In the past two months, I have traveled a fair amount. I've gone to quite a few places all over the United Kingdom, and I recently took a trip to Rome and Amsterdam.
In addition, my next trips will be to Amsterdam and Ireland. I have some valuable knowledge on traveling to share.
1. Plan for time.
I promise you. Please plan time for delays. changes, and everything in between. Recently, while in Rome, I traveled on a day there was a transportation strike. There were massive delays and we missed two of our trains. It's always good to plan ahead and have a game plan in case something were to go wrong. You have to be prepared to think on your feet.
2. Have all your documents.
To get back into the UK, I need my documents for my school. You don't want to get caught up at passport security without your passport or important documents. Have them ready to hand over if they ask and make sure you make copies. You never know what can happen.
3. Have things planned, but also don't have things planned.
Yes, this contradicts itself. However, you want to make sure you hit all the spots you want. Also, leave time for exploring! Some of my favorite places I've seen were found stumbling through a city. You know in your heart when it's a good time to stumble around. Go with your gut!
4. Look in advance for museums and tickets.
I wanted to go to a few things while I was out of the country, but there are things that book months or weeks in advance. Look into it so you aren't disappointed when you get there. Some great things come with a waiting list; look into it in advance and you won't be sorry.
5. Food is different, so plan for other options.
Most places in Europe charge you for water. Everything is also generally more expensive, especially with conversion rates.
Food is different (obviously) so set your expectations but be prepared to adjust them. Most of my meals were small and snack worthy, so always check the menu before going to the restaurant.
6. Public Transportation.
Normally, I depend on my own two feet to get me where I need to go. However, with where I stay in the city I'm visiting, I depend on public transportation to get around. It can be either easy or hard to get familiar with their system. Research how to use it, what's around you, and get some general routes planned out. Also, know how to pay for it. Sometimes you need a ticket beforehand, while other times you pay on the bus or train itself.
Have cash and a card, because some will only take one or the other. Always be prepared to switch things up.
7. Enjoy yourself.
Seriously, and don't forget it! You can get so caught up in making the trip perfect that you forget to enjoy it yourself. You made it all the way there, so make sure you remember to enjoy every moment. It'll be over before you know it.