Europe Tips

Start with the End in Mind

I start every trip, big or small, with the end in mind.

  1. Then I plan around the goals that I want to achieve.

  2. For a two week trip I usually have just two to three goals - I keep it very simple because I know I will not achieve everything. Life is too short. Anything else that happens on a trip outside of my goals, that is memorable, I consider as great good luck.

  3. For a weekend I usually have just one goal. For a month or longer I will subdivide into two or three week stretches.

  4. If my goal is to relax and do nothing then great, I just need to find a good place for doing that.

  5. When trying to meet the goals I keep it flexible because It might rain. So I might only get to one of my goals. That is fine too.

Food and Water

I generally like to minimise the number of times I eat in restaurants. But if that is your goal, then what follows still applies.

  1. I do a google search for "Vegan restaurants in xx." Why? Because generally these restaurants will have healthy food and this is my starting point. I save these locations in Google Maps. I am not strictly vegan, but if I can I will eat vegan food.

  2. Then I do a google search for "restaurants in xx" and work out by price and location where I want to go.

  3. I do a google search for "health food stores in xx." I find that health food stores generally have a bigger selection.

  4. When in places that have neither vegan restaurants nor health food stores, I search in google for restaurants, and find the kinds of places where I can eat.

  5. I will look for supermarkets. Usually I eat something simple for breakfast, like oats, and these are easy to find. Some foods are available in most places, like yoghurt or kefir.

  6. I always take magnesium citrate with me (in tablet form). Many people worry about getting diarrhea when travelling. I worry about constipation, which can be just as unpleasant. Magnesium, taken daily is the best for this.

  7. My wife loves coffee. I like taking a break in a good coffee shop. In google maps I search and save nice looking coffee shops. It makes for a cheap way to take a long cool (or warm) break.

  8. Water: I take a Brita bottle with a built in carbon filter. I never buy bottled water. If I am somewhere where there is a risk of viruses or bacteria, I take a Katadyn Steripen and sterilise the water before putting it in the Brita bottle.


I use offline google maps. Sometimes I also use (it depends on the country).

  1. I bookmark every place I want to visit in the maps.

  2. These bookmarks are available offline. But the step by step directions are not always available offline. In that case I will just follow the general direction since google maps will pinpoint where I am, and I can head towards my bookmark.

  3. If a city has pickpockets, I am careful about walking around holding my phone openly. I will go into a café or a store, check the map, come out and walk in the general direction for 5 - 10 mins, repeat. It is important to look confident at all times. Looking lost in a public place is like having a light shining on me saying -- lost tourist.

Using Trains

I use The Trainline . com

  1. They cover the whole of Europe.

  2. I can book in English and get the tickets in the local language.

  3. The interface is excellent in that it is simple to use..

  4. The prices are the same or marginally more expensive than booking on the local websites.

Car Hire

If I hire a car , then I use the German Website

  1. They cover the whole world.

  2. German insurance covers everything and it runs in a simple checkbox down the side.

  3. With this insurance I don't need any supplementary insurance when I arrive.

  4. If you do not speak German then turn on Google Translate for the whole page

Booking a Hotel

For short trips I use and I look at Google Maps

  1. On Google Maps I search for "hotels near xx" because google maps is often easier than the maps on

  2. On I always select "free cancellation" and make sure to check that I can cancel right up to the day before I arrive.

  3. On I read the reviews and in the reviews I use the search box to look for the work "quiet."

  4. I often stay just outside the town centre. It is usually much cheaper and I either use public transport or take a longer walk to get into the sights.

  5. I generally don't stay in boutique hotels. This is because although they are cute, I primarily want a hotel as a place for sleep.

  6. I often do a google search on "dangerous areas in town xx." I once stayed in a cheaper hotel, with good ratings, that was near the airport, and the police saw us walking in the area and advised us not to go out at night, and that even in the day it was dangerous. And that was in Barcelona.

For longer stays I will look at Airbnb.


I want good photos, so I make a list of the places I want to photograph

I combine all of the three items below into a list that I save in google docs and download as a pdf so that I can look at it offline on my phoen and I also bookmark them on google maps.

