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Mistakes I Made On My First Trip to Europe

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/10/2015 Nicole Suarez

2015-10-17-1445046313-9366793-IMG_2935.JPG © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-17-1445046313-9366793-IMG_2935.JPG
It's funny how we make so many excuses not to do something that we really, really want to do. My biggest mistake was not making my way to Europe sooner! The brick roads, history, beautiful accents... I fell in love.
That being said, there were a few stumbles a long the way. Here are some things I wish someone reminded me of before embarking on my first journey to the land of wine and cheese.
2015-10-17-1445048795-9759951-10484953_10204641892224762_8290156149381311869_n.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-17-1445048795-9759951-10484953_10204641892224762_8290156149381311869_n.jpg #1: Saving up
Here I was trying to find a decent Wi-Fi connection in a fluorescent-lit coffee shop situated a few blocks from the Coliseum. Wine, gelato, house music... life couldn't be better! Then I checked my bank account. My paycheck that was scheduled to come in as usual was nowhere to be found.
Not only did I not receive payment, I had to call my boss a few times a day to solve the problem... Who wants to talk about work-related matters while escaping busy schedules and daily routines? Not me!
Lesson learned. I now have an account set up strictly for my vacation savings.
Set aside funds for daily activities, and assume you'll spend more than you have planned. Taking a credit card for emergencies is always a good idea. Also, remember to let your bank know you'll be traveling to avoid security blocks on your card.
2015-10-17-1445048855-1853643-IMG_2813.JPG © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-17-1445048855-1853643-IMG_2813.JPG Mistake #2: Sleep.
"I'll just take a 15-minute nap," that's what I told myself before plopping on the deliciously fluffy hotel bed when arriving to Italy. What did feel like 15 minutes, turned into six hours! My first day abroad was spent sound asleep.
Fight the urge to lay your head on those wonderful pillows. You'll thank me later.
Turns-out jet lag is caused not only by the change in time zone, but also our exposure to light. Apps like "Jet Lag App" tell you when you should avoid daylight to more easily adjust to the new schedule. If you're the preventative type, help your internal clock by going to bed and waking-up a few hours earlier then you normally would before leaving for your trip.
2015-10-17-1445048920-4312115-IMG_2251_2.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-17-1445048920-4312115-IMG_2251_2.jpg Mistake #3: Travel Itineraries
Three cities, three countries, and eight days... You better believe we were exhausted.
When my travel buddy said we could sleep in a few hours because our train to Paris was in the evening, I was ecstatic! On the way to Central Station in Amsterdam something inside me said, "Look at the ticket one more time." Somehow I was already prepared for what I was about to see; our train had left two hours before.
Save yourself headaches like these and program all of your travel itineraries into your phone and set a reminder. Midst the fun, exhaustion and partying, it's easy to misread your ticket, especially if you're still adjusting to military time.
The main thing I learned after my first Euro-trip? Life happens. It's never going to be the perfect moment to go, so just book it!
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NICOLE SUAREZ © Nicole Suarez NICOLE SUAREZ

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