Travelling to Europe is a dream shared by many and while the dream might be easy to picture, planning for an actually trip can be quite a process and getting a good company is priority. Companies such as Trafalgar are sure to turn that dream into a reality stat.
Europe is undeniably the most beautiful content that probably everyone dreams of travelling to. With its rich history and sophisticated buildings that are unique to the continent it is no wonder that every photographer dreams of going to capture that beauty.
I have highlighted a few of the best companies in Europe you could use to get you started in planning for that much-deserved holiday.
The travelling industry has morphed into a force to be reckoned with, changing how things were often done and adding some personality to the experience. With a wide variety of travelling options from backpack tours, Hop-on, Hop-off tours and river cruising tours among many, the excitement is undeniable.
Travel destinations are also improving their standards and with so many industries competing to get the best title, even your average hotel, could be paradise when working with a budget. That is something else that has greatly helped in boosting even the lowest of the resorts/hostels/ hotels, make an effort so that the experience is memorable.
Should you be and individual who does not enjoy one bit travelling alone, then you have companies offering you group packages or as is the case with Backpackers, where you can travel with other members.
Let’s look at some of these companies:
Expat Explore is a company that was started in an unpredictable manner by two South African travelers who arrived in the UK in early 2003 after their graduation from University. The two then decided to travel before their full commitment to full-time employment. What neither of them saw coming was that they be doing the same thing up to date.
Celebrating over 12 years on the road, they are actually the leading coach tour operators ensuring that people have fun, enjoy convenient travels that are affordable while still maintaining high quality, to anyone wanting to travel from all over the world.
From just 200 passengers in the year 2005 to over 15,000 passengers per year, this company has grown so much that it now offers over 60 itineraries aimed at exploring various destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, America and Southeast Asia.
- Free Wi-Fi in the hotels
- Early bird savings
- Great optional excursions
- Guaranteed departures
For those who love adventure, the multi-award winning MacBackpackers are the choice for you. This company with over 20 years of experience, has been running on fun packed, guided adventures travelling all over Scotland.
It targets an energetic age group of individuals between the age of 18 and 40, that is young and is able to keep up with the ever changing pace. Prepare to entertained, schooled and more so wowed by the spectacular views that are unique to Scotland.
Mac Backpackers are all about exploring and they try and spend most of the time off the bus in order to truly experience the different destinations fully. The guides are meticulously chosen to make sure that they open up Scotland to you so that you can view it in its true light from culture to history so be sure to carry your camera with you.
No matter what activity you’re doing, you will feel as if you’re one with the people because the company emphasizes on a close and personal experience all round. Another advantage is that they are 100% Scottish so you are getting an authentic experience.
A few awards received are: Best Cultural Tour of the Year in 2016 and Best Coach/Bus Tour in the world in 2015, both awarded by TourRadar among others.
- Picturesque adventures across Scotland
- 100% Scottish operator
- Passionate guides
- Explore hidden gems
Contiki is a company that has been in existence for over 50 years bring young travelers between the ages of 18 – 35 years. For travelers who are bored with the museums and the perfectly detailed travel plans of every second of your vacay, this one is for you.
The company is as spontaneous as they come for an unforgettable fun filled time with other young travelers your age. The concepts are diverse to cater to all personalities. From the ‘high energy’ tours filled with exactly that, the ‘discover’ tours where you get to explore different activities as well as destinations to the ‘in depth explorer’ where you get enjoy the cultural experience, there’ll be no room for boredom.
Contiki gives you the feel of a real holiday by taking care of your accommodation, transport, experiences as well as food so all you are required to do is sit back and enjoy your stress free vacation. If you are not a social person and prefer quiet holidays for meditation, then it would be right to steer clear of this company and go with companies such as Trafalgar.
You will definitely create lasting memories and friendships if you choose to travel Contiki so if you’ve wondering what to do with your free time between semesters, now you know.
A range of their tours include: The European Discovery that will take you across 9 countries in 12 days, Portugal City & Surf tour that will give you the opportunity of knowing Portugal in 9 days, the European Inspiration tour which will also take you across 10 countries in 19days, among other great tours.
- Ages 18 – 35 only
- Number one choice for young travelers
- Availability of small group adventures
- Over 350 trips across 6 continents
This is another great choice for tour companies you can use in Europe as they are diverse and all about forming lifetime connections and memories. They have been in existence since the year 1947. This is a good thing because it shows they clearly know what they are doing backed with the 70+ years in the travel industry.
One great aspect I especially love about Trafalgar is that they take you to the heart of where it is you choose to visit. Through this, you will experience the cultural experience right from the locals through their feature Be my guest where you get to dine with the locals and get hear of all the wonderful stories that are unique to that area.
By the time you leave a certain location, you will have an intimate connection you probably won’t get to experience anywhere else. Learn how to cook the local foods in Italy from those who know it better than anyone else as well as experience the beautiful vineyards in France.
Trafalgar is more popular with the older crowd who like to really experience places by getting to know the people and learning all they can from the diverse cultures and cuisines. Not to say that they are boring, but they value basic human connections that are often taken for granted.
If you’re working with a budget, then you can rest assured that Trafalgar will take you to a destination that will ensure you get the best experience and treat you like royalty.
