How to Start Planning a European Trip on a Budget

You can approach the planning of a trip in a number of ways. For me I narrow it down to where I roughly want to go and then figure out how much it will cost. From here I can add or subtract locations or side trips. As I’m currently beginning to plan a trip to Europe I thought I might walk through the process and demonstrate at least how I begin to put a trip together. Do be aware that the costs listed below are from internet searches I performed on January 30th 2008 and should be understood to be samples of potential prices only.

Recently my Dad (who has never been to Europe) asked me to go with him and show him around at the end of April. After prodding for specifics his only request was that it be Italy, Spain or Germany. With only about 10 days to spend overseas I decided against Germany. Although Germany is probably my favorite country in Europe, Italy or Spain can really give the first time traveler to Europe a sense of being in Europe in a small amount of time. In Italy you have the normal circuit of Rome, Florence and Venice all within relatively close proximity to each other, making for easy and quick train travel. In Spain, my favorite cites Barcelona, Girona, Granada, Seville and Madrid, are likewise relatively close and inexpensive. Personally, there is so much about Germany I love which is at different ends of the country a quick 7-10 day trip would not be enough time.

With my location narrowed down and a trip duration in mind I begin with the most important part of a trip to Europe, the flight. Using kayak.com I start by plugging in the major airports I would like to fly in and out of. Since we want to go to Italy we can start with (for simplicities sake) New York to Rome with flexible dates during the time frame I can get off work. Of course you will want to plug in the nearest international airport to you. Searching within the last week of April through the first week in May I found the cheapest flight to be: NYC- to – Rome from the 29th through the 9th = $756 With this as my working number for ticket prices I look into other possible cities to fly into for cheaper tickets NYC – to – Florence from the 29th through the 13th = $956—-nope NYC- to – Venice from the 26th through the 10th = $850—-nope NYC- to – Milan from the 25th through the 9th = $852—-nope Not finding anything cheaper I then start thinking about flying into one city and flying out of another. This has the benefit of saving the time (which is limited) of backtracking as well as the cost of an extra train ticket back. Since my working plan is to fly into Rome and visit Venice last I check these two cities on the dates of the cheapest flight above. NYC- to – Rome : Venice- to -NYC from the 29th through the 9th = $852

For $100 more I can eliminate 4-5 hours of travel as well as a train ticket that will cost at least $100 one way. So far this seems like a better deal. Just for the sake of argument then, why not check into what it would cost to throw in a wonderful Spanish city, Barcelona. My Dad wanted to see Spain and an over night ferry from Barcelona to a city near Rome is relatively fun and cheap when you think about the cost you will be paying for accommodation anyways. NYC- to -Barcelona : Venice- to -NYC from the 29th through the 9th = $816

Well, we almost saved 40 bucks and get to see Barcelona. If we can get from Barcelona to Rome for around $40 we are practically making money (well not really but you get the idea). Sticking with the ferry idea for now a quick check of directferries.co.uk gives me: Barcelona -to – Civitavecchia (near Rome) (20 hours overnight) = $65 on Grimaldi Ferries Considering accommodation is going to be anywhere from $25-$35 in Rome or Barcelona and we saved $36 on the flight by going into Spain this sounds reasonable for a quick visit to Barcelona and does not cost us more at all. For even more savings we can try to fly from Barcelona to Rome but we must keep in mind that 1. it won’t be an overnight flight so accommodation will be an issue again and 2. Budget airlines don’t usually fly out of the major airports, making travel outside the city and issue. None-the-less checking clickair and ryanair for a few samples does not hurt. clickair has Barcelona- to – Rome (Fiumicino) on the 2nd = $29 (the 2nd however is a bit late) ryanair has Barcelona (Girona)- to – Rome (Ciampino) on the 1st = $20

