.
Expecting etiquette to be the exact same
The US also shares a general etiquette with a few state and regional differences here and there. In Europe, it’s not the same at all. For instance, did you know that smiling at a stranger in the streets of Romania could actually be seen as an insult? There are also some differences in etiquette that end up working in the visitor’s favor, like the much lower importance placed on tipping in Europe. But do a little research on the modern customers of the places that you’re visiting. Otherwise, you might be surprised by how many kisses on the cheek you get from the friends you make there.
Expecting everyone to speak English
This is a huge assumption that thousands of travelers make a year. Yes, English is widely taught in Europe. But that doesn’t mean that everyone remembers their English studies from school or that they’re all fluent. If you’re going over, don’t make that assumption. At the very least, equip yourself with a phrasebook or one of the many translation apps on offer. If you have a bit more time to prepare, then learning the basics of their language can be a great help.
There’s a lot to do and see in Europe, so it’s worth the little culture shocks and the occasional language barrier. So long as you follow the tips above, you should enjoy your trip with no issue.