Last Updated on 16 January 2019 by Poorna & Brinda
“What are the important things Indians should remember while travelling in Europe?” This question was asked by many of our friends when we returned from a fortnight trip to Europe few days back.
This was our first trip to Europe and it was a fantastic experience. While every travel is fun, travelling in Europe is a different ball game. It is different from travelling anywhere else. We felt that way after having travelled in America and Asia. ( You can check this post which will help you in travelling by air inside USA – 10 Tips for Smooth Air Travel in America!! )
We thought of listing important things Indians should remember while travelling in Europe so that they won’t end up with disappointments and have memorable travel experience. This is more like a Europe travel checklist for Indians!
This is because, we Indians take for granted many things in India while travelling! While it is not so outside the country. Especially in Europe and America.
Here is our list of things Indians should remember while travelling in Europe! Please read on….
1) Bottled Water is expensive!
Yes. We in India routinely ask for “Bisleri” wherever we go while travelling! Don’t do that and burn your pocket! Water is expensive than Wine in Italy and expensive than Beer in Switzerland and Germany!! You bet.
So, don’t ever buy water. Just drink tap water. Every European does that. Indians should follow them. Be an European in Europe!! It is safe to drink tap water.
In fact, in cities like Rome they have water fountains at many places and Romans fondly Call them “Nasoni” or “Big Nose”!. Carry a good water bottle and keep filling it.
It really gets hot and humid in summer and you need to drink lot of water. This is the first and most important of things Indians should remember while travelling in Europe!
2) Train is the best
You may not like to travel by Indian Railways. Yes, it is slow and not very clean though lot of improvements have taken place of late. But when in Europe just stick to train. They are the best mode of transport.
Whether it is from one country to another or within the country or within the city. Train is the best. They are fast. They are clean. They are efficient. Moreover, the train stations are centrally located and you don’t waste time commuting from airport to your hotel. At many places the metro station is next door.
In fact, we were nervous when we were watching the notice board in Milan, Italy. The platform for our train was not allotted till 10 minutes before departure! When platform was allotted, everyone boarded the train in ten minutes and the train departed in time!! That is the efficiency. While travelling in train, please keep these things in mind.
- Buy ticket on-line. It saves time.
- Make sure you have kept at least 15 minutes gap for connecting trains.
- No need to take a hard copy of ticket. A photo of the ticket with clearly visible bar code is enough.
- Reach railway station at least 30 minutes before departure. Check the platform in the notice board for your train and board at the coach allotted.
- Big luggage have to be kept at designated racks in the coach which will be next to entrance. They are safe. Small luggage can be kept overhead.
Unless you are going for a long trip beyond 15 days, it does not make sense to buy Eurorail pass. The best website to check the train timings is http://www.loco2.com You can book tickets here as well
3) Book on Airbnb
We did not book on Airbnb and we realise the mistake. These are convenient and much better than hotels and typical B&B. Hotels are expensive and not great value for money.
Most of the time, you are out on the streets exploring and will be returning to the place only to sleep. It is good to stay in Airbnb properties. Choose a moderately priced ones and make sure that they provide the following basic things
- A Microwave to heat food
- Laundry facilities if available
- Hot water
- Private bath room
If you are backpacking, then hostels are a good bet. But, please keep in mind that they will be basic. One good resource is HostelWorld
4) Book your accommodation near Metro station/Bus stop
It is important that you choose your place of stay next to metro station or bus stop. Public transport is excellent is Europe and it is the most convenient mode of transport. Since, there will be so many places to see, it is essential that you choose a place that is near the bus stop or metro station.
5) Taxi is expensive
Taxi travel in Europe is expensive. Uber is not there everywhere and even if it available, they don’t come cheap. Unless it is really necessary avoid taxis. Even while commuting from airport to your place of stay and vice versa, use airport express. While moving around the city use Metro or city bus. Buy a metro day pass which is valid for 24 hours and you can use it on busses as well. You can buy them in many convenience stores 0r at metro stations.
6) Be prepared to walk
When you are in Rome, be a “Roaman”!! Yes. When you are in Europe, walking is the best way to explore cities. European cities are extremely pedestrian friendly with lovely footpaths.
Make sure you wear a good walking shoe. No high heels please. Cobble stone paths in Europe is very common and high heels will not help. If you are planning to wear a new shoe make sure it is used in India before bringing it with you. This is the key aspect of list of important things Indians should know before visiting Europe.
7) Food is expensive
This is one thing we realised. Yes. Food is expensive in Europe. You invariably spend a minimum of 20 Euros for a simple meal! Thus, one of the things to carry while travelling in Europe from India is ready to eat Indian food with you or buy them in a large grocery shop – which is difficult to find in Europe unlike USA – and heat it in your place of stay and eat. Dinner can be done likewise while lunch can be eaten while exploring the city.
8) Book day tours
There are so many things to see in European cities, that you will get confused. No one website will provide all the information needed to explore the places. While one can do a research and list out all the places that needs to be explored, it sometimes becomes a herculean task as every place of interest will have an entry ticket which can be bought online. You then need to preserve it and show them for entry.
Thus, the best alternative would be to go for day tours by local travel companies. It may work out little expensive, but solves a lot of head ache! Viator or any local agencies are a good bet. Most of the major train stations and airports will have a tourist office and you can get details there.
9) Don’t forget your Medicines
Please carry prescribed medicines along. Enough quantity to last the trip. Unlike in India, you can not buy every medicine off the shelf and you will need doctor’s prescription for it. Unlike in India where you can buy one tablet in retail, you have to buy in bulk in Europe!! Check your medicine requirements in advance and carry them enough so that you will not be left stranded! This is one one of the “must” things to take on Europe trip from India!
10) Pack less
Yes, pack less. Big suitcases are a big No No. As we said earlier, you need to pull your luggage in airport and in railway stations. While travelling in summer, it is easy as all you need is tees and shorts and a Jeans – especially if you are in Italy where you require to cover your legs while visiting Vatican and other holy places.
If you are travelling in Winter, don’t stuff too much of woollen. You may just need two good ones. Carry a thermal or two which is better that carrying bulky coats. You don’t sweat too much in winter which means that the clothes you carry can be less.
11) Indian food is tough to get!
The last of the 11 things Indians should remember while travelling in Europe is that Indian food is tough to get except for big cities. Even in these cities, there are very few of them unlike in the USA.
Many a time these restaurants are located very far off from your place of stay and mostly in down town areas. Of course, Indian food is expensive too. If you really love Indian food, then you can use food delivery apps which are helpful.
OK. This was our list after our first trip to Europe ! What has been your experience and we would love to hear from you and add to this list of things Indians should remember while travelling in Europe. These can also be considered as money saving tips for Indians travelling in Europe!
Postscript – This is for our smoker friends. Cigarettes are expensive. Pack your stuff before you leave India!
What has been your experience travelling in Europe? We will be glad to add to the above list which will prevent mistakes tourists make while travelling in Europe.