Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Wed June 24 2015

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  • Worldwide Scott | June 24, 2015 1:00 AM ET

    5 Tips For Your Europe Trip

    5 Tips For Your Europe Trip

    Bruges, Belgium (all photos by Worldwide Scott)

    For many, a trip to Europe is their first true taste of international travel, and for a healthy percentage, this patchwork place full of bustling train stations, plazas, romantic cities, landscapes, and languages ends up being a lifelong travel obsession. Whether you are planning your first trip to Europe or your umpteenth, a weeklong vacation or a six-week sojourn, here are five tips that will help you have an amazing experience.

    1. Seek the Unknown

    Simply put, places like Paris, London, or Rome will make you feel like you have strolled onto the set of a movie and will blow your bucket list to bits. With their rich reputations comes great expectations, however, and sometimes that can be fertile ground for a tiny letdown. That's why I suggest balancing out first-tier stops on your trip with places that you've never even heard of before. I am not talking about a village hidden under a mountain — I'm simply talking about somewhere you weren't familiar with before your trip. These places are blank canvases, and more often than not, will end up being a masterful stroke.

    I had never heard of Bruges, Belgium, before my first trip to Europe, and as a result it ended up being one of the most exciting stops of my trip.

    2. Sweep the Supermarkets

    While spending time strolling the aisle of a supermarket may not sound quite as nice as picnicking in a piazza, it can be just as interesting. Look at it this way, it is inevitable that you will be buying little things like bottles of water, soda, and snacks during your time in Europe, so why not save a few Euros and gain a little insight into the local culture while you're at it.

    Observing how mundane things like shopping are done in another country and inspecting local brands can be both mouthwatering and eye opening. If that's not enough reason, I almost guarantee a foreign label or two in the store will provide you with a lost-in-translation laugh worthy of Instagram.

    3. Map Your Meals

    Almost every region and city in Europe is known for a food or drink specialty, and whether we're talking herring in Holland or pasta in Palermo, seeking out an authentic version is a must. But how do you find the best local versions of these dishes?

    I suggest a simple three-step process. First, find out what the local specialties are where you are headed in Europe. Then search the web for the best version of that dish. Mark the places that come up on your map and then work your way towards them during the day while sightseeing (preferably around lunch and dinner). This may seem very basic, but it still beats the stuffing out of just following your nose and accidentally stumbling into a ghastly and likely overpriced meal.

    4. Frolic at a Festival

    Whether you are into beer drinking, horse racing, or pelting strangers with tomatoes, there is a fun festival for you in Europe, and timing your trip to coincide with one of them is a brilliant idea. Summer pulses with massive festival concerts nearly every weekend — the Running of the Bulls, and Siena's famous Il Palio among dozens of others. Fall is festive featuring Oktoberfest and wine harvest grape-stomping, while in the dead of winter, Carnival keeps you warm with raucous parties held in a host of towns, most prominently Venice and Cologne.

    5. Open Your Jaw

    When designing an itinerary for a trip to Europe you may find it challenging to come up with one that has a perfect loop back to the place you flew into, especially if you are only in Europe for a week or two. This can all be solved by flying out of a different place than you flew into. So-called "open-jaw" plane tickets can often be cheaper than traditional round-trips and will take a ton of stress out of your planning. Example: instead of flying into London, trekking down to Italy and then attempting to loop all the way back, fly into London and fly home out of Rome. 

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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