As I finish writing this on Milo and my ten hour bus ride from Istanbul to Burdur, Jonas and my summer European trip has officially come to a close. In the three months we’ve been traveling together, we’ve backpacked from Germany to Albania and roadtripped across Greece with our parents. We’ve met countless new friends, tried lots of great food, overcome many language barriers, and learned and done millions of other things I could go on listing forever.
Over the past few weeks, Jonas and I have been busy putting together a list of tips we’ve learned along our journey so far and thought we’d share it with you here:
- Bring caribeaners but don’t leave them on your checked luggage for flights, they’ll get stolen
- Be very wary of speaking about price comparisons openly, you don’t want to insult locals by saying how cheap your groceries were since the same groceries could be pricey for them
- Don’t set expectations, live and learn openly.
- Don’t plan too many details, let things fall into place
- Learn some basic phrases, locals often appreciate your attempts at communicating
- Pay for damn transportation, the fine is far, far more expensive than the ticket
- Always have your passport in an easy to grab place when crossing borders
- Use the bathroom before a bus ride
- Never expect public transportation to run on time once you’ve entered the Balkans
- If you’re looking for local culture, avoid going to ruin bars in Budapest, they’re almost exclusively internationals (which isn’t bad if you’re looking for that)
- Always be prepared with headphones and good tunes
- Forget about air conditioning
- Expect to meet the coolest people at the least expensive accommodations. You’ll bond over how terrible the place you’re staying at is.
- It’s ok to ask someone with a difficult accent to repeat themselves a few times. It’s better you understand their story rather than shake your head and smile unsure about everything they’re saying.
- Always have a pen and notebook.
- A thick, black marker is helpful to carry around too in case you need to make a hitchhiking sign on the spot.
- Try to ask younger people for directions, most speak more English than the older generations.
- Always check your pockets before swimming…
- Buy the step up from the cheapest alcohol
- Bring your student ID with you, nearly everything is discounted
- Don’t throw a bag of rice to kill a spider, it’ll break open and spill all over the floor
- Spend money on quality food, don’t live off street food, your body will thank you
So there you have it – words of wisdom from two budget travelers about to embark on an even larger journey. The next chapter is upon us, meaning our days of moving from place to place so frequently with last minute agendas are over.
Also to catch you up on what’s happened today, Jonas and I took a shuttle from the airport to the hostel he’ll be working at in Taksim. Jonas got aquainted with everyone there while I worked on blogging. A few hours later, Milo met up with us at the hostel and we all had a grand reunion. We kept our bags at the hostel while Milo’s dad’s friend showed us around the city.
After enjoying a taste of the Turkish cuisine we’ll be indulging in for the next… however long… we went back to the hostel and said goodbye to Jonas. Milo and I took a shuttle to the bus station and boarded a midnight coach to Burdur. Stories from working on a lavender farm in southwest Turkey to come soon!