1. Large wheelie suitcases seemed like a good idea at the time
I can’t even tell you how freakin annoying our suitcases were! Seriously, there were days when I actually considered throwing mine on the train tracks and hoping for a quick but painful death. Not only were they large and heavy, but I don’t even know how the wheels on mine stayed attached – cobbled streets, stairs and little wheels do not mix. Then of course there were the smug backpackers, drifting by with carefree vigour, everything they needed slung over their backs; while we sweated and struggled, dragging our stuff behind us. Oh how I hated envied them.
2. Taxi drivers will rip you of
But they get you from A to B with little fuss, help you with your luggage, and some even have personalities and stories to share.
After many weeks of struggling with our bags between train stations and hotels; we eventually came to the conclusion that we’d rather be lighter of pocket than heavier of burden and started forking out for taxi fares. Yes, we know they often charged us more than they should – I’m sure it really doesn’t cost them an extra 10 Euro to drive a block outside of the city centre, but when you have a wicked migraine and just want to get to the train station without throwing up on the driver, you simply pay the money and be done with it.
3. Make-up is a luxury, not a necessity
Okay so maybe I didn’t learn this little gem until about halfway through our trip, once my skin was sun-soaked and glorious; but I learnt it nonetheless. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don’t like to leave the house without make-up on – I blame my grandmother for that; even a trip to the dairy down the road required high heels, curled hair and a full face of make-up – but it did get to a point on our holiday where make-up became a hindrance rather than a help. Some days were so hot that half of it had worn off not even an hour after application, so I just gave up and let my face tan instead. Of course, I totally still did my eyes. I mean, duh.
4. The internet is a godsend
Having lived away from my family and friends for many years now, I already knew this to be true. However, I was even more appreciative of the interwebs while travelling. It meant I could check in with family and friends; and share my adventures with everyone on the go. We could (mostly) easily find ourselves on the map and figure out how to get from place to place; and also meant that many accommodations we chose were rated according to their internet access, or lack thereof.
5. Laundry is hard
Living out of a suitcase for two months, we tried to pack relatively light. Unfortunately clothing still needs to be washed, and sometimes the bathroom sink just doesn’t cut it. We spent many an hour searching for laundrettes and then even more time waiting for washing cycles to end. A small price to pay for clean clothes, but it was frustrating all the same. I would definitely recommend finding out if your accommodation offers a laundry service, or spend time before the trip looking for a laundrette in the area so you’re well prepared.
Of course, I also learnt a lot about myself, my relationship and European culture; but it’s these first world problems that I feel might help other travellers out the most!