15 OCT 2018
12 Things to Know Before Going to Europe
- Download WhatsApp — 99% of Europeans use WhatsApp instead of regular text message or iMessage.
- Pick pockets exist — be aware of your surroundings, especially in Italy. Arrange your wallet accordingly. On the rare occasion that I do have cash, I like to make sure that no one sees how much cash or loose change I have when I pull out my wallet to pay for things. Be aware of people that “bump” into you.
This is (LAS) Las Vegas, but crowds & pickpocketing can happen anywhere & anytime
- Speaking of bumping into you, the Spanish don’t really understand the concept of “personal space,” as there is no such thing in their culture. It’s certainly a cultural difference that surprised (and still surprises) the heck out of me.
- In some countries, the gentlemen are… not so gentlemanly about expressing their interest for women who are travelling alone. The best way to ward off the weirdos is to not acknowledge them and walk away as fast as possible. If you have a basic conversation with them because you don’t want to be rude, they may misconstrue it as your “interest” for them.
- When someone says “bonjour” in the lift, please say it back! The Brits, won’t hesitate to call you out and tell you that “you’re very rude”. Btw, those London peeps like to be called “English” and not “British”. English = England & British= other U.K. countries as well.
- Lift = Elevator. Speaking of the lift, Floor 0 = Main floor. Anything below that (ie: “-1” is the basement or the floor below). I’ve also been to a hotel where ‘G’ was basement, and ‘L’ was… well, lobby.
This is my favourite elevator in the world… Just kidding!
- Have some Euros. Yeah — I know, I’m a hypocrite. It’s cheaper to go to your local bank than to exchange in most airports. Vacation and work are two different things. I rarely carry cash because I don’t feel like carrying 5 or 6 different currencies for a 24hr layover.
- Call your credit card companies and notify them that you will be making international charges. Also tell them your return date.
- When you pay for things on your credit card, you’ll have the option to pay in local currency or USD (or wherever it is that you’re from). Pay in local currency; it’s cheaper. I repeat, pay in their currency with your American card. It might also be convenient to have a currency conversion app.
- The tipping culture is different. In France, the gratuity is already included in the bill. Even if it isn’t, Europeans don’t tip 20% like Americans. They’re much more conservative with tipping and generally tip around 5-10% if a service charge is not included in restaurants.
- In some places, it costs money to use the public restroom, so it’s important to have cash on you. Restroom/Washroom = “toilets” in EU. When asking for directions to the nearest one, it may be a good idea to ask where the “toilets” are instead. Some people may not understand what a “restroom” or “washroom” is.
- Ladies, make sure you have feminine products with you at all times (checked bags & carry on!). Please just double and triple check that you have them, even if you’re not expecting your period or already had it. When you’re travelling so much & going through different time zones or engaging in different physical activities, your hormones may shift. This can cause your menstruation to be irregular. BUT, you can just buy products abroad right? Wrong. EU and AUS tampons don’t have applicators! Sure, it’s smaller, cuter, more compact & better for the environment, but shoving your fingers up there is just… unsanitary! And for my EU friends, you may not be used to the GIANT American tampons with applicators.