All in all we now know that stopping in Barcelona is a great idea and getting to Rome will be cheap and easy. With our air plans figured out we can start to look at what this trip is going to cost us in ground transportation. I prefer trains over renting cars in Europe; I just can’t relax in a car and the cost of gas and concentrating on the road usually outweighs the freedom. With that in mind it’s time to figure out if buying point to point tickets is cheaper than buying a rail pass. My rough plan is to fly into Barcelona head to Rome (fly or sail) then go from Rome to Florence to Venice. Ill check the cost of point to point tickets between these cities as well as a few side trips to get a spread of costs using the worksheets at noambit.com Rome- to -Florence (1-2 hours) = $65 Florence- to -Venice (2-3 hours) = $58 Rome- to -Pisa (3-4 hours) = $47 Pisa- to -Florence (1-2 hours) =$19 Florence- to -Rimini (1 hour) = $50 Rimini- to -Venice (1-2 hours) = $70 With these numbers we can see that our simplest trip, Rome, Florence, Venice, is going to cost roughly $123. Our most expensive plan, Rome, Pisa, Florence, Rimini and Venice is going to come in around $196. A quick look at rail pass prices shows us that we will only really benefit if we want to do the longer trip and then only barely. A four day rail pass (you can travel for any four days within two months) runs about $202. About the same as our longer trip but also with an included 20% off discount on the ferry from Barcelona. The problem I see here is that traveling that much, especially since we are adding the city in Spain, is not going to give much time to see anything. At this point I’m going to opt to pay full price on the ferry and buy point to point tickets in Italy. Even adding Pisa on is only going to cost about $134 total.

To this point then, assuming we throw in Pisa (a day trip) on our way to Florence and pay full price to take the ferry over from Spain we are looking to spend about $1015 to spend 10 days and see five cities in two countries in Europe. Its time now to figure in accommodation. A rule of thumb for me is to plan on spending a minimum of $50 a day for a bed and food. Sometimes this is high (not very) sometimes this is low (more and more each year). For the sake of demonstration however I looked up budget hotels and hostels for the locations I plan on visiting to get a rough idea of what I will be spending. 30th April – Barcelona =$20-$35 1st May – Boat to Rome = already figured in 2nd-4th – Rome =$20 (camping) $30 (hostel) 5th-6th – Florence = $15-$25 7th-8th – Venice = $45

What we end up with is a range of $200-$265 that I need to budget for accommodation. Adding in food takes a bit of guess work but $15 dollars a day is a good workable number. If need be you could eat twice at a Mc Donalds and “live” or grab some bread and cheese from a grocery store and still have some left over for a couple slices of pizza or Doner Kebab. Of course if you are going to Italy for the food or wine you will have to plan on spending more money but $15 should get you by. Our final cost is going to be the sight seeing and extras (taking the metro, bottle of wine, train reservations). Since my Dad has never been there I will want to show him the Vatican museum, the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, The statue of David, la Sagrada Familia and a variety of other things. For a trip like we have planned above, in Italy for only 10 days, $150-$200 should be fine.

When all is said and done I can count on spending around $1365 – $1480 for the whole trip. This, as we have seen is rather bare bones so there isn’t a lot that can be cut if this were out of my budget(which it is very close to being). I could of course opt out of going to Pisa but ultimately in terms of trains this only saves me $10 and that doesn’t seem worth skipping a city I have never seen. What you will decide to cut (perhaps the duration you’re overseas or how many cities you can see) will depend on what is important to you on this visit to Europe. What is important is that you find a way to fulfill your dream of traveling to your country of choice and I hope that this article helps you find a way to make it work with a limited budget.

Ultimate European Road Trip Series – Part Five – The Driving Experience

We began this adventure by purchasing a Porsche Macan S and picking the car up at the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen, Germany… the road trip is now “official”.

This segment of the series is dedicated to the actual driving experiences along the way.

Gentlemen Start Your Engines… We are off!

We began our day with a breakfast feast at the Hotel Schlossgarten, and retrieved the car from his “special” underground, secure parking place reserved for hotel guests.

Stuttgart is the home of Porsche and Mercedes Benz so the hotel is used to accommodating the paranoid owners of new cars that are over protective of their investment… as the trip progressed the paranoia waned a little, but just a little.

The Rules

When we picked up the car at the factory we were informed of some very strict “rules”.

We had to sign documents that, in essence, acknowledged that we have a thirty day German registration, and thirty days of insurance coverage. Porsche paid half the premium and we paid the other half. The effective rate for the insurance exceeded $6,000 per year.

