During our last trip to Europe, in March of this year, we decided to visit friends living in Dubai.
Most people might think of Dubai as just a big empty sandpit or relate to some buildings that featured in the media but there are so much more to enjoy than most people realise. The water lake in the picture below are man-made and every tree has irrigation. The amount of effort Dubai is going through to enhance the living conditions in the area is tremendous and the people of Dubai deserve the recognition for it. Well done Dubai.
Relax, it’s Dubai.
Dubai is a destination to enjoy, explore and appreciate, it’s like no other, it’s very unique. It is important to stay hydrated, not to rush it, relax it’s Dubai.
It is important to take time to engage with the locals, to understand their culture even if it’s only while haggling when buying some goods at the souk. Haggling is almost expected in Dubai when purchasing anything from the souk, and although it might be confronting at first it becomes enjoyable later.
There are lots of hidden gems to be found but you will have to dig. Speak to locals, enquire about interesting sites to see and you would be amazed by what could be found in Dubai.
Europe is one of the best places to travel too, in my books.
What makes Europe such a great travel destination is its history, landmarks, lively pubs, breathtaking small towns, easy transportation and so much more. If you are travelling abroad for the first time, Europe could be somewhat confronting but it could also be the ideal place to tour. Travel to Europe and get value for your money could mean different things to different people. There are so many different places to see and things to experience in Europe, if you are on a tight budget, you most probably want to select your destinations carefully.
Some places will require you to spend more on accommodation and transport while others are somewhat more affordable. In light of this, choosing the most appropriate cultures and cities could save you money which you can use to explore more.
The good news is there are a few tricks that you can use to get better value for money.
Choose the Right Destinations
As mentioned earlier, some places are more costly than others, so choosing the right areas can save you a significant amount of money.
For many years, Eastern Europe has been the region that offered great value for money. However, most countries and cities in this area are now competing with their Western counterparts. This is especially true if you visit countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Travellers can only visit so many countries during each trip without rushing to the closest street market to grab that T-shirt on your way to the next border. It would be more sensible to visit fewer countries, for a longer period, experiencing local culture and cuisine.
While planning your itinerary, it would be wise to choose destinations in close proximity of one another. Create a wish list of your 2-3 favourite destinations and stick to them. Depending on time and budget, you could potentially add another destination, if that is within the travel path.
Get a map to plot the cities you intend to visit, in each country, to determine whether it is sensible for this trip or not. Once the destinations have been decided, the next step would be to determine the order or direction of travel. Keep in mind special events which may occur, in each city, during your trip.
Scandinavia is a costly area to visit, and so is popular cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, and London.
Travel to Europe Off-Season
The best way to get the most value for your money is to travel during offseason. Summer isn’t a great time to travel Europe because the prices are hiked, hotels are fully-booked, and the best tourist spots are often jammed. Surely, you can’t expect to enjoy and experience the beauty of Europe at such a time. Also, many locals flee the town during this period and travel to places where they can be peaceful.
So, when is the best time to travel to Europe?
Apart from summer, any time or season should be fine, but keep your eye on the weather and special events. You probably want to avoid June to August, especially if you’re on a budget. You can still travel to Europe in summer, but you should have tricks to stay clear of the crowd. Of course, prices will go up during Christmas and New Year holiday, which is the same anywhere on the planet.
If your aim is to travel to Europe and get good value for your money and time for that matter you most probably want to avoid big events and attractions.
During Easter, also called Settimana Santa, the Pope addresses the crowd in Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City. This is a good example of something you might miss during planning but could impact your trip severely if Vatican City is closed.
Look For Cheap Flights
There are various ways to get cheap flight tickets to Europe, which can save you a lot of money. There are special deals from the best-rated airlines in the world, from most countries to Europe, Australia is no exception. The secret is to book early.
Most airlines need to plan and by booking early you could pick up a bargain.
It’s in your best interest to ask what is and what isn’t included in your ticket price, especially budget airlines within Europe. A vast majority of the discounted flights could leave you in inconvenient situations. Make sure you are certain about the routes and the airline you choose.
You are also advised to book your flights early enough to get the best deals.
Although there might be last minute special deal, you are not guaranteed a seat.
Budget airlines sometimes oversold flights and even though you have a valid ticket, someone else might have booked in before you.
Ensure you get to the airport early and check in as soon as you get there to avoid disappointment.
If this is your first visit to Europe or any other international destination, it’s vital that you stay focused.
The best way to have an awesome experience is to get value for your money and to visit you most prefered regions first.
If you are interested in the current world history, Eastern and Central Europe would be ideal areas to visit.
Choose your travel gear wisely to avoid inconveniences during the trip, I will address travel gear in another post.
The Law in each country is different and might be interpreted differently from your home country. Don’t ignore warnings or instruction from authorities, no point in winning an argument rather enjoy the trip.
If you are an Australian, register with Smart Traveler an Australian government site, for more advice before and during your trip.
Travel to Europe is a great idea but you can’t explore all the locations at the same time.
You will have to travel Europe several times to tour the outstanding sites you wish to visit.
Remember it’s your trip, it costs time and money, plan it well an have fun.
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Last but not least, ensure your passport and visa is valid well before you start packing.