Are you planning a trip to Europe and wondering how different it is to travel within the European Union compared to traveling in North America? Surprisingly, a vacation across several European countries can be a quite similar to traveling in Canada or the United States if you take into consideration a few important differences.
Here are a few important items to think about before departing for your overseas adventure:
Carry-on luggage size
Be aware of the different restrictions for carry-on luggage for air travel within Europe. The typical North American carry-on (56 x 35 x 23 cm) will not fit in the smaller overhead compartments of aircraft used for non-overseas flights. Many discount airlines such as RyanAir have strict carry-on requirements and force you to pay large fees for checking oversized/overweight bags. Be sure to meet the requirements by purchasing a smaller hand bag meeting the proper requirements (55 x 40 x 20cm , weight 10 kg).
Discount Air Lines
It is extremely expensive to travel by air within North America. Luckily, Europe has discount airlines such as RyanAir and WizzAir that offer ridiculously cheap flights. For example, it’s possible to one-way ticket from Venice to Brussels for around $20 CAD. These great deals come at a price. RyanAir does not have assigned seating so be prepared to rush to the gate once it is announced to ensure you get the spot on the plane you prefer. But for the extreme discounts received on these flights, it’s worth the small inconvenience.
Easy Train Access
Another great way to travel throughout Europe is by train. All the major cities on the continent are connected through a vast rail network. The best part about this mode of transportation is that each city’s main train station is centrally located in the middle of the city so it’s easy to get to a hotel. Many of these buildings also boast beautiful architecture.
Language, Currency and Culture Differences
One made difference between travel in North America and Europe is the language and cultural differences. A one-hour train ride may take you through several different countries that speak several different languages and have completely different cultures. Each of these cultures are well preserved in their various countries so be sure to partake in this experience by learning a little bit of each new language. Luckily, traveling through these countries you can usually use the same currency, the Euro. There are 15 countries that use the Euro and 12 that still use their own currency. Take note, when traveling in Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Denmark and the UK. Switzerland and Liechtenstein also use their own currency.
Everything is Old
This is a fantastic difference that any traveler must appreciate when in Europe. Many of the buildings, castles, and artwork date back to periods previous to Columbus landing in America. This can be a humbling experience to realize how new North America actually is.
Takes these few points into consideration and you will surely enjoy a memorable experience in Europe.