Max had an unusual red license plate which denoted temporary status and our get-out-of-town date prominently displayed… 02 10 15.

We were also provided two Day-Glo yellow vests that, by law, were required to be in the car. In the event of any road breakdowns we must put them on BEFORE we leave the car to inspect the “whatever”… it is the law.

Locked and Loaded

We loaded the car and dialed in the Salzburg apartment’s address as we headed south with a car full of luggage and our traditional assortment of roadie snacks. Yes, we ate food in Max on the very first leg of the trip… has to happen sometime!

The Autobahn and Speed

Once we nervously navigated the narrow city streets we transitioned to the autobahn and the first thing that we noticed was how fast the cars were moving.

Driving on the autobahn is fun and we knew that there are sections with no posted speed limits, but until you get passed by the blur of another machine, especially when you are “cruising” along at 110+ MPH… do you realize just how fast they are traveling.

We are simply not used to be driving at these speeds and left it to the people with the experience and expertise to navigate the road at over 150 MPH.

Getting Comfortable with MAX

As we drove we noticed that the car began to create a comfortable and enveloping environment for each of us. All the controls were just in the right place and easy to access. The car provides continuous feedback and after a while it all begins to fit into a logical and smooth process.

The old “fits like a glove” cliché became a reality during the initial hours in the car.

Actually driving a new car in Europe was NOT easy

Domestic Car Delivery

Please reflect on driving a factory fresh, brand new car in the town where you currently live, and on roads that are completely familiar to you.

The driving and parking laws are well known and even the typical personality of the drivers that you interact with every day are part of your “normal” driving environment.

But we bet that you would still be filled with a lot of trepidation and be as cautious as possible.

European Car Delivery

Now throw all of that out the window and image driving your brand new car in a completely different environment where every mile driven is a first-time experience. It brings a little sweat to your palms.

Bonding with the car was the easy part and we got really good at driving it motivated by pure fear and survival instincts.

Are we going to get crunched by that truck, or get scratched by that wall? Get a door ding in a parking lot? What about that rock that just hit the windshield? Do you see any damage?

There were many times when we believed that Max had some kind of force-field protecting him.

For instance, there was the time going through a narrow tunnel near Lake Garda, Italy when a tall truck coming at us had to cross over the center line because its roof was too high and he had to “borrow” some of our lane.

We really thought that this was bye-bye nice new car and hello to a ripped side section from either the truck or the wall of the tunnel. We sincerely do not know how we got through that close encounter.

How about the sheer thrill of slaloming numerous, extremely tight road construction sections next to other cars and trucks that are only a few feet away… so close you can literally reach out and touch them? Oh yeah, all this entertainment at freeway speeds.

How about driving through seemingly endless tunnels going under the Alps or the many dark and eerie tunnels through the hills of Carrara, Italy?

We all made it back safely

Max was such an exciting car to drive and was very luxurious but not pretentious, flashy or obnoxious… a true stealth sports car in the body of a crossover containing some of Porsche’s latest technology.

When we dropped him off at the end of our trip, we did not realize that we would have to wait two to three months before we could actually see him again, and that was the deal breaker for us.

In retrospect, would we do it again? NO we would not do it again.

In Summary

The road trip was an amazing experience punctuated with moments a sheer joy and sheer apprehension.

Everything was intensified because we were driving our new car in some very challenging and unfamiliar destinations.

A rental car, no problem but when it is your own it’s a different story.

We experienced many fun and interesting destinations and will continue the series based on those road trip related tales.

Please follow us in the series to part six… Austria.

After all, what is the hurry… be inspired.

© 2015 Inspired Travel Itineraries with Bob and Janice Kollar

Ultimate European Road Trip Series – Part Six – Salzburg, Austria

We began this adventure by purchasing a Porsche Macan S and picking the car up at the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen Germany… the road trip is now “official”.

This segment of the series is dedicated to our adventures while touring the Salzburg area.

Salzburg Arrival

The drive took about four hours and everything went smoothly.

