Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday


shopping-at-europes-marketsWhether you are on an escorted coach tour or travelling around Europe independently, at some point during your holiday you are going to need to buy something from a shop. It might just be a snack at a convenience store, a gift for a someone back home, or you might even need to stock up on groceries. Whatever it is you're buying, it's good to know some basic shopping etiquette and what to expect in stores and at the markets in Europe.



Accommodation costs make up a big part of any holiday and there's nothing worse than arriving at your pre-booked (and pre-paid) hotel or apartment to find that it's not quite what you expected. Nothing beats a personal recommendation so following on from my previous articles in which I recommended accommodation in the UK and France, here are my picks for where to stay in Switzerland.

Like many young Australians, my first glimpse of Europe was from the windows of a Contiki Tour bus. I was 20 years old, a travel consultant by day and had long held a desire to see Europe. Travelling with my boyfriend (now husband), I wasn't the stereo-typical Contiki passenger - I wasn't a raging party-goer or drinker and I wasn't on the lookout for a holiday romance - but having booked many, many clients on Contiki tours and hearing nothing by rave reviews, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Choosing accommodation can be one of the most time consuming parts of planning a holiday. With so many options to choose from, and so many mixed reports on the internet (think TripAdvisor and similar websites), it can be a hard decision to make. Friends and readers of this website are regularly asking me for recommended accommodation in the UK and Europe so I thought I'd share with you the hotels, apartments and B&B's that I have stayed in and would confidently recommend to others. (Updated December 2014)

Trying to locate public transport services from a foreign airport into the city centre can be the last thing you feel like doing after the long flight to Europe from Australia, so being up to speed with the information you need to know before you leave home can alleviate any stressful moments on arrival.

After a 24 hour (or longer) flight to Europe from Australia, the last thing you probably feel like doing is working out how you are going to get from the airport into the city, and I don't blame you! I've been there and somehow miraculously found my way from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport to my apartment via public transport and let me tell you, it was no fun - especially with one husband, two kids and assorted luggage in tow and only a miniscule understanding of French.

A number of European countries or cities have what's called a Tourist Tax which is used for tourism related purposes but visitors don't often realise it is in place because the fee is usually incorporated into their accommodation price. This is the case in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Greece, and the city of Paris also introduced a similar fee in 1994.

euro-notesOne of the things I love so much about travelling in Europe is that each country has its own unique culture, customs, food and, in some cases, language. Before 2001, every country had its own individual currency, too, and that meant plenty of fun and games (and confusion!!) for travellers. With the introduction of the euro, you can now travel to 18 of the 28 member countries of the European Union without the need to change currency which is a real bonus.

When I surveyed my lovely readers recently and asked them what questions they have about travelling in Europe, one of the answers I received numerous times was 'how do I find the most affordable accommodation in European cities?' Of course 'affordable' can mean different things to different travellers but here are my tips for searching and finding accommodation to suit your needs.