- Effortless, authentic and fun
- More destinations, more types of vacations
- Exclusive access to sights
- Be my guest and get to dine with locals
BusAbout is a great option for those who truly love travelling but can’t seem to afford the other expensive travelling options, or for those who just don’t like flying. They are pocket friendly and are so flexible with their well-connected hop-on hop-off coach network.
The hop-on hop-off feature allows you to have that independent freedom while travelling as you can hop-on to a BusAbout coach to your desired destination and hop-off once there to either connect to another coach or to explore a bit while you’re there.
The busses might not be what you expect to find in business class but they are comfortable enough for you travel in, can entertain yourself with movies or make use of the free Wi-Fi. If you’re into being social with others, then you will not find this lacking as the drivers are great with travelers willing to share all they know with regards to where you’re travelling to.
You are in control of how you want to play out your adventure from adventures in Italy, Winter trips in the Scotland Highlands to Sailing and Island hoping in the Greek Island, you get to be your own boss by taking advantage of the budget-friendly options BusAbout has to offer.
- Flexible Hop-on, Hop off network
- Tours to suit all budgets and timeframe
- The best adventures and events
- Regional adventures in Europe and Asia
Europe Travel Tips
While it might be exciting to travel to Europe, for the first time especially, here are some tips to get you trip started off on the right foot:
Budgeting for your Trip
Before you click ‘okay’ on those airplane sticks, kindly take your time to sit down and properly budget for the trip. Don’t budget off of what you once saw on the movies and you just have to have it. Rather, be realistic and write figures that are well within your budget to allow room for any emergencies. Not that there will be an emergency but you always want to be safe.
Just because it’s Europe, doesn’t mean you have to blow out all your savings. You can actually spend little and still live comfortably in Europe. Take the bus/train, buy from the local markets and most of all, avoid drowning yourself with designer products.
Saving for your Trip
Having drafted and finalized your budget, you want to start saving immediately. If you want to start travelling, then start saving as early as now. If your paychecks cover for your monthly installments on your car or mortgage loan, then do not save the whole amount for your travel plans.
Going into debt is not what anyone wants to experience so continue paying your bills but save a good amount into your ‘Europe travel pack’ jar. To aide as well in saving, always look out for the newest deals that can cut your cost by a large margin.
Visit during off season
If you are looking to travel anywhere, you want to do it during off season. Why? To fully experience your desired destination, you need to do so at your own pace without a fixed timeline. Queues are another nightmare during peak season that you can easily avoid by travelling off season. Get to truly enjoy and embrace the different cultures as you get to make new friends.
The months to avoid when travelling to Europe are June, July and August and during this time, the Europeans also travel to go elsewhere so you won’t have much of cultural experience.
Buy your flight early
This is quite straight forward. Buying flights early will save you money as some of the best deals are applicable to early bird tickets. Keep an eye out as soon as you are done with writing you budget and have enough saved.
One important aspect about packing for a trip is always to pack light. Going to Europe is no different. If you plan on using public means, then packing heavy will not be good for you.
To make sure you don’t forget anything, make a checklist where you will tick off what you have already packed and what you still need to and what you don’t need to pack. If you plan on staying somewhere for more than a week, then pack for a week and get into the habit washing your clothes.
Packing light will also help you in the case that you plan on buying a few more things in Europe; instead of going to buy another suitcase, you can use what you already have.
Q. How much does it cost to travel Europe?
A. I can’t give you an exact figure because it depends on a few things such whether you’ll be travelling alone or in a group, the means of transport you will be using as well as how much you plan on spending and the duration of your visit.
To make sure that you spend less, you need to spend more time looking at the best deals for you in areas like transportation, airfare and accommodation. Use the internet for more options to save and enjoy maximum benefits.
Q. Is tipping not allowed in Europe?
A. It isn’t illegal to tip anyone in Europe since in Europe since at its restaurants is actually customary to leave a 5% or 10% tip. If you’re going to use the billing method to pay for food, then use cash to tip your waiter and be kind always as that could become your new relaxing spot.
Q. Should I travel with a smaller group or a larger one?
A. Travelling in a larger group will save you more money but this might be compromising on experience. Larger groups have a harder time navigating around those tiny spaces and they may be left out of your activity program.
Travelling with a smaller group on the other hand will cost you more but you enjoy the experience a lot better as you are able to access those beautiful spots without being cramped.
I’d advise you to pay more for experience because that really is the essence of travelling; to experience things and make memories.
Q. What is trip pace?
A. Trip pace basically refers to the pace that the selected trip will have and for European Tour Companies, they have three of them namely:
- Comfortable – This option indicates a lot of stops with longer periods of nights spent in each destination.
- Active – As the name would suggest, you are in constant activity and are barely in one location for more than a mere 24 hours.
- Leisurely – This is the option that provides one with ample exploring time as you spend more than three nights in on destination. This could allow for long walks in the beach, going into the local cooking class and any other activity that might interest you.
Q. Is my airfare included in the cost of European Tours?
A. No. Majority of the tours are not inclusive of your airfare and that is a responsibility you will to pick up on your own. A common meeting point is given where you will find your own means to get there to begin your adventures.
In conclusion, going to Europe is not as complicated. Knowing if you want to travel with a crowd or by yourself, or whether you want to spend your nights in hotels rooms or with selected families in the local community are choices you will need to make.
With a list of the best tour companies in Europe now in hand, the choices to be made will that much easier as it boils down to your preference. I hope this article has helped you zero in on who to trust with your travel plans.