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European Travel Tips

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Traveling around Europe can be crazy and chaotic, but with a little planning and some great travel tips, you can enjoy yourself and avoid extra hassles and costs!

Flying:
Flying within Europe is cheaper than flying within the US. There are several low-cost airlines that fly from Europe’s capitals as low as €75! (about $108). Some airlines fly to smaller cities, (ie: Bratislava, Slovakia) where you can take an airline bus to the nearby, larger city (ie:Vienna, Austria). These can cost as little as €20 (about $20). The way to get these great deals is to make sure you plan ahead. If you plan at the last minute, theses airlines could get expensive!

Here are some low-cost airlines:
www.ryanair.com
www.easyjet.com
www.flybmi.com
www.airberlin.com
www.euroflights.info

Trains:
The next best thing to flying within Europe is taking the train. It’s efficient, fast, easy on your wallet and a great way to see the deepest corners of the country. I suggest reserving a seat if you will be taking a long-distance train ride, as there is nothing worse than standing in the middle of an aisle for 4 hours. You can always book at the last minute with trains, too, because prices normally do not change. However, last minute booking makes it hard to reserve a seat. One of the best deals is the Eurail, offering travel in five countries for as low as €268 (about $380). The Eurostar is another alternate when traveling to or from the UK and France and has lines in other countries, as well. Keep in mind, though, that booking last minute Eurostar tickets can get as expensive as flying, so remember to book in advance!

Train websites:
www.raileurope.com
www.eurostar.com
www.eurail.com

Hotels:
There is no special website to search for good hotel deals in Europe. I would advise that you find one located in the center of the city to avoid taxis fares. This also allows you to sight see as you walk to and from your hotel, rather than spending your time using public transportation. It’s good to keep in mind that some older hotels still have shared bathrooms, so remember to read carefully or ask about this when booking and I would suggest you get your own bathroom. If you are backpacking, consider staying in hostels to save money.

Public Transportation:
Please use public transportation to your best advantage. I am a huge advocate of public transportation, because it not only gets you to your destination, but it’s also cheap. Europe has one of the best public transportation systems, so take advantage of it. Most of the stops have guards, especially at night, for your protection and most cities offer a day-pass or something similar. It is important to remember that after a certain hour, most public transportation stops and only a few buses drive along the main routes after this time. Make sure to remember the time when you’re out and about!

Taxis:
Always use taxis that are licensed and make sure they have meters. Some eastern European taxis do not have them and some hesitate to use them, if they do. I advise you to ask them, even repeatedly, to turn them on. Taxis are usually not that expensive, but it does depend on the distance and time of day/night.

Currency:
The majority of Europe uses the Euro (€), but some countries still use their own currency. Most countries accept local money and the Euro. Check the banks for the currency rate between the EURO and the Dollar or go to www.xe.com for the latest rate.

Restaurants:
Keep in mind that in a foreign country the food is going to be different and it may settle on your stomach differently than it will with the locals. This is normal! For less expensive places to eat, avoid restaurants around major tourist attractions. Those places usually bump up their prices just because of their location. Most restaurants have a menu in their local language and English and, sometimes, in other languages, too. Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter/waitress for one in a different language. Sometimes it’s fun to go to “authentic” restaurants. For instance, in Munich, Germany you have the famous Hofbräuhaus. It’s always packed and at times you may have to share the table with total strangers; enjoy some fun Bavarian music, clinging your maß (1 liter beer, which is about 34fl oz) and making great memories.

Traveling can be fun and it can be stressful, but you can always avoid the latter part by taking a little extra time to plan!

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7 thoughts on “European Travel Tips”

  1. Ahhh yes, standing in the middle of the aisle on a long train ride. Been there done that, and I don’t advise it 🙂 The Hofbräuhaus in Muinch is awesome and I would LOVE to go back!!! Good tips, which I could put them to good use soon 🙂

  2. Thanks for the tips! I’m traveling to Europe in a few weeks and I can’t wait! Do you know what kind of european plug adapter I’ll need? I’ve never been to Europe, and I want to make sure I’m able to use all of my electronics. Thanks!

  3. great advice, and I’m bookmarking the Eurorail and airline links… I’ll be heading to London in the spring and planning on making it to a few other places while I’m there!
    We used to live in Germany and I loved the sharing a table with other people… it’s great fun to have a chance to meet new folks and try new things! Great article Erika!

  4. This article brings back so many memories of my travels! I can’t tell you how many times I RAN to the public transportation system to catch that very last train of the night! And then there was the time I got stranded at the Eiffel Tower because I didn’t take notice of the last train of the night! Fun times!

  5. Katie,
    The voltage in Europe is 220. You can purchase a small adaptor because, nowadays, most electronically items are dual voltage and just need a simple adaptor. If you are tracts ing with more complex items then that’s when you will most likely use converters and transformers. But to charge your laptop and so forth an adaptor is all you will need. Just double check on the plug to make sure somewhere it reads: input 110-240v.
    Hope this helps”

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