A Eurotrip is a right of passage for all. Sitting street side with a croissant and espresso against a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, cruising the beaches of Barcelona, sipping on wine in the rolling Tuscan hills and playing Monopoly streets in London. This and much more is all waiting for you in Europe.

But where to start with planning your Eurotrip? How long should you go for? How can you save precious travel cash and what sights do you absolutely have to see?

We recently chatted with a few pro travel bloggers who provided some seriously good insider tips on how to plan the ultimate Eurotrip. Read on to put your mind at ease and know where to start with planning your adventure of a lifetime.

Airport by Jorge Díaz, CC 2.0

Airport by Jorge Díaz, CC 2.0

What you should know when booking flights to Europe

James – www.nomadicnotes.com
“If you’re not committed to which city you are flying to then it’s best to be flexible with where you arrive in Europe. Many flight search engines let you search by region, so you might find considerably cheaper flights by flying into another destination.”

Christy ordinarytraveler.com
Having flexible dates definitely makes it easier to get a cheap flight, but that’s not always an option with limited vacation time. If you keep an open mind about which country in Europe you want to visit, this can save you tons of money that you can later spend enjoying your new destination…If the above does not work out, set up alerts for airfare deals at Airfarewatchdog. This site will email you whenever they find a deal for your specific route. This is where planning ahead comes in handy!”

Michelle – www.michwanderlust.wordpress.com
Remember to check how far the airport is from the city and how long it will take to get from the airport to the city centre. Some airports are actually located quite far away from the city.”

Gina www.onedayinacity.com
“Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly with a major airline to the hub of one of the budget European airlines like Ryanair in Dublin or EasyJet in London, then switch to one of those cheaper airlines to continue on your journey. London Heathrow in particular often has great flight deals from major cities. Once there you can sometimes fly cheaper to your final destination in Europe on the budget airline than if you’d flown straight there on the major airline you took from home. Just keep in mind you may need to switch airports in London (which I’ve done before and it’s pretty doable via the local train system) so make sure you have enough time in between flights to do so – or better yet, give yourself an extra day and check out a few of the sights of London that evening before continuing on your journey the following day.

However, that being said, if you’re headed to Europe from overseas and you’re really short on time, then sometimes it’s worth it to pay the extra money and fly directly to Prague or Dubrovnik or wherever your vacation destination is so you have more time to explore there.”

Paris by Moyan Brenn, CC 2.0

Paris by Moyan Brenn, CC 2.0

How to plan your ultimate Eurotrip itinerary

Kiara www.galloparoundtheglobe.com
“Generally I believe that you need a minimum of three nights for a city break, but if you have five nights or more I would advise adding an additional destination into your itinerary, and with seven nights you can probably afford to raise that destination total to three.

I usually plan my trips around an initial starting point, whether that be my arrival city or a particular site or landmark in a country.  I then call up that city/town/area on a map, and see what’s close by.  I check what the transport links cost and distances are like between destinations and then reference Lonely Planet for information on specific destinations or Pinterest for articles and photographs.  How much there is to see or do in a particular town or city and accommodation costs determines how many nights I factor into the itinerary.”

Allane www.packingmysuitcase.com
“Focus on visiting countries which are near the other, this way you save time and money. Avoiding taking flights between the cities is something I always advise people to do. Flying from one place to the other always take a lot of time because it involves trips to the airport, and it’s often stressful. So focus on traveling to nearby places, which can be reached by train/bus/car as much as possible. This way you save time and stress.

Another tip is to avoid booking flights early in the morning or too late at night just because they are cheaper. They will end up being more expensive because you might need to pay for a taxi to get into town/airport, as the public transportation might still not be working depending on your schedule.”

Top of Gaudì by Angelo Amboldi, CC 2.0

Top of Gaudì by Angelo Amboldi, CC 2.0

Michelle www.michwanderlust.wordpress.com
“Always give yourself more time than you think you will need. People tend to underestimate the amount of time they will take to complete a task or travel from point A to point B, and if you plan everything down to the minute, a slight delay could cause a major disruption in your plans. As air travel gets increasingly popular, flight delays have become increasingly common for me in recent years. I’ve had to miss planned activities due to my flight getting delayed or (worse) not being able to get on the flight at all due to it being overbooked! To minimise the knock-on effects of delays, I would recommend giving yourself a buffer when planning your itinerary.”

