Jon and Lauren's Travel Tips and TricksBy Lauren Romero -
In Europe, hotels in prime locations are usually in historic buildings, meaning no lifts and cramped bathrooms. Accessible hotels are often farther from the city center, but have better bathroom and elevator situations.
Call your hotel before departing on your trip
We booked hotels about five months before our trip. Before departing, call your hotel and ask a manager about planned construction or issues that might affect your travel.
Take it easy upon arriving in a new city. Being able to explore without a set timetable or plans reduces stress and gives you an opportunity to rest if necessary.
Plan two activities per day
Once settled, a good daily pace is one morning and one afternoon activity. It’s also helpful to have some variety in activities, e.g. a park in the morning and a museum in the afternoon, or nature in the morning and cityscapes in the afternoon.
As Robert Burns said, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” In the face of problems, there can be a silver lining in abandoning the travel plan. It can often mean stumbling upon a beautiful building or hidden café.
Our two-week, multi-country itinerary was very different from Jon’s usual one-week, “city stay” trips. Instead of pushing himself hard at the beginning, he made sure to take it easy so he had enough energy to last the whole trip.
Budget for taxis
Despite how expensive taxis are in Scandinavia, they were indispensable. We made every effort to save money by taking public transportation, but when there was construction on tram stops or broken lifts, we knew it was time to find a taxi stand.
Your smartphone is your best friend
The best apps to have on your phone are Google Maps, Maps.me, Google Translate, and TripAdvisor. When you have wi-fi, go to Maps.me and download the city map for use during the day when you don’t have wi-fi (or don’t want to use up cellular data). You can do the same thing with Google Translate. Download an entire language for when you don’t have wi-fi and need to translate a sign, menu description, etc. And be sure to have a battery back-up for your phone!