European Travel Etiquette: Handy Tips for Polite Travel

European Travel Etiquette: Handy Tips for Polite Travel

Travel Tips 2024-02-28

If you have intentions to embark on a European holiday, it's important to adhere to certain unwritten rules in order to avoid offending the locals. Since each culture has its own set of customs, we suggest you take note of these helpful etiquette tips for a more enjoyable and hassle-free journey. Let's get to it!

So what are the proper etiquette guidelines that should be observed when traveling to Europe?

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Ensure a proper greeting

Across Europe, there are varying customs when it comes to greeting both friends and strangers. In the United Kingdom, it's customary to shake hands, although a cheek kiss is becoming more common among friends. In France, it has long been the norm to "faire la bise" (kiss on the cheek), which has now spread to most other European countries. The cheeks touch, but the actual kiss is done in the air with a loud smacking sound. It's typical to exchange at least two kisses, and sometimes even four. While women kiss everyone, men generally only kiss women. However, if you're uncertain, it's best to offer a handshake to avoid causing offense.

Be ready to wait in line

The inclination to form an organized queue is not exclusive to the UK, although British people would consistently outperform others if queuing were an Olympic sport. Throughout a significant portion of Western and Northern Europe, individuals can be seen lining up for various things, ranging from museum admissions to coffee. However, as one heads further south and east, the situation becomes more disorderly. If waiting in line is not your preference, you can make use of skip-the-line tickets available at numerous popular landmarks and attractions on the continent.

Avoid hurrying through your meal

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In many restaurants in North America, quick service is common, but it's the opposite in Europe. Taking a plate away as soon as a diner finishes their meal would be seen as extremely rude in Europe. Dining out is meant to be enjoyed, a social event that should never be hurried. If you're really in a rush, let your waiter know when they take your drink order that you need to leave by a certain time, and request the bill when you order your food to avoid a long wait after you're finished.

Avoid excessive tipping

Tipping is not a significant concern in Europe. While it's customary to include a 10% gratuity when dining out, going beyond that is uncommon. In addition, if a service charge has already been included in your bill, as is the practice in Italy, there is no need to tip at all. Nevertheless, it's acceptable to round up the cab fare or show appreciation to an exceptional tour guide. However, when ordering drinks at a British pub, it's customary not to tip if you want to fit in. To understand the expectations better, it's advisable to consult your concierge as tipping practices vary significantly from one country to another.

Keep your voice down

In museums, galleries, and libraries, it's important to speak in a hushed manner. This is also highly valued in any public setting, including bars, restaurants, and even the subway. If you disregard this rule, you may receive shushes, disapproving sounds, or disapproving looks from others. It's best to keep your voice down and save the loudest volume for places where there are no people around. If you really need to shout, it's more acceptable to do so in a crowded nightclub, where it's necessary to be heard over the music.

Be respectful when taking selfies

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Numerous popular attractions in Europe can get overcrowded, particularly during the summer season. It's common to find large tour groups occupying narrow streets and small squares. Regardless of whether you're traveling alone or with companions, it's important to consider the impact of taking a selfie on someone else's view or path. While you may be on vacation, it's worth considering that those passing by could be commuters rushing to work. If you notice that someone is in a hurry, it's advisable to be a considerate tourist and step aside, allowing them to go first.

Allow others to disembark public transport first

European subway stations are often packed with people, all eager to catch their train. It's important to wait until everyone has exited before stepping on to the train, even if there is another one right behind it. In certain stations, colorful feet are painted on the platform to guide you on where to stand. This practice is also utilized on busy trams and buses in Europe, which sometimes have separate doors for getting on and off. If you're unsure, it's always helpful to observe and imitate the locals.

Observe and follow others

To continue the idea of avoiding inconveniencing others, be aware of your surroundings in cramped areas. When using escalators or walking on narrow sidewalks, try to stand on the same side as the locals. Keep in mind that this may go against traffic regulations. For example, in Britain, you should queue on the right side when using the stairs or pathways in the London Underground, but when driving above ground, you should drive on the left. In cities like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, never wander into a bicycle lane unless you want to risk your life. It's important to follow these guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in these bustling cities.

Refrain from asking Europeans inappropriate questions

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In many parts of Europe, discussing someone's salary is seen as inappropriate. Even colleagues on the same team may not be aware of each other's earnings. While it's perfectly fine to inquire about someone's profession, asking about their wealth and possessions is considered distasteful. It's also best to avoid discussing religion and politics, as these topics are generally considered off limits. It's understandable to be curious about different cultures, and sometimes locals themselves may bring up these subjects once they get to know you. However, it's best to refrain from asking impolite or intrusive questions when first meeting someone. If you're unsure what to talk about, commenting on the weather is always a safe option, just remember to convert the temperatures to Celsius first.

Travel stress-free, leave the parking to us: let take care of everything!

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Traveling worldwide shouldn't be something tiring – conversely, that's the time you can enjoy both the amazing landscapes of our Earth and joint activities with your loved ones. Nevertheless, things don't always go as planned, and we're at risk to face some challenges even at such an enjoyable moment. One such problem is actually airport parking, specifically its price. Let's have a look at the situation a bit closer.

If you used to get to the airport you're flying from by your own car, you probably know what we're talking about – the question of parking cost arises every time. You'll be definitely shocked – even though most US airports provide travelers with on-site parking, which allows them to leave their vehicles for their entire journey there, such a parking type is unfairly overpriced. Choosing this parking option, your next trip just might cost you a fortune. And that's not even considering it's complicated to find a free parking spot for your car. Since nobody wants to waste money and travel inconveniently, there begs the following question: is there actually any solution?

And we're happy to say – yes, there is one!

What is off-site parking and why is it worth choosing this option exactly?

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Your best solution is already here – off-site parking lots that are just a few miles from the airport. Our smart booking platform with easy-to-use interface,, helps our clients to select off-site airport parking lots with the most affordable rates, along with high-quality service. In addition, we offer the services for the major US cruise ports that are located in Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas as well.

Why choose an off-site parking option? The answer is pretty straightforward – it's cheap and convenient. Using our services, first of all, you'll avoid the following difficulties you might face while getting to the airport you're departing from:

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By the way, free shuttles going back and forth between the parking lot and the airport terminals are available 24/7. All that's required of you is to make a call and inform staff about the time suitable for you.

Forget about all the nightmares by choosing!

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For better understanding, we'd like to give you a good example.

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If you still have any questions, turn to our easy-to-navigate website – there, you'll find all the required info connected with the off-site parking. Airport parking, along with its pricing, provided by the majority of US airports, is a true nightmare, but if you know the place, your life can be much easier. Let yourself travel in full comfort right now – Park Smart & Choose Convenience together with us! And have a nice trip!