  1. I google search for "most beautiful places in xx."

  2. I google search for "most instagrammable places in xx." In the best sites, the author will say exactly where to stand to take the beautiful photo and when.

  3. I search on 500px for the place I am going.

  • I make sure to go out just before sunrise. It is generally quiet then and I catch the best light for taking photos.

  • I do not invest in expensive camera equipment. Most of my best photos are on a google pixel 3a. That said, I do like watching the youtube channel or mrwhostheboss and I will get a new Pixel or iPhone.

  • 95% of a good photo is about composition, so I like to look at other peoples good photos and learn from them. 500px -- Discover -- Editors Choice is a great resource.


I take the most precautions when I am the most likely to loose everything.


  1. When I arrive in a new place and have all my documents, money and belongings with me.

  2. The trip from the airport or train station to the hotel.

  3. The trip from the hotel to the airport or train station.

Whenever possible, I will use Uber or a local taxi app above any official yellow (or whatever official colour it is) taxi that I need to hail. This is because I have been cheated so often on official taxis, but hardly ever on Uber. Also, in some countries, local taxis work together to plan robberies. This is much less common on app taxis.

If there is a bus or train available I will use that. But I also research if busses and trains are safe because this is not always the case.

I will use the hotel or apartment safe if possible - statistically the hotel is just one place to rob, but if I have my passport or wallet with me, I present many opportunities for robbery. Nonetheless, when I go out, I also carry photocopies of my passport with me hidden in my belt.

When I am in a situation where I have everything with me:

I have three money belts.

  1. One thin one around my waist.

  2. One on my ankle

  3. One around my middle.

  4. I wear a fanny pack as a decoy wallet. It contains a bit of money and some old credit cards. This is more for the case of being robbed at knife or gunpoint, then I can hand this over.

When I have stored my stuff in the hotel or apartment:

  1. I go as low profile as possible.

  2. I keep my phone in a zipped pocket.

  3. I wear a minimal daypack on my back.

  4. I take just one payment card with me, a debit card that I can cancel easily.

  5. I take some cash but not too much.

  6. I make sure I know where I am going.

  7. When walking in crowded areas, I will purposely walk closely to someone ahead of me, and let them navigate the crowds. As long as they are going in the general direction I want to go, and I can get to a café or store I am happy. Moving firmly is way better than standing still and looking confused in a a crowded place.

  8. I will often sit somewhere and wait and look around, just to get my breath, to feel secure.

  9. If I am with my wife, we will often split the work. One of us looks around for possible dangers, the other navigates the route.

  10. In restaurants and stores, if I am with my wife, one of us will pay, and the other will keep guard. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but it is easy to do and I feel safer.

In places where I do not feel secure, I do not go out in the evenings if at all possible. But I will go out early in the mornings, even in less secure areas, as long as I have almost nothing with me. Most dangerous crime happens in the evenings. In the very early mornings, most people like to sleep.

H.A.L.T. & S

I make a specific point of avoiding, as much as possible

  1. Hunger: I eat when hungry and I drink when thirsty. This seems obvious, but when I am in the rush of a travel experience I can forget.

  2. Anger: I try not to get wound up because it makes me short sighted and also, when I am in a place where I am the outsider I don't know if I am right.

  3. Loneliness: I speak to people when possible but I try not to become clingy. I like to learn about their lives.

  4. Tiredness: I take good rest.

  5. Stress: I plan, and think ahead, and when difficulties cannot be avoided, I learn from them.

Why: This makes travel so much more enjoyable and also safer (a clouded mind is always closer to accidents).

Budget Airlines

I fly easyJet and Ryanair too and wizzair.

What I tend to do, is do my first booking with the cheapest option i.e. no extra baggage, no priority lane, no seats booked. Then I add only the items that I really want afterwards, and usually close to the day that I fly. It is almost always much cheaper that way.

Also, booking far in advance makes a big price difference. I just booked a round trip flight from Mulhouse to Moldova for 55Euros, for six months time.

I often start out with a reverse search: I On google flights, I put in my destination as if I am leaving from there, and then I leave the destination open and search for one way only and for non stop. That way I can see all the airports nearby to where I live where there are direct flights. I did not even know that Mulhouse had an airport until Î did a reverse search on Chisinau.