Yes! You have finally made the decision and gathered enough moxie; your long awaited trip to Europe is happening this year. Whether it is Barcelona, Dublin, Lisbon, Rome, London, Paris or just your favourite location, Europe is awaiting!
- But first, do you have your itinerary ready?
- Have you figured out the right destination just yet?
- And, have you done your research work regarding where you will be goingâ€™s weather and temperature?
Well, all these are just a snippet of what will be probably going on at the back of your mind. And, given that this vast continent has a lot to offer, besides being a year-round travel destination, you will just have to narrow down your travel dates and ensure that they align with your preferences. Generally, if you will be travelling to Europe for the first time, lots of challenges will come your way.
Indeed, thereâ€™s no single â€˜perfectâ€™ time to tour Europe as we all harbour our different reasons and preferences that motivate the voyage. But as far as the weather is concerned, many ardent travellers, regardless of whether theyâ€™re hunting for crazy fun or business trips, prefer making the journey over May through September. During this period, flight prices arenâ€™t ridiculously high, and the continentâ€™s overall weather is relatively welcoming.
What decides your â€˜perfectâ€™ time to tour Europe?
With over 45 countries and a highly-varied geography extending from the cosy Greek Isles to frozen Norwegian fjords, the weather in Europe expectedly vary. But it is important to distinguish the few areas that exhibit favourable temperatures throughout the year.
In northern Europe – countries comprising England, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, December through March go on record as some seemingly cold periods. Meanwhile, as the snowfalls hit the northern parts, countries located in the southern portion – Southern France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, tend to stay warmer with favourable winter.
With the continent having perhaps the most exciting sightings, festivals, adventures and just about everything in plenty, everyone would certainly fancy a trip, at least once, in their lifetime. And, with that in mind, rest assured that you will not be the only person visiting the vast continent. Crowds in the main spots of Europe are expected, especially when everything seems favourable.
July and August are the most welcoming months and, of course, nearly all the main spots will be buzzing with activities. In August, both the natives and foreigners, majorly drawn from the US, pour into this continentâ€™s main cities and seaside areas, eager to enjoy their vacations. During this moment, nearly all hotels are booked to the brim and all tour sites filled.
To get some respite and evade the full months, just plan to head to far-flung and less-popular European destinations like the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. Remember, the crowding often extends to summer when summer games come alive.
Europe has over 45 countries, and all these translates to different cultures, languages and events. Thatâ€™s why the continent never runs out of carnivals, festivals and events throughout the year. And, of all the events to look out for, Venice, Barcelona and those others happening in Franceâ€™s countryside Fete de la Musique and Englandâ€™s Glastonbury Festival are worth visiting. Just be on the lookout for Germanyâ€™s Oktoberfest and Romaniaâ€™s Transylvania, too.
You can travel to Europe by air and enjoy all the glamour, or by one of the many cruise ships. Moreover, hospitality and accommodation rates vary with seasons and locations chosen. Summer notoriously arrives with skyrocketing rates, and thatâ€™s why you must book ahead of time. Finally, donâ€™t forget to hunt for travelling tips and bargain spots worth checking out.
Great tips that can help you enjoy holiday travel
Travel during the holidays can be ridiculously stressful, expensive and busy. If you are not well prepared, your trip is probably going to be affected by less enthralling possibilities such as overcrowded airports, delayed flights, icy roads that might be impassable and bumper to bumper traffic, all of which can ruin your holiday in an instant. As dismaying and as grim as these possibilities might be, it is entirely possible for a well-prepared traveler to avoid some of the looming headaches that come with holiday travel. Here are some great tips that can help you enjoy holiday travel:
If you have not already started planning your holiday travel at this point in this year, then it is advisable to start the process of planning now. Ample preparation before traveling in one of the best things that you can do to avoid the stress that is associated with holiday travel. While it is possible to plan late and still enjoy your holiday, you are far less likely to encounter some of the headaches listed above by at least booking your tickets a couple of weeks in advance. Early planning can also allow you to save money by getting deals on airfare before the peak travel dates. If you can, also purchase early morning flights because if your flight is canceled, you can still get another in the course of the day.
It is important to shop around if you want to get the best bargain deals for your holiday travel. There are numerous booking sites out there such as Expedia that can allow you to compare prices to get the best values. It is essential that you cast a wide net when comparison shopping because it will help you assess all the options available.
Pick a smaller airport
If you have traveled before, you may have noticed how busy and chaotic it gets at large airports during the holidays. Yes, a large metropolitan airport affords you the expediency of booking your flight based on your trip schedule. However, everyone else will opt for the large airport for the same reason. During busy travel dates such as Christmas, large airports are typically overcrowded, which can make your trip a nightmare even before it starts. To avoid this, you should consider a smaller airport or an alternate one that is more convenient.
Avoid connecting flights
If you can, you should try as much as you can to avoid connecting flights. This is because the holiday period, particularly between Thanksgiving and the New Year, is the busiest all year. You are more likely to lose your luggage and disruptions always occur due to bad weather that can mess up your travel itinerary. As such, always opt for direct flights if you can afford it. Sure, connecting flights will save you some cash but the chances are high that something will go wrong. In which case, the money that you save may not be worth it because you could mess up your entire trip with a single delay.
Use your travel rewards
Whether you have miles or cash back offers, the holidays are the best times to use those hard-earned travel rewards. There are numerous promotions that run during the holiday season to encourage holiday travel. Make sure that you look around on travel websites and blogs for the best promotions.
