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First time travelling to Europe, so many questions....

Travel Forums Europe First time travelling to Europe, so many questions....

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1. Posted by Haylee1234 (Budding Member 19 posts) 6y

Hi everyone, im heading to europe in 2010 to do a tour, and its my first time flying so far from home. Any tips to not go crazy on the long flight? And how bad are the thieves over there? I dont want to get robbed! And is Slovakia really as bad as it is in the movie Hostel?! Id like to stay in one piece!

2. Posted by Diamond86 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Hi!
Don't afraid to go for this nice trip. I had a little Eurotrip before a year and nothing awful happened. Of course you should know a little bit about culture in countries which you are planning to visit for avoiding from unsuccessfully situations.
About thieves - in every country they are. You should be careful but don't be too afraid of thieves because people are friendly and if you will think positive, nothing bad will happen.
And Slovakia really not so bad. Don't trust in movies but just go and see all by your own eyes.

3. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

Re the long flight - usually there's inflight entertainment so watch a movie, play some games, listen to the music channels. If you want to have your own song selection, then bring an ipod. Books and puzzle books (like Sudoku) helps, or you can also pore over your guidebook for some last minute scouring of things to do etc. Strike a conversation with the person sitting next to you. From time to time, get up from the seat and walk the aisle to get rid of the stiffness from sitting too long. If you write/draw, bring a notebook and start scribbling/sketching. Otherwise, sleep.

I've known of friends who knit and bring knitting stuff onto the plane, but I guess that's depending if the staff will allow you to bring the knitting needles on.

That's pretty much all you can do on a long flight really. And oh, if you have your laptop (I personally wouldn't bring one on a long trip since it's heavy, needs looking after and expensive to replace if lost) you can do whatever your normally do with your laptop until you have no battery left?

Any sort of petty crime like thieving is everywhere, not just Europe. If you normally wouldn't leave your belongings unattended at home, then do the same when you're away. Try to split your money and put some in the purse, some inside a notebook compartment, some inside a bag compartment etc. If you're travelling with daypack, at busy places, carry the bag in front of you so you can see it and to deter quick hands (although to be honest, if someone's seriously targeting you, they'll likely to be able to, but you don't want to make it easy for them either).

As for anything seen in movies, really, it's a work of fiction. Just apply to usual common sense you apply at home, and it'll be fine. Most people are nice but that doesn't mean let your guard down completely. E.g. if you won't normally let strangers buy you a drink in the bar or leave your drink unattended, why would you do that when you're away, right?

4. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member 571 posts) 6y

Hello Hayleee,
I can't help you with the long-haul flight part of your query except to say bring something to pass the time that you can get immersed it, and don't forget to excercise regularly on the flight. A friend of mine, really fit, non-drinker or smoker got DVT on a flight from Europe to Australia and had to spend an extra 3 weeks in the country with little or no money. Forewarned etc etc...

And how bad are the thieves over there? I dont want to get robbed! And is Slovakia really as bad as it is in the movie Hostel?! Id like to stay in one piece!

The thieves in Europe are as bad as the thieves anywhere in the world - meaning, they are bad if you don't follow simple safety precautions or if you are just plain unlucky. But I've been traveling through Europe for many many years now and the only incident I've ever had happen to me so far was to get a room beside some Estonian Mafia types making a porn movie. Other than that, I've been really lucky, or smart, or a combination of both.

Don't be afraid to travel freely in Europe but don't be naive either. Use your common sense and ASK, ALWAYS ASK when you're new in a place where NOT to go before you ask where to go. 9 times out of 10 the places not to go won't interest you anyway.

Have a great trip and if you have any further concerns just ask here on TP. There are people here with experience of almost every situation in every country imaginable.

5. Posted by Elena1111 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

Hello!
I fully agree with Diamond86. I was in Slovakia about a year ago. It is a very nice country with very nice people... Of course, you should be careful with your baggage, like in any other country.

6. Posted by citybell (Full Member 419 posts) 6y

Hi Haylee,

Yes..it is a very long flight to Europe from NZ. But as suggested by other members, you can pass th etime with inflight entertainments in the aircrft. If it is possible choose a better or a comfortable seat from the airlines website. Another choice is that you choose a one stop flight if the airlines allow you to get off during the transit.Another way of relaxation.

About thieves or pick pockets, they are in every country! Though you have not said which countries you intend to visit in Europe, suggest you to be extra cautious in Madrid's Metro stations, in some districts of Paris and in St.Mark's square in Venice. Never leave your baggage unattended specially when you are buying train tickets at crowded stations. Never count heavy money in crowded places. Keep emergency numbers of your credit card companies.
Other points have been told already.

Not visited Slovakia yet so unable to comment.

All the best for a safe and an enjoyable travel.

7. Posted by Haylee1234 (Budding Member 19 posts) 6y

[b]Thanks for the great advice everyone. I feel more prepared for my trip now :)

Haylee

8. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 6y

Quoting Haylee1234

Hi everyone, im heading to europe in 2010 to do a tour, and its my first time flying so far from home. Any tips to not go crazy on the long flight?

