So you’ve been dreaming about traveling to Europe your whole life and now you decided to finally take the plunge!
However, you are clueless about where to start and how to go about the whole trip planning blunder. Here are some very useful tips that will make it easier for you to create a solid plan for your trip.
1. Book your flight online
Travel agencies will always charge an extra as their commission and it is usually higher than online booking sites. A good place to start your search is Expedia.
One of the best and most reliable flight booking websites in terms of database, ease of booking and of course pricing range! As a general rule, stay away from peak travel seasons such as summer and public holidays such as Christmas and New Year. And if you should really travel during these times, it is highly recommended that you start booking your tickets a few months in advance to get better flight fares. Check out our video for more tips on booking flight tickets.
2. Book your accommodation
This one can be tricky if you’re not already familiar with the city you are going to. For starters, you will need to read as many reviews as possible on the hotel/hostel/apartment that you are looking for. Through the reviews you will get a ton of information on the place including how good or bad the location is.
Many think that the further away they are from the centre, the cheaper is the accommodation. While this is very true, remember that you are making up for the money you are saving by paying for transport and spending extra time to get to areas of interest which will usually be around the city centre. One golden rule of thumb is to go for a place that is close to the centre of the city which will save a lot on your transport and more importantly, on your time. It does not necessarily have to be expensive if you do your homework of searching enough!
A great point of start is searching for hotels on Booking.com. An extremely reliable website offering a wide range of properties with different prices that suit every budget and plenty of user reviews that ought to make the selection easier.
If you and your party wish to get a more local experience, there is nothing better than renting an apartment from a local person! The best place to do this is Airbnb! An excellent online service that lists people renting their apartments in almost every city in the world, with pictures, reviews, and information that ensures both your security and the owner’s. The best thing about staying in apartments is that it gives your a better chance to mingle wit more locals, getting a wealth info that you wouldn’t normally get online. And here is the cherry on top – renting an apartment is always cheaper than staying in a hotel and they are usually located in perfect locations.
You will most probably fall into the trap of packing too many things that you think you MIGHT need. Let us tell you that you won’t be using half of the stuff that you brought. So spare yourself the trouble of carrying and dragging a heavy piece of luggage and take only the essentials – which is literally half of what you would normally think you need.
4. Activities and getting around
So now you booked your ideal flight and accommodation and you’re still not sure what you will do when you arrive to the city of your dreams.
Here are two online gems that ought to make this task a piece of cake:
Tripadvisor: a wonderful and comprehensive website that holds thousands of reviews and ideas on things to do in the city of your choice.
Viator: Wanna book tours? This is by far the best tour booking website you will come across. the variety and diversity of activities listed are endless. Very reliable and easy to use.
For those who would like to save on tours and do their own thing, here a few tips:
In every city in Europe, there are days during the month/week where entry to museums and other places of interest will be free! So make sure that prior to going on your trip you check if the museum or art gallery you wanna visit is free on any of the days you are there.
One of the best ways to discover your neighbourhood is using Foursquare application on your mobile. It will identify your location and list what shops, restaurants and groceries are nearby, all with reviews and tips from real people. A great way to find hidden gems in the area.
Last but not least, if you are spending more than 3 nights in one country, we highly recommend buying a local mobile SIM card as soon as you land! You can’t imagine the amount of money this will save you instead of using your country’s roaming service which tends to be super expensive. The SIM card’s cost will be anywhere between 10 and 20 euros depending on the country, and will include minutes and a decent internet package.
If you have a feedback, a story or questions on planning your trip and saving on the costs, we’d love to hear from you! Simply comment below.3