Traveling to Europe is almost on everyone’s bucket list for travel destinations and so it should be. There’s an abundance of cultural history, stunning castles and museums, delicious food and a heap of things to do and see. One of the best things about traveling to Europe, in my opinion, is that there are so many great cities nearby, making it extremely easy to visit a lot of countries and cities in a short period of time. For example, you can easily take a train from Vienna to Budapest in only a few hours, meaning that you can have breakfast in Vienna, lunch in Budapest and dinner in another city if you so desire! As it’s the new year, many of us find ourselves mapping out the year, deciding where we will travel to and setting a budget for the year. I wanted to write this article with my top 4 tips to traveling in Europe to help you plan the perfect overseas holiday.
1. Consider Train Travel
While flying is faster in terms of distance travelled in a certain time, there’s lots of consequences to traveling by train many people don’t consider. For starters, you’ll need to arrive at the airport early enough to go through all the departure procedures, such as the check in, bag drop, clearing customs if necessary and being at the departure gate at least half an hour before departure. On top of this, airports tend to be located quite far outside of the city due to the fact they need to be big and have a clear airspace to accomodate all the planes. On the flip side, train stations tend to be located much more centrally, often in the centre of a city. This makes it much easier for you to take a train and often saves you time. Likewise you don’t usually need to check in for a train – you can just show up around 10 minutes before and hop right on. I personally think train travel is an excellent choice for children as well, because they can walk a lot more than on a plane, the seats are often bigger and hopefully you can find a four-seat configuration so you can be with your friends and family! It’s also a wonderful way to see a different perspective of a city and to enjoy the countryside while you’re getting to your next destination!
2. Consider Traveling in the Shoulder Seasons
Everyone wants to go to Europe for the summer, and who can blame them? Gorgeous weather is one of the main motivators, but the truth is in many parts of Europe it can get really hot in the summer, like unbearably hot. On top of that, because of the extra influx of people during the warmer months, prices can go right up with hotel room rates doubling or tripling for the summer period. I really suggest going in the shoulder season months, when the weather will be a little cooler but still comfortable and prices will drop substantially for hotels. You’ll notice that attractions wont be jam packed and you’ll even be able to get better photos because there will simply be less people! It’s a great strategy all around and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your trip a lot more.
3. Book in Advance
If you’re traveling independently through Europe, often booking museums and activities online will not only save you time but also money. Many of the things you’ll want to book will have long wait lines, which can really take the fun out of your trip. I think it’s a good idea to book some things in, in advance, so when you’re actually there you can spend your time exploring, learning, and taking millions of photos. Definitely leave some space in your itinerary so you can be spontaneous and see what you discover while there.
4. Consider a Tour
Chances are you’re going to want to see as many places as you can while you’re in Europe and there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s the perfect destination to do so. However it can be really tiring navigating different types of transport in different countries with different languages. Choosing to do a tour will allow you the opportunity to explore many places, without having to worry about time, transfers and everything else in between. With a tour your accomodation is already arranged, you essentially just show up and get to enjoy a perfectly curated trip that includes all the highlights, without any stress!
Europe is a wonderful destination, no matter the time of year you choose or where you end up, I’m certain you’ll have a completely unforgettable trip. If you’re still in the planning stages of your upcoming trip, feel free to use these four tips to ensure you have an incredible vacation. And whatever you do, don’t forget to take a camera so you can take plenty of photos!