7 travel mistakes made in Europe + how to avoid them



Mistake while traveling are impossible to avoid, but they are only meaningful if you can learn from them. We've made our fair share, but this list from Rick Steves' is an important reminder of what to remember before you hit the road. Here's what he has to say:

1) Saving money at the expense of time. People focus on saving money while forgetting that their time is an equally valuable and limited resource. It’s worth paying for museum admission rather than going on a free day and suffering through slow lines and crowds. If a taxi costs you and your partner $5 more than two bus tickets, it’s worth the 20 minutes saved. If ever time was money, it’s when you’re trying to get the most out of traveling abroad.

2) Traveling with outdated information. A guidebook can head off both costly mistakes (getting fined for not validating your train ticket) and simple faux pas (ordering cappuccino with your pasta in Italy). A good guidebook can also save time, keeping you from visiting a museum that’s closed for renovation, waiting for a bus that no longer runs, and…

3) Waiting in line, needlessly. Crowds are unavoidable at big attractions — but what is avoidable is standing in line for hours to buy tickets. These days, most popular sights sell advance tickets that guarantee admission at a certain time (often with a small booking fee that’s well worth it). While hundreds of tourists are sweating in long lines, those who’ve booked ahead can show up at their reserved time and breeze right in.

4) Not being alert to scammers and thieves. You’re not going to get knifed or mugged in Europe. But if you’re not on the ball, you could get conned, whether it’s a cabbie padding your fare, a waiter offering a special with a “special” increased price, or a beggar with beautiful eyes, beautiful children, and sad stories asking for a euro — and stealing your wallet. Be cautious, and be alert. And watch for thieves, who work the lines at crowded sights and on the bus lines handiest for tourists. 

5) Never leaving the tourist zone. Many people jockey themselves into the most crowded spot of the most crowded city — and then complain about the crowds. Likewise, they eat dinner on the most touristy street at the most high-profile restaurant with the most aggressive sales pitch, then are upset by the big bill and disappointing food. You’ll enrich your trip by wandering the back streets, away from the main tourist area.

6) Never leaving your comfort zone. A fundamental goal in my travels is to have meaningful contact with local people. Connecting with people is what enlivens your travel experience. And for many of us, that means getting out of our comfort zones.

7) Letting mistakes ruin your trip. Many tourists get indignant when they make a mistake or get ripped off. When something happens, it’s best to get over it. The joy of travel is not the sights and not necessarily doing it right — it’s having fun with the process, being wonder-struck with a wider world, laughing through the mistakes and learning from them, and making friends along the way.

Want to make it even easier on yourself and be guaranteed avoid #1 - #7 next time? Travel with Pravassa to Spain in September and we'll show you a great time without any issues at all!

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