Europe was the very first place I ever traveled in for an extended period of time. When I was 20, my sister, my best friend, and I bought backpacks on Amazon, packed them WAY too full, and set out to see Europe for 6 weeks.
We took the train from country to country, stayed in hostels, and had the time of our lives. We visited 10 countries in those 6 weeks! There were moments of fear and a few trials along the way (as there always are with traveling) but overall, I’d say it was relatively easy for us as first-time travelers.
If you, too are looking to get away on your first big adventure outside your home country, I can’t recommend Europe enough. It’s the perfect place to get your feet wet with international travel and it offers SO much diversity. Here are the top 12 reasons why Europe is the perfect destination for first-time travelers.
It’s so easy to get from city to city and country to country.
Moving from country to country in Europe is about as easy as moving from state to state in the USA. You can fly for cheap, take a train (my personal favorite), ride a bus, drive yourself, and more. There are so many ways and they are all SUPER easy and accessible in Europe. It makes the logistics of transportation so much easier on someone who is less experienced in booking travel.
English is widely spoken.
If English is your first or second language, then you will have no trouble getting by in pretty much every major European city. Even if English isn’t the countries first language, there is a good chance they’ve learned English in school. English is very widely spoken in every major city and this can take away the fear of a language barrier for your first time traveling.
It’s not as big of a culture shock.
Parts of Europe will obviously be very different than your home country in many ways, however, there is a certain level of familiarity in every big city that will bring you some comfort. This can be a big factor in making you feel confident and comfortable as a first-time traveler.
It’s not too far from home.
I know for some a 6-8 hour flight seems like a really long flight. But, when you look at the world and how massive it is, in the grand scheme of things, Europe is pretty much in the middle. So, whether you’re coming from the US, South America, Africa, or Asia… it’s not as far as if you were to fly to the other side of the world. (Sorry, Australia… pretty much any place is far for you!)
European cities are very walkable.
Every city I’ve been to in Europe has cheap and EASY public transport! Which is another huge bonus for a first-time traveler. But, let’s face it, public transport can be a pain in the butt to figure out sometimes. Luckily, all European cities are SO walkable. Walking is easy and helps you to get the lay of the land in each city! Plus, when you walk, you see so much along the way.
There are so many GREAT hostels all over Europe, especially in the big/highly trafficked cities. Staying in hostels as a first-time traveler is one of the best things you can do. You meet other travelers who will give you tips and become your friends. Hostels are also very CHEAP and usually easy to get to by walking from public transport. If you’ve never stayed in one, it’s an experience you have to have at one point in your life!
Everything is online.
No matter where you are visiting in Europe, I guarantee there is something on the Internet about that place. That’s not the case in places that are a bit more remote or less visited. You can prepare for your trip to Europe from home quite a bit easier just by looking things up online before going.
Tours, tours, tours…
There are TONS of tours in every major city in Europe and the best part is that almost every single city offers a FREE walking tour (another bonus to walkable cities). It’s a great way to see the city and you are literally risking nothing but your time. These types of tours are also great for a budget-friendly thing to do!
You can discover what kind of traveler you are and what you want to see more of.
Even though the countries in Europe are so close together in distance they are very far apart in many ways when it comes to their cultures. Each country offers such variety from the last. They speak different languages, eat different food, have different landscapes and attractions, and can have completely different customs. This is great for a first-time traveler because you can experience many different things. Then, you can decide which you liked the best and you can seek out those types of places in your future travels!
Every place has unsafe areas. And yes, bad things can happen to you anywhere… but generally speaking, Europe is a pretty safe place! Because it is so heavily traveled, it’s very easy to find great, safe neighborhoods to stay in each major city. Safety is always a big concern, even when you’re an experienced traveler. But, I can assure you that the safety and familiarity you will feel in just about every city is why Europe is the perfect destination for first-time travelers.
As I mentioned above the food in each country can be vastly different, but it’s all SO good. You can get authentic and fresh dishes in every country…Pierogis in Poland, Pasta in Italy, Paella in Spain… my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
It’s easy to stay connected.
This is true for just about everywhere now.. but in some other places like Asia or South America, the WiFi can still be pretty bad. However, in Europe, there is literally WiFi EVERYWHERE. Some cities even offer city WiFi. It is SO easy to stay connected with everyone back home or call up your mom if you are feeling a little homesick.
If you’re venturing abroad for the first time and you’re feeling a bit nervous, Europe is the perfect destination for first-time travelers, it’s a great way to get started in international travel. But, beware! The travel bug is prominent throughout Europe, and it’s likely to bite. 😉 Who’s already looking at flights??