Summer vacation is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Here are a few tips to keep in mind over the summer to make sure that both you and your travel plans stay safe.
1. Shop at Family Businesses
It is recommended to check out the smaller businesses, the family-run patisserie or the mom-and-pop gelato place on the corner. You’re here to meet and mingle with locals, so you might as well support local businesses and while you’re at it, you can even try a ‘Bonjour’ or ‘Ciao’ with them. Restaurants and shops off the main roads tend to be cheaper anyways! You can meander and explore streets & laneways of shops, stalls, malls and departmental stores. Look out for local produce, handicrafts and souvenirs. If you prefer something simpler, window shop along renowned retail strips or feel the vibe in busy markets and bazaars.
2. Learn the Local Language
Practice a few phrases before you arrive and use them with locals if you feel comfortable. In most cases, they’ll appreciate a tourist trying to speak the local tongue. Simply learning a few key phrases on how to ask for directions to places, and being able to recognize simple instructions – could open up a whole new world of experiences for you. A lot of restaurants and cafés aims at serving local dishes. If you brush up on your vocabulary and learn how to order different dishes, or ask questions about the food and ingredients. Greetings and thanks can go a long way—and don’t forget to learn the word for toilet!
3. Be Aware of Afternoon Closures
A quick tip—Europeans value their lunch breaks, and midday meals that often extend over hours. So you may find a ticket office or post is closed from noon until 2pm. Take the late lunch into account when you plan your day itinerary. And guess what—it’s a perfect chance to indulge in a long lunch yourself. When in Rome, Barcelona or Paris- it will be better to check the local time for the services. For example, if you need a tourist office or a travel agency, plan to visit those places before noon or after 4pm. If you want to visit churches, check the opening hours. Yes, they really do lock the doors. Most large museums will not shut, but smaller ones might.
5. Travel by Train
Europe loves their trains, and that’s for a good reason. Traveling by train is often more spacious, comfortable, and easier than air travel depending on your end destination. There are almost no lines and you can buy your ticket minutes before departure. Keep in mind that many trains are more expensive than air travel in Europe, but the comfort makes all the difference. To make train travel even easier, download a rail planner app where you can track schedules and buy tickets.
6. City Walking Tours
In popular towns, there are tours and even excursions galore! The guides are so knowledgeable and personable- it is a great introduction to local culture.They share their perspectives with you so that your experience would be as authentic as possible. Most hotels offer free walking tours, and they are often run by the staff and can be a fun introduction to your new host city. They’ll inspire you with local anecdotes, history lessons and you can return the favor by tipping them in exchange for their lively service. Wish you a fantastic holiday!
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