From the 'coffee shops' in Amsterdam to the traditional dish of haggis in Scotland (you don't want to know), a Europe holiday will have its fair share of OMG moments. There will be 'lost in translation' times, currency conversion confusion, peculiar menu options and unavoidable "Where are we?" moments. Our advice? Just go with it. It's all part of the European experience. And what comes from the unknown can often be the most rewarding. There are, however, some basic things you'll need to know:
Visa requirements differ between countries in Europe. For example, Australian passport holders will not need to obtain a visa in order to travel to the UK, France or Italy, but you will need one for entry into Russia and Turkey. If you hold a different passport, some countries may require you to obtain a visa that Australian passport holders do not need to obtain for entry. For accurate and up-to-the-minute visa information for your passport and holiday destination, please refer to the country's embassy.
The Euro is the currency used by most countries in the European Union, which includes Austria, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Estonia, Ireland, Malta, Luxemborg, Slovenia, Portugal, Slovakia and the Netherlands. Other currencies in Europe include the British Pound used in the UK, the Polish Zloty in Poland, the Turkish Lira for Turkey, the Swiss Franc in Switzerland and others. For the exact information on your destination's currency, check out our currency section.
Food in Europe is as diverse as the countries themselves - the only thing they all really have in common is that they are delicious. If you're travelling with your taste buds in mind, the obvious choices are Italy, Greece and France. Italy, in particular, is revered for its cuisine with pizza, pasta, coffee and wine as their pride and joy, while France is famed for its wine, gateaux, bread and pastries. Foodies will also be keen on tasting their way through Spain with tapas chased by bowls of paella washed down with sangria, and in Turkey by making new friends with large meze plates and Turkish tea. For sweet tooths, chocolate tourism in Switzerland and Belgium is serious business, while the Brits and Germans take their beer and pub food very seriously.
Once again, nightlife in Europe is a diverse beast best discovered for yourself. There are, however, some destinations that are known to party harder than others. One with a strong reputation for wild nights on the town is Berlin, the home of the warehouse techno club. The Spanish island of Ibiza is another hedonistic hotspot infamous for its neverending dance parties. While they may seem quiet, the Greek Islands also know how to have a good time, particularly Mykonos, as does Amsterdam. If pub crawls are more your thing, the UK will stand you in good stead, particularly in London, as will Iceland's capital Reykjavic.
If a few weeks in Europe just aren't enough, you might want to consider a gap year doing a working holiday. At Student Flights, we offer a wide range of working holidays from teaching English in France to serving beverages in the UK. Not only will you get to earn some cash while travelling, but on a working holiday you can gain a glimpse of life through the eyes of a local. So make the most of your next trip to Europe by making it a working holiday.