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21 Tips For the Perfect Europe Trip

Popsugar logoPopsugar 3 days ago Kortney Gruenwald

© The Modern Jetsetter

Europe is one of the most culturally diverse and historically rich continents on this planet. Besides packing light and researching tipping norms, take a few tips from a local on getting the most of this bucket list destination. Whether planning an unforgettable girls' trip through France or taking on an ambitious country-hopper itinerary, these 21 tips should make your Euro trip a dream trip.

Don’t Cram Your Itinerary

Don’t Cram Your Itinerary © The Modern Jestsetter Don’t Cram Your Itinerary

Don’t cram too many countries into one Europe trip (three should be the absolute max). It's better to experience fewer countries on a culturally deeper level than to embark on a whirlwind of cliché tourism activities in several big cities. Plus, this gives you the opportunity to come back to Europe many times again, each trip delivering a uniquely enchanting experience beyond guidebooks.

Stay in One Place Longer

Stay in One Place Longer © The Modern Jestsetter Stay in One Place Longer

Cities in which you spend the most time are the ones enjoyed to the fullest. On my first Europe trip, I extended my initial three-day stay in Venice to two weeks, and it was an adventure I still swoon about today. Stay in one place for longer — it delivers the senses ample time to absorb every impression and form a connection with a destination.

Rent a Car (Really)

Rent a Car (Really) © The Modern Jestsetter Rent a Car (Really)

Europe by car gives you freedom and flexibility to discover the off-the-beaten path roads and tiny villages that exceed all Pinterest dreams. Driving in Europe isn’t as terrifying as you think (really, especially if you rent automatic) and delivers travellers with the crème-de-la-crème of European scenery.

Pair Novels With Your Destinations

Pair Novels With Your Destinations © The Modern Jestsetter Pair Novels With Your Destinations

If you think reading guidebooks before embarking on your journey paints the picture, try devouring a delicious plot that captures the culture, scenery, and must dos of a destination all at the same time. There isn’t a destination in Europe that isn’t written about prolifically. If Cinque Terre is on your bucket list, read Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter first — you're welcome.

Fit a Wellness Retreat Into Your Itinerary

Fit a Wellness Retreat Into Your Itinerary © Sole Yoga Holidays Fit a Wellness Retreat Into Your Itinerary

When we think Europe, our minds often don’t drift toward a lavish wellness retreat in the most spectacular destinations. Why not? Millennial travellers are redefining the European travel experience by searching for retreats that combine immersive cultural experiences. Grab your best friends and try a luxury yoga retreat in Positano, Santorini, or Ireland with Sole Yoga Holidays (these retreats are my blogger go-to for a creative reset).

Incorporate a Fitness Routine Into Your Trip

Incorporate a Fitness Routine Into Your Trip © The Modern Jesetter Incorporate a Fitness Routine Into Your Trip

Eat pasta and croissants, but don’t undervalue the importance of balance. Whether you pack your running shoes, make a YouTube fitness playlist, or grab your yoga mat and trek to the closest beach, make your body a priority on holiday.

Learn a Few Useful Phrases in French, German, and Italian

Learn a Few Useful Phrases in French, German, and Italian © The Modern Jetsetter Learn a Few Useful Phrases in French, German, and Italian

Do it, and at the very least, learn to order your own food. Apps exist and nothing is lost by absorbing the beauty of other languages. Plus, it could help you out in unexpected (and inevitable) travel situations where you need to impress yourself and your friends.

Rent Airbnbs Outside the City

Rent Airbnbs Outside the City © The Modern Jetsetter Rent Airbnbs Outside the City

Step outside the comfort zone of being surrounded by English-speaking tourists and immerse yourself with locals. Not only will your accommodation be tenfold more lavish and unique for less money (a stone cottage in Tuscany, for example), you'll also have the opportunity to experience what local day-to-day life actually feels like.

Make Sure Your Rental Has a Kitchen

Make Sure Your Rental Has a Kitchen © The Modern Jesetter Make Sure Your Rental Has a Kitchen

A major follow-up tip to that last tip: make sure your Airbnb rental has a kitchen. You’ll want to take advantage of local ingredients, bring treats home from local bakeries, and also indulge in your comfort food once in a while. Couch time featuring pizza still needs to exist abroad.

