This list of 16 tips for traveling Europe provides info on flights, accommodation, entertainment and other useful info that could make your trip far better. Read on!
Passport and Visas
Don’t be one of those people whose trip was ruined for having an expired passport. Or for not checking visa requirements. If you have an US passport you need to have validity of at least another three months. This is the rule for most European countries. For some countries it’s six months. Make sure to read the requirements on your country’s MFA website.
The best time to book flights within Europe is a month before your trip. Many airlines offer promo prices at this time trying to sell more tickets, especially in off season. For example, Turkish Airlines regularly lists special offers from its Istanbul hub to other destinations and vice versa. You can book cheaper flights to Amsterdam, Belgrade, London etc. Europe also has a plenty of low-cost airlines allowing you to travel for cheap. Momondo is a great flight search engine. For additional info on how to score a cheaper flight check out this post.
Accommodation is the biggest expense when we travel. Especially in Europe where your flight or bus ride could be 2 or even 3 times less expensive than the accommodation. However, with little research and websites such as HotelsCombined – a search engine that compares the rates, you can find a much cheaper deal. You can spend that extra money on fun activities. I usually search for cheaper deals on HotelsCombined first and then finalize my reservation on Booking. They probably have the best listing of properties worldwide.
Travel In Off Season
Expensive flights, high prices of accommodations and restaurants, endless lines in front of popular tourist attractions and museums, unbearable heat etc. are what characterize Europe during the season. Want to visit Berlin, Madrid, Istanbul, Rome? Consider Winter. There will be much less tourists, prices are lower and you won’t have difficulty finding accommodation. If you decide to travel in season, then make early reservation for accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. Note that it’s better to visit some places in the season to be able to get as better experience as possible. Such destinations are Scandinavia and Iceland.
Get travel insurance
This one is really important and make sure to always have one with you. If you are a non-EU citizen traveling to an EU country, border officials will almost always ask you for travel insurance. Having travel insurance is not mandatory but EU officials of any country can always ask you for supporting documents. Here are all the documents you need for travel in Europe.
Have Copies of Your Documents
You should make copies of important documents such as: passport, visas, accommodation etc. Put them on a Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox or whatever else you use, as that’s the quickest and easiest way to access them from anywhere.
As a student you are entitled to many discounts and in some places even free deals. Most popular student identification card is ISIC. For a price of 23 EUR per year, you’ll be able to score discounts on transportation, hotels, restaurants, museums and other attractions.
Take The Train
Train travel in Europe is a wonderful experience. Just sit back, relax and enjoy beautiful European scenery without stressing about bathroom stops, getting to and from the airport or driving.
Use Public Transportation
The best way to get around European cities is by using public transportation which is efficient and fast. You won’t need to look for parking space and it will keep you stress free. Sometimes subways can be a wonderful examples of art which is the case with Swedish capital Stockholm. Don’t believe me? Take a look.
Get a Guidebook/Map
I love using Lonely Planet’s Guides. Nowadays many of us try to use as much space in our carry-ons as possible, so a physical copy is probably not the best solution. You can download an eBook directly to your phone, tablet or laptop. Lonely Planet’s free mobile app is another option. If you prefer something that’s free check out WikiTravel. You can get free maps at tourist information points.
Apps can be so useful before and during the trip! One of my favorites are FourSquare – for finding things to do, AccuWeather, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp – for keeping in touch, Google Maps, Oanda currency converter etc.
Don’t be afraid to travel solo. It works wonders for your self-development, creativity and patience. You’ll also meet many people on the road and might even become friends with some! Meetup and Couchsurfing are great websites for hanging out with the locals and other travelers.
Every country has its own tourism organization. You can get plenty of free advice on their website, download apps and itineraries etc. My first stop in a new destination is usually a tourist information point. Here you can get free maps, brochures and practical information. Also the tourist information officers will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Blogs are also a fantastic resource and can provide info on less-known aspects of destinations. They’re also more humane as they’re lead by ordinary people and not organizations. I love reading eTramping and Travels of Adam lately.
Europe hosts many fantastic festivals in different fields. Love music? Check out Sziget and Exit festival. Film? Berlinale. Beer? Oktoberfest. Carnivals? Check out the one in Venice. LGBT? Amsterdam Pride.
Go on a tour
Sure, you can discover things on your own but tours can offer a fascinating insight into a culture and provide information that is difficult to find elsewhere. Most of the time tour leaders are experts in their field and tours can really become one of the most memorable things you did during the journey.
What are your favorite and most useful tips for traveling Europe? Let us know in the comments below.