How To Take A Once In A Lifetime Trip Around Europe

You’ve been studying in Europe during the school year, but now it’s time for the holidays, are you unsure what to do during your two months off? Don’t fret! Being in Europe during the summer time is a real opportunity, as it allows you to discover other countries outside of the one in which you are studying. Because Europe is both small and huge at the same time; and it is more than willing to welcome wanderers like you. Here are our tips for doing a summer trip (or even a road-trip!) inside of Europe for a really cheap price!

First of all, keep in mind that Europe is a place where you can easily travel through the different countries. Have you ever heard of the Schengen area? Well, it’s simple: it’s a geographic zone, made up of twenty-six European states, in which you can travel to or from without needing to provide new documents or pass through the border control. It’s a sort of free-movement area!

So, you might have already guessed what I’m going to say next: the Schengen area is the perfect place to plan a summer trip! You’ll be able to visit heaps of different countries; to see different landscapes and feel different climates. It’s at the same time huge enough that you can fill your traveller desires and see so many different kind of wonders, yet small enough that you can travel through it over a short period of time. In other words, being stuck in Europe for summer is actually a huge opportunity.

What about the legal documents?  

Legally, if you possess a valid visa from one of the countries who are a part of the Schengen agreement, you can travel to the other member states without providing other legal documents – so long as you plan on spending less than a total of 90 days within a 180-day period in the Schengen area. But first, make sure that your visa allows you to travel outside your study abroad destination (and don’t just take my word for it!).

If your visa doesn’t allow you to travel outside of your study abroad destination, then there is another solution: the Schengen visa. This one is only valid for three months – but that’s more than enough for the summer time – and allows you to travel through the area like citizens of these countries.

But before doing all of this, make sure that your home country doesn’t have partnerships or agreements with any of the European ones, which can allow you to travel freely there.

Also, remember that just because a European country is not a member of the Schengen agreements, it doesn’t mean that you cannot visit it! For a lot of European countries outside the Schengen agreement, there are existing agreements or partnerships in place between the members and non-members states that allow tourists to travel with ease. So, don’t worry! If your dream is to see Big Ben with your own eyes, you may be able to fulfil it! Just do some research before starting up for your trip!

Main spots that you cannot miss when you travel through Europe:

Of course, and maybe above everything, the main capitals of the continent can’t be missed. Think London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Ibiza, Amsterdam, Dublin… These hotspots are probably unavoidable. But you don’t need me to tell you this!

Make sure you think about the less well-known capitals as well, because they can really offer you a great experience. Eastern Europe, for starters, has a lot of magic spots which you cannot miss either. Think Prague, Warsaw, Kiev, Riga… Secondly, don’t forget cities of the northern countries, such as Oslo, Stockholm and Reykjavik. These big cities will, for sure, offer you the best summer trip ever.

However, if you are fond of nature and if you believe that a trip is not successful without hiking, then don’t worry – Europe has enough diversity of landscapes to satisfy you.

  • If you enjoy sea landscapes, go to Italy, France, Spain, Greece and the northern countries. This will ensure you see the beautiful turquoise seas of the Mediterranean and the more impetuous seas of northern Europe.
  • You can also try mountains-like landscapes. No need to wait for winter! Mountain hikes are also wonderful in summer. Actually, they are always amazing! No time to rest. Go to the centre of Europe, where you’ll find mountainous terrains in Switzerland, France, Austria and northern Italy. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the Alps in its every shape and form.
  • Lake walks are in abundance too. Germany, Scotland and Ireland, are famous for these. There’s no way you can miss them – they are hidden everywhere, and they often offer a lot of walks and hikes to do.

If you want to escape from the heat of summer, you can also head for the northern countries, where, even if it is summer, it will feel more like winter than any other season! Think about Norway, Sweden, Finland or even Iceland. They all offer wonderful landscapes. This will also provide you with the opportunity to discover their cultures, which are usually not well known, and that’s too bad!

Overall, and as you probably already have noticed, there is sooo much to see in Europe than one summer trip simply won’t be enough to see it all. But your trip is already something and, in a way, there is enough in this part of the world to satisfy your own travel desires.

”Wow, amazing, but, eh… do you think I’m rich as Midas?”

Don’t worry if you’re a little short on change! A lot of solutions and tips exists to make sure your summer trip won’t be a burden to your purse.

  • Take a road trip. Yes, after all, that’s a mean to avoid the very convenient (but very expensive) means of transportation that are the plane and the train. Rent a car, borrow one off a friend or even buy one! Convince your friends to join you, so that you can share the spendings and make it cost effective. Then, you’ll be free as a bird!
  • Sleep smart, do some savings! There are a lot of ways to sleep in decent conditions without ruining all your savings. Use popular apps to sleep in a local’s home! Two apps or websites which will offer you this opportunity are:
    • Airbnb. It’s always cheaper than the hostels and you also get the opportunity to meet the locals. They are the ones who know the coolest places to go and they will also share their culture with you!
    • Coachsurfing. This is the same concept as Airbnb, but for even cheaper, so it’s up to you!

Oh, and don’t forget that camping can be fun and is also a really cheap way of traveling around. You only need to get a tent and to find a welcoming place to stay!

  • Do some carsharing. As I said earlier (are you not following me?!), travelling with lots of people can be cheaper, because you split the cost. Find some friends who are ready to go on this summer trip with you! Or, if you don’t find them, join an organization which will allow you to drive with other people, who will pay you for this service. In some European countries, like France, Spain, Italy and many others, you can use the website Blablacar. Join and find other travellers, even if it’s only for a couple hours’ drive!
  • Find a summer job and earn the trip of your life by the sweat of your brow! It can be easy to find a summer job. Most of the time, people are waiting for students to work for them during summer in order to substitute employees who are on holidays. You can work for one, two or even several months. Just consider this in advance. Some employers search for summer employees before summer being, so make sure to start searching in February or March. Plus, not only will having a job allow you to earn a living, it will force you to keep practicing the foreign language you want to speak fluently. So, with nothing to lose and everything to win, be sure to think about it!

If you’re not convinced already (whaaaat?!), don’t hesitate to look to travelers’ blogs or other websites which can offer more specific details, and even give you a map with the perfect road trips to do in Europe. Enjoy it! Don’t spend your summer time being bored: you’re lucky to be in Europe! Grasp the opportunity with two hands!

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Laura is a French Literature student. She is a big dreamer, and her main dream is to be a reporter who travels all over the world. She studied in the US for a semester, and since then she is convinced that she has to fulfill her dream. Otherwise, you can find her anywhere with her camera, trying desperatly to take the perfect shot - a book always hidden in her bag.

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