We did experience a few eye openers along the way, one being the price of fuel. We complain about the price of fuel in the States but we were experiencing close to $7 per gallon on this journey.

But the strangest was the turnstiles that made you pay one euro ($1.15) to use the public bathrooms along the highway… they had you coming and going.

Change of Plans

We originally allotted seven nights in Salzburg but were encouraged to include a stay in Innsbruck, so we added a few interesting day trips to justify the revision of our itinerary.

The rule-of-thumb is simple… stay someplace for four nights and you get three days of touring since the travel time at both ends knocks off a day.

Another is to keep a wander-around day in the schedule and enjoy the unexpected museum or shopping or restaurant, and relax over a glass of wine or coffee.

Most importantly, simply take in the new environment you traveled so far to see.

Driving a new car and the excitement of the road trip made our experienced map reading brains go into overload… heck we can get there and go there and maybe there too all in one day… reality bites.

The laws of physics usually win over enthusiasm.

Four Nights and Three Days in Salzburg

We ultimately selected a day in Old Town Salzburg, a spontaneous family reunion, and the Werfen Giant Ice Caves.

A Day in Old Town Salzburg

Before we left on the trip we arranged for a private tour of the famous “Old Town” area and booked the “Rickshaw Company” to provide the unique experience with local flavor.

We left the apartment on foot at noon for a 2:00 PM meeting with Marko, the driver, at a famous landmark in Mozart’s hometown… the Mozart Statue in the Morzartplatz.

Do not assume a landmark will be easy to find.

How can anyone NOT find this prominent landmark?

Old Town is just that… a city evolving from a center core or to put it in another way, a lot of winding, twisting streets that hide landmark statues. That is our story and we are sticking with it.

Embarrassing as it is, we the experienced travelers, could not initially find the statue. So here we are without a map, tour guidebook or internet connectivity wandering around Old Town Salzburg freezing our collective toes off.

We finally meet our guide Marko and had our city tour in a rickshaw… check-the-box.

The tour people suggested an excellent local favorite restaurant… the “Zum Zirkelwirt” (circa 1647).

Home Made Beef Goulash with Bread Dumpling and Classic Wiener Schnitzel were amazing.

Now that we were fortified by a wonderful meal and some local pilsner we were off to do a little shopping only to be reminded that being Sunday, most of the nice shops were closed.

We returned “home” to warm up and enjoy a relaxing evening in prep for the morning drive to Melk, Austria.

The Family Meeting

Genealogy is something we have been exploring for over ten years and we kept getting close but because of the language barrier things were not moving too well.

One of my cousins, Adam, “found” us recently on Twitter and bridged the gap. His contact led to the meeting and we rearranged our calendar in an effort to explore family roots.

We met at a midpoint between Salzburg and their home town of Velke Kostolany, Slovakia in the stunning city of Melk, Austria for a truly wonderful family connection.

The Werfen Giant Ice Caves

The drive was easy and the Austrian scenery was spectacular.

We were looking forward to visiting this unusual tourist attraction known as the “largest ice cave in the world”. Our plan was to tour the cave and then seek out a few castles that dotted the countryside all along our driving route… such optimism… new car enthusiasm clouds one’s logic!

To preface this… we are both in very good physical shape. The hike from the parking area was all up hill and took over one hour, plus a brief gondola ride, followed by a twenty minute hike to the mouth of the cave, and then into a cave of frozen ice… what else would be in an ice cave you ask?

That is when we found out that we were about to take a dimly lit walking tour (up and down slopes) consisting of 1,036 wet steps about 18 inches wide, with and without railings, and it would last for over 80 frigid minutes…

We were wearing a lot of layered clothes… fleece vest, two sweaters, long pants, socks and walking shoes… but still froze. We actually paid someone for this frozen privilege?

Big Hint: Read the fine print and the numerous TripAdvisor reviews (the negative ones, too) before you embark on any tour. The promotional picture for the cave had to be photo shopped as the cave is dark and photography was not permitted… for a darn good reason.

Back to Salzburg – Marionette Theater Performance

The morning of the performance we were notified that the Salzburg Marionette Theater performance of “The Sound of Music” was cancelled due to an injury of one of the puppeteers and another called in sick.

