11 tips that will change the way you travel

Whether you’re an experienced traveller or have just booked your first European river cruise for 2015, this guide featuring the best travel advice from a series of experienced travel writers is sure to make your European tour a success!

“As a travel destination, Europe is so rich with culture, history, tradition, and trend-setting that it’s really tempting on a river cruise to push yourself to see as much as possible in every place you visit. It’s really important, if you’re going to have a great experience, to pace your sightseeing schedule. If you’re doing heavy-duty museum visits in one port, take some time out at the next to sit at a sidewalk cafe and watch the world walk by, or take a bike along a towpath, or simply sleep in and enjoy your ship when it’s totally quiet. The worst thing I can think of when returning from a trip is being so exhausted you need a vacation from your vacation.”

     -  Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic 

Cruise Critic is the cruise review site that offers the ultimate cruise guide. Telling you everything you need to know to make an informed decision about your holiday and destination, you are sure to feel safe in your booking; just check out their review of Emerald Waterways’ river cruise holidays! Editor-in-chief Carolyn Spencer Brown offers her expert travel advice on how to really enjoy your river cruise holiday – without needing another holiday to unwind afterwards!

“There are so many famous attractions and big-ticket museums to visit in Europe, especially in the big capital cities, that you could easily spend your entire trip standing in line or shuffling through galleries with crowds of other tourists. Before your trip, identify the major attractions you absolutely don't want to miss, but also take time to research a few less-traveled sights to check out: a small gem of a church, a residential neighborhood with pretty architecture, a sculpture garden outside the city center --anywhere you can escape the hordes for an hour or two. Better yet, take an afternoon simply to wander with no plan in mind.”

     -  Sarah Schlichter, Senior Editor of IndependentTraveler.com 

As one of the world’s first travel websites, the travel advice from Independent Traveler is one to trust. Schlichter couldn’t be more right, standing in line whilst on a holiday or tour is never a desirable place to be, so be sure to choose a tour operator that can give you unrivalled attention and opportunities for self-guided tours where you can avoid the crowds and see more of your surroundings.

“Travel slowly. Too many people try to 'tick off' as many sights, cities and countries as they can.  Take more time to do less and you'll get a better chance to truly appreciate and get to know a destination. It's a much more relaxing and enjoying way to travel, too. What's more, you'll also have plenty of excuses to return to explore other destinations on your next visit.”

      -  Dr. Paul Johnson, A Luxury Travel Blog ( www.aluxurytravelblog.com ) 

When you’re enjoying the finer things in life, perhaps one of the holiday suggestions detailed on A Luxury Travel Blog, there’s nothing better than enjoying it by taking life a little slowly. Dr Johnson’s travel advice to slow down and absorb your surroundings comes from experience, so take heed on your next trip.

“Visit at least one city that you’ve never heard of, like Olomouc in the Czech Republic…”

     -  Tips and advice supplied by Duncan Rhodes, Blogger-in-Chief of Urban Travel Blog

The Urban Travel Blog offers the travel advice of not just one experienced traveller but a whole host of amateur and professional travel writers, meaning that they offer some truly great travel advice and articles. Rhodes has enjoyed a lifetime of travelling, meaning that his advice comes well founded. From Olomouc in the Czech Republic to the likes of Svishtov in Bulgaria, nothing is better than experiencing something new and unique for your holiday.

“My tip would be train safety. Travelers should make sure that if they are going to sleep in the train they should have good locks on their luggage and keep it in the overhead compartment while they are asleep.”

     -  Will Castillo, iwilltravelblog.com

All too often when taking a holiday we overlook the potential dangers of travelling. Thankfully, river cruise holidays and tours are one of the safest ways to travel, with plenty of staff on hand to help keep you and your possessions safe. However when going out and about on your own be sure to bear in mind Castillo’s top tip and be aware of your surroundings. For other great travel advice see the I Will Travel blog.

“My shoe tip for the ladies would be to pack ballet flats as they're comfortable during the day walking the many cobbled streets of the Old Towns in Europe but can easily be dressed up for evenings out for dinner or the opera.”

     -  Kelly, Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes

As the name of her blog might suggest, Kelly’s travel advice centres on footwear. Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes has plenty of advice inspired from her travels, making it a personal and genuine account of what you might come to expect whilst travelling around Europe.

“Europe is a unique melting pot of cultures and languages, combining a wide range of architecture styles, music and cuisine like no other place in the world. We highly recommend doing a bit of research and learning about each destination in advance in order to fully understand and enjoy its peculiarities. And of course, don’t forget to have fun but we are sure you will do anyway!”

     -  Ania and Jon, hitchhikershandbook.com

The culture of Europe is often what draws so many people to its borders. Having hitchhiked across the world, Ania and Jon from the Hitch-Hikers Handbook, certainly know a thing or two about various cultures and cultural experiences.

“Don’t try and see everything. Plan on coming back to Europe. You can’t see everything on one trip and it is better to savour a small part than rush through and try and see too much.”

Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler

Having already provided his expert opinion in ‘The great Christmas market debate’, readers might already know how valuable Christensen’s advice really is. His blog, the Amateur Traveler, has been providing fantastic audio podcasts featuring the best tips from his travels for some time, helping listeners decide where to go next on their holiday.

“Eat everything.  You'll be hard pressed to find as many great food options anywhere in the world as you do in Europe!”

     -  Bredan van Son, Brendan’s Adventures

Food is one of the most exciting things to experience whilst on a European tour. With incredible recipes and fresh produce that might be foreign to the tastebuds, van Son’s travel advice is something that many would agree with. For even more to stimulate the senses, see his blog Brendan’s Adventures for a taste of his exquisite photography from his worldwide travels.

“Don’t be shy! Most people in Europe speak English so if you want to say hi or just have a little chat, you’re welcome.”

      -  Nina, Travelboulevard

Next to food, meeting people from various different countries is a great way to experience local culture. As a resident Belgian, Nina from the Travelboulvard blog can speak for her country and says that it is always with speaking with locals and getting to know the local way of life.

“Pack light. It will make your life so much easier if you aren’t bogged down by a heavy bag and unnecessary items. A small suitcase is especially helpful when switching locations and on any public transportation you take.”

     -  Jenna, Wander the Map

Thankfully, the best part about a river cruise holiday is that you only have to unpack the once, with your accommodation travelling with you throughout the course of your tour. However, there is plenty of other great travel advice on the Wander the Map blog and her tip of packing appropriately is relevant to all travellers, particularly those on river cruises who have to pack with multiple locations and climates in mind.

Image Credit: Drew Coffman (flickr.com) 

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.