How to plan a trip to Europe – All you need to know
When you plan a trip to Europe, you’re faced with so many options! Endless places and experiences, that you could travel for years and still feel like you’ve missed something essential. This can lead to making the mistake of over committing, and missing out on the smaller details that make travel and train travel so magical. We’re here to tell you what you shouldn’t do and How to plan a trip to Europe, from start to finish!
Tip 1: Narrow It Down
Before you can experience authentic Spanish tapas, piazzas in Rome or rooftop terraces in Prague, an important bit of admin is required! Simply put, the more prepared you are when you plan a trip to Europe, the greater your chances of fun and a stress-free trip that lives up to your expectations.
So here’s SaveATrain ’s tip: choose a top five, must-dos for that European adventure! Maybe it’s drinking in the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, or taking a canal tour in Amsterdam, or examining David—from many angles – in Florence. Whatever it is, mark those down and plan your trip around them. Preferable by trains.
Tip 2: Don’t avoid the clichés.
Now that we’ve established that you need to plan a trip to Europe, next is choosing your top destinations. In the spirit of YOLO, you may want to go off the beaten track and search for hidden gems within the cities. But the hipster in you that wants to go against the mainstream destinations, may want to take a seat. On a tourist bus. There’s a reason why places like The Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, and Charles Bridge are all extremely popular with tourists: they’re awesome! Don’t feel you have to get off the beaten track just for the sake of it. If the big attractions appeal to you, then go and see them.
By the same token, don’t treat the guidebook as the gospel. It might say the Louvre is an absolute must-do on a trip to Paris, but maybe you’d have a better day searching for Blek le Rat pieces on alley walls. Flexibility, when you travel, is key, always!
Tip 3: Travel dates are crucial when you plan a trip to Europe
Travel in the off seasons. Popular months are July, August, and September. They are insanely busy, not to mention expensive! If you plan a trip to Europe in Summer, you’ll be sharing every single experience with millions and millions of your closest friends. Accommodation will be booked out, or expensive and Trains will be much more full, seeing that they are the best way to travel!
Tip 4: Assemble your travel documents.
If you don’t have a passport, then you best get cracking! It will take at least four to six weeks from the time of application for you to receive one. (Depending on what country you live in of course) Expedited services can speed up the process, but it will cost you. It’s best to take care of this well in advance before your trip. Already have a passport? Check its expiration date! Some countries can deny you entry if it expires within 6 months of when you arrive. Eek!
Tip 5: Renting a car.
Wanting to rent a car when you plan a trip to Europe? Be sure to have a valid driver’s license. Some car rental companies also require travelers to have an international driver’s license in addition to their driver’s license from their country of origin.
Tip 6: Don’t over-pack your itinerary with too many destinations.
As mentioned before, it’s easy to over commit and try squeeze in too much. It’s totally understandable. Your precious leave needs to be utilized well, so it’s easy to try over-pack your itineraries when planning a trip to Europe. However, this can be costly (not to mention exhausting), as over-packing trips with too many destinations in too few days leads to more time on the road, and more gas or train tickets. In extreme cases, it can sabotage a trip, turning it into a blur of hotel check-ins and check-outs (with constant packing and unpacking), while watching a never-visited landscape race past the train windows. If possible, slow down. You’ll save on transportation and gain more time to explore your destinations.
Tip 7: Money Exchange
Travelers waste a lot of money purchasing euros from their bank (or worse yet, from a currency exchange counter) before arriving in Europe. This results in hefty fees! so don’t neglect this subject when you plan a trip to Europe.
Our advice is to head straight away to an ATM when you arrive in Europe and withdraw cash using your ATM card. It’s simple, and the exchange rate that you get for the transaction is almost certainly better than any rate we have even gotten from home banks. Call your bank before you leave to ask about international ATM transaction fees, as well as informing them that you will be using your card abroad. If you don’t tell them, it might alert them to think it’s fraud, and will block your card. Also, ask if your bank has international locations or partnerships with local banks in Europe.
Tip 8: What you lose on the swings, you win on the roundabouts
Don’t sacrifice your location for small hotel savings. We recommend giving preference to your Airbnb or hotel with the most central location when you plan a trip to Europe. Budget travelers, in particular, have a tendency to choose a hotel in a far-flung location that’s €5 cheaper than one that’s more central. You’ll save time and money on transportation (especially if you wind up taking taxis).
Tip 9: Don’t forget to call your phone carrier.
Call your carrier once you complete to plan a trip to Europe and get a plan if you plan to use your phone, and then make sure you set up your phone to avoid accidental data charges (in brief: turn off cellular data and restrict the number of apps that can use cellular data). And, as a plan, stick to free Wi-Fi networks for downloading and sending emails, checking the Web and using apps. Europe has many wifi hotspots, so you won’t be out of touch for long. Alternatively, buy a SIM card for your phone when you get to Europe.
Tip 10: There’s An App For That
Eightydays is an awesome travel app that can help you plan a trip to Europe while giving travelers an easy look into the options available when traveling across Europe.
Users start by picking a city to start and finish in (for now, it’s necessary to start and end the trip in the same place). Then select departure date, how long the trip will be and how many destinations to include. Users can also select if they want to look at cities in Europe, the European Union or just the Schengen Zone. The app will then create an itinerary, complete with Airbnb rates in each city, for those on a budget.
It’s possible to continue shuffling options until the app stumbles upon an itinerary that looks good. And don’t worry about inconvenient travel: The site says it specifically weeds out far-away airports and early morning departures that can drain travelers on the road.
Although it’s not (yet) a perfect system for booking an entire European trip, Eightydays can help give travelers a better idea of price points for different journeys while potentially introducing them to destinations they may not have previously considered.
Of course, the best way to travel is always by Train! Save a Train is the best way to buy your tickets. If you are about to book your train tickets click on the link https://www.saveatrain.com to receive great discounts.
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