How I Conquer Europe In 48 Hours
2 countries in 72 hours? Yes and yes. There is nothing more that fuels me than a quick trip to get away and recharge. I am writing you from a café in Amsterdam, Netherlands and just 24 hours ago I was walking the streets of Madrid. Although I travel often, my trips are usually short and rarely planned out. Here is how I maximize my little amount of time in Europe, always resulting in a memorable experience:
Pack super light and avoid bringing non-essentials: Truth is, you can get away with 1 pair of jeans. Pack only what you absolutely need. You’ll survive without your 56 shade eyeshadow palette and 10 step bedtime routine of cremes, but don’t forget your electrical adaptors! Trust me, you will be thankful when you are hauling your roller bag through cobblestone streets and needing to use multiple modes of transportation getting to and from the airport!
Sleep on the plane and stay hydrated-It is important you don’t fall victim to jet-lag. I’ve learned my lesson by promising myself I was just going to take a short power nap, resulting in waking up 8 hours later and completely ruining my body clock for the days to come. I typically will watch a film, have a glass of wine with the meal service, and take a sleep-aid drifting off into a nice slumber. Once you land, it’s time to kick it into high gear!
Use public transportation- Besides being a part of the experience, European cities have excellent public transportation. I use this app called Rome2Rio or Google maps. Although most cities now have Uber which can be a lifesaver at times, at least try to hop on the train first.
Fully expect things to not go as planned- Once you embrace the beauty of life throwing you a few curve balls, you will find you stumbled upon an awesome coffee shop or beautiful park you would have not encountered otherwise. Remember how fortunate you are to have the opportunity to travel in the first place, and you will quickly forget that having to kill time until you can check into your Airbnb is not The. End. Of. The. World.
Get out of your comfort zone and engage in conversation with strangers-It's such a wonderful thing listening to other peoples’ stories. Whether they are locals or travelers just like you, I am always fascinated by the beautiful souls I encounter; some I have made long term connections with and speak to regularly.
Stay away from the typical tourist’s attractions and do what really appeals to you- At the gasp of everyone I know, I am not a museum person. Don’t feel forced to visit certain sites unless you want to. Your time is limited, so do things that are going to stimulate you. Yeah, I didn’t go inside the Louvre when in Paris, but I had an amazing afternoon with a girlfriend drinking rosè on a beautiful patio overlooking the Pyramide du Louvre and then renting bikes strolling the Parisian tree lined streets. Make Anthony Bourdain proud, and travel like a local.
I hope these 6 tips help you next time you are traveling outside of the States not only physically but on a deeper level. Remind yourself to always be present and appreciate that there is another way of living than what you may be used to.
Until my next adventure,