Europe remains in the top 5 on the list of dreamy traveling destinations of passionate travelers. Culture, food, history, nature, and ease of travel render the continent a matchless destination to visit regardless of age and preferences. Unlike other destinations, Europe is more a DIY type even if you are visiting it for the first time. However, such a trip is not as straightforward as moving with your bags around. This is because for the first time goers, complexities exist right from getting the visa to accessing dependable resources as well as saving as much money as possible. In this post we present 10 smart travel tips for your European vacation.
First, Obtain Your Schengen Visa and then Change Your Bookings as Per the Desires
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Obtaining a tourist visa for exploring Europe might be a complicated process but it is not so if you which visa to apply for and how. If you have decided to explore two or more nations that you should, get the Schengen Visa that permits an entry in most Western Europe countries along with a few Eastern ones. When you apply for this visa, you are required to show confirmed air and hotel bookings. Here you need to be smart and book hotel or hostel at booking.com (which you can later unbook if you have a change of plans).
Consider Deep Exploration Instead of Hopping
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While planning your trip to Europe, it is more beneficial to consider touring a particular country or region profoundly than hopping from one place to another. For instance, it is wise to stay in a week in Florence and enjoying day trips to closer cities instead of trying to reach out Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice in a week’s time. This is the concept of slow travel that makes you save drastically on transportation expenses and introduces you satisfactorily to the local culture and sights. Rome was not built in a day and can not be fully explored during an afternoon.
Hit Google Much in Advance
Plan ahead and widen your search with resources such as Make My Trip and Trip Advisor. Regional and national tourism boards offer rewarding sightseeing deals in major cities. It is just a matter of using Google and tapping all such resources to grab the best deals. Look out for top ten lists (such as this). Leave back the costly agent’s help and give a chance to your own inherent, free skills. In case of last minute planning or booking, you might not have much time to search or wait for lucrative deals. In such a situation, rely on flight and hotel portals, such as Trip Advisor and Booking.com reviews for getting the best bargain.
Obtain Quotes in U.S. Dollars
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It is wise to book your non-flight essentials such as hotel and car rentals well in advance of your travel. As a tip for saving money, try to obtain the quotations and pay in U.S. dollars wherever possible. These days, several international hotels offer fixed dollar rates during booking.
Get a Eurail Pass
According to the total time you wish to spend in Europe, buying a Eurail pass can help to save big while making you enjoy the rich countryside. According to most young travelers including me, a monthly pass under 25 in age with 10 travel days gives enough savings as well as flexibility. However, be cautious about the strict and liberal countries in terms of rules. For example, France is strict with allotted seats and booking in advance. On the trains of Sweden, you need to buy tickets in advance.
Plan for Daily Expenses Smartly
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After budgeting for visa, flight, and accommodation, it is wise to prepare a daily budget that includes sightseeing, meals, and other expenses. Doing so prevents you to spend a fortune in 24 hours. For most travelers, 50-60 Euros as daily expenses will work in case splurging money is not what you want. Do not become a lavish friend of your credit card and use it only in case of an emergency. Consider having some cash with you instead of traveler’s cheques for maximum convenience. Also, bringing your own coffee and oatmeal saves the expenses for breakfast and caffeine.
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If you think that Europe lacks in offering vegetarian specialties, you will have to rethink again. Right from French breads to Italian pastas, several options exist in different parts of the continent. Check online and you will across various European menus having pure vegetarian taste as well as ingredients. Further, several French, Milan, and Italian menus have significant vegetarian dishes but the reason that they remain unknown is the absence of the green mark.
Avoid Entrance Fees
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Several attractions such as museums, forts, and palaces provide free admission during some hours or on certain days of the week. For instance, many museums offer free visit on every month’s first Sunday as well as on the Bastille Day (July 14). Therefore, it makes sense to check these details online and plan your visit accordingly. Also, buying tickets in advance saves time and they are usually cheaper. And some buildings can be enjoyed from the outside only…
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10% is the standard tip rate but most travelers shell out 15-20% in restaurants. Even before you give a tip, look whether a service charge is included in your bill. If yes, there is no need to give extra. And just tip if you are pleased with the food and service! Noone expects you to give tip to a rude waitor/waitress!
Exclude Car Rental
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Most European nations are accessible through a train or local bus that is a more affordable option than a car. In fact, many attractions are best explored on foot!