Either you’re going to the world’s most famous gay club in London (Heaven), one of the largest gay festivals in the world in Barcelona (Circuit Festival), or the most infamous S&M club that could only be found in Berlin just below the techno behemoth Berghain (Lab.Oratory). When it comes to planning a trip to Europe, it’s most important to plan ahead for a fun and safe Eurotrip that you won’t forget. Here are 10 tips that will guarantee you have stories to tell when you’re back home for years to come.
1. Connect to wifi or buy a SIM card
First things first, you will need a smartphone that can access data outside of the country, not only for Grindr (or PlanetRomeo when you’re in Germany). The reality of having access to the internet is like having water while traveling. You’ll need it to help you get around your new surroundings, and well, yes to access your social media and dating apps to make new friends. You can get a sim card upon arrival if your phone is unlocked, or T-Mobile offers a pretty nice deal for traveling abroad without a contract.
2. Plan what you can to get the best deals
Websites like skyscanner.com allow you to get your ticket to whatever European destination you want at generally good deals. Skyscanner allows you to see when it’s ideal to purchase a ticket months ahead of time on their “whole month feature” and you can set email alerts to see the price go up and down as to when is best to buy. From my experience, I would say it’s best to buy on a Tuesday two or three months in advance.
3. Check visa and travel regulations
Make sure your passport is up-to-date and you check whether you need a visa to visit the country for the amount of time you’ll be there! For all of Schengen zone, Americans are allowed three months holiday without issue. After that, it’s required to leave the country for a while before re-entering or obtaining a visa.
4. Know the exchange rate
Exchange money at your bank before going to a destination and get a credit card that offers no fees on international transactions. This will save you money on your trip. Number one pro tip, never exchange money at the airport. All exchange stores give the worst rates. Using the application or website, xe currency is the best way to see what the current exchange rate is.
5. Find a gay-friendly place to stay
Once you know when and where you’ll be visiting in Europe and have your visa and money situation figured out, it’s time to decide where you’re going to be staying. You could go the traditional hotel route and use skyscanner.com for this as well, or you could use misterbnb.com, the gay-friendly alternative to airbnb.com. If you’re on a budget, there is also hostelworld.com which can be a great way to make new friends while traveling.
6. Research where to party
Let’s be honest, you want to see where European men like to party. The best site that has served me well while traveling in Europe has been TravelGayEurope.com. They cover everything you need to know from clubs, bars, saunas, and gay cruise clubs. What else do you need for fun night out?
7. Use travel guides
In case you don’t only want to see the nightlife Europe has to offer, it’s important to do some research from travel guides online. Some good ones are Eating Europe (focusing on foodie guides in Europe), Rick Steves (focusing on all the basic tourist sites in Europe), and the Lonely Planet forums—great for helping you learn from what other tourists are up to.
8. Don’t forget a power adapter!
Make sure to bring a travel charger, converter, and a camera. You want to document your entire trip and be able to update your social channels without being disconnected from the world. Instagram envy is very real!
9. Pack light to avoid carry-on luggage fees
Pack light! A lot of the European discount airlines often charge more than the cheap ticket fare, going from Amsterdam to Prague, just to check a bag. Believe me, I once spent 20 euro on a flight ticket, and then 50 euro for my checked bag on RyanAir!
10. Be prepared for every situation
Don’t forget to pack protection! You never know when a steamy moment will arrive, and if you’re in a foreign country it can be intimidating to ask for condoms. So it’s always nice to have some in your bag…