The perfect guide for your Eurotrip!Welcome to Fotostrasse's beginners guide to travel around Europe.
Welcome to Fotostrasse’s beginners guide to travel around Europe. This is nothing but a useful list of services and links with some personal recommendations and tips for a perfect Eurotrip without headaches or bad vibes.
Here I’ll teach you all the tricks to save top money on airline and accommodations, the pros and cons of choosing a hotel or a hostel, how to make the right choice, tips on apps that you can download that will make your life super easy and much more.
Because this is what we want! We want you to enjoy your Eurotrip as much as we did and this is why we wrote this. Have Fun!
Awesome and useful websites for your Eurotrip
Before you travel all the way to Europe, you should download some of our favorite apps and start planning your trip with their help! Here I’ll give you a few links and general ideas that can come in hand before and during your Eurotrip. Imagine yourself bored as hell and too tired of to go to another church that look the same as the one before or another park that is exactly the same one from the previous city. Or even that famous question “Where should we go tonight?“. All those questions and great other problems will be solved with this list here:
- Book all your attractions, tours and more with no hassle and with the best price with Get your Guide.
- Find all the flea markets in Europe in one place with Fleamapket.com
- Find a metal bar wherever you are with Metal Travel Guide
- Get the best deals on flights, hotels and more at Holiday Pirates
- Find a partner to travel with Globe Trooper
- Visit Europe, well, the name tell you all
- Get the local view of all the cities with Spotted by locals
- If you’re tired of visiting multiple sites to book your trip, Simply Holidays Deals is a travel deals site that gives you everything you need in just one place. Be sure to check them out if you’re based in the UK.
Our #1 place on the category Best Travel App goes to: Foursquare.
It is by far the easier to use, the one with the most tips in English, give you amazing options when you’re searching for nearby places to eat or party and you can add filters like “best beer” or “great for dates”. And no: you don’t have to share your location with the world in order to experience all that this app has to offer. We would never recommend it if this was the case. To use it is super simple: open the app, type what you need (dinner, drinks, outdoors, parks…) and check the results by price, location, rating and much more. Fotostrasse has several lists on foursquare as you can see here. The tips goes from our favorite spots in St Petersburg to The Best Burgers in Berlin.
Itinerary: How can I plan my Eurotrip
This is a good question because this is where most planners start to get crazy trying to deal with timetables and what is the best route to take. Thank God that we have websites like GoEuro and Rome2Rio to help you find the best way and the best deal, right? They even tell you all the options available in planes, trains, rental cars and buses! Two life savers when it comes to build your itinerary on your next Eurotrip!
Where to stay: Hotels or Hostels? What about Apartments?
Each place has its positive and negative sides, below we talk about each of them and it will make it easier for you to choose later.
Find the best Hotel
Finding a place that can combine comfort, price and location can be quite hard, but we will tell you step by step how do we do in order to find the best places to stay in your trip. Our favorite site to search hotels is, of course, booking.com. You can find almost all the hotels divided by areas, prices, services and so on.
The coolest thing about Booking is that, on most hotels, you can do a reservation without that unnecessary hassle of paying something if you need to cancel. Just choose your hotel and enjoy. Other sites are worth to mention are TripAdvisor and Agoda. Both are very famous and user friendly websites for searching the best match for you.
Stay in Apartments
We will give you some other websites for apartment-rentals just in case you’re not 100% satisfied with the options: GoWithOh , Roomorama and of course HomeAway – even though it is more focuses in US, HomeAway do have some great options for EU.
Staying in Hostels
Hostelz.com, Hostelbookers, Hostels.com and Hostelworld are for sure our favorites. Once again, I really like the “no fee for cancellation” police that Booking offers, so make sure you check at least 2 websites before closing the deal. Read all the hotels we’ve reviewed so far: hotels reviews.
Tips on how you can save some money before and during your Eurotrip
I’ll list here some of the tips and tricks life thought me throughout the years of traveling to Europe.
