10 things to remember before your Europe Trip

Europe is dream destination for many of us. Easily accessible with direct or one stop flights, easy Schengen visa that gives access to 23 countries, beautiful landscapes and weather makes it preferred destination for many Indians.
If you’re evaluating Europe for your next trip, you can check Europe Package tours here. However, be sure to go through below list of things you should know, while planning your Europe visit.

1.Season: April to September is considered peak season to visit Europe, as weather will be at its best. This is the time most tourist flock to Europe and prominent tourist attractions will be highly crowded with long lines and waiting time. If visiting during summer, try to visit more off beat/lesser known places than trying to visit all most popular spots in the city. Between October to March is usually winter, at times very severe winter with snow. During off season most tourist attractions will be closed or will have reduced entry timings. But if you are in a mood for adventure, like skiing, winter might be good to consider. Flights and hotels will be cheaper in winter, but expect higher disruptions to services due to bad weather.

2. City cards: Most European cities offer a city card- like Helsinki Card, Amsterdam Card etc. These city cards need to be bought with a huge upfront spending (like 60-70 Euros) and have limited validity, but offer free or discounted entry to several attractions, promising to save you money and time compared to having to buy separate entry tickets. The city cards have their pros and cons. Below is what you should check before buying city cards:
a. If it covers public transport also, then it is good- you will save several euros otherwise spent on train n taxi etc
b.       If it is valid for fixed calendar day (like today n tomorrow) then don’t buy in the evening. If the card is valid for say 48 hours from first use, then it is better.
c.       Check if the card gives you direct access to an attraction or you have to stand in line to either buy a ticket (at a discount may be) or show the card n exchange it for an admit card
d.       Most free entries included in a card will be museum. You won’t have time and interest to visit every museum in city. Check top 5-10 attractions that excite you and assess how much the city card will help you save visiting them, compared to buying individual tickets
e.       City cards won’t have any cancel/refund/transfer option. If your plan is volatile, if you’re not very sure of spending next 24/48 hours in city centre then spending huge amount upfront on the card may not be worth

3. Public transport is your best friend: Avoid taxis and save big. Even if not very convenient, learn how public transport systems work and use them for your commute. You will save time and money, get to know the city better as you change trains, observe locals etc, compared to being ferried point to point in a taxi.

4. Staying alert: Safety and security scenario in Europe has worsened in past few years with multiple terror attacks, increased refugee inflow etc. This means higher risk of theft/danger, so don’t take your safety and security for granted. Stay vigil.

5. Hostels: Concept of hostel is very popular in Europe. You don’t have to spend 100s of Euros on hotel stay. You can share a bed in a hostel for about one fifth or even one tenth the cost of a 3 star hotel room. Besides saving lots of money, it also helps you interact with travelers from around the world.

6. Try lesser known countries. Everyone goes to Paris, Amsterdam. Consider visiting cities and countries off the popular tourist radar. You will have a much different story to tell and some of these cities are lot cheaper, less crowded and probably more scenic n better overall than Tier 1 cities

7. Try to plan your trip around an event. Lots of interesting events keep happening around the year- based on your interest, see if you can coincide your trip with a popular event- Like Europeade, Amsterdam SAIL Festival, Brussels Tank Festival, Tomatina in Spain and so on. Of course the city will be crowded during these festivals but you might get more value for your time n money.

8. Understand the insurance rules: Because you travel across multiple countries during your Europe trip, if something goes wrong, it is important to know the right procedures. Some examples:
a. Check if insurance is valid for one country alone or entire Schengen region
b. If you lose a passport/valuable and have a flight/train to another country same day, you might have to cancel your plan and report the theft to police in the city/country where incident happened. Going to next city (else you will lose ticket money) and complaining there may not help (either to recover or to claim insurance)
c.Though insurance advertisement promises decent sum in case of various incident, don’t expect instant cash. You might have to deal with the situation entirely on your own and claim only once you’re back in India.

9. Cheap flights: Some airlines like RyanAir, EasyJet offer ultra cheap flights within Europe. At times cheaper than train tickets. Use Momondo or skyscanner to find out cheaper destinations n flights.  If you get cheap flights, might be worth visiting a far away destination within Europe.

10. Self Drive cars: Many European countries have self drive cars on offer, using which you can explore the country side on your own. This will be lot more fun and flexible compared to a coach ride or taking a flight/train. Indian driving license may not be valid in all countries, but with an international driver’s permit you are largely sorted. Particularly if you’re on a Honeymoon, this is great option as it offers lots of privacy. Check here for honeymoon packages.

7 comments:

  1. Still waiting for the day I will pack my bags for Europe. These tips will help then though, so thank you!

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