The Internet is Your Best Friend
Research is the best way to prepare for any Euro Trip. Knowing where you’re going, what you want to see and most importantly how much it is going to cost you will make your trip will that much smoother. The internet is full of student travellers and bloggers equally interested in seeing all that Europe has to offer for as cheap as possible. You’ll find that many museums have days and times when they offer free admission and if not it is well worth checking for a student price. An ISIC card will give you student prices for anything from museums to hostels to trains and ferry tickets.
Be it HostelWorld or AirBnB, a little bit of research goes a long way. HostelWorld is connected to hostels all over Europe, just read the customer reviews and pick the best one. AirBnB is a must if you’re staying somewhere for more than a week, it gives you the opportunity to get out of the high traffic hostel life and see the city from a different perspective.
A walking tour is a great place to start in a new city, even the most jetlagged of travellers can handle a walk and it helps establish your sense of geography. Googling “free walking tours” plus just about any major European city will be your best bet for seeing a city quickly and inexpensively. Run by young people who work for tips, their know-how and recommendations for food, night life and attractions can be useful in shaping the rest of your stay.
As a non-native speaker it can be difficult to navigate foreign rail schedules, let alone the smaller long distance bus websites. Luckily the Internet has a solution for that too. GoEuro keys you into the wonderful world of inexpensive flights within Europe, but also let you know when it is cheaper to suck it up and take that 6 hour bus ride.
Second Only to Your Smart Phone
Walking around with the giant fold out map they gave you at the hostel is a dead giveaway to those around you, and whether you simply lose some cool points, or you become a target for lurking pick pockets, it can be a less than ideal situation. While some big budget travellers may have purchased an international data-roaming plan, chances are you’ve bought a local SIM card and a data package, or are relying on WiFi connections. However, if you haven’t got an Internet connection available when on the go, no worries! There are some apps that let you cash maps and other important info in your phone and access them offline.
That being said, free WiFi connections are increasingly common and most restaurants and cafes are connected. If you’re grabbing a bite to eat somewhere it really can’t hurt to ask if they have WiFi. While most restaurants and cafés won’t mind it when you use their WiFi, be polite and keep in mind that this maybe isn’t the best time to be checking your facebook. Keep it simple, know what you want to check out and don’t waste your trip staring at a screen and choosing just the right filter for your instagrammed shot of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Above all remember that planning is important but too regiment a plan stops you from enjoying all the beautiful spontaneity that Europe has to offer. Sometimes the most wonderful memories are made sitting in parks with new friends, skipping the third museum of the day and simply enjoying the sunshine.