Travel Log: A teen’s guide to travelling Europe

The name of this canal is the Herengracht (gentleman’s canal).

Sabrina Brons, Editor

It should come to no surprise that America is unlike any other country for one. If you want just one example, we are one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t use the metric system. So on that hand, if you are an American in Europe, you will be experiencing a very different reality than you’re used to.

As I come from a family where I am the first person to be born and raised in America, I have traveled to Europe every year of my life (really you can stop clapping or praising me, it’s not as exciting as it sounds). I typically spend my time in Europe half in Geneva, Switzerland and the other half in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. With my plentitude travel experience, and what I am only assuming is your lack of, I have one upped you and therefore are your master. Just kidding (kind of), though I do have some insights that might be helpful to you.

To get to Europe or to any country, you may have to fly. Now, I am not scared of flying one bit, in fact I’m more comfortable in an 8 hour flight than an 8 hour car ride, however, I can understand why some people are. In the case that you are scared of flying, make sure to bring something to keep you entertained. This can range anywhere from a book and some magazines to one extra large sleeping pill.
Also, beware if you get sick easily. Planes have a tendency to move unexpectedly. Be sure to bring whatever’s necessary to keep you from puking (trust me, no one likes the puker). In addition, do be sure to use the restroom before you board the plane. You may think that the bathrooms at the terminal are gross, but I promise you that the ones on the airplane are more so (not to mention small too).

So you’ve gotten to Europe! Congratulations you have now entered a different continent and hemisphere!!! Though it may not be obvious right away, it is quite different from America!! As a general tip, things from country to country in Europe tend to be quite similar.

Here’s whats ahead:

The currency-
The first thing you need on your big expenses paid trip is money. The currency in most of Europe is the Euro (€). This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but dollars will not be excepted on Europe so stop by the nearest currency exchange and get you some moola. Beware that you will be losing/gaining money during the exchange depending on the value of the dollar in comparison to the Euro. Beware though that some countries do not use the Euro, be sure to check if the country your visiting does. In the case the the Euro is not the medium of exchange, the same exchange principles apply.

The showers-
For starters, they are small as all heck. Let me tell you, I entered my uncle’s shower from when he lived with my grandmother and as I closed the blue fishy curtains, I had zero space.
I pride myself on being the great height of 5’4″ (I know, I’m a giant) and my head was less than 4 inches from the ceiling! Yes, the ceiling!! Now, my brother is 6’1″ and he had to use the same shower as I. Did he survive? No (We will be holding a funeral for him, feel free to attend the service).

The bathrooms (public edition)-
Have some coins on you at all times, many public bathrooms cost money in Europe. You may be thinking why you should pay to release your bodily fluids, but that is not what you’re paying for. You are paying for people to clean that bathroom so for the sake of humanity, I beg of you, pay the money. Now, the condition of the bathrooms won’t be the greatest, but you just have to live with it. There’s nothing you can do about it, suck it up and be fast.

The roads-
Generally, they are small (this also goes for the size of the car). No one has big SUV cars so at the rental car, please get a small car and blend in. This will also be helpful since the roads will not be big enough for your car. Going down Cunningham heading towards PHS, each side of the road has a lot of cushion room on each side, that is the amount of space each road is total. However, even though at the corner of Hicks and Cunningham isn’t technically 2 lanes, in Europe, it is and if you’re not driving half on the grass, then we’ll see you in the afterlife.

The travel time-
In America, we often think a travel time of 2-3 hours isn’t bad. In Europe, however, it is a different story. Since in many of the countries in Europe it only takes 2-3 hours to go from one side of the country to another, 2-3 hours is a very long travel time. In most cases, if your staying within one country, you will not need to travel long than an hour to your destination. If your traveling between countries, you might have to travel a longer time, but in no way will this travel time be longer than what you would expect.

The restaurants-
The food is good! Shocker, right? Just a helpful tip before you get lost in the languages on the menu- many restaurants have English menus or waiters that can help translate the items for you. Don’t be afraid to ask!

The culture-
All the countries in Europe have a different culture. In most cases, if your in a small town, the style of architecture will be similar ranging from country to country. However, in no means does that mean the culture is the same. No matter where you travel through Europe, you will have an experience like no other. The culture throughout Europe is unlike one in America and will surely be your favorite part of the vacation.

To recap all I’ve discussed, let’s make a list of everything that’s small: showers, bathrooms, roads, cars, houses, travel time, drinks, and pretty much everything.

I would highly suggest spending time in a different country. It provides you with an overload of culture, food, sightseeing, and memories to last a lifetime. If I had to say one thing bad about traveling into a new country, it’s that if you don’t speak the same language, it sucks not being able to eavesdrop on other people.

If you’re about to brave into a new world and take the plunge into entering a country unlike your own, I wish you good luck. I know, I may have not made traveling through Europe sound incredibly appealing, but if I said I didn’t love every moment in Europe, I’d be lying. Traveling in another country brings you so many amazing experiences that can only help build you as a person (though it may destroy your wallet).

I wish you all a safe voyage.