Euro trip planning tips

Back in when I was in university, I did a 4 month exchange in Cergy, France (40mins RER ride from Paris). So I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around Europe almost every weekend by taking advantage of the cheap flight deals within Europe with low cost airlines like Ryan Air, Vueling, and Easy Jet.

Ever since my exchange in France, I fell in love with Europe and I have been back multiple times either to go to my favourite cities I visited during my exchange or to explore new cities I did not get a chance to visit while I was on my exchange.

Few tips for planning a multi-city euro trip:

  1. Decide which cities/countries you want to go
    • Try to avoid including too many cities and countries in one trip. You might feel like you might as well cover more places while you are in Europe, but travelling between cities and switching hotels frequently gets very tiring after a while. And you end up spending a lot of time in transit, instead of actually spending to explore the cities you are visiting.
    • If you are going to be visiting multiple countries, you can consider including nearby countries in your itinerary (for example, Spain and Portugal).
  2. Check if need a visa to visit any of the countries you have decided to include in your itinerary
    • I have a Canadian passport and I didn’t need a visa to travel within Europe except for Turkey (Turkey requires a visa for Canadians to visit). So just to be safe, double check the visa requirements for all of the countries you will be visiting.
  3. Book transportation from one city to another first (before you book your hotels)
    • Travelling within Europe is relatively cheap with low cost airlines. However, low cost airlines may not have daily flights for the route you are looking for. So sometimes, you may have to rearrange your itinerary to extend an additional day in your previous city, until the next low cost airline flight, to go to the next city, etc.
      • Low cost airlines are not always the best, because
        • You have to pay extra for your check-in luggage. So sometimes the non-low cost airlines like Iberia, Alitalia, Air France, etc. may be cheaper (as these airlines include luggage check-in fee in their flight price), so make sure to compare your options before booking your flight
        • The airports for low cost airlines are usually quite far away from the city centre, so this means that you will be spending a lot of time going to/from the airport. So if you are short for time, then this is won’t be the best transportation for you
    • Getting Eurail pass is sometimes not necessary depending on the countries you are visiting.
      • For example:
        • If you are visiting nearby countries in one trip (ex. France, Germany, and Switzerland), then the Eurail pass would a great way to travel within Europe
        • If you are visiting countries like Italy, where the train prices are already relatively cheap with TrenItalia, then a Eurail pass may not be necessary.
      • Also, if you are 26 or older, then the Eurail pass pricing goes up. So it maybe cheaper to fly with a low cost airline than to buy the Eurail pass.
  4. Once your transportation has been booked/confirmed, book your hotel in advance
    • Many hotels offer early booking discounts and the accommodation cost adds up quite a bit when you are travelling for a few weeks, so best to take advantage of these discounts ;)

 

 

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