When To Visit
Europe is vast and offers a range of climates and terrains to explore, it’s also packed full of tourist hotspots and prices soar during busy periods so be considered when choosing what time of year to travel.
If you’re planning an extended summer break, go off-the-beaten-path and opt for low-key coastal destinations in the Balkans, such as Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria, over places in the Mediterranean. They’re just as stunning, have plenty of different landscapes to explore, and are often a little more unspoilt and less touristy.
Winter brings world-class powder to the slopes but again, if you’re looking for value, choose lesser-known resorts. The shoulder seasons of spring and fall offer affordable escapes throughout the region and are, in my opinion, the best times to travel through Europe by train due to the seasonal scenery.
Plan Around an Event
Europe hosts an incredible selection of music, dance, and historic cultural festivals so if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, plan your trip to coincide with an event and make sure you book your tickets and accommodation well in advance. Some of the most notable include Oktoberfest in Munich, La Tomatina (a massive tomato fight) in Spain, and epic EDM festival Tomorrowland in Belgium.
When packing for your European adventure you’ll be provisioning for multiple destinations and plenty of different outdoor activities. That’s a lot of kit for a single trip and if you’re not careful you’ll end up trying to take way more stuff than you can carry.
Get back to basics and start with a multi-function convertible bag that will transition from carry to wheeled when required. Choose clothing options that you can layer up and split your things into different gear cubes to keep everything organized.
Think Outside the Box
If you’re looking to save money on the cost of your flight to Europe, look at routes to regional airports that are located within a reasonable distance of your preferred destination. Europe has a comprehensive rail network that connects all major cities so you might find it’s cheaper to book a flight elsewhere and then make your way to your chosen destination by train.
Tip: Use a money belt or bra stash to keep your valuables close at hand when you’re on public transport.
Plan a Route
Once you’ve found affordable flights and factored in any events you want to go to during your visit, plan a route. Allow yourself scope for unexpected delays and make sure you have enough time to see each place rather than rush through, get a snap for your Instagram, and rush on to the next.
Pre-book Train Tickets
A Eurail pass—or InterRail pass as they’re known in Europe, can be a cost-effective way to travel if you’re planning to cover large distances in a short amount of time. However, once you know your route check whether individual tickets workout cheaper as some routes have supplement charges applied to them.
Tip: Choose overnight train journeys on long-distance legs to reduce your spend on accommodation
Get Adventurous With Accommodation
When you’re visiting Europe the best way to experience the unique culture of each destination is to choose hosted stays over booking into a hostel or hotel. Bed and breakfast style accommodation is offered all over Europe and offers the chance to meet local people and get a taste for life in each location.
The ultimate Europe trip planner doesn’t exist as there are so many itinerary variations to choose from. Whatever you decide, wherever you go, as long as you take the time to plan your route and research the things you want to see and do, you’ll have a truly memorable experience.
Looking for up-to-date travel advice? Check out this guide to planning international travel in 2021.