Fancy travelling around Europe? There are lots of ways to get around this exciting continent and see the sights. Here are just some of the travel methods that you could consider and the steps you may want to take to prepare.
Drive around Europe
Seeing Europe by road gives you the ultimate freedom to plan your route, but it’s not something you want to dive into unprepared. Each country in Europe has it’s own driving rules.
Most of the countries drive on the right, whilst the UK drives on the left. Some countries like Hungary require you to always have your headlights on, whilst the likes of France requires you to carry a breathalyser and fluorescent jacket onboard at all times!
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Those on a budget may want to consider whether they want to use highways. Some countries such as France and Italy have toll roads, whilst the likes of Austria and Switzerland require you to pay for a vignette in order to drive on the highways.
Avoiding highways could allow you to not pay these fees, however, it will slow down your journey (negotiating borders can also often be difficult without taking a highway).
Parking costs meanwhile can be a big expense too – especially in cities. You may want to park on the outskirts or plan to visit cities on a Sunday when parking is sometimes free.
If you’re hiring a vehicle, you may want to check that you’re allowed to take it out of the country. Alternatively, you could take your own vehicle (a big car or campervan could save money on accommodation, giving you the option to sleep in it!).
Some handy pieces of kit worth taking involve a car phone charger, cooler box, physical maps (as a backup if your phone/GPS dies) and windshield cover for the night.
Another popular way to explore Europe is to travel by train. The cheapest way to do this is to buy an interrail pass, which allows you to visit up to thirty countries.
You can select how many days you want to travel for and then you’re given the freedom to travel as you please within this period of time. Interrailing isn’t something you can do spontaneously with ease – it’s worth planning out your route as there may be trains that require prior booking.
Try not to plan a schedule that’s too busy as you want enough time to explore each place you stop at, not just a few hours.
There are night trains that you can sleep on to save money on accommodation, but you don’t want to be doing this too often!
Unlike other forms of travel, interrailing forces you to pack light – you can only bring what you can carry. Pack the day before your journey off and try walking around with your bag for an hour on your back.
If you find it too heavy after an hour, think about what it will be like for several weeks – taking a few items out could be a good call.
Some tricks for packing light include bringing light clothing (no thick jackets or heavy spare shoes) and investing in a light sleeping bag.
Make good use of your phone by downloading useful apps – it could save you having to bring physical translation guides, torches and maps that could take up space.
Your phone can also double up as a camera and a means of accessing the internet, so think twice before bringing a separate camera and laptop.
A portable charger can help to ensure your phone is always charged up (make sure you bring a universal converter plug – otherwise you won’t be able to use the sockets!).
A more leisurely alternative to interrailing could be to take a luxury intercontinental train. It’s a lot more expensive and you’re limited to a set route, but it could be more suited to those that don’t like rugged travelling.
Book a coach tour
You can also travel Europe by coach. On the budget end of the spectrum, there are many European coach services that can be booked much like trains. These are usually cramped and stuffy – you get what you pay for.
Another more expensive option could be to take a guided coach tour of Europe. These follow a set itinerary, have more elbow room and often have accommodation booked for you.
Such trips can be great social trips for meeting other people. You don’t get much freedom, but for some people having the trip all planned out for you can be the appeal.
Take a river cruise
Those wanting a more laid-back Eurotrip could consider travelling by river. There are a number of scenic river cruises in Europe.
Travelling down the Rhine allows you to see cities such as Amsterdam, Cologne and Strasbourg, whilst travelling the Danube could offer the opportunity to explore Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna.
Whilst more expensive than other travel options, a river cruise includes onboard accommodation and catering. You don’t have to be on the move all the time or planning your next meal and hotel.
You are stuck to a specific route, but there is the option to keep taking different river cruises each time and see different places (it helps that many of the biggest cities are situated on rivers).
Take an ocean cruise
You can also travel Europe via an ocean cruise. There are hundreds of cruise routes with some exploring the icy waters of Scandinavia, whilst others focus on the warmer shores of the Mediterranean.
Ocean cruises can be much bigger than river cruises, allowing more luxuries. Some ships may have multiple bars and restaurants as well as various entertainment options.
These tend to be the most expensive cruises of course – there are many smaller and more basic cruises that could allow you to explore Europe by sea on a budget.
Cruises may also cater to different audiences with some focused at older people and other focused at young people or families. Similarly, some are formal, whilst others are more casual.
How will you travel around Europe?
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