Traveling in Europe
Top 3 travel websites
Planning a trip to Europe? Some of my favorite websites to research & schedule travel there are: Booking.com, Expedia, Kayak.
Simple, user friendly, these three websites allow me to quickly compare prices with each other and get the best deals. I've used others as well but I find that these tend to be constantly rewarding.
My top one though has to be booking.com. As I'm based in Europe, booking.com allows me to look at a specific areas in the different cities and see what my options were. I could compare all of the different hotels, hostels etc. in a 5 mile radius. This was particularly useful for when I had an event at a hotel or venue and needed to find the closest cheapest option available. That way, less money spent on ubers/taxis and more in the room options.
Where to Stay?
It depends on how many of you there are. Staying in a hotel is nice when you're 1, 2 or 3, but when you've got a team of 10-15 people, your options slowly start to dwindle.
Take Brussels for example. If the EU Commission or Parliament are in session, all the hotels in the city get booked quite quickly or go up significantly in price. (supply & demand)
Therefore, I recommend staying in Apartment Hotels. These allow you to book multiple rooms with a shared kitchen and bathroom, sometimes individual, and are much safer/cleaner alternative to hostels. Not to mention cheaper than hotels. Two of my most used ones for Brussels are Axleflat & Beverly Hills Hotel. They are within walking distance to the EU district (Place de Luxembourg) For Beverly Hills Hotel, just make sure to get a room in the main hotel building. Their second building houses smaller rooms.
How to get there?
Your way of traveling might be different from others. Maybe it's the journey and not the destination. Maybe it's the destination. Maybe it's both! Anyway, you will find many different ways to travel. Some cheaper, shorter or more convenient than others. There are so many different ways to get to a destination that we often look over other options in order to get to where we want to go.
A destination that you may have wanted to go to using the plane, might be cheaper or more convenient, but sometimes going by bus, train or by car might show you more of the country!
Below are a few of my sites to research and book travel:
I am the first to acknowledge that sometimes, I just need to get to a destination quickly. Especially for work.
Skyscanner - My favorite tool to compare flights! It is great but be careful as it sometimes can be misleading
Google Flights - This search engine also compares flights for you and gives you the best rates for future days! It's reliable but its search will depend on your location, i.e. higher prices for US based customers than for European based ones.
Momondo - Compares different flight rates!
Matrixflights - Another great air travel comparison tool
BlaBlaCar - Car Sharing. Very popular in Europe. Great prices and great people.
You can also rent cars from different companies depending on where you are (EuropeCar, Hertz, Rent a Car, etc). But I recommend car-sharing. I've never had a bad experience using blablacar. You not only meet new people but even sometimes get tips on what to do or where to go!
CaptainTrain - You can schedule either bus or train travel through here!
Flixbus - Great cheap bus service for Europe!
Eurostar - Going from the UK to continental Europe (Vice Versa)? Then make sure to check out the amazing Eurostar that travels underwater!!! It goes from London to Paris, Lille, Brussels and now the Amsterdam!
RailEurope - A great tool to use for traveling Europe by train. Make sure to check out the great deals for summer for the younger adults.
TGV- If in France and want to take the train, TGVpop is a must to make sure you have the cheapest deals. Also, if you want to save on travel, I recommend getting their Jeune railcard. This will enable you to get discounted fares all year round on journeys with TGV, TER and Intercités, and you’re eligible from age 12 until the day before your 28th birthday. What are the benefits?:
- a 30% discount—guaranteed—on all TGV and Intercités trains requiring reservations, as compared with the Loisir fare for a passenger travelling without a card. And you can book any time, right up to the last available seat
- 10% additional savings—guaranteed—on Prem’s tickets
- 25% off travel aboard TER and Intercités trains not requiring reservations when your journey begins during a peak travel period, and 50% off when your journey begins during an off-peak travel period
- exclusive last-minute Dernière Minute offers for you and the traveling companion of your choice, regardless of age
Ouigo - This is a French low-cost high-speed train service offering long-distance services on core routes of the French rail network, albeit mostly between secondary stations.
Hitchwiki - You feeling up for an adventure? Check out this forum for travelers looking to save while traveling.
Typically each country will have their own bus/train system that is cheaper than the touristy ones, so do not be afraid to try and go on local sites as most typically have an english language setting.
All in all each site has its advantages/disadvantages, but the key aspect to remember is to check constantly and broadly. Use each site to compare different prices and go incognito to maybe get around the location based pricing. Either that or delete your cookies!
It also helps greatly to not set specific dates but to look at entire months when planning trips, it will help save on costs and allow you to be more open to different travelling opportunities. Have a plan but keep it open enough for new experiences.
© 2018 JW