Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

 

mondsee, austrian lakesOne of the best things about travel (if not THE best), is the new discoveries you make. Maybe your new 'discovery' is somewhere you've read about and have always wanted to visit or perhaps it's somewhere you have stumbled across by chance. Whatever the reason, discovering new towns and villages or regions that leave a lasting impression is what the best travel memories are made of. In 2013, I was lucky enough to 'discover' a number of new places on my eight week trip around Britain and Europe. These are my five greatest discoveries of 2013 (in no particular order).

I'm a real Euro-tragic. The months between trips to Europe are long ones for me. Forever planning what I'm going to see and do and what I'll visit on my next trip seems to occupy my mind much of the time. Sometimes the pleasures of running a European travel website can be painful - pondering which gorgeous cottage or apartment to stay in, choosing which tour will take me where I want to go - it can seem like torture if my next trip is many months away!

Adventure Photo competition entryI'm the first to admit I'm no daredevil and extreme activities like bungee jumping, sky diving and swimming with sharks are definitely off my radar. I'm not at all keen on heights so I've only ever made it to the first level of the Eiffel Tower and it can be unpleasant for me to take a cable car ride so I guess my kind of adventure travel may seem a little dull to some!

 

 

Until this year, I'd never taken a ride on one of the Hop On Hop Off buses that you see in just about every city in the world. You know the kind - double decker, open-topped buses full of people wearing ear plugs and with cameras at the ready! Usually one to discover a city on foot, this time I thought it was about time I too climbed onto the top deck for a city tour and I've become quite a convert.

In today's modern techno age, many of us are connected to the internet no matter where we are. At home, at work, on public transport, at restaurants - rightly or wrongly we are often connected on our mobile devices or computers all our waking hours. Naturally, when we stay in a hotel, we expect to be able to connect to the internet quickly and easily - and for free - but not all hotels offer complimentary WiFi access to their guests and this is becoming an increasingly important factor when choosing where to stay for either business or leisure.

As happens everywhere in the world, tourists are prime targets for scammers and pickpockets and it pays to keep your wits about you whenever you are out and about. Security should be of the highest priority when travelling, not only in Europe but wherever you choose to travel.

Making the decision to book a flight to Europe is one that most people don't take lightly. After all, it's a big financial commitment. Before you bite the bullet and part with your hard earned cash, take a look at five things I think you should know before you book your flight to Europe.

balcony-palais-royal-apartment-parisStaying in an apartment in Paris really gives you the opportunity to live like a Parisian for a short time so each time I've stayed in the city, this has been my chosen style of accommodation. On my 2013 visit, I chose an apartment from the huge selection offered by The French Experience, a Melbourne-based agency. Here's my review of the Palais Royal Luxe apartment.

 

Paying for toilet use in EuropeSmall change can be a nuisance to carry around when you're out and about sightseeing in Europe but it does come in handy if you need to use the WC. Many public toilets throughout the UK and Europe operate on a user-pays system so having a couple of coins in your pocket can come in very handy.