EUROPE TRAVELOGUE – TRAVEL HACKS

Hello and welcome to my Europe travelogue. 

Buckle up, for the context you are about to read is too adventurous to believe. On day 4 of our recent trip to Europe, we had our breakfast in Paris, lunch in Brussels and dinner in Amsterdam. Crossing two country borders France and Belguim to end our day at Netherlands is quite a highhanded feeling. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? ‘European Bonanza’ tour by Make my trip we covered France, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland in just 14 days.

From getting the jitters of doing so many countries in so less days, while reading the itinerary to a journey of happiness and contentment. It would be an understatement to say that I had the time of my life. 

We chose this fast paced package to cover as many different places in short span of time. Travel light was my strategy for this trip, as we were going to be checking in and out of hotels practically every second day. How to Pack like a Pro tips from our earlier blog post came in quite handy for the same and I packed my bag exactly in the same style…stack rolling clothes to save space.

As fascinating as it is, Europe can prove to be quite steep on the pocket, especially for an Indian traveller. But that’s hardly a reason to curb your bucketlist. With a few smart moves, you can save bucket loads of money on your Europe trip – here are some handy tips for you to keep your accounts in check while still being able to make the most of your trip!

  • Hotels in the city center are high on tariff as compared to the hotels in the suburbs. But staying in a centrally located place turns out far more affordable because you can easily walk around to most places of interest and save on commuting to and fro expenses.
  • Start your day early and finish when you feel you have no more energy left. In Europe, big cities are always crowded with tourists. So in most of your tourist attraction visits you may end up just queuing for hours thereby missing out on lot to see. 
  • Save time by making online bookings in advance instead of wasting time queuing up for major European attractions.
  • Check for city offers like an all inclusive pass that gives you access to museums along with public transportation.
  • Walk as much as you can, not only will you save money, but you will also see more of the city, so carry along a comfortable pair of shoes and walk your way around as much as possible. But if you can’t then use public transport over private taxis; you can buy 24-hour, 3-day or even weekly public transport passes, as per your stay in the city, this works out cheaper than single tickets.
  • Do as the locals do; check out for local fair or festival or even sports matches which are often free or cheap. All of these things can provide a perfect insight into how localites lead their lives.
  • Don’t withdraw money from an ATM as you are likely to get a very poor exchange rate from your bank and will also be charged a fee for every withdrawal.
  • Make sure your hotel stay includes a complimentary breakfast. That’s one major meal of the day taken care of. Fix your own mini-meals and carry a sandwich or two before you head out for the day.
  • Restrict eating out to once a day, preferably lunch instead of dinners. And if you’re a foodie go to a gourmet restaurant where they offer great value set menus. Skip having Dinners outside as can be quite expensive.
  • In restaurants do not chose food based on a photograph you see in the menu. To your dissappointment, what you see and what you get is usually not the same.
  • Instead of restaurants look out for pastry shops and bakeries where you can find yourself a filling snack at a reasonable price.
  • Do try the Local Cuisine, but if you are a vegetarian then just be extra cautious of your choices. There is no place in the world that serves pasta like the italians, makes better chocolates than in Belgium and Switzerland, and no gelato (mouth-watering flavours) is worth missing almost anywhere in Europe. So go for it.
  • Drinking tap water is safe and therefore most hotels may not provide you with water bottles in your rooms. Throughout Europe, drinking water is not free so carry your water bottles everywhere with you. You can refill your water bottle in a museum, gelato shop, department store, at a restroom of a restaurant, etc. But when seated at a restaurant, just order a bottle of water or other beverage.
  • Public parks and gardens can be a great source of entertainment; take a picnic lunch and just delight in how differently people live their lives in other places. In almost every park you will see locals or tourists enjoying family time at leisure.
  • As tempting as it may be, avoid shopping at tourist places but head to the local markets instead. The price difference is tremendous.
  • Souvenirs like magnets, keychains, décor items and other knick-knacks can be bought for much cheaper rates at local markets than at tourist places.
  • Watch your personal belongings and bags at all the times. Do not ask help from strangers, to avoid any incidents. Tourists attractions are prone to theft and robberies, if you are careless.
  • Make sure you spend all your coins before you leave as you can’t exchange them back home. If you’re at the airport and you realise you have some coins left, buy something with your coins and pay the balance with your card.

You would think these bits of advice are common sense, but you would be surprised at how much people can save, even if the holiday is just a week or two! Who knows, you might have enough saved for some extra shopping. 

Signing off with some beautiful memories of Europe.