Consider Winter travel instead
If you have the flexibility that many others do not, then you should consider traveling during winter instead. The crowds are smaller in winter and the prices are more pocket-friendly, which is better for your travel and activities budget. Airfare to many destinations, domestic and international, is typically lower during winter, which means that you can still enjoy everything that you would have in December but at a much lower price.
Why you should consider cruise travel
Cruises are a great way to discover what the world has to offer. Travelers that have not yet experienced cruise travel are missing out because cruises combine all the travel activities, meals, as well as accommodation in one inexpensive package. Additionally, cruises are ideal because they enable you to travel to more than one destination without spending money on all that airfare. Thanks to the vast number of cruise ships and routes available, there is a cruise package to suit every traveler and their budget restrictions. From solo traveler to families and couples, there is no reason why you should not consider a cruise in 2018.
Here are some more reasons why you should consider cruise travel:
You can travel to multiple destinations cheaply
Cruising has to be the ultimate way to cross off as many destinations on your bucket list as possible. Cruise holidays are not stressful to plan because your transport and accommodation are typically pre-arranged. With cruises, all you have to do is select a ship of your picking, plan your itinerary and decide on your cabin choice. Each day, you can wake up to a new destination without the worry of planning your logistics for getting around.
They are inexpensive
Cruise ships are inexpensive because they give you great value for money. All the meals, entertainment, transport, and accommodation is taken care off at a substantially reduced cost. On regular trips, you are likely spending the same amount on hotels, taxi, and food. Luxury cruises are even better for those that can afford them because they are more inclusive and they offer extra value services that heighten your experience. If you are looking for a way to save money, you should opt for last minute deals or special offers that can help to slash your expenses by half.
A broad range to choose from
Whatever your dream cruise holiday may be, there is a wide array of cruise ships to choose from including ships that are suitable for couples or family members. Cruise packages and offers come in all shapes and sizes and can be accessed in any part of the world that has a port. Cruise ships also travel to many destinations in the world therefore cruising can be one of the best ways to experience those famous and enchanting cities that you only see on maps.
Most are family friendly
Most cruise ships go the extra mile to make sure that there are activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Cruises can be a great way to teach your children vital social skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. The ships typically have activities and clubs that are designed for kids to interact with other kids while making new friends. Cruises are also a great way to make new friends from every corner of the world. If you are looking for a stress-free holiday that appeals to the whole family, then it may be time that you considered going on a cruise this fast approaching December holidays.
It is a unique experience
Cruising is a truly different type of holiday. It is possible to tailor fit the cruise of your choice to your personality. For instance, if you are looking for love or romance, there are cruises that are catered specifically for singles that are looking for other singles. Here, you can meet people that share the same dreams and interests as you. Cruises are also ideal for people that enjoy live entertainment. There are all sorts of entertaining shows that are held in cruise ships from Vegas inspired shows to live performances of music and dancing which are all great ways to meet new people and make romantic connections.
Have you been on a cruise lately ? How was your experience like ?
The most common hotel booking mistakes
These days, technological advancements have completely changed the way people book their hotel accommodations. With almost every respectable property offering deals through third party booking sites, booking a hotel room is only one click away. Although the process of searching and booking appears straightforward, it can at times be affected by some common blunders. From selecting fraud booking sites to forgetting vital information, small mistakes can turn your trip into a nightmare. The small missteps made can end up costing you more than you bargained for, which is why it is important to educate yourself on the most common booking mistakes so as to avoid them. Here are some of the most common blunders:
Booking too early
When it comes to making your reservations, it is essential to make them at the right time, otherwise, it can cost you dearly. Special events and peak seasons are some of the worst times to book your hotel because the demand is high, which then translates to increased prices. In such a case, the earlier you make the reservation the better it is for you and your wallet.
In some instances, however, booking in advance may not be the right thing. This is especially true when you are booking accommodation for standard reservations such as a weekend getaway. As a rule of thumb, you should start monitoring the prices of your accommodation at least six weeks before your travel date. The time in between will allow you to conduct as much research as you can while tracking airfares and the rates to see what the fluctuations in price are.
Booking without reading the deposit and cancellation policies
One terrible blunder that travelers make is carelessly making a reservation without first checking the deposit and cancellation policies of the hotel. Most hotels, especially those in the same region usually have similar policies, but most others don’t. To avoid making a mistake that can ruin your budget, it is always a good idea to go through the policies.
Expecting the best room of all
It is a common practice for hotels to reserve the best rooms for customers that make their reservations on the hotel website. Also, the best rooms are given to loyalty members or people who make it clear that they have stayed at the hotel before. On the other hand, travelers that book through online travel agencies often receive what is left after the rooms have been distributed to everyone else. To ensure that you get the best rooms all the time, you should join a loyalty program and become a member for better room placement. Most loyalty programs are free and they can help you access extra amenities such as free breakfast and internet services.
Inputting incorrect dates and times
Many travelers are guilty of committing this booking mistake. Always make certain that you input the correct arrival and departure dates to avoid paying for an extra room. Have your flight itinerary with you when you are making your reservations so that you can double check your arrival and departure dates and times. You should also take note of the different time zones because your check-in dates could be different than what you expect.
Not using your credit card for booking
Credit cards are the best for reserving your accommodation. Most credit cards have offers and rewards attached to them such as flight miles; cash back bonuses and free nights. Additionally, credit cards are generally safer to use compared to debit cards because you can get immediate refunds for the wrong charges, as well as fraud protection. There are numerous resources out there that can educate you on the best credit cards to use while traveling-use them wisely.
Thank you for reading my piece about hotel bookings. If you want to read more of my work each week , you can connect with me or follow me on social media.
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