Every trip to Europe is like the first one. Unless you return exclusively to places you have visited, every new journey will raise the same initial questions. Where to get? How many days to stay in each place? Which means of transport to choose? Use this tutorial as a starting point to unravel your next European trips.
How to set up your travel itinerary to Europe:
First step: DO NOT buy airfare
Buying a push ticket is the most common planning mistake on a trip to Europe.
Finding a discount round-trip ticket to a particular city only guarantees the trip of those who just wanted to go to that town. This may restrict the savings and cause enormous logistical problems. Just buy the ticket after you have defined the entire itinerary. Just keep reading and see why.
Itinerary: less is more
When setting up a travel itinerary across Europe, use the classic recommended method of packing: select all the places you would like to visit, and then reduce by half.
On the map, everything seems close. But raw numbers, such as mileage and flight durations, do not take into account the time spent on packing, closing the hotel bill, moving to the airport, handle the traffic to get out of each city (in car trips), find the next hotel, check in, etc.
Each change of location involves the loss of at least half a day (and lots of energy). Believe: the more you change places, the less you enjoy your time.
Big cities: stay four days
Every major city in Europe has a double-decker bus that runs through all the postcards in one day. It is a sin, however, to confine yourself to merely verifying the existence of monuments that you already knew before leaving home.
Four days is the minimum necessary for you to understand the basics of a great capital. On the third or fourth day, suddenly all the chips fall and you start to feel a little resident.
It’s a feeling you’ll only understand when you let yourself stay at least four days in a big capital. If this capital is called Paris or London, think of staying seven days – in the end, you will still be wanting more.
Set the trip in modules
A very simple way to solve your itinerary is to divide the travel time into modules of 5 to 7 days. Allocate each module to a metropolis or to a region that you want to explore by car or train. Stay in the big city for the duration of the module; When traveling by car or train, try to solve the itinerary in no more than two bases.
See more and get less tired
Any city that does not need an overnight stay and stays at most an hour and a half from wherever you are, gives you a perfect tour. You do not need to make check-out, you can travel without luggage (by train or car) and, when you arrive, if you do not demand too much of yourself, you will have the energy to enjoy the evening.
Stops: Learn how to use it
Longer routes between one destination and the next – both by car and by train – are more fun when you can make a strategic stop along the way.
To use this feature, however, you need to be extra careful with your luggage. When you are in a car, stop at guarded parking lots and in no case leave your luggage exposed. On train travel, make sure the station has luggage storage.
The airfare? DO NOT buy yet!
OK, you have already defined your travel itinerary and divided your days in modules. But there is one more step before you buy your air ticket: define the means of transport within Europe.
Airplane, train or car?
The train is, by excellence, the means of European locomotion. To compare the duration of travel by train and plane, always add three hours to flight time – it’s the least amount of extra time you take to get to the airport, check in and wait for luggage.
But do not use a train (nor a car) to cross the continent; For that, there is the airplane. Also, avoid night trains: theoretically you save time, but in practice what you get is a badly slept night – and still get tired to enjoy the day after.
Cars and big cities do not mix: GPS helps, but it does not eliminate the stress of traffic and the search for parking.
Low cost or not?
Those incredible 5 or 10 euro fares that have made the fame of Europe’s low-cost airlines hard to come by. There are many extra costs: to check-in, to check-in, to buy with a credit card, to book a seat.
The luggage limit is small and each excess baggage is charged. The most common are that each destination added, without a fine of excess baggage, goes around 80 euros.
Before you go out buying low-cost without thinking much, find out how much it would cost to include these destinations in your airfare. Also, find out how much it costs to buy internal multiple destination flights on the airline websites. In advance, they often offer competitive fares on the same routes.
Now you’re talking! Buy the air ticket.
Once you have set the route and the means of transport within Europe, then you are ready to buy the most appropriate airfare.
Buy your ticket at least to the first destination you will actually visit, returning from the last destination of your itinerary.
Once the arrival and departure points of Europe are defined, estimates how much it costs to include the internal multiple destination flights that you will need to make from one place to another of your itinerary.
If each destination costs less than 100 euros, it will be a good deal for convenience and safety. Remember: it is difficult to get low costs for less than 80 euros each destination included, and with low-costs connections are not guaranteed and excess baggage is cruel.
Multi-destination tickets can be purchased through travel agents or on all websites that offer the “multiple destinations” or “multiple cities” option.
When is the best time to book?
The sooner you buy the air tickets, the better prices you must find (especially if you want to find the low-costs). The best time to book a hotel is exactly three months before the date of accommodation: this is when discounted rates appear on the hotel reservation websites.
Note that the best discounts usually require immediate debt; Read the cancellation policy before closing the deal.
Train sections are posted on railway systems between 90 and 60 days before the date of travel; Promotional fares always appear at the moment and end soon.
Two months before traveling, check the visits that can be booked through the internet.