Acting as a tour guide for your family is hard while studying abroad in Prague. You’ve only been in this new city for a month or two, you’ve most likely been splitting your time between class and traveling around Europe, and there’s a massive language barrier to boot. When my family came to visit last month, I was completely lost. I was supposed to be the Prague expert who would show them all the best places in the city, but there was so much we could do in the week that they were here, and I was overwhelmed with the possibilities.
I’m here so that you don’t have to feel that same level of utter confusion (I’m telling you, it’s intense!). Keep reading for my tips on how to have a great time bringing your family around Prague, and maybe learn a bit more about the city in the process.
Help your family find somewhere to stay that’s either near campus or near your dorm They’ll surely be a little confused by how Prague is separated into districts, so push them in the right direction. A bonus: if they find a place that’s closer to campus than your dorm, you’ll have somewhere nearby to crash to take a nap after early classes. Airbnb is always a good, fairly cheap option, and my family was able to find a full apartment to rent for the week on Hotels.com.
Before your family arrives, spend a little time looking into the area around their accommodations. Be sure to take note of nearby restaurants and grocery stores for them, and familiarize yourself with metro and tram routes around the hotel so you can visit them easily.
Buy metro passes as soon as possible. I recommend purchasing a 24-hour pass at the airport, and then getting a longer pass after they’re settled in Prague. Passes for 3 days or less are available at pretty much all metro stops, but longer passes are only available at certain stations. Make sure they validate their passes!!
Take this opportunity to play tourist in your own city. Making time to visit tourist attractions on your own just gets harder as the semester goes on, and this way, you kill two birds with one stone: they get to see Prague, and you get to knock a couple tourist traps off the list. I recommend visiting Prague Castle, the Franz Kafka Museum, and the Museum of Communism.
Look into taking a day trip during the weekend (or on a weekday if you don’t have class). If there was an NYU-led day trip you didn’t get to go on, take this opportunity to visit the town yourself! You’ll get to see more of the Czech Republic, and your family will definitely get a unique tourist experience. Check Flixbus and Student Agency for cheap bus tickets.
Help them navigate the ATMs and exchange kiosks after they’ve settled into their hotel. Check the current exchange rate before heading to any exchange counter to make sure you’re getting a fair deal, and always withdraw cash from an ATM without the currency conversion. Most places take card, but you’ll run into a cash-only restaurant or cafe at least once on the trip. Be prepared!
Prep your family with a little bit of Czech before they arrive. DuoLingo and TinyCards are great ways to learn the basics, and cheap conversational Czech CDs and audiobooks are available on Amazon and Kindle if they prefer that option.
Give your family a crash course in Czech culture. Explain tipping and paying at restaurants, public transport (trams don’t stop!), and basic etiquette. Make sure they review their Czech history before they arrive, as well.
Research events happening around the city during their visit. My family came to Prague in mid-March, and we explored a couple Easter markets over the weekend.
Bring your family to your favorite spots in the city, even if that’s just the pizza place around the corner. Give them the things they can only find in Prague, and show them how you’ve built a life here.
Most importantly, have fun and be flexible. You never know what you might stumble upon!