I’ve been living in Europe for the last 14 years and traveled over 44 countries in the World. During these years I have realized that Indians are having vastly different experience than white travelers from the Western world. Here are my 8 simple tips that can help you meet locals in Europe and get a real authentic experience:
1. Join some online groups
Before coming to Europe, join some local Facebook groups like Digital Nomads, Indians in Germany, Indians in Austria etc. or groups in other communities as couchsurfing.com or meetings in meetup.com. Post messages there in advance mentioned that you’re coming to “X” country these days and you will be surprised, that there are many people who are willing to help, give recommendations and even meet you and show the city.
2. Stay in hostels
European hostels have the quality equal or even sometimes better than 3-star hotels in India. In the majority of them, you can also get private rooms with attached toilet. Hostels’ common rooms are some of the best places to meet a lot of interesting and friendly travelers. You can go out with them and meet a lot of locals.
3. Wear nice clothes
Wear nice close and particularly iron them. In many European countries, people judge you a lot based on how you look. If you are going to the night club be ready that they can reject you to enter. To minimize that try to wear good clean clothes and also wear formal shoes instead of sneakers.
4. Use words “please” and ‘thank you”
Add the word ‘please’ if you are asking someone something. We often don’t use this words in our speech, but European people can easily get offended. For example while ordering food in a restaurant say: “Can I please order a cup of coffee” and at the end say “Thank you”.
5. Learn few basic words in local language
You can come across some difficulties while talking to people in European countries, so learn some basic words in the local language as “Hello”, “Bye”, “Good morning”. It can help in communicating with locals and people will be more open to you.
6. Be careful with gestures!
Do not use your hands, if you don’t know what does it mean in the certain country. As well do not be insulted, if Europeans will use it with u, as it can mean something totally different.
7. Learn about body distance and touch
Learn about body distance when talking with others. In some European countries, you can stand to a person very close and the other person won’t mind. However, in other countries, by standing too close, the person will feel uncomfortable and can misunderstand you.
8. Guys, do not stare at girls
No one likes it. Any girl will talk to you u if you are staring at her.
9. Girls, smile more
Girls, try to smile more and be more open. Often I see Indian girls keep a distance with everyone while talking and having an angry face. People in Europe mostly are open and quite friendly. Start a conversation and you can meet really nice people and get a lot of friends.
10. Get used to eating with knife and fork
If you are meeting people outside, try not to use hands and eat food with knife and fork. Exceptions can be fries, chicken legs, burgers, and pizza.
11. Remember that everyone is equal
Whether someone is cleaning your home or is your driver, in Europe everyone is equal and u need to speak to everyone with respect.