Our trip to Europe last summer is totally memorable; the sights are breathtaking and the experience is surreal. With the aim not to stress the vacation that much and avoid following a day-to-day loaded schedule, we planned our own itinerary (traveled without a guide or group) with our kid as the top-of-mind concern. We arrived in Austria (Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg) then Czech (Prague), Switzerland (Zurich), to Germany (Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt). Pan your eyes from left to right and the view is a guaranteed beauty.
But getting too engrossed with what we are seeing might not be ideal as we still have to be on guard. Excited with your European tour? Here are a few reminders before you fly.
1. Get ready to walk for kilometers. Forget the fancy shoes and just pack your most comfortable pair. Appreciating the place is way better on foot and get up close with the intricate details of the surroundings. If you are visiting on a summer (end of May to August), do not wear flats with a thin sole. Remember, you will walk on cobble stones/brick floors and you will feel the roughness of their pathways if your feet are not properly equipped.
2. Water bottles are so expensive (depends on where you buy but ranges from Php100 to Php250 per 500ml) so make sure you pick the right one—purchase the “no gas”water; they are mostly selling “with gas” (imagine flavored water and sparkling).
3. There are pickpockets so stay alert. We’ve met a few tourists who lost their wallet or an item, especially in Prague. Avoid leaving pieces of stuff unattended, put your money/passports closest to you and your credit/debit cards secure with RFID blocking wallet.
4. Bring usable, foldable tote bag as they don’t give paper or plastic on to-go purchases (even at grocery stores).
5. There are taxi cabs and Uber rides but trains and buses are good to explore.
6. If you get a chance, drive at Autobahn and enjoy the speed. You will not need to apply for a driver’s permit if you have a valid Philippine license. More treat for car fans as there are the Mercedez-Benz, Porsche, and BMW Museums to linger on.
7. They speak English but not all are very fluent so be patient when you converse. A lot are really nice (especially warm with kids) but there are rude people too so keep the calmness and don’t let these few ruin the trip.
8. Most hotels do not include a pair of toothbrush and toothpaste to their personal hygiene compliments pack so make sure to bring your own.
9. Try their local food and don’t be intimidated by goulash and schnitzel. Spoiler alert: they are our Pinoy versions of kaldereta and breaded porkchop/chicken.
10. It is okay to get lost. You will surely find spectacular and wonderful corners along the way.