So from Rogers and Hammerstein and familiar music to the alternate selection which was Mozart and the “Magic Flute”. Since we really wanted to see the famous marionette show we agreed to the exchange.

We were not disappointed as the theater is truly beautiful. The puppeteers are extremely talented and we were spellbound by their fluid movements of the life like characters in the play.

After a nice meal in town, we once again headed “home” to prepare for the next day’s drive to Innsbruck.

In Summary

This leg of the road trip was a learning experience and we had to make do with a short visit and a rushed one at that. We broke our travel mantra and limited our exposure to a very interesting region.

Please follow us in the series to part seven… Innsbruck.. where we picked up the pace and drove on some legendary Alpine roads.

After all, what is the hurry… be inspired.

© 2015 Inspired Travel Itineraries with Bob and Janice Kollar

Ultimate European Road Trip Series – Part Two – The Itinerary

We began this adventure with Part One of the series by selecting and purchasing a Porsche Macan S for our road trip of a life time. This segment focuses on building an itinerary that challenges both the car and ourselves while maintaining our slow travel mantra… what is the hurry… be inspired.

Planning the Road Trip

This is going to be our longest adventure to date consuming the entire month of September while driving a new car through four countries… but what a journey it will be! The actual planning of any excursion requires a lot of thought and research as you are investing both time and money for that “special” experience… so build that inspired travel itinerary!

Our favorite time to visit Europe is in early September… the weather is usually perfect and the crowds go away since “vacation time” is over and most schools are back in session. With fewer travelers the flights, and housing options are usually more flexible and negotiable too.

An added wrinkle this year is that the Euro / Dollar exchange rate is so favorable to the USD that more American tourists are heading for the continent so things such as flights and housing options are a bit competitive.

The three most important criteria in this phase are selecting a destination city, determining the number of driving hours between way points, and finally deciding if a vacation rental makes more sense than booking a hotel.

Destination City

One of the most important points of any vacation adventure is to simply understand why you are even going there in the first place. A destination city must offer abundant points-of-interest, an interesting history, culinary options (i.e. Michelin Star rated restaurants) or extraordinary museums to explore – whatever you believe to be important enough to justify the time and expense to get there.

Besides what is in the city be sure to include what is around the location. The proximity to special day trip/side trip sites can have a positive impact. In our case think castles and mountains and lakes and seaside villages… short drives and returning to a familiar place is a big plus.

On this trip we decided to select the more scenic routes and the small, less congested cities as we deliberately avoided as many large cities as possible. An added “must have” is to find a secure parking place or garage at each of our selected lodgings… yes it was simply new car paranoia.

Number of Drive Hours Between Destination Cities

Our go-to driving aides consist of a Garmin GPS, the app “ViaMichelin”, and a really good quality old fashion paper map. Using your smartphone device while on the road is very expensive and subject to a provider’s coverage while the Garmin does not require data roaming charges. WIFI is your friend so do trip updates and searches in your hotel/vacation rental and use a GPS on the road.

Think about the drive time between locations and how much you want to spend in a car… new or not that can get old fast. We use a general rule of thumb… the longer the drive segment the longer the destination stay.

So now you are armed with a few tools so list your selected cities, and plot your course.

Vacation Rental or Hotel Booking

Suggestion one… Vacation rental or hotel? As a rule of thumb if you are staying for more than three nights a vacation rental is the way to go… better value for the dollar and much larger quarters to stretch out and relax.

Suggestion two… When selecting vacation rentals or hotels there are a few key things to take into consideration. Always check the reviews either from the rental’s site (HomeAway is pretty accurate) or the hotel’s site (TripAdvisor also maintains accuracy). A place with no reviews throws a big red flag and you should look elsewhere. If no one took the time to write one… that says a lot.

Suggestion three… Look carefully at all the pictures (they must have pictures or another red flag). Look out for photos with “rounded edges” which usually indicates a fish-eye lens was used to make a small room appear larger. Also look for quality bedding and towels… cheap stuff looks cheap! That sets the tone for the overall condition of the unit.

