Planning A Europe Trip: An Insider’s Guide To European Travel

Planning a Europe trip has never been easier!

Planning a Europe trip? Imagine stepping onto the cobblestone streets of Rome, sipping coffee in a quaint Parisian café, or hiking the majestic Scottish Highlands. European travel is a dream for many, but a dream often dismissed as too expensive. 

This misconception primarily stems from a reliance on local travel agencies, whose packages, while convenient, may not always align with your specific interests or budget. This article aims to dispel such myths and provide tips for planning a cost-effective and enjoyable European holiday by yourself.

Why should you plan your Europe holiday for yourself?

Not everyone who uses a travel agency is lazy, but there’s an undeniable appeal to creating your own unique journey. 

Independent travel planning puts you in control, enabling you to tailor your trip based on what you want to see, do, and experience. While travel agencies may offer discounts due to the sheer volume of tourists they cater to, these discounts may not always apply to your preferred destinations.

Moreover, the world is now more accessible than ever. With well-developed infrastructure and a plethora of online tools at our disposal, you can plan your route from point A to B with remarkable ease. You may be surprised at how cost-effective and fulfilling this approach can be.

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Understanding Travel Economics

Travel costs can vary widely based on several factors. These include the day you’re booking, the demand for flights or accommodations, the number of days before your trip, and your chosen destination. Understanding these aspects is the first step towards planning a budget-friendly European trip.

Create your Europe trip itinerary

Europe is not huge, but going from one corner to another will take about four to 5 hours on a plane. 

That’s why I wouldn’t recommend planning a Europe trip to include only cities that are far away from each other. Of course, you could, but it will make you tired. And the price of transportation will dramatically increase. 

The biggest costs you’ll have are transportation and accommodation. 

A sweet spot would be a mix of big and popular, amazing European cities, with some smaller places sprinkled in between.

That way, you could cut down on travel time between destinations. It will also save your budget since less popular places are often much cheaper (food, hotels and activities) than popular tourist destinations such as Rome or Paris. 

I’m not going to lie to you. Europe is very popular during the summer months (June-September). Prices go crazy, and most Europeans complain about prices skyrocketing. You see, we too want to take our holidays during summer. But most of us are still reluctant to pay more than $100 for one night at a hotel. 

Of course, if you’re planning your first trip to Europe, then by no means should you now check out these popular cities I have listed in my 3-week Europe itinerary for first-timers. But please feel free to add your personal touch to it. 

Are you travelling in a group? Then consider renting a car and exploring everything you want, at your own rhythm. European road trips are my ultimate speciality. But your you decide to travel to Europe as a solo traveller, that’s ok too. I’ve been there, done that, and you will love it so much! I promise.  

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Booking your flight to Europe

When it comes to booking flights, I recommend using big search engines, always in an incognito window browser. This helps you get a clear picture of the best deals available. 

I always recommend checking out Kiwi. It is a super tool for budget-friendly flights. It’s a search engine that can automatically create flight connections between two separate airlines. The online thing (which some travellers seem to be confused about) is that you are responsible for all those flights are if they are separate flights (you don’t enter the transit area, but you need to get out of the airport and re-enter). 

Once you find a suitable flight, make sure to book as soon as possible. Flight prices are dynamic and can change at any time. 

Travelling by plane in Europe

Use low-cost carriers, and you will be able to find some convenient flights. 

I recommend checking out the following:

  • Ryanair
  • WizzAir
  • Vueling
  • EasyJet
  • Transavia

Again, this is a lot to research, so I recommend checking Kiwi, and it does all the work for you. 

Travel by Train 

There’s something indescribably romantic about travelling by train. In fact, this is my favourite public transportation method. 

In Europe, the train infrastructure is second to none, making it an excellent way to soak in stunning landscapes while moving from one city to another. Moreover, most European countries offer substantial discounts for youth under 26, allowing young travellers to explore Europe without burning a hole in their pockets.

Also, there is a magical train pass that is valid in 33 European countries called Interrail. This is valid for European residents. Non-European residents can use Eurail.

Check out all train connections and passes on RailEurope

Here’s a tip: Always cross-check prices on different rail websites. I once travelled from Salzburg to Prague. The ticket price on the Austrian railway system was 40 Euros, but when I checked the Czech Republic’s website, it was only 19 Euros—for the same train! So, remember to do your research and consider all options.

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Travel by Bus

The absolute cheapest way to travel in Europe is to travel by bus. 

There’re many bus companies operating all over Europe. Check out Omio and FlixBus EU

So when planning to go between cities, depending on the distance, I would first check flights, then trains, and then buses. Obviously, the bus is the cheapest option, but you might get lucky. 

You’ll be amazed when you’ll find tickets for 15 Euros in Central Europe. 

Night travel

Trains, buses or planes don’t stop moving during night. 

The thing is that most travellers tend to avoid travelling at night… because it’s more uncomfortable. But this means that transportation tickets are cheaper. 

It’s not the most comfortable way, but it’s affordable. 

Accommodation in Europe

July and August are the absolute peak tourist months all over Europe. Avoid at all cost. Just kidding.

It feels like everyone has gone crazy, and cities where the average monthly salary ranks at about 1,500 Euros start asking 150 Euros (or more) for the cheapest hotels. Crazy, I know.

It might be a good idea to check out these cheapest places to travel in Europe.

But if you’re not that finicky about the place you stay, then, by all means, check out HostelWorld

If hotels are more your thing, then use Booking.com to scout the best hotels in the cities where you’re planning a Europe trip. 

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Planning a Europe trip: step-by-step

  1. Set a Budget and Time Frame. Know how much money you’re willing to spend and how long you’ll be away. This sets the stage for everything else.
  2. Choose Destinations. Decide on the countries or cities you want to visit. Keep travel times between them in mind.
  3. Research Visas. Check if you need a visa for the countries you’re visiting and apply in advance if needed.
  4. Book Flights. Look for the best deals on flights to and from Europe, as well as any internal flights.
  5. Accommodation. Book places to stay that fit your budget and are in convenient locations. Use trusted websites for bookings.
  6. Plan Transportation. Research how you’ll get around—be it public transport, rental cars, or trains—and perhaps get any necessary passes in advance.
  7. Create an Itinerary. Outline what you want to do each day. You don’t have to plan every minute, but a general idea helps.
  8. Pack Smart. Pack clothes suitable for the weather and any activities you plan to do. Don’t forget travel essentials like adapters or travel-sized toiletries.
  9. Travel Insurance. It’s a good idea to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost belongings.
  10. Learn Basic Phrases. Knowing simple phrases in the local language can be a big help.
  11. Local Customs and Laws. A quick read on local customs, tipping practices, and laws can save you from faux pas and trouble.
  12. Stay Connected. Make sure your phone will work in Europe, or consider getting a local SIM card. Also, inform close ones about your travel plans.
  13. Enjoy and Be Flexible. Once you’re there, enjoy yourself and be open to changes in your plan. Sometimes, the best experiences are unplanned.
  14. Document Your Trip. Take photos, jot down notes, or keep a travel journal. It’s a great way to remember your adventure.
  15. Return and Reflect. Once you’re back, take some time to reflect on what went well and what you’d do differently next time.

And now, embrace the adventure of planning a Europe trip

Because you have all the info, you have all it takes. And if you need more inspiration on how and where to start, check out how I planned a month trip in Europe

This was back when my Europe travel budget was minimal, but I never let that stop me from seeing the world. And I’m thrilled to see that it’s not stopping you either. 

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog, Juliasomething.com.

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