Budget Travel to Europe part three

Read Part One, then Read Part Two, then read:

Part Three of How to Budget Travel to Europe: Tips, Tricks, and Advice

From the basics of planning and going to making the most of your holiday

“Take Away” food can be fun, tasty and inexpensive

Local Transportation

Taking a cab or taxi can be fun, a little scary at times and may offer an interesting look at the city. If two or three are travelling together, the price break per person can be a good deal. However, local transportation is cheaper, puts you in touch with the locals, and usually goes where you want to go. Buses, trains, trolleys, and subways work really well in most European cities. The first couple of rides may be a learning experience, but visitors will pick it up quickly. Reference a guidebook, ask a local, or read the posted information (usually posted in several languages).

Destinations such as London and Paris offer a travel card that really does save you money if you use the public transportation system. If you plan to see two or three attractions per day, it’s well worth the money. Also, explore the options of an attraction card or museum pass while you’re at it. Most of these cards save you both time and money. Cardholders usually bypass the regular lines at big sights. Available in Europe or online before you go.

Photo Courtesy of Rail Europe www.RailEurope.com

Rail Europe

For longer hauls in Europe, the rail system is a visitor’s best option. The trains go to almost every town, village, and city throughout Europe. Rail Europe is the company that offers the train passes here in the U.S. before you go. Unlike the local city transportation passes, you must purchase Rail Europe passes here in America.

There are many, many kinds of passes. You will need to know what countries you will be travelling to (or might travel to) to get the right pass. When in doubt, a consecutive-day pass works well. Say you will be in Europe for two weeks – purchase the 15-day consecutive pass for unlimited travel in 24 countries. Visit the Rail Europe site for all the details.

Accessing Your Money

Credit cards and debit cards are the way to go. Call your bank and tell them where you are going to make sure you have a card that will be “turned on” for that destination. If you don’t know it, have the bank mail your debit and credit card PIN to you. Called “cash points,” ATMs work in several languages all over Europe. Use common sense when accessing them (as you would here). Green buttons are “enter” buttons. Most are touch-screens. Touch the British flag icon for “English” prompts.

Some automated machines, such as tollbooths or subway booths, use chip cards not used here in America. If you have the standard metallic strip card, don’t worry, find a human cashier or use the “cash only” machines. Make sure you have Euros with you and “cash points” will take your debit card with a metallic strip. Don’t waste your time with travelers’ checks.

Many Guidebooks, DVDs and Travel Products available through www.RickSteves.com

Travel Resources

Buy new guidebooks. Buy a few to read before you go. Take one with you.

While this three-part article is loaded with hotlinks to websites to get more information, here they are again with a few more resources to read before you go:

Peter Greenberg – Travel News: http://www.petergreenberg.com

Johnny Jet – Travel Portal and Blog: http://www.johnnyjet.com/

Rick Steves – Tours, Guidebooks, Backpacks: http://www.ricksteves.com/

Hostelling International – Network of Budget Hostels: http://www.hiusa.org

Rail Europe – Train Travel and London Travel Card: http://www.raileurope.com/

Paris Museum Pass – Attractions, Museums, and More: http://en.parismuseumpass.com

Additional guidebook suggestions include Lonely Planet Guidebooks, Rough Guides, Eyewitness Guides, and Let’s Go Publications. Visit your favorite bookstore or visit Barnes & Noble for a large online selection.

Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at Michael@RochesterMedia.com

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at michael@rochestermedia.com.

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