Suggestion four… Communicate with the property management and note their responsiveness as well as professionalism. Red flags get easy to spot with a little practice.

Our Road Trip Routing

Once again we were pleasantly surprised by the Porsche European Delivery Program Team. After a brief email exchange they requested our “potential” itinerary with the intent of possibly adding some unique suggestions.

Their turnaround was amazing and within 24 hours they sent us an improved itinerary with maps, driving routes with mileage notations, suggested points-of-interest, and dining and hotel recommendations… all prepared by “Porsche Travel Club” experts.

Two of their many suggestions were places that most travelers would miss. The “Grossglockner High Alpine Road” which is one of the most fascinating panoramic roads in Europe, leading 48 kilometers to the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park is an amazing addition to the Ultimate Road Trip plan.

Driving any car on this slope would be exciting… but a performance vehicle? Makes for a great side trip!

Another side trip was near Salzburg… the “Werfen Giant Ice Caves” which are the largest ice caves in the world.

We finally developed our routing through four countries and created a round trip loop beginning and ending in Stuttgart using the ViaMichelin app on our home system. Our estimated mileage is 1,300 miles and fuel / toll expense is approximately $480 USD.

In summary

We are now set with eight destination cities which includes three vacation rentals, five hotel reservations, in four countries for the month of September. We are locked and loaded with reservations, euros, a travel credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees (ie. BofA Travel Rewards), “WhatsApp” for free texting from Europe, smart phone calling plans, and most importantly a positive attitude anticipating the new and exciting adventure that awaits us.

Please follow us for Part Three of the series… The Delivery… which begins with arriving in Stuttgart to meet “Max”… yes we name our cars, too!

After all, what is the hurry… be inspired.

© 2015 Inspired Travel Itineraries with Bob and Janice Kollar

Foreign Currency – Exchanging Money For Your European Trip

With the introduction of the Euro, handling your money in Europe is a lot simpler. However, there are still some important guidelines for dealing with currency issues while abroad.

Exchange some money before you leave

Although you can typically exchange money in the airport when you arrive in Europe, it is best to have some Euros before you leave. What if your flight is delayed and you arrive after the airport bank is closed? Or, what if you are starving as soon as you get off the plane and want to pick up a quick snack before dealing with money exchange?  Most local banks can easily exchange dollars for Euros. Having 50-100 Euros in your pocket upon arrival will start your trip off stress free (see the next section for the reason not to exchange all of your money ahead of time).

Use your ATM and credit cards

Travelers checks are a thing of the past! The easiest way to exchange money in most European countries is to simply use your Visa or Mastercard. You will almost always get the best exchange rate when you take money out of an ATM or pay directly with a credit card when you are in Europe. The reason is that banks usually give the best exchange rates to each other, so the this automatic transaction will typically cost you less than going to a money exchange kiosk. Make sure to call your bank ahead of time to ensure that your ATM pin will work in the countries where you are traveling – it us typically best to have a standard 4-digit pin. Current guide books should alert you to any concerns with using cards in specific countries.

Study up

Picture it: Paris, 2001. I had just gotten off an overnight train from Madrid to Paris and…well…I really had to use the restroom! I ran over to the toilette, only to be stopped by a surly french woman telling me that I had to fork over some money to use the facilities. Furiously searching through my purse, I kept pulling out random coins while the woman shook her head. I had no idea which of these foreign coins would comprise the cost of using the bathroom. Although life is a little easier now that many European countries use the same currency, it is still worth taking a few minutes to review the coins and bills ahead of time

Alert your financial institutions

The last thing you want to deal with on your trip is a declined credit card. Make sure to call your bank and credit cards ahead of time to give them a list of countries where you will be traveling. That way, if the company starts seeing many large transactions in a foreign country, they won’t be tempted to deactivate your card for security purposes.

