Travelling can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful, especially during peak season. Well, if you’ve read this article, you probably can skip the expensive part and just focus on the time-consuming and stressful ones.
Why can it be time-consuming and stressful while it’s supposed to be relaxing and enjoying new things?
The answer is simple: Because you haven’t read THIS BLOG POST!
As you may (or may not) know, I’ve moved to Sweden in August 2014 and have been living and travelling in Europe ever since. During my time living in Europe, I’ve travelled a lot. Sometimes it left me to feel so great and inspired and motivated and… (fill in the blank, positive words only). Sometimes I just felt like a big fat loser in a foreign country.
Long story short and many lessons learned, today I’d love to share my tips to help you travel hassle-free in Europe!
7 tips to save time, reduce stress and save money while travelling in Europe
1. Make sure you have up-to-date information
There’s nothing worse than arriving in a new country (where you maybe don’t speak the language), being ready to take a shuttle bus to the city centre, just to figure out the bus has stopped working since… several months ago! What should you do in this situation?
Google or ask for an alternative. Yes, it may work, but consider how much time wasted! Take a taxi. Okay, it’s the easiest and fastest way, but of course, it will not come cheap!
Let’s take another scenario: You want to dine at that famous restaurant in town and have been starving a whole day long to wait until dinner. You get there, finally, just to find out that it is closed for some upgrading works. The only option you have is to find another place to eat, and whether the new place is a nice restaurant or not, believe me, you can never enjoy it like you should have had at first place!
As you can see, travelling with up-to-date information is of great consequence. Nowadays, it’s not hard to find them online, via personal travel blogs, forums, Facebook pages and groups.
People like to talk about their trips, experience, and share their tips with others, and it’s an incredible source of fresh travel information regarding your next trip.
The more up-to-date the information is, the more hassle-free your trip will be.
2. Pack light
Packing light is vital for every single trip. The lighter you pack, the more you enjoy your vacation. It’s not only lighter for you to carry, but also can save you a lot if you fly with low-cost airlines in Europe which have strict regulations for cabin luggage size, not to mention thieves that love tourists with an uncontrollable amount of luggage around.
Don’t be that person who travels to Europe with two suitcases and a backpack and a camera bag just for a two-week-trip! Unless you aim to travel to take photos with your outfits only, you’ll never make it through the first luggage, let alone the second!
Pack light means you both save time and reduce stress packing and unpacking for your trip.
3. Be thrifty, not greedy
First thing first, you don’t have to be a penny-pincher in order to travel on a budget!
A thrifty traveller will choose shuttle bus over the express train to get from and to the airport as it’s more economical to take a bus which takes to 45 minutes than to take a train which costs you double and takes 30 minutes to get to the city centre.
A greedy miser will prefer waiting for the next train that will come within one hour while it’s -10ºC outside and that person happens to have not less than two pieces of luggage with him/her and it’s already 9 o’clock in the evening to
A thrifty traveller will stay in a hostel or an Airbnb apartment that has a
A greedy miser will skip breakfast (if not included) and lunch, or sometimes dinner, just for the sake of penny-pinching!
Be a thrifty traveller, not a greedy miser!
4. Pre-book your tickets online & buy skip-the-line-tickets
Pre-book your tickets may score you some online discount. It also allows you to enter the site without waiting at the ticket booth to buy ones.
In places like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre (Paris), the Colosseum (Rome), La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona), etc. buying a skip-the-line-ticket will let you go straight into the building in a matter of seconds.
These tickets can be costly, but they can save you time. And time is money.
If you spend money today, you can always save more money tomorrow. Yet time spent today can never be saved.
5. Meet the locals
Travelling is not always about you being in a new place, enjoying new things, and relaxing. No matter if you’re a solo traveller or you prefer travelling with your clan, try to find opportunities to meet the locals and immerse yourself in their culture.
The easiest way to find people in a new place is via meetup.com, a platform that connects people with different hobbies/activities. Just enter your place and you’ll have many options for meet-ups near you.
Another way is to take part in an activity or experience, usually a cooking class, a walking tour, a making-something course, etc. And you don’t have to be alone to join them. Just bring your tribe with you and make new friends together.
When I travelled solo in Gdansk (Poland) last year, I took a food walking tour with an Irish couple. We, four strangers, strolled through the streets of Gdansk and enjoyed delicious food in cosy places, and it was a pleasant experience.
Or when I was in Barcelona with my best blogging friends, I had one day by myself taking a cooking class with four other couples from the States and France. We really enjoyed it as we went to more-of-local-markets in Barcelona to buy food, listened to the history of those places, learned new recipes and see the people, not the tourists floating to La Boqueria.
These kinds of experience are quite unique and hard to get if you don’t know any local who can show you how they actually live in the city.
6. Don’t push yourself to see everything at one time
Because it’s impossible. Unless you plan to travel to Paris for, like, three years, don’t expect to see everything in the city of light in three days!
Eight years ago, when I first moved to Italy for three months to take a summer course there, I was in the tourists’ shoes. I wanted to travel everywhere and see everything, but how could I even do it since I also had to rest, not to mention a tight schedule at school.
Simply put: You just can’t. Take it easy. Your trip (and your life, probably) is way easier when you take it easy!
7. Have your break time while travelling
But isn’t travelling a break time?
Yes, sure it is. But hey, think about it: When you take a several-hour flight to Europe, the first things you’ll suffer are tiredness and jetlag. Yet you’re eager to explore the city, and well, you’ll end up being so tired that you even cannot manage to pose for any photo anymore.
Take one day, counted as “day 0” to relax and sleep. Your body needs it more than you think.
Do the same thing on the day before you have to fly back home. You’ve had a wonderful time travelling around. Now it’s time to pack your luggage, check your flight information, make sure your travel documents are ready and relax.
Travel one day extra or one day less doesn’t make any huge difference, especially if you plan your trip thoroughly and accordingly, you will surely make it.
The same advice goes for shorter trips. During our five-day trip to Barcelona, Karin (my best blogging girl) and I took one day off. We woke up at around 10 am, had brunch at a KFC nearby, went shopping, and opted for dinner at a Chinese wok buffet restaurant near our Airbnb apartment.
Although we did absolutely nothing regarding travelling in Barcelona, it was so fun and relaxing doing nothing!
Although it’s very tempting to save money while travelling, you have to face the truth that you cannot have all these three things at the same time. Either you have to spend money to save time, spend time to reduce stress, or it’ll be
Fortunately, we don’t have to be professional travellers to balance them because it’s not the idea of travelling after all.
However, I know it’ll be nice if someone can share her own travel tips after years living and travelling in Europe, right? Oh, and these tips are up-to-date also!
I wish you a nice summer holiday in Europe!
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