Things You Don’t Know About Europe Until You Get There
Europe is responsible for most of the technology, culture, and language that dominates the world today. But, do you have any idea how it is like being there? Planning on a vacation? Sightseeing? Pause for a moment and read this.
If you plan to travel to Europe, you’ll want to read these Things You Don’t Know About Europe Until You Get There! Let us help you and ourselves by sharing knowledge and experience.
We got to admit that most toilets look the same. In Europe, every toilet feels like a puzzle you have to solve. I’ve seen toilets that flush by pulling on strings that hang from the ceiling; for some reason I assumed it’s for the lights. There are toilets that flush by pressing a pedal on the floor, which I only figured out because it looked like a sewing machine pedal. There are toilet seats that don’t stay down unless you sit on them. My personal favorites are the little flush and big flush buttons, which always make me laugh since in the US, it doesn’t make a difference. No poop vs. pee button.
This is sort of weird, but you can’t leave the hotel with your room key. Weird, I know, but you have to hand your room key to the concierge before leaving the hotel. You’ll notice room keys often have a very large heavy key chain because the hotel does not want you to take the key with you. Maybe they fear you’ll lose it or make a copy. Don’t make the same mistake as I did when I unintentionally always forget to hand my keys in and got stopped by the concierge upon each exit. It’s embarrassing.
You need to know that things close down at lunch time. This applies specifically to Spain and Italy where things close down in the middle of the day. I mean everything closes. Restaurants, stores, sightseeing. Everything stops so that everyone can have a break in the middle of the day. As a tourist, you will be extremely annoyed because this is the prime time to see the city and eat lunch.
The people of Europe know how to relax, and if you are a New Yorker, you can tell that this doesn’t happen in New York. Learn how to slow down and you can enjoy this mid day break too.
The golden rule in European restaurants: Pay before you order. Yes, even it’s just a sandwich already displayed in the case. It took a long battle before I got to grab a sandwich. Dear, the crew man doesn’t speak English but he managed to say, “pay,” while pointing across the room at a register.
Now, let’s talk about dining in. Dinner takes two to three hours to eat. I know what you’re thinking, and no, the place wasn’t crowded. But, waiters really took time – like a half-hour – to get our drink order then another half-hour before our appetizers arrived. A half-hour after that, our dinner arrived. Another hour of excruciatingly slow service prompted our waiter to clear our plates. Like really, they are too keen with time management and precision.
This is a little better known, but you do not need to tip in Europe.
This is not a typographical error and you read that right.
You have to pay a toll to get in. It’s usually very cheap, but sometimes even restaurants you are eating in will charge for the restroom.
How about WiFi, back in our country you just have to go to Starbucks or some fancy restaurant to get free WiFi. But, not in most places in Europe, because you have to pay for it. In Italy, you had to pay either by the day or by the minute.
Unlimited free WiFi doesn’t work here. I only used it to check work emails, respond, and log off. The cost to web surf was not worth it.
Please do be aware of this. Do not accept offers of major stores. What I said was based from experience (me and other tourists). They try and make it sound like they are helping me save money when they say, “Oh, would you like to pay in U.S. dollars or euros/pounds?” (or whatever their local currency is). Paying in U.S. dollars would seem to be the more convenient option, but in reality, it’s not. In fact, it’s a total rip-off, since the stores that do this charge a higher exchange fee than your bank back home does. So, remember to always pay in the local currency of the country you’re in!
If you are planning to travel to Europe this year, I’m pretty sure you’ll appreciate these advice to help make your travels go smoother and safer. Europe is one of the busiest places for tourists. Of course, everyone not from Europe dreams to visit Europe.
So hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful! Let me know if you agree, disagree, or would add anything. Feel free to leave a comment below. And, please feel free to share this with any friends, family, or colleagues who plan to travel to Europe soon!
Pro Tip: If you’re planning to visit Europe, make sure to do your research first; also try looking to book your flights using online travel agencies as they tend to, on average, reduce airfare costs by about 43%, a few good ones being Flighthub.com, Travelocity.com, JustFly.com or Expedia.com.