This page will help you to plan a perfect trip to any destination you want but will be especially useful if you’re going to visit Europe.
Use this simple guide to plan great vacations or just a weekend getaway to the greatest destinations of the Old Continent on your own or with the help of the best travel agencies.
Follow the steps below to have an amazing experience and great memories from the journey of your lifetime.
I have visited over 30 European countries, and I use the same process and the same resources for years, and it helped me to create this travel blog and share my travel tips with you.
And, don’t forget, the main goal of this blog is to help you plan your trips using most of the time and money you have.
Disclaimer: This is an independent travel blog, where I publish stories of my trips and help you to plan yours. I might get a small commission if you book your trip using some of the links in this article at no cost for you. All opinions and recommendations are unbiased and only reflect my opinion.
How to Plan a Trip to Europe on Your Own
So, let’s go to step 1 of our planning process.
Step 1: Choose Your Next Travel Destination
Check my Destinations page with the best places to visit in Europe and around the world, read about places that might interest you, pick one or several destinations for your trip, and come back here to continue planning your perfect trip.
Also, check the best things to do in Belarus from my other website.
Step 2: Create Your Itinerary
Out of the places you want to visit in Europe, create a route that takes the least time to visit them all. You can simply do it using Google Maps, and save the link (all the points of the itinerary will be saved).
Europe travel tip: In the biggest European cities, you can also use Google Maps for checking schedules for city transportation
There are many airlines in Europe, and it is hard to find suitable flights on their official websites. It is much more convenient to use flight search engines. My favorite one is Skyscanner. It has several great functions that competitors don’t have.
If you’re flexible with travel dates, you can use the ‘Any Month’ option, and find flights at the lowest prices. You can also search for flights to the whole country or nearby airports from your destination.
Europe travel tip: Check different dates and nearby airports. Skyscanner allows very flexible trip planning. Sometimes, it is cheaper and faster to go to the airport in the country other than your destination.
Flights in Europe are very cheap. Learn 6 secrets of low-cost airlines to learn how they do it.
Step 4: Rent a Car or Book an Airport Transfer
If you’re planning to visit more than one place, it can be more convenient to rent a car for the time of your visit. Even if you arrive at one airport and depart from another one, you can pick the car at the first airport, and drop it off at the second one.
If you only want to visit one only city, I recommend booking an airport transfer in advance. It can be difficult to find a convenient transfer upon arrival. It may take a lot of time, and the drivers can fool you. Moreover, you can pay online in your own currency without the need of exchanging the money at high airport rates.
There is also an option to use a shuttle bus from the airport to the city of your arrival, but it is less convenient, as you will need to carry your luggage all the way from the bus station to your hotel.
Step 5: Book a Hotel Room
I recommend Booking.com as a convenient and reliable hotel booking system. In most of the cases, it has the lowest price for the same hotels, the largest choice, and most reliable reviews and descriptions.
Some tips for booking your perfect hotel in Europe:
- Booking a hotel in the city center might be a more expensive option, but it will save you lots of time and money on transportation.
- Try to pick hotels with an 8+ rating. Even if you like the accommodation from the pictures, people who rated it probably saw more than you can judge from the pictures (service, distance to public transportation, cleanliness, hotel visitors and much more).
- If you’re a budget traveler traveling alone, think of staying in a hostel. You can stay in a room with 15 other people or in a single room, it’s up to you. But hostels give you an opportunity to stay in a new place close to major attractions with a kitchen you can use, and lots of interesting and open-minded people from all over the world. Hostels often organize different events, and they cooperate with companies organizing walking tours, pub crawls and much more…
Step 6: Find a bus to the next city (optional)
If you didn’t rent a car, you can find a suitable bus between the points of your itinerary. There are many international and local bus companies in Europe. Same as with flights, it is easier to find a suitable bus in aggregators listing all companies driving between the places that interest you.
I use Infobus website to search for suitable buses. I think they have the fullest list of international and local buses in Europe.
Step 7: Book City Tours, City Passes and Entrance Tickets
It is always much more interesting not only to see the sights but also to learn some history and interesting facts about them.
Whether you prefer old-school city tours with a long history of the city and visits of the main attractions, or unusual tours for younger people like a street art walk, pub crawl, or hipster tour, I recommend using Get Your Guide (you can also buy city passes, museum entrance tickets or skip-the-line passes there).
Booking the tickets online, you will be sure that you have a place and nothing will ruin your plans. Moreover, booking tours and entrance tickets online is cheaper and more convenient than on the spot.
City passes are convenient cards, which allow you to visit the major attractions of a particular city for a one-time fee. If you want to visit at least several popular sights, it will be cheaper to book a city pass than paying for each entrance ticket separately.
Hop-on Hop-off bus tours are also a great idea to see main sights cheap, quickly and without getting tired. For major European destinations, you can use the City Sightseeing website. It is a reliable company that I can recommend.
Step 8: Buy a Travel Insurance
Medical services in most of the European countries are very expensive for foreigners and people not having medical or accident insurance.
Not to lose the rest of your travel budget, I recommend you to buy a travel insurance for the time of your visit or for the whole year (it may be a cheaper option if you’re going to travel more).
I use services of Visitors Coverage insurance company and can recommend it to you.
It was an 8-step Europe trip planner if you want to plan the whole journey on your own. After you planned your trip, it is time to pack your stuff. If you’re only traveling with a backpack, check these backpack packing tips.
While planning a trip on your own might be a cheaper option, there are many advantages in booking tours from travel agencies specializing on authentic tours to create the best experience possible. Find out, what they are.
How to Plan a Trip to Europe with a Travel Agency
To save your time and let professionals create a perfect itinerary for you, you can use the services of travel agencies. For outstanding authentic all-in-one tours around different cities and countries in Europe and all over the world, I suggest booking Intrepid Travel or Tour Radar tours.
For people from the UK, I can also suggest TUI travel agency. They have the best choice of holiday tours in Europe (flight+hotel), and thanks to high volumes, buying their tours can be cheaper than booking flights and hotels on your own.
It was my 8-step guide to planning a perfect trip to Europe on your own and with the help of a travel agency. Start booking and buying everything you need for the trip right now and save this page for your future trips!
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