There are definitely some harsh realities a traveler can face, and unfortunately many have the bad experience before learning the lesson. But hopefully this list will prepare you so you aren’t once of the travelers who has to learn the hard way.
First, before you even leave you’ll learn pretty quickly about that transportation costs…well, a lot. It’s pretty easy to get excited about an upcoming trip and forget about factoring in costs for getting around in destination. This includes train travel if you are planning on visiting multiple cities in Europe. You can pretty much forget about making any changes to flights for free. Even the slightest change to an air ticket will cost you a pretty penny.
Next, even though I always recommend having a travel budget, you’ll probably end up being a little off when it comes to spending in destination. The truth is, it’s almost impossible to precisely budget for your first trip. If you’re going to Europe, things tend to be pricier than expected; while trips to Asia or Central America is much less.
It’s always best to shoot for a budget beyond what you’d expect in your worst case scenario. And don’t forget about the vices – whether this includes shopping, souvenirs, dining out, etc. These can really dent your budget if you’re unprepared.
I have mentioned this next one in my previous travel etiquette stories, but I’ll say it again. Trying to speak the language is appreciated! Taking the time to learn a few key words like hello, goodbye and thank you will be very received warmly by locals.
This next one may sound obvious but sometimes what we imagine and what reality actually is can be much different so don’t forget that. There will be other tourists. This doesn’t always make for the most calming experience when you’re visiting attractions. Expect it to be busy. You’ll also likely be waiting to take pictures and that family photo snapped in front of the Eiffel Tower to be, well just your family.
And finally, and this applies to here at home too. People who approach you and offer you something you didn’t know you needed probably aren’t just being Good Samaritans.
There are plenty of good-hearted locals out there, but some approach tourists – and tourists only – because that’s how they make a living. Whatever it is there are selling always use a discerning eye and don’t be afraid to haggle and confirm prices upfront.