Travelling to Europe for a big ‘Overseas Experience’ is a bit of a rite of passage for us Kiwis, but it can be tricky to know where to start if you’re organising everything yourself.
Here are some travel tips to help you plan your Europe OE.
Picking your countries (and how to get there)
If you have an open ended ticket and a lot of time, you will probably be lucky enough to be able to meander through countries at your leisure and spend as long or as short as you want in each location. If you’ve got a short trip planned and you’re not going with a tour company, it’s good to at least have a rough idea of where you want to go and how long you want to stay there.
You essentially have two options; pick just a few locations and spend time getting to know them well, or travel to a lot of locations and spend a few days in each to see as much as possible.
Connecting flights may seem like a cost-effective option, but sometimes the wait time (and possibly having an out of the way stopover) may be similar in time and price to a train journey where you will see more of the countryside in between. Do some research on easyjet.com, eurail.com and railplus.co.nz.
Booking things yourself? Triple check everything!
The internet is an amazing thing; you can now book your own flights, accommodation and tourist activities. However, if you’re opting to bypass the travel agent, you will need to ensure you have your times and dates right. Triple check everything before you hit the ‘OK’ button to make payment. If there is a no cancellations policy and you’ve got your accommodation dates wrong, you may lose your money if you need to change the dates but they’re fully booked for the time you actually need to be there.
When booking accommodation, bear in mind the location; are you close to the train or airport so you can depart/arrive easily? Is there a metro station nearby? Are you close to some of the key tourist attractions that you want to see?
Also, don’t forget travel insurance. You’ll likely have no problems, but if you are in a scooter accident, you have cash or your camera stolen, or your departing flights are delayed due to weather issues and you need last minute accommodation, insurance may be well worth it.
Be smart with your days
If you’re only going for a short trip and you have a hitlist of activites you want to do, get out the map and try to group the activities that are close to each other so you won’t waste time going backwards and forwards.
Talk to people you know and ask questions on travel website forums; a day trip you want to make might be doable in half a day (or the other way around!).
If you want to do a lot of activities in a main city, they may have a tourist pass that will make the activities – and possibly transport – cheaper. Take a look at:
Are you planning your O.E? What’s your best travel advice? Comment below and let us know!
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net- Tim Beach