Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/europe) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

The Man in Seat Sixty-One (www.seat61.com) Encyclopedic site dedicated to train travel plus plenty of other tips.

Hidden Europe (www.hiddeneurope.co.uk) Fascinating magazine and online dispatches from all the continent’s corners.

Couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.org) Find a free bed and make friends in any European country.

VisitEurope (www.visiteurope.com) With information about travel in 33 member countries.

Spotted by Locals (www.spottedbylocals.com) Insider tips for cities across Europe.

Top Tips

  • It's impossible to cover all of Europe – even in 10 trips. Draw up a strategic plan.
  • Trains have long been one of the most efficient and fun ways of getting around Europe – and most countries have a good rail network.
  • Save some room in your suitcase. Many European cities are a shopper's paradise.
  • Check online for availability of advance reservations for particularly popular sights.
  • Europe is biking heaven – consider renting one in Amsterdam, or Copenhagen, or to get around the French countryside.
  • This is your ultimate opportunity to use a foreign language. Try to learn 20 basic phrases in three different European tongues.
  • Get off the beaten track. Europe funnels its tourists into certain areas. Dodge the crowds in the Scottish Highlands, rural Poland or the plains of central Spain.

What to Take

Flip-flops (thongs) for overnight trains, hostel bathrooms and the beach.

Hiking boots for Europe’s walks.

Ear plugs – especially helpful in hostels.

Antimosquito plugs – useful in summer, particularly in the Baltic and Scandinavia.

European plug adapters.

Unlocked mobile phone for use with a local SIM card.

Casual-smart clothes – look the part when breaking the budget.

What to Wear

Clothing requirements vary drastically depending on where and when you're going. Northern Norway in January requires multiple thick layers, while southern Greece in August could leave you perspiring in a T-shirt. In general, there are few absolute no-nos, although many Europeans dress more formally (and fashionably) than people in other parts of the world. In some churches in Mediterranean countries, you're not allowed to enter with bare legs or cut-off T-shirts. Similarly, going to the opera in Paris in shorts and flip-flops might look a little odd. Although you certainly won't need a three-piece suit on your Euro travels, it would be wise to bring at least one pair of long trousers. Otherwise dress for comfort.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for six months past arrival.
  • Check if you require visas.
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions.
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company you’re heading away.
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance.
  • Check if you need an International Driving Permit to rent a car.
  • Check the validity of your mobile phone in Europe.