Last summer, I spent 10 days on the road travelling through Europe via coach. I would highly recommend it – particularly if you have limited time and money, or if you’re travelling solo. It’s great if you’re nervous about travelling, because you’re in a big group and everything has already been organised for you.
There are many coach-tour companies to go with, but I happened to go with TopDeck.
If you do choose to go on a coach tour, here are a few tips to ensure you make the most of your time away from home:
Don’t pack your whole wardrobe
I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes the hostels you stay in have awkward spiral-staircases (I’m referring to castle accommodation we had in Germany’s Rhine Valley). Light, small suitcases will be ideal for the few outfits you’d need – especially since there are usually laundry facilities at the hostels.
My rule of thumb: Pack one clothing option for every weather possibility, and one formal outfit. Everything else needs to be comfy, conservative clothes for walking in – we walked 15 kilometres in Paris including the 600+ stairs up the Eiffel Tower, to give you an idea.
Look out the window, not at the mirror
Please don’t be concerned by how you look. Be natural and don’t spend two hours in your room stressing over what to wear for dinner. Get going – there’s food downstairs, people to talk to and a fantastic country you’ve never been to outside your door!
What’s a ‘comfort zone’? Try everything – go for bike tours in Amsterdam, climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, hike through the mountains of the Swiss Alps, stroke the horses in Bruges who trip-trop through the city, eat that Italian pizza and pasta, eat those French garlic snails! This is not the time to watch your waistline.
Above all, send your postcards
Most hostels and some coaches have WiFi, so instead of saving up your photos to upload to Facebook, send them back to friends and family with Postsnap. Upload your selfie from Venice, write a message and send! We have printers all over the world, so no matter where your recipient is they’ll receive your postcard within days. They make great keep-sakes and souvenirs that you don’t have to carry around with you – they’ll be waiting on your doorstep upon your return home, ready for reminiscing.
Shower in the evenings, not in the mornings
Mornings can be hectic! So have your shower in the evening without worrying about the line of impatient, sleepy people outside. You’ll have more privacy and less stress in the evenings, but more importantly, a lie-in during the morning.
Early birds: Going on a coach tour means a strict schedule needs to be stuck to, and this usually includes early-morning departures. It can be fast-paced – one day we had breakfast in Italy, lunch in Austria, and dinner in Germany!
Hangovers are not fun when on a the road
After our night in Italy, I remember looking around at my fellow travellers on the coach the next morning and not feeling the slightest tinge of regret in staying [more-or-less] sober the night before. “Sleeping it off on the coach” is not as practical as it sounds, and motion-sickness appears to be much worse when hung-over.
Top tip: Spend your money on experiences, not alcohol. I’m sure you’ve already experienced the feeling of drinking too much, so spend your time staying alert and experience Paris at sunset or early mornings in Switzerland instead!
‘Hello, let’s be friends. Best friends.’
On my trip, there were more than 40 people from every corner of the world, including a woman who lived literally around the corner from me back home! (What!?) You’ll make life-long friends, and you’ll have plenty of offers for free accommodation for future trips to Australia, Canada, Mexico, USA…
Everyone is in the same boat as you, everyone wants to have fun and be kind, so don’t be shy – book your epic road trip and remember it with personalised Postsnap postcards. ?