5 things learned from traveling in Europe

  1. Surprisingly, dental floss can be difficult to find — I scoured shops in Portugal & Spain and couldn’t find a single tube!
  2. Do not assume you will always find a public toilet for free to use; you may have to pay 1 EUR or 2 to get into one
  3. Everybody smokes. Okay, not everybody, because babies aren’t old enough yet πŸ˜› But seriously, they smoke a lot more than in North America, which can be surprising for newcomers
  4. Be careful in certain countries, because if you aren’t a local they will purposefully try to screw you* on prices
  5. Their pharmacies are really just for drugs and basic things like sunscreen; do not think you will find things like lint rollers

*True story, we were staying at a hotel in Evora, helped out by a local to book it, and the lady looked at BF and I, turned back to the nice local who was helping us and said: These two are foreigners. They don’t pay the same rate as locals. It’s double. Look at them, they are clearly not from here, and therefore have more money. They pay more because they can afford it.

A little fast talking, and the local convinced her that HE booked the hotel room and it was for us, but HE was the local and HE authorized the booking. We ended up paying the 30 EUR rate, but other Americans sauntering in for the night were charged 60 EUR at a minimum, depending on how rich they looked.

There you go πŸ™‚

Other things I might add:

  • Don’t assume that they do or don’t speak English and don’t speak louder in an effort to be understood — they aren’t deaf! Try your best is all I can say, and try to speak in their language. Some speak it perfectly (perhaps better than you :P) and are very kind to help you out (in Stockholm, they were THE NICEST people EVER, on top of being some of the most beautiful I’ve seen so far). However, some don’t speak English at all, or others speak English but are embarrassed to use it and would rather have you struggle through their language because it’s easier for them, and so on. Whatever the situation is, try your best and DO NOT get all haughty by saying: Well they SHOULD know English. *huff* *puff*
  • People will stare at you because you’re a foreigner (your clothes give it away, if your accent and city map hasn’t already), but they won’t try to take pictures of you like they would in China πŸ˜›
  • Assume they are not as outspoken, frank or as overly bright & friendly as they are in North America — cultural personalities are very different here, in my opinion
  • Everything is WAY MORE expensive than in North America, like .. whoa!
  • Not all hotels are the same — do not assume there will be private toilets (unless you book with a big name brand), and do not assume internet or local calls are free. Assume you will be charged for everything and anything.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.