Colleen www.globalgals.com
I looked at guide books, blogs and spoke to friends who have already been there for advice and came up with over 100 things I wanted to do or see! Then I put my practical head on – How long, how much and when?

The best piece of advice I can offer when planning your trip though, is to plan time to be unplanned! You can plan every single second of your trip to such a level of perfection that Zeus himself will high five you, then you will come across an experience that you never knew existed, you know would be completely life changing, but are unable to do because it doesn’t fit the “plan”. 

What is an absolute ‘Must See’ in Europe?

James www.nomadicnotes.com
“I love Budapest so I always recommend visiting. It’s one of the grand cities of Europe, with much of its grandeur built during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city is split in the middle by the Danube River, but unlike other cities which normally develop on one side of a river, both sides of the river are historical. The city gets its name from the two cities on either side of the river (Buda and Pest). Buda has a striking castle on a hill overlooking the river, and Pest is flat and gridded out, resembling an eastern version of Paris.”

Christy www.ordinarytraveler.com
“Italy is a must-visit destination; the food, sights and beaches are unlike anywhere else in the world. I highly recommend visiting a vineyard in Tuscany, soaking up the beaches in Sicily and exploring the charming villages of Cinque Terre.”

352 Monteriggione - Huisje by Alex Janssen, CC 2.0

352 Monteriggione – Huisje by Alex Janssen, CC 2.0

Colleen www.globalgals.com
“There is something so special about Italy and the number of different activities and sights you can see while there. I recommend it as a top must-see in Europe due to the culture, art, food, hiking, and sheer range of beauty – from the rugged mountains of the Dolomites and vineyards of Tuscany to the charming coastal villages of the Amalfi Coast and the historic grandeur of Rome.

Also, Ljubljana, Slovenia is somewhere that’s bit more off the radar. I absolutely fell in love with this city and have wanted to go back ever since spending a couple nights there. It has beautiful architecture, a wonderful urban garden to walk through, canal front dining, an impressive castle overlooking the city, and is an easy jaunt to the countryside surrounding calm and pretty Lake Bled.”

Kiara www.galloparoundtheglobe.com
If you love hiking or photography, or you’re just a sucker for beautiful landscapes, do not miss a trip out to Meteora (Greece).”

Meteora, Greece by Carlos Pinto

Meteora, Greece by Carlos Pinto

How long to travel for and how long to stay in each destination

James nomadicnotes.com
For length of stay in destinations, some places are more suitable as day-trips so there is no need to stay overnight in every place. For example I visited Hallstatt in Austria, which is a beautiful village set on an alpine lake. There is not a lot of budget accommodation options though, so it worked out cheaper to visit as a day trip and stay at a hostel in a city.”

Allanewww.packingmysuitcase.com
“When planning a trip around Europe most people (especially those coming from other continents) want to pack in as much as they can, after all, they live far away and when they come they want to see as much as possible. However, I always recommend to stay as long as possible in each place, to experience the local culture and see more than just the tourist attractions. The bigger the city, the longer I recommend to stay. For example, cities like London, Rome, and Paris certainly deserve more time to be explored, as the attractions can be far from each other. The best thing to do is come with time, this way more places will be seen and the right amount of time will be given to each place.
However, if time is limited, then I suggest to focus on less places and explore them without stress.”

DSCF7225 by Kaleb W, CC 2.0

DSCF7225 by Kaleb W, CC 2.0

Gina www.onedayinacity.com
“If city hopping around Europe, I think you need at least two nights in the cities of Europe – the first night to get your bearings and the second night in order to give yourself a full day exploring. Three nights are even better, but not everyone has time for that.

While it’s great to be able to have more time and really immerse yourself in a destination, sometimes it’s better to sample first and go back later. See the top sites… and start to get a feel for the city, and then decide which city you’d love to go back and explore more in-depth some day…So it’s really about finding the right fit for you, and shorter stays before a longer stay if you have limited vacation time can help you figure that out.”

