Everyone, stop panicking! I’m not dead, I haven’t been kidnapped and I haven’t forgotten about you. I have however been navigating my way through Europe (jealous?). Since my return I’ve taken about three weeks to recover and unpack and I’ve been trying really hard not to kill myself (post-holiday depression is as real as Iggy Azalea and Dr Michael Baigent agrees http://www.smh.com.au/travel/traveller-tips/how-to-beat-the-postholiday-blues-20120123-1qd0v.html) You see, suicide watch is a serious concern when faced with the actuality of having to return to work and start remembering what day it is.
Europe has way too much to offer than can be condensed into one comical blog post. So for those of you who stayed home this summer, tormented by timelines filled with suntans and senselessness, let me give something back to you. Here’s a few tips I could have used as a first-timer planning my Eurotrip…
1. Avoid typical tourist attractions
I know this is a broad statement to make and it might seem obnoxious, but take this advice into context… You don’t need to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Big Ben or the London Bridge anytime in your twenties if you’re on a time limit – unless that creams your cheese, of course. On arrival into Europe we aimed to hit the attractions hard and get them out of the way so relaxation could ensue. It never occurred to me that these antiquated monuments have been nestled in the same spot for hundreds of years and no doubt will continue to be there in another thirty years when I’m older, more dignified and less concerned with laying on a beach and trying every Pina Colada off the coast of the continent. I mean, it’s cultural and you can’t argue with the experience, but a European summer is about one thing – SUMMER! Hit the Balearic Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Aegean Sea and every other sea in between. If you aren’t in a bikini, on a beach or on a quad bike, you’re doing it wrong!
2. Don’t pack anything
Well, pack some things. But remember, almost everyone else in Europe is doing the same thing as you. There’s no need for eleven pairs of high heels, every hot hair tool you own, or even workout gear. HOT TIPS: A wedge is the closest form of high heel you’ll see while partying your way through Europe, your hair will have way too much sea salt in it to look anything but mermaidesque, and if you want to work out… just don’t. I have no shame in admitting that I’ll take the road more glamour at every chance. But the fact is, Euro-glam is having a tan as black as Dijmon Hounson, wearing the least amount of clothes you can manage and slapping a smile on that temporarily carefree face!
3. If you’re booking in advance, book flexi everything
When tallying up the costs and working out the damage, it can be overwhelmingly tempting to book non-flexible flights and accommodation to save pennies and lock-in a solid plan of attack. After all, who ever told you to be disorganised and unconcerned with the concept of saving money? Well, the tables of adulthood take a turn when an impending Eurotrip is on the agenda. I guess that’s why people surrender to slave labour for the majority of the year! So that as winter approaches, they can throw maturity out the window and discover what real freedom is while chasing summer on the other side of the planet! You’ll discover destinations you overlooked, places you wish you could’ve stayed in longer and cities you wish you could get out of sooner all in the space of a day. So give yourself flexibility, or even go in blind! Euro summer accepts impromptu, irresponsible and unconstrained everything!
4.Forget the concept of time
It surprised me to discover there’s so much more daylight in Europe, especially during summer. This is actually something I really struggled with. Depending on where you are you’ll find that breakfast isn’t until about 11am, lunch isn’t until 4pm, and dinner is anywhere from 10pm onwards when the sun sets. As for hitting the town, clubs won’t open until 1am and they won’t turn up until about 4am. That means you’re heading home at about 8am in the morning. By then you’re skipping breakfast and sleeping through until lunch at 4pm. This is a hectic agenda, to say the least. So my best advice would be to stop looking at the clock and just roll with it. Don’t try and stay in routine, that’s not what holidays are about! And actually, I shouldn’t call it daylight, because it’s more like a violent beaming sunshine that seeps into every crevasse of your body that just.. never.. fades. Needless to say, sunglasses are a must, especially if you’re waking up slightly hung and creeping out of a blissfully dark hotel room on a mission to reboot your body back into mortality.
Hopefully these tips save you some sanity when your Euro-time comes! Stay tuned for recaps of the most intoxicatingly awesome places I visited on my 2014 Eurotrip.
Posted: 28th August, 2014 @ 5.03pm