Louvre Museum, Paris, France – Me with Mona Lisa painting the star attraction of the museum. Art lovers would enjoy their time at the Louvre, spending time witnessing some of world’s best master-pieces. A whole day for it is also not enough.
Europe diaries
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France – absolutely breathtaking experience to witness the five minute twinkling tower at night. Paris is overwhelming city by the day but when its dressed up in the night with dazzling illumination, its worth staying up all night. ( sorry for the blur pic)
Europe diaries
Disneyland, Paris, France – Colorful, adventurous, full of life but at the same time equally exhausting. Out of the 100s of rides and shows we were able to do only 5 rides in a span of 6 hours, there is so much to see and do. The disney parade at day end is worth every penny.
Europe diaries
Grand Palace Square, Brussels, Belgium – Absorbing in the beauty and decoration of architectural structure all around me
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The Atomium, Brussels, Belgium – comprises nine enormous reflective spheres all connected by a series of staircases and escalators, serving as a gallery and exhibition space.
Madurodam Park, The Hague, Netherlands– it is a miniature park and a major tourist attraction in Netherlands. The park has at display model replicas of the most famous Dutch castles, industrial projects and public buildings. Not only the kids but also adults have an awesome handson experience with the models.
Europe diaries
Amsterdam, Netherlands– Did a Canal cruise in a glass-topped boat that offers unobstructed views of the beautiful city with its coloured buildings, flourishing trees and the site of numerous cyclists going in and about their day. This city has amazed us by how it can deliver two different experiences – its day time and night time appearance.
Europe diaries
Zaanse Shans, Amsterdam, Netherlands- witnessed a VIRTUAL demonstration of how clogs ( Dutch wooden shoes ) are made. Then we also made a visit to the cheese factory to see the live demo of cheese-making.
Zanse Schans, Amsterdam, Netherlands– At the land of historic windmills and cheese factory. I left my heart back in Netherlands, would surely visit this country again. Though its a small country there is so much to do and see.
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne City, Germany – Construction of Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880. Repair and maintenance work is constantly being carried out in one or another section of the building, which is rarely completely free of scaffolding, as wind, rain, and pollution slowly eat away at the stones.
Europe diaries
Hofgut Sternen, Black Forest, Germany– Rolling hills dotted with old farm houses, traditional wineries and valleys with lakes, rivers and waterfalls, old castle, the Black Forest is a beautiful place to be in. Some of the world’s prettiest, best-preserved forests as well as best-quality wood products are in this region. We made a stop at Hofgut Sternen in the heart of the Black Forest to witness how the famous & original Cuckoo Clocks of Hofgut Sternen are made.
Europe diaries
Swarovski Crystal Fountain, Innsbruck, Austria– the green grass carpet is so tempting you to escape the everyday life and just rest and relax. Green soft grass underneath, blue sky above, snow capped mountains on one side and black dense forest on the other
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Swarovski Crystal World Giant Fountain, Innsbruck, Austria – Headquarters of Swarovski having amazing collection of precision-cut lead crystal glass and other related products.
Europe diaries
St. Mark’s Square, Venice, Italy – Sailed in a water taxi upto the Square as it has no roads, just canals. Venice has lot of historic monuments and also it is heaven for shoppers. Think of any luxury brand and you have its boutique here like Chanel, Omega, Fendi, LV, Cartier, Hermes, Parda…etc. It was so hot and sunny that we were exhausted and had no more energy to walk and see around by the 3rd hour.
Europe diaries
Colosseum, Rome, Italy – One of the seven wonders of the world is the largest amphitheatre ever built but damaged during earthquakes and also stone robbery. Seeing it on screen and standing there live is altogether a different experience.
Vatican City, Rome, Italy – The Apostolic Palace right behind me is the official residence of the Roman Catholic Pope and Bishop of Rome, which is located in Vatican City.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy – a construction gone wrong is a major crowd pulling place in Italy. Tourist go berserk trying to take different shots with the tower. I tried my hands at a few poses too. It was one of the most lively and memorable experience.
Mt. Titlis, Engelberg, Switzerland– Experienced a mind-blowing day in the Snow at Titlis at 3’020 meters above sealevel. Up at the peak there is only one season: Winter. But we were fortunate enough to have a sunny day, so we could enjoy the activities and just being there in the snow. The first thing my son did up there was make a snowman and first thing my husband did was make me a heart. We just didnt want to come down at end of day. Wish we could stay more.

Finally, it was time to head back home. I am so thankful to Makemytrip and all the families in our group for making this trip happen. It really was the trip of a lifetime. I’m taking home with me, so many good and fun memories. Until next time

be bold. be beautiful.



3 Responses

  1. Hey Neha, lovely blog and you look absolutely stunning! Looks like you enjoyed the trip to the fullest. Great advice! Definitely common, but common things are not very common when applied in our lifestyle.its very calculative to lifestyle . Thanks for it, will definitely follow as I love traveling and exploring places.Keep rocking with great articles with all your experience. Again to say you are fabulous 😘😘😘

  2. Wow! IMHO the best blog of TIF. 😎 Stunning pics, picturesque views, amazing locations…probably captured the best of Europe. Great advice too. My next trip is surely gonna be influenced by this…hats off!! Cheers.

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