Of course, the first one will be about choosing when you want/can come. If money is an issue for you, try to book your trip before end of May or after end of September. Avoiding the summer you’ll most probably get the bets prices on accommodation and tickets, smaller lines in museums and other attractions and of course, a less crowded experience in general. Just make sure you are dressed properly.
The second tip is to try to find online if the cities you want to visit have some sort of all inclusive card you can purchase. We have 2 articles published about the cards in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Turku (Finland). Buy getting your hands on cards like that, you will save loads of money on entrance, public transport and food.
My third tip goes for hitchhikers. Yes, hitchhiking is a lovely way to travel Europe, meet people and have a more in depth experience. It is super safe here in Europe and you can even book your travels in advance with websites like BlaBlaCar and Drive2day, this last one is more focused in Germany. If you plan to go to the streets and try to find your next ride, please do a google search or ask around where is the best place to get a ride, ok? In some countries there is a designated area for hitchhikers. Usually is close to a gas station or something, but it is super easy to find the right spot.
The last tip is food related, I’ll teach you the basics on how to avoid a tourist trap restaurant. The rule of thumb here is to go 1 or 2 streets up or down the main streets or super famous sightseeing places. The most expensive restaurants will be very close to the Big Ben, to Check-Point Charlie and the Eiffel Tower, you know? But if you go away from the main streets and find yourself a nice and smaller place, chances are you’ll get a decent price.
And also try ask some folks that are working around there where they usually go to eat. Since they work around main touristy areas, they know how to avoid the salty prices.
If you need anything while on the road, you can also get connected to some other travelers on our Facebook Group and ask for tips on where to go and what to see. It is always good to get some local’s perspective, right?
Are you going by plane?
Gotta give one piece of advise here, guys. If you’re planing an big EuroTrip avoid low budgets. Why? Because you’ll end up paying the same or more with all the luggage and extras. Besides, you have to pay for everything thing inside the plane, even a glass of water will cost you!
Remember always to double check how many pieces of luggage you can carry with you and their maximum weight, ok? You don’t want to have to deal with that during your check-in.
My choice is always companies like AirBerlin, Finnair, KLM and so on.
For weekend getaways it is more than of to choose a low budget, since you’ll be traveling with 1 backpack only. EasyJet is more often than not our preferred budget option, but it all depends on where you’re flying.
A great tip if you’re not a big planner is to get a lastminute ticket, they are super cheap and most times you don’t need to worry about luggage and all that.
What about buses and trains?
Those are fantastic options, specially if you’re carrying heavy luggage or if you don’t need to go everywhere as fast as you can.
Buses and trains in Europe offers several advantages when we compare it to the flying options: you usually arrive in the center of the city, they are sometimes cheaper, you don’t need to suffer all the hassle of airport security and most companies offers pretty awesome options for a very comfortable ride.
If you think train is the way to go, please have a look on websites like Interrail/Eurail, they offer several options of unlimited passes to the countries you need. Super easy, safe and totally worth it! We actually have a super complete guide for first time users available for you all. The guide has all the main information you need before you purchase your tickets, differences between the 2 passes and much more.
Buses are a bit tricky but I can give you a list of companies we’ve used and approved already, the only think is that they are mainly Germany, Finland and Poland.
- Onnibus is a great, cheap, reliable bus company in Finland. They offer buses for as low as 3€ with free wifi on board.
- FlixBus is mainly active in Germany, but serves also Switzerland, Italy, Holland, France, Austria and so on… With tickets from 5€, they are not the most comfortable bus on earth, but they are far from being the worst we had.
- PolskiBus is the Polish side of Onnibus. The buses are the same but we think that the wifi on the Finnish version was a bit better.
- EuroLines is the one with the most options. They cover the whole Europe and the prices are great.
Renting a car
To rent a car in Europe, the best option is to go to a big and reliable company like Europcar or Hertz. We only used Europcar once and everything went really smooth with them, you only need to remember to double check in Europe accepts your country’s driving license or if you need to apply for an international one.
I strongly recommend getting the international driving license just in case because some of the countries may give you a hard time if you show up with just a Brazilian or American or Canadian driving license. It is not often but happens.
