Are we all ready to get on the road again?!
I sure as heck am! After 2020 …and 2021… here’s to hoping that 2022 is the year your travel dreams come to pass. While you plan your great escape, check out these tips from EF Ultimate Break, a travel company that will plan your trips for you. Their TikTok has all kinds of great intel on traveling, so give them a follow and let us know your best travel tips.
1. Icelandic Water
In Iceland, there’s really no need to buy bottled water. Just bring a refillable bottle and fill it up anywhere, and it’s gonna taste like bottled water. You can even fill up at the bathroom sink and it’s gonna taste better than bottled water in America.
2. Parisian Shopkeep
A tourist mistake is to not greet a shopkeeper. A lot of tourists don’t know this, but if you walk into a store and don’t greet the shopkeeper, it’s considered extremely rude. You should always say “hi”, “hello”, and “goodbye”.
3. No photos!
Getting pictures of the girls in the Red Light District. You get in trouble with security but also these are working women, not zoo animals.
4. The bill
Waiting for a bill at the restaurant. The bill won’t automatically come just because you finished your meal. They’re not trying to rush you out the door, so you have to ask for the bill when you’re ready for it. So don’t wait around for an hour just wondering where it is.
5. Italian wine
Always give the house wine a try. No matter what restaurant you go to, it’ll always be super local, super great quality, and super unique to that specific location.
6. Italian Coffee
In Italy, if you try to order a latte, they will hand you a glass of milk. Latte means milk in Italian. So let’s not do that.
7. Avoid Strangers
In Italy, sometimes someone will come up and tie a bracelet around your wrist and insist it’s free or a present but then later on demand money for it. If somebody offers you something for free, it is not free. Don’t take it.
(I will add: this happened to me in Paris and when I told the gent ‘thanks but no’ and offered it back, he said — oh, keep it, no charge! So… hedge your bets.)
8. Learn Italian
Definitely learn some basic Italian phrases before you get there. Locals are very appreciative when you at least try to speak their language. And they’ll be a lot of friendlier towards you, I promise.
9. To the RIGHT
Always stand on the right of the escalator in the tube. Brits take this very seriously and are not afraid to be rude if you’re standing on the left. The left side is the fast lane for walking, the right side is the standing lane.
10. Cafe vs Coffee Shop
The first tourist mistake is not knowing the difference between a coffee shop and a cafe. If you walk into a coffee shop in Amsterdam for coffee, you’re going to be pretty surprised. All I can say is that if you’re looking for coffee, go to a cafe.
If the gelato looks piled up and fluffy, don’t get it. I know it’s really tempting, but all the fluffiness means that there’s a lot of air whipped into it. Always look for gelato that’s in lidded containers. Lids are always a good sign because it means that the gelato is being kept at the right temperature and that the store owners know that they have a really good product and they don’t need bright colors or flair to get customers in.
12. No walking!
Walking in the bike lanes. Everywhere you go you’ll see bike paths just like this one next to the sidewalks. And you might be tempted to walk in it but please don’t. You will get run over and nobody wants that.
If a host or hostess is trying to lure you into a restaurant, my advice is not to go in and instead ask a local where they like to eat.
Flushing toilet paper on the Greek islands. Greek sewage pipes are about half the size of American plumbing and clog very easily. Instead, place your toilet paper in the little bins next to the toilet.
15. Comfy shoes!
Bringing the wrong shoes. A lot of the streets are cobblestone or dirt or lightly paved, and not super ideal for heels. I’m not saying don’t bring heels, I’m saying bring something comfortable too.
16. Local Food
A lot of people come to London and they try to find fish and chips because it’s what they see in the movies and TV shows. Fish and chips are great but it’s not the only thing people eat there. England is actually really well known for their Indian food. Chicken Tikka Masala is even one of their national dishes.
Exchange rates. Don’t use the currency exchange at the airport. Just don’t do it. Those companies usually take advantage of the fact that tourists don’t know any better, so they offer really bad exchange rates and have really high withdrawal minimums. Find a bank branch when you get to where you’re going and use the ATM inside instead.
Overpacking, which I know sounds like a cop-out, but in Santorini, you could be walking up hundreds of steps with your luggage, so you wanna pack lightly.
19. Public transpo
If you’re going somewhere new for the first time, definitely check how late public transportation stays open. If you’re still out and public transportation closes, cabs are going to charge you 3-4 times their normal fare because I know they can get away with it. And when you’re super tired, it’s that late, you’re just gonna pay it.
20. Try the street food
One of the tourist mistakes is eating at restaurants and cafes. The best thing I ever ate was a crepe from a food cart just on a random street.