Colleenwww.globalgals.com
I prioritised the “must-sees” and kept the rest as bonus points. Using Google Maps I put them in a logical city by city order to make my actual travel time as minimal as possible to maximise enjoyment. This app also works amazingly when you download the maps to use offline when arriving in a new place. You’ll save time and anxiety as you already know where you are and how to get around.

If you want to cover a lot and only have two weeks for example, then I’d recommend being strict and planning key attractions in each city and then experiencing those first. All other stops are bonuses!”

Budapest Night Train by Global Gals

Night Train by Global Gals

Travel hacks for transport and travel around Europe

Christy – ordinarytraveler.com
“In most areas of Europe, you’ll definitely want to take the train
. They are fast, economical and generally on time… I highly recommend booking overnight trains or longer routes prior to your departure. Also, do not overlook the salutation when entering your name into the booking site online for overnight trains. I almost had to forfeit my ticket because it showed Mr. instead of Ms. My bunk-mates were not happy at all to find a woman in their sleeping quarters.”

Colleen – globalgals.com
“You’ll be delighted to learn Europe is one of the easiest continents to travel around, especially if you travel smart! I once got a bus from Ljubljana to Rome for a mere 11 Euros!
Many buses have Wi-Fi now too, so you can catch up on that Game of Thrones episode from last week! Booking online through GoEuro is easiest and can save you lots and help you find the best transportation option. Beware though, some travel companies require you to print off your tickets which isn’t always convenient.

Some parts of Eastern Europe will only let you buy tickets at the station too so be pro-active as you don’t want to be stuck if the bus you want is full. A night train can be an easy way to save on booking a hotel or hostel. Window seats and a good book are highly recommended!”

Escaleras Stairs by Vicente Villamón CC 2.0

Escaleras Stairs by Vicente Villamón CC 2.0

Best practice budgeting tips

Allanewww.packingmysuitcase.com
Try to buy city cards for the cities you plan to visit, normally they help you to save a lot when visiting attractions and even on public transportation…
At the same time, always plan for extra costs, they will always exist, so you want to be on the safe side.”

Michelle www.michwanderlust.wordpress.com
“I like to lock down the big-ticket expenses before leaving, such as transport and accommodation. If you book these in advance, you can research your options as thoroughly as possible, helping you to secure the best possible deal. This also helps you to have a better idea of how much the trip is costing even before it starts.

Use cash whenever possible. Being able to count how much cash you have left at the end of the day gives you a really good idea of how much you have spent, and how much more you have left to spend. Another advantage of using cash is that you minimise the risk of credit card fraud, e.g. your card getting cloned or skimmed. Using your credit card overseas often does give you more points, though, so it all depends on your priorities.”

Colleen www.globalgals.com
“Decide on your budget for the trip, do you want to live it up in five star hotels for two weeks, or hostels for two months? Make sure you have leeway for that cheeky impromptu bottle of wine on the beach. 
I’ve discovered that budget and time frame are linked, but how much fun you can have depends on you! Myself, I’d always go for the hostel when traveling as it’s the best way to meet new people and make friends. In addition, they’re one of the best sources of information as they’re staffed and used by people who are all looking to explore that city.”

James nomadicnotes.com
If you’re travelling on a tight budget then spend more time in Eastern Europe, which is still cheaper than Western Europe.  Staying in hostels or Couchsurfing will also extend your budget.”

Colosseum by Global Gals

Colosseum by Global Gals

Any last pearls of travel wisdom?

Colleenwww.globalgals.com
“First thing when arriving in a city I find a city tour, or free walking tour, as the guide will show you around the city helping you get your bearings straight away, rather than puzzling over maps. You’re also able to ask them all your questions about the tram and metro networks, or quite often you find the city to be small enough that you’re simply able to walk everywhere.”

 

So there you have it, all you need to get your Eurotrip planning underway. Now all you have to decide is when to go!

 

Feature image: photo by kokorowashinjin, CC 2.0

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