What to pack for a Eurotrip?
When it comes to packing you gotta remember always that the lighter you go, the better it is. Don’t let the fact that you’ll carry your luggage all the way to the end, ok? And the more you travel, the chances of your luggage start getting heavier are huge with all the shopping.
My tip is to always pack for a week if your trip is more than 7 days and to pack for only 4 days if you’re traveling for only a week.
Eurotrips are usually longer than 7 days and in most cases involve packing and unpacking several times. This is super exhausting if you’re dealing with 10 options for the same type of event.
Try to think about key pieces that can go with others, like that favorite pair of pants that can go with 3 or 4 top parts, or even that amazing t-shirt that goes well for night and day.
And please leave your shampoo and similar at home, you can easily find travel size versions of most brands in 90% of European cities!
Be safe, get a insurance
One of the most important things to do before you travel abroad, is to check with your health insurance if they offer you coverage on your destination. If they don’t offer, and you don’t have a credit card that can offer you a free insurance, you should check out World Nomads Travel Insurance. World Nomads is the biggest and most reliable company for this sort of things, they even have packages for adventure, ski and so on. Remember that to enter EU you must be able to prove that you’re insured, ok? We know far to many cases of people who got denied on the customs because of that.
Other apps that are worth to mention here
If you’re traveling with a friend or in a big group, there are tons of apps you can download to make your life easier. I’ll give you tips on apps to make your money lasts longer, to avoid those silly fights about who’s owning who money, to take better photos and to not to get lost even if you don’t have internet.
CreateTrips (IOS) – a great app that gives you travel guides for the cities you are going divided my interested. There are guides for free and paid guides.
Hopper (IOS) -If you’re still planning your trips, Hopper will help you predict when the flights you need to take are going to be the cheapest. We know it is not ideal or practical to be waiting to book but it’s really useful if your dates are flexible.
Splitwise (IOS – Android) – This is the holy grail for everybody traveling in a group. With this app you just need to put how much everybody spent and where they spent, in the end this app with calculate who needs to get money, how much they need to give and to whom the money should be given. End the bad vibe in 1 click!
Travel Blogs and Websites for inspiration
Those are other links and blogs we use to inspire ourselves to travel, to get informed or just to read something curious and surprising.
What we usually read changes quite often, but this is a cool list of great travel blogs that are always present on our feed.
- 360 Meridianos – Brazilian blog with 3 wonderful journalists writing daily about some cool destinations (Portuguese).
- A world to travel – Super cool photos of basically everywhere (English).
- Chicken Or Pasta – Super hype and cool blog with tips and guides about almost all the cool cities and destinations. Marcela is writing some articles for them as well (Portuguese).
- Finding the Universe – Amazing photography (English).
- Globetrottergirls – LGBT blog with great content about everywhere in the world. They have a great section about EU to inspire you (English).
- We12travel – A blog super focused in outdoors (English)
- Wonderful Wanderings – Really cool blog from Belgium in 2 languages (Dutch/English).
- Luminoucity – A lovely girl from Luxemburg that moved to Helsinki and loves it (English).
- Mapping Megan – A mega complete blog with many destination in Europe and around the world (English).
- Viagem Criativa – Your travel guide about places that are not on your regular travel guide (Portuguese).
- Voyages et Vagabondages – Great and funny French girl traveling solo around the world. Super cool for woman to read and get inspired to travel solo (French).
- Review of the best travel accessories
- How to travel more for less
- How to find free fruits in Europe
- Life hacks for travelers
- The 8 lifesaver items you should not forget
- Travel hacks for everybody
- How to plan your luggage
- Our favorite photo apps for you to use on your travels
- Ways to save money to travel the world
- Our favorite destinations of 2014
You can always subscribe to our newsletter and get the best news and tips or simply ask us anything on our Twitter at @fotostrasse. If you’re on Facebook and want to be part of a great group where you can ask all sorts of travel questions, join us at Fotostrasse Group. Just please, introduce yourself to everybody once you’re in, okie?