Precisely 14 things you should know before you travel to Europe.

Europe is the destination hotspot for Aussies (and the rest of the world) this time of year. 

With its cobblestone sidewalks, breathtaking beaches and sunny weather, it is pretty easy to understand why so many of us are getting out of here as fast as we can. 

But if it's your first time heading over – or it's been a while – there are likely a few things you need to catch up on before you board that plane

Watch: Tips from savvy travellers. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

So we reached out to our wider Mamamia community to ask about the things they were most surprised about when they travelled to Europe recently. 

Here are just a few things they told us. 

Dinner is NEVER at 6pm.

Please, heed our advice and just take an extra hour or two to have a nap, explore the city you're in or sort out your itinerary for the next day... because absolutely no one dines out at 6pm in Europe. 

It might be customary for Aussies to chow down before the sun sets, but on the other side of the world, dinner is a social event just as much as it is an important meal of the day. 

"Dinner is not at 6pm, it's never at 6pm," one woman who travelled the globe recently shares. "You’ll be at the restaurant alone. And it will feel awkward."


Don't expect an air-conditioned Airbnb or hotel.

It might be normal, dare we say even expected, to have cold air running through a place in Australia. 

But in Europe, think of it as a luxury rather than a necessity, because it's unlikely you'll find it in your hotel or Airbnb. 

"Air con is NOT a standard," one solo traveller tells Mamamia. "Especially in cheaper accommodation. So check beforehand. And also if you don't have AC, some local convenience stores will rent you a fan. This was in Greece, but I'm sure other hot European countries do it."

BUT! Expect free snacks.

One woman told Mamamia the amount of free food she got while travelling surprised her — especially in Italy where it is normal to have apéritif, a (usually) alcoholic drink which is served before or after a meal. 

As such, she was shocked by the complimentary snacks she received. 

"Most places give you FREE SNACKS when ordering a drink. Mainly in Italy and when you order an Aperol Spritz," she shared. "It was very strange and confusing the first time it happened to us, but we weren't complaining!"

@galasalv #greenscreen my advice for anyone who is planning their euro summer #europeadvice #eurosummer #europeansummer #europeplanning ♬ original sound - Gala | All about Social Media

If someone offers you a gift, don't take it.

No matter how romantic or sweet it may seem to take a flower from a stranger, or a cute trinket, don't do it. 

It's a carefully considered scam that's been around for years and it targets naïve, unsuspecting tourists. 

"NEVER take the 'free' bracelets from tourist areas and never take the 'free' help from strangers at a train station," one woman, who travelled to Europe in June, told Mamamia. "Otherwise you will be forced to give people a lot of money."


Prepare for A LOT of travelling. 

We know, road trips sound fun in theory. 

So does catching a scenic train to Switzerland. 

But don't be mistaken: Europe is a huge place and it can take you days to get to your next destination. 

"For some reason, I thought countries and cities were a lot closer together than they actually were," one traveller confessed. "Like you still have to catch trains for hours at a time and fly places. I don't why I thought I could just pop over to the next country in a jiffy!"

You have to pay to use the toilet.

Did you know that if you need to pee or poop in public, it's going to cost you? 

That's so they can be maintained and kept clean. 

In a lot of European cities, the cleaning crew at a public restroom will usually get a fee.

"There's such a shock with having to pay to use the toilet," one woman told Mamamia. "I feel like we don't talk about this enough!"

Listen to Mamamia Daily, where Shannen Findlay shares how to deal with European F.O.M.O. Post continues after audio. 

There is plenty of free, safe drinking water.

Right now on TikTok, a lot of tourists are claiming Europeans don't drink water. Not only that, but they're also alleging there is nowhere to actually get free water. 


Im not even joking

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According to research by AllClear, there are about 4,000 monthly Google searches from travellers who are unsure about how safe the water is to drink in their country of travel. 


Despite what other sightseers are telling you, one tourist explained it's important to research, as it can be confusing to know where tap water is safe. 

"I thought safe water was impossible to find in Europe," they shared. "I was wrong. In Italy, there are so many fountains that spout out super cold water!"

Out of 15 countries (Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Germany, Singapore, Japan, Cyprus, Poland, Turkey, Malta, Iceland and Switzerland), only two countries do not have super-safe drinking water, according to AllClear.

Avoid drinking from the tap in Turkey and Cyprus. 

AllClear's CEO Chris Rolland said a lot of travellers are totally unsure about the water in the country they're travelling. 

"Travelling abroad is often one of the most exciting times of our year. Whether you’re looking for a big adventure, or simply some much-needed relaxation, the last thing you want from your trip is to become unwell," he said in a statement. 

"While much of Europe’s water has been safe for consumption for many years, it’s interesting to see how many of us are still unsure about drinking from the tap in these highly visited destinations."

Supermarkets will excite you. 

Everything that's mundane in your ordinary life feels rather exciting in a new country. 

That's exactly what the supermarkets in Europe will be like for anyone who hasn't wandered into one before, one traveller tells Mamamia.


"Supermarkets are very exciting," she explains. "There are so many delicacies... and so much CHEESE. Plus the fact yoo can buy wine in the supermarket is convenient, too."

Invest in good shoes. In fact, don't even bother bringing your heels. 

If you're trying to find the perfect pair of heels to wear around for your next Instagram picture under the Eiffel Tower, just trust us when we say that's not a smart choice for your wallet or your feet. 

So many women urged future first-time travellers to leave the heels at home. Instead, swap them out for a pair of comfortable pair of flats, sandals or sneakers. 

"In most places you go, heels are a waste," one tourist tells Mamamia. "Cobblestone streets and lots of inclines so just wear your nice flats and leave the heels at home."

Try out the samples at stores. No, seriously. 

Take advantage of every free thing you can get, one traveller tells us. Because you could save some serious bank filling up on the sample cheeses, pieces of bread and drinks available to you at grocery stores and pop-up shops. 

While we're certainly telling anyone to skip a meal, sometimes our wallets need a bit of a break. 

"In Italy, I actually SAVED money by going around all the different stores and trying their limoncello, because it got me drunk," one woman told us. "I also saved having to buy lunch by eating lots of cheese samples in Amsterdam."

Coffee is... very different. 

Please don't expect the coffee on the other side of the world to taste like the ones we get from our own local cafes, because you will be sorely disappointed. 

"The coffee is bad," one traveller remarks. "Really bad. Just except it and move on."


Another adds that if you find your regular coffee order isn't cutting it in Europe, it might just be because you actually ordered the wrong beverage. 

"When you ask for an iced or cold coffee in Italy, expect black coffee shaken with ice," she shares. "It's not a bad thing! Just... don't expect milk."

Listen to this episode of This Glorious Mess, Mamamia's parenting podcast. Post continues after audio. 

Warn your bank account of the costs.

We all know a holiday in another country (or continent) is not going to be cheap. In fact, it will probably wipe out your entire bank account. 

But it is important to know that there are some costs you should just avoid altogether... 

"If you're planning on hiring a sun lounger on a European beach, warn your bank account," one tourist shares. "I enquired as to what I would have to pay for the luxury of lying on a deeply sweat-soaked sun lounger beneath an umbrella on Paraggi Bay in Italy.

"It was 250 euros. Close to AUD$500. But you get to use one of our towels, or even two if you like!" 

Don't forget, Europe is AMAZING.

There are a lot of niggly details when it comes to travelling, but don't let it stop you from the Euro vacay of your dreams. 

Just please, take our advice. You'll be better off for it (and so will your wallet).

Feature Image: TikTok @galasalv, @uptin.

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