Europe

Top Ten PLANNING tips: 

  1. Provide a calendar to show where you will spend the day and where you will spend the night – we’re a fan of Rick Steeve’s format – Name of city you are spending the day in centered on the calendar for each day, first letter of city you are staying in on the bottom right of each day on the calendar.  I added blue in for additional notes. Intinerary
  2. Bring a backpack & pack light – keep it on you at the airport! Especially if you’re taking budget airline flights :) if your backpack is technically too big to be used as a carry on, they usually won’t notice if you keep it on your back.
  3. Pick your trains -Though it is not necessary to buy your transportation tickets in advance, it does help to plan it out first and if your plans change, your ticket is still valid for another train at a different time. https://www2.raileurope.com/train-tickets/
  4. Save the directions – When booking hostels/hotels etc copy the name of the hostel and the directions from the train station/bus stop/airport etc. given to you! hostelworld usually has this for each hostel. If you book a bed and breakfast or something outside of hostelworld, the owner is usually willing to give you directions beforehand through email. I’m a fan of the evernote app :) – You don’t know if you’ll have wifi for google maps and directions copied and pasted into evernote are accessible without wifi.
  5. Explore your options – Don’t just look for hostels (hostelworld.com), airbnb.com and homeaway.com are excellent, cost effective options as well and sometimes cheaper!
  6. Consider all flight costs – Sometimes flights are cheaper than trains, BUT the airport might be far from the city you’re staying in – consider all costs.
    cost estimate
  7. Give yourself enough time – Recommend no less than three days in each location – helps avoid exhaustion and allows you to see the places.
  8. Prepay – Pay for as much as possible ahead of time. Not only can you get a discount for buying things ahead of time (like bus fares), your trip won’t quite as big of a blow to the wallet if a lot has already been paid for!
  9. Break down the transportation time – Some may want an itinerary for every minute of every day. Things will always come up, so it may not be absolutely necessary to plan every minute for every single day BUT you do need to plan it out times for departures from one city to the next… if you don’t, you might be left sleeping on a bench.
  10. Foreign Fees Free – Most places throughout Europe now accept credit cards. Credit cards help provide less risk of losing money from thieves, rewards points, and better exchange rates. Beware of fine print – some credit cards claim to have no foreign transaction fees, but have “foreign currency exchange fees” (*cough cough* bank of america). I am a fan of the Capital One Venture Card – no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees!

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