Visit Off-Season

Visit Off-Season © The Modern Jetsetter Visit Off-Season

Book a Europe trip off-season (this is typically November through March). You'll have more accommodation opportunities and, thanks to smaller crowds, the opportunity to experience the more authentic vibe of a destination. Booking off-season also helps small businesses in Europe that suffer financially outside tourism peaks in Summer.

Hire a Private Local Guide

Hire a Private Local Guide © The Modern Jetsetter Hire a Private Local Guide

Yes! Skip the big companies and hire a local guide or a trip planner — they will show you local gems rather than giving you the one-size-fits-all tours that cover only the surface of a destination. Best part: tell them what you want to see. With private local guides, you have the opportunity to customise your experience.

For Food, Go Where the Locals Go

For Food, Go Where the Locals Go © The Modern Jetsetter For Food, Go Where the Locals Go

Don’t rely on online restaurant reviews to find the best place to eat. The secret: ask a local where they would go (besides Mom's house), and chances are they'll lead you to authentic delicacies and the dishes you'll be dreaming about for decades to come.

Plan Days Around Sunrise and Sunset

Plan Days Around Sunrise and Sunset © The Modern Jetsetter Plan Days Around Sunrise and Sunset

Travel rule to apply to Europe and beyond: force yourself to be an early bird and catch the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Not only does this help you avoid the crowds, you also have the best photo opportunities and make the habit of getting the most of your travel days.

Don’t Overplan

Don’t Overplan © The Modern Jetsetter Don’t Overplan

Consider your itinerary more as guidelines for your grand adventure. As you explore Europe, you’ll inevitably stumble upon experiences that weren’t on your original radar (including hidden beaches) and you should absolutely include them in your trip. Be flexible and leave room for adventure.

Skip the Touristy Activities and Seek Authentic Experiences

Skip the Touristy Activities and Seek Authentic Experiences © The Modern Jetsetter Skip the Touristy Activities and Seek Authentic Experiences

Instead of going on a 20-person walking tour and breezing by the Eiffel Tower, I have a better idea: head to a local bakery, grab a bottle of French Champagne, and have a picnic under it instead. Planning moments like this lead to magical travel memories that will last forever.

Take a Cooking Class

Take a Cooking Class © The Modern Jetsetter Take a Cooking Class

While delivery will always be our saviour in life, step outside your culinary comfort zone and dare to learn the food traditions and cooking methods of the destinations you visit. Learning to make pizza in Naples is a skill that will make you the king or queen of all dinner parties to come — I promise.

Take Advantage of Budget Airlines

Take Advantage of Budget Airlines © The Modern Jetsetter Take Advantage of Budget Airlines

Believe it or not, budget airlines in Europe are actually the quickest and most cost-effective way to hop from one destination to another if you’re on a time crunch. You can easily grab a one-way ticket for under €50 when you plan your journey far enough in advance.

Don’t Forget R&R

Don’t Forget R&R © The Modern Jetsetter Don’t Forget R&R

Europe means walking, new mattresses, transit stress, and plenty of cars, trains, and airplanes. Alleviate the stress that travel naturally evokes on your body by taking time to plan in days where you have nothing planned except good food, wine, and views.

Treat Trains as an Experience, Not a Main Mode of Transportation

Treat Trains as an Experience, Not a Main Mode of Transportation © The Modern Jetsetter Treat Trains as an Experience, Not a Main Mode of Transportation

A train ride through the Bavarian countryside or alongside the French Riviera is an experience to be had, but by no means the only mode of transportation available. If you don’t rent a car, a healthy combination of high-speed trains and city-hopper flights will give you the best of convenience and scenery.

Rent a Chalet in the Alps

Rent a Chalet in the Alps © The Modern Jetsetter Rent a Chalet in the Alps

Whether visiting during the peak of Summer or the snowy weeks of Winter, the alpine region will take your breath away. While the Swiss and French Alps are high on every bucket list, a trip to the Austrian Alps is one of the most culturally enriching and visually spectacular travel options in Europe. Try renting a picturesque chalet in Austria that will make you feel as if life is a fairy tale.

Forget Instagram — Make Your Own Experiences

Forget Instagram — Make Your Own Experiences © The Modern Jetsetter Forget Instagram — Make Your Own Experiences

Most important: carpe diem and ensure that this is the trip of your dreams (not someone else’s). If you want to ride a Vespa in Rome, do it. If you dream of running through the lavender fields of Provence, make it happen. Travel is the most authentic and vibrant way to live a life, so ensure that the memories you make are the souvenirs you want to carry in your heart forever.

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