Know the conversion rates

While you’re on your trip to Europe, you’ll want to have a good idea of how much you’re really spending. This is hard to do if you don’t understand the currency conversion between Euros (or whatever currency is used in the countries you are visiting) and your own country’s currency. A good plan is to review the basics before you leave.  Let’s assume that you are from the U.S. and you will be using the Euro on your trip. First, visit a currency conversion site, such as  http://finance.yahoo.com/currency, and determine what one Euro is worth in dollars. At the time of this writing, 1 Euro = 1.34 U.S. Dollars. So, for every Euro you spend, it will actually be about 30% more in dollars. Then get a few more Euro denominations, such as 10, 20, 50 and 100, and note their dollar equivalents. Write them on a small piece of paper and carry it your wallet. That way, when you’re thinking about buying the Italian leather shoes that cost 100 Euro, you can quickly check and remind yourself that you’re actually spending $134.

Explore Manchester on Your Euro Trip

Manchester is not only renowned for its football club but it is also a beautiful city to be visited on your  Euro   Trip . Football is the sport’s original name that the United States now calls Soccer. If you are passing though the United Kingdom on your recreational trip, don’t miss this wonderful and charming city. It is among the oldest cities of the world and has significance in history. This is the city which ignited and initiated the industrial revolution back in 20th century.

The fun starts upon your arrival to the city. Guided walking and open top bus tours are quite enjoyable for the visitors. A cruise around the Castle field is a recommended activity for visitors. There are some activities which are associated with that particular area and Cruising around the Castle field is one of them. It is a scenic way to travel around this part of the city. Concorde, one of the greatest planes of aviation history is at display in Aviation Viewing Park in the Manchester Airport. This aviation park can be visited as well as other places in Manchester. When you are in Manchester, make sure to visit Bridgewater Hall if there are concerts. Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Printworks Leisure Complex, Fairfield Moravian Settlement and Barton Swing Aqueduct, are among the places which need to be visited during your visit to Manchester.

During your stay in Manchester, you will definitely need a car and what is more suitable than renting a car in Manchester on a cheap rate. Hiring a car will bring convenience to your trip. It is a general perception that renting a car will be more costly but in fact it saves your transportation cost. There are many places worth seeing in and around Manchester which should be visited. Your rented car will be the most suitable option to cover all the places around Manchester. Bugsworth Basin, Imperial War Museum North, Old Trafford, Salford Quays and Brownhill Countryside Centre are the other famous tourist spots. It is never a good idea to miss any of the tourist resorts once you are on a recreational trip. Before leaving Manchester, do spend an evening on Canal Street. It will make your trip memorable. If you have started your trip from Manchester, you have the rest of Europe to discover. Your rented car will save you money and bring some luxury to your trip. 

Planning a Euro Trip

Are you planning a Euro trip? Are you aware of the multitude of formalities that need to be done for getting a visa and then booking hotels and arranging for local conveyance? First, the visa process can be cumbersome if you are unaware of the rules for the Schengen visa. This is a type of Visa that lets you travel all over Europe without having to take a visa for each country that you visit separately. Though this sounds convenient, in practice, getting the Schengen visa is a formidable task if you do not know which country you should use as your port of entry to Europe. For instance, getting the visa from the French consulate can be easier than getting the visa from, say, the Dutch embassy. Hence, you need to choose the port of entry carefully and plan your trip accordingly.

Once you have sorted out the visa formalities, it is time for you to plan your itinerary in such a way that you cover all the places that you want to visit in your tight schedule. This is possible as travel within Europe is easy by rail or air and depending on the budget that you have, you can choose either way. Be assured that travel by rail is not cumbersome. On the other hand, it is one of the most pleasant experiences you can have in Europe. And as for you accommodation, there are enough hotels and motels that provide affordable lodging and complementary breakfast as well. Since, tourists usually spend the day outside the hotel, they can always find food at reasonable rates and this would ensure that you do not spend much on food and your stay.

When planning a Euro trip, you should pick and choose the places that you would want to visit carefully. Europe is full of delights and surprises and hence judicious selection should be your norm. For instance, you cannot leave Paris or Amsterdam out of your trip but may have to make do without visiting Switzerland (more so since it does not come under the Schengen visa). Cologne or Frankfurt are optional but better not to miss. As for London and the UK, it is a different story altogether as these can be the basis for an entirely separate trip. All in all, you should probably concentrate on spending a day or two at each place and tour the countryside as well. As they say, “Europe is God’s own country”.