What are the Most Common Travel Mistakes to Avoid on your Trip to Europe?

I’ll cut to the chase: overpacking, trying to see too much too quickly, over-reliance on your guidebook, deciding to travel along with too many people, not taking enough photos, and/or not maintaining your journal daily.

What are the Top 5 Worst Things about Europe?

  1. Dog-do on sidewalks…or at least you hope it’s dog-do. For example in Paris, despite the estimated 10 million Euros spent annually to keep their streets clean, more than 600 people a year are unfortunately admitted to hospitals after slipping on Fifi’s “dooh dooh”. Oops!
  2. Smoking and smokers absolutely everywhere you go any and all the time! Unless you are one of them, then you’re in heaven and can smoke your brains out.
  3. On Sundays absolutely everything seems to be closed. Be prepared and buy everything you might need the night before on Saturday!
  4. Funky toilets, often without toilet seats. It pays to be open-minded and in some cases quite physically flexible! Either start practicing yoga or bring along some good undergarments.
  5. Once inside the EU you won’t get any more cool stamps for your passport while crossing intra-EU borders. Often people won’t even get an entrance stamp these days depending on how and where you entered the EU zone. I can’t tell you how many passports I’ve seen with after months of traveling around, only having a Heathrow Airport entrance stamp and nothing else. However, travelers should note that in Monaco they will stamp your passport at the Tourist Office inside the train station and in Gibralter they will stamp your passport only upon leaving the customs area (but usually after having to politely ask a few times).

Five very important differences worth noting about Europe:

  1. In Europe the 1st floor is considered the ground floor.
  2. When reference is made to the Right Bank, it denotes either the North or East side of the riverbank and consequently the term Left Bank is used to indicate the South or West side of the riverbank.
  3. Aspirin, paracetamol, and panadol as it is also known, can ONLY be purchased at the pharmacy (chemist) in most countries
  4. Most Europeans go on vacation in August, especially the Mediterranean countries. As a result, many shops and services will be closed sporadically during this period.
  5. Hot water in many hotels and hostels is often metered and may only be available in mornings or evening consumption. It pays to ask before so you don’t get a cold shower!

Bonus: Travelers’ cheques are often more hassle than they are worth now that ATM cash machines are so widely available and well linked to almost all international banking networks. Don't bother with them anymore.