If you have plans to see the world in your lifetime, then you had probably already daydreamed of road trips across America and vacationing in the Maldives. However, one of the many underestimated travel dreams is that of a road trip through Europe. In the backpacking world, interrailing across Europe has taken off in popularity and is a perfect choice for younger students who don’t have a lot of money or time to travel. It is a quick and easy mode of transport; however, since it is suggested you book your trains in advance, you may not be able to stay somewhere for as long as you would like.
If you have the luxury of time and the financial resources, why not take off in a car and take as much time as you like seeing all of the wonders that Europe has to offer? It’s tempting, isn’t it? You may already have all of the main capitals starting to pop into your head as prime destinations. London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam – but there is so much more to see. Here are a few itinerary suggestions and some preparation advice to ensure you can plan the smoothest, most organized, Instagramable Europe trip.
First off, dig out your passport. Everyone always puts it in a safe place that is just a little too safe when it comes to actually finding it again when you need it. If you are from outside Europe, you will need an indication of long you will be in Europe for in order to get a Visa that will allow you to finish your travels. Of course, if you are in Europe, you will be able to use your own car for the road trip which will save you a little bit of money. If you are coming from outside Europe, your best option will be to buy a car when you arrive. You could pick something old up that still runs decently for a few hundred euros. It is recommended you get a service on your vehicle, as the service guidelines for most vehicles is every 10,000 to 20,000 miles – and you will cover a lot of land on a road trip. It is a good idea to seek out a dealership service or a specialist in your brand of car. For example, if you own a BMW, look for a service similar to the Bavarian BMW service, or if you own a Vauxhall look into joining the free service Vauxhall club. This will ensure you are having your vehicle serviced by someone with extensive knowledge of your particular model, and be able to best prepare it for the journey you are about to embark on. You don’t want to be halfway between Paris and Cannes and break down from a simple problem that could have been easily fixed with a service – like a misfire or a coil pack failure. You will also need to know what sort of route you will want to take. If you live in Europe, you will obviously have a destination to travel back to, and if traveling from outside of Europe, you may have a plane, ferry, or Eurostar booked for your return home. You could, of course, leave your return open, or choose a different destination to travel home from than the one you arrived at. Your journey could zig-zag across Europe, starting at one end and finish at the other, or do a full circle finishing in the same destination you started with. Even if you wanted to leave your itinerary pretty open, it is good to have an end goal so you can plan a route that is the most fuel efficient. You don’t want to be traveling back on yourself constantly, as your petrol costs will rise exponentially.
Like previously stated – you may want to leave your itinerary fairly open or have a completely planned and organized route hitting all of you must-see destinations. Whichever you choose, you can be assured you will stumble across some stunning destinations outside of your initial plan that you just have to stop for. This may be the ultimate trip of a lifetime for you, so it is important that you don’t feel like you have missed out on anything. It can be extremely overwhelming to think about how you are going to possibly choose between all the popular tourist destinations – but remember to wander off of the beaten track at some point to stumble across wonders and surprises you didn’t even know existed – or maybe didn’t consider visiting when planning your trip. Many people who have made this trip in the past have made some suggestions that should definitely be included in your itinerary on top of viewing the Eiffel Tower and The Colosseum. Here are a few suggestions just to open up your scope to even more of Europe – even though you may still feel like you need to return to some of these places in the future.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
If you are a thrill seeker, this is one for you. Lake Bled almost appears as aqua blue, due to its spectacularly clear waters, and is the most stunning backdrop to experiencing white-water rafting, and cliff-diving.
If you are a lover of a history rich culture, with amazing food that is inexpensive, then look no further. Krakow is climbing the list as one of the most popular destinations to visit. You can visit the Zakopane mountains, the Wieliczka Salt Mines or spend your days shopping and soak in the wonderful buzz and art scene that surrounds the main square. There is also Auschwitz, The Old Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz, and The Stalin Museum if you wanted to delve into the city’s rich history.
Often forgotten in a travel itinerary as Rome and Venice tend to be the first places to visit in people’s mind, Florence is a city full of character. It is sure to fill your Instagram feed to the brim due to its picturesque nature, and the medieval architecture. Your feet are bound to ache after exploring all the beauty on offer (and not to mention your arms too, from holding your camera up all day!)
If you are planning a trip, make sure you have invested in some high-quality travel insurance that covers all of your needs on a road trip should anything unforeseen arise while you travel. Stay safe, never carry your money on your person all in one place, and try to leave any sentimental or expensive items – such as jewelry and electronics – either at home or in an extremely safe place. Have an amazing time.