After recently returning from a trip to Europe, I was reminded of some idiosyncrasies that are common among many European hotels. There are many everyday conveniences that differ from country to country, and while there is nothing that would ruin a trip, it makes travel much smoother and easier when you know about the unexpected ahead of time so that you can be well prepared.
In Europe, the hotel rooms are typically small and don’t have large closet space. This tip may encourage you to pack lighter to allow for more space in your room. It’s also not uncommon to have two twin beds pushed together to create a king-sized bed - although the beds are made up individually with twin sheets.
Speaking of small, you may also be surprised how small most European elevators are. The majority of elevators you will come across will be much narrower and smaller than the elevators you are used to. Small elevators can make large luggage difficult to maneuver. Don’t be surprised if your hotel doesn’t even have an elevator at all!
In order to save energy, you must insert your room card key into the wall to turn the electricity on. This is an effort to not allow electricity to be used in a room when not occupied. With no electricity running while you are away for the day, that means your AC won’t be running - so expect to come back to a warm room during the warmer months. The air conditioning is also not as cold and strong as we are used to, and not all hotels have air conditioning. Some travelers may find it difficult to sleep in warmer weather, so please plan your sleepwear accordingly.
You’ll need to bring a converter with you to charge your phone, watch, camera, and other electronics. Most hotel rooms don’t have an abundance of outlets, so I suggest bringing along a converter and a small power strip - that way you can charge everything at once and in one spot.
Bringing along familiar comforts, no matter how small, will make your trip the most comfortable for you. It is not uncommon for your hotel room to not have an alarm clock. If you are used to waking with the help of an alarm clock, I would advise you to pack a small travel alarm clock or to ensure that your phone has a working alarm clock. Many hotels also do not provide washcloths to guests. I recommend packing either your own quick-drying washcloth or a packet of make-up remover wipes. Make-up wipes also work great as disposable washcloths in a pinch. Packing small comforts can make all the difference in your day-to-day life when traveling.
There is truly such a joy in experiencing both the big and the little differences of everyday life when traveling to new countries. I encourage you to use these tips to prepare as best as you can for your upcoming trip.
Wishing you happy travels on your European getaway!