The craziness starts when the homesickness sets in, not on the flight. On the flight, you may still be in a daze from all of the planning and the last-minute running around. It might not hit you that you're going on your first(?) long trip from home until your plane lands at the airport . . . Maybe later. There will be movies, radio on your headset, and occaisional snacks/meals to keep you occupied. You may or may not be able to sleep. If you're flying in coach, it won't be very comfortable, expecially if you're tall. There are a myriad of products out there to assist in sleeping on planes/trains, and only you know if they're worth it. The airline will provide pillows and thin blankets (at least Air Canada does- don't know about the airline you're flying with, but chances are it'll be similar). A good thing to pack is ear plugs- many ear plugs! Eye masks are another idea, but watch out for the really elastic ones- they could leave a dent in your ear! As suggested before, suduko, word searches, ad libs, crosswords, etc. will entertain you for part of the trip. Take Oscar Wilde's advice, also, and bring your journal. You could reread previous 'sensational' entries, or compose another. It will help you to sort through your thoughts and feelings about this upcoming trip, the things you hope to experience, your apprehensions, your anxieties, your ideas of how to improve airport security . . . I dunno . . . whatever. Honestly, I find it difficult to concentrate on airplanes, so be prepared for that. You might just zone out and watch movie after movie . . .

As far as homesickness goes, stay in contact with people at home as much as possible. Before you leave, compile all of their email, snail mail addresses, phone numbers (including area codes!), etc. and put it into a little book. Add extra pages for new friends you'll meet while travelling ;) Bring some pictures of friends and family for the times you are feeling blue and missing them, as well as to show to the people you'll meet. You could even bring some postcards of your home town to show people, or to give away as a small token of appreciation.

And how bad are the thieves over there? I dont want to get robbed!

There are a few common sense precautions that you could take to avoid being pickpocketed. First, I would like to forewarn you that this might scare you a little. Always keep your bag touching your body at all times in public places so that you know it is there; if you can't feel it, it's gone! As someone else said, never ever leave it unattended. It'll get stolen. Don't pack valuables in the outside pockets. Packing for a trip to Europe isn't like packing for the beach in New Zealand. Don't think convenience, think safety. Don't bring anything of sentimenal value or that's super expensive; nothing that you will be heartbroken or mad if it got lost or stolen. In places like Paris train stations, there are a dangerous sort of pickpocketers that take it to another level. They slash backpacks, and as all of your things fall onto the ground, they grab anything that looks expensive or could be pawned for money, and run off before you could utter, "Help!" Some people go to great extents to prevent this, covering their backpack with special netting, etc. Unless you're spending months in Paris, it isn't really worth it. On busy night trains, there are bands of thieves that leak sleeping gas into your cabin through cracks in the door, then sneak in and pilfer your luggage. Opening the window helps. Or better yet, reserve a couchette (a chair that reclines). Put your feet on top of your bag. If you're a really heavy sleeper, invest in a bike lock to secure your bag to something. Beware, also, of scams against tourists. Use your judgement. If it seems fishy, say no. Never give into something abroad that you wouldn't give into at home. Don't go down dark, shady alleys. Stay away from creepy-looking people. Use your street sense, your common sense, your sixth sense, your horse sense . .. You get the idea.

Really, though, it's not that bad. You will definately enjoy yourself. You will have the trip of a lifetime. You will bring back fond memories that will last and last. You probably won't be robbed, or worse, and you'll very likely not regret this trip. If you don't go, however, I can almost guarantee that you'll regret it. So go! And stop worrying!

And is Slovakia really as bad as it is in the movie Hostel?! Id like to stay in one piece!

Ha ha! You're kidding right? Let me put it into perspective: you're own backyard is as bad as the movie Hostel. There are people that crazy/scarey at home. But you don't let it prevent you from living there, do you? So don't let it prevent you from travelling, either.

Have an awesome trip!

Steph

9. Posted by Haylee1234 (Budding Member 19 posts) 6y

Thanks Steph thats good to know. Do u recommend a backpack or a over the shoulder type bag for day trips? I was thinking over the shoulder bag because that way I am more likely to see people getting in to it, and i can also take a fancier shoulder bag to resturants etc...what do u think?

10. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 6y

Hey haylee,

If you think that you are going to be going to a lot of posh restaurants (or maybe even a few), then an 'over the shoulder bag' would probably be best because it would help you blend in better. Just for convenience' sake, I usually carry either a daypack (small backpack) or a small purse. If you are just going to museums and attractions, this usually works best. I'm not sure how posh the restaurants you are referring to will be, but at most places, I'm sure they will forgive you of a small backpack. One thing to consider is you can fit a lot more into a backpack than an 'over the shoulder bag,' like a bottle of water, a light jacket in case it gets chilly, etc. As far as security goes, though, both would be fine, I think. It just depends on which style you are more comfortable with. Be careful that you never leave it open, though, because then swift hands could easily pilfer through it. Also, it is a lot more difficult for someone to snatch a backpack than something worn over the shoulder. To make it more secure, I would definately wear it across my chest, not just over the shoulder, so that someone couldn't run passed and grab it, then disappear into the shadows before I could say, 'boo!' And hold onto it with one hand. These are things that I do at home all the time, because, where I live, 'purse snatchers' will race passed, grab your purse, and run off, rarely caught by police or anyone else. When I'm abroad, I, naturally, take the same precautions.

Steph