like I mentioned a few weeks ago, there’s a lot more of europe that i still haven’t seen—from istanbul to lisbon and a lot in between. i’ve been lazy, yes, but i also think there are a few impediments to travel in europe. here are my excuses:

“europe will always be there”

europe is considered a relatively easy travel destination, especially for those of us from america. european culture is unique and varied, yes, but it’s also quite similar to that in the united states. there’s this idea that while we’re young we should travel to more exotic and more “challenging” destinations, so when you have the option between travel in europe or travel to asia, if cost isn’t an issue, asia almost always wins. it’s why i’m more likely to look for an emirates promo code to fly back to the middle east, rather than a cheap budget flight in europe.

even though i absolutely adore europe (it may just be my favorite continent), there’s still this feeling in my gut that the continent isn’t going to change much so visiting european countries today versus 15 years from now isn’t going to matter much. of course, i’m living here now, so it’s silly to avoid it at the moment—probably why i’ve got so much european travel planned for the summer.

hostel party in krakow
okay, hostels in europe during the summer are **a lot** of fun, yes, (like this one in krakow, poland) but booking and planning travel in advance is a major pain-in-the-neck!

europe in summertime is great for living, horrible for traveling

i’ve been to europe quite a few time during the summer, but my first summer living in berlin was one of the best. when i started out on my rtw trip and spent one month in spain, though it was amazing & wonderful, traveling through the country the way i was doing it was a bit challenging. i didn’t book flights or buses or hostels in advance, so every time i showed up in a city, it was always a challenge to find a place to sleep. airfare wasn’t so bad because i could always google for exclusive coupon codes, but finding accommodation was less-than-fun. i got so frustrated looking for a cheap hostel at one point in madrid that i just got on the first bus out of town and ended up in valencia.

this happened again last summer when i decided to go to prague for a few days from berlin. my bus ticket (booked one day in advance) cost me a measly 15 euros, but it was necessary to book the hostel room in advance and even still i had to change dorms 3 times during my short visit.

europe is expensive

well, it is. the euro ain’t cheap, even with its failings! in the usa, flights and travel between cities wasn’t cheap, so i rarely flew around much. the occasional southwest airlines coupons or last-minute deals from airline newsletters helped make travel in america affordable, but it still would take a bite into my travel budget. and don’t get me started on the trains in america!

in europe, even with the cheaper airfare (usually), the other costs for visiting a specific european city can end up being quite expensive. of course, there’s ways to combat that: lots of backpackers in europe end up cooking their own meals rather than eating out, or taking free walking tours of the major cities. while i like the free tours, the idea of visiting a country and staying in to cook pasta seems pretty ridiculous to me. if i’m going to travel somewhere, i typically like to spend the money to get out and explore as much as possible. but i’ve never had much of a problem with spending (to the glee of my credit card companies!)

——

so, in summary: europe is boring, expensive and difficult during the summer. and yet i still love this place! there must be something in the water that’s keeping me here…

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21 comments

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  1. I think the trick with Europe is making the most of the free activities in the expensive cities and countries. Plus balancing out your time between Western and Eastern Europe to save some cash. Europe does have good networks for camping and couchsurfing which helps as well.

  2. Pingback: Going on a Eurotrip! | Travels of Adam - Hipster travel around the world

  3. Pingback: The "Easiest" Travel Destination, Europe: To Go or Not to Go? | Caravan of One

  4. Mark B

    I find your article unreadable without capital letters. What is it with certain people and an inability to use capital letters?

    • Adam

      I don’t blame you, Mark. I’m not unable to use capital letters, but for this post, I just avoided them. It’s not my typical style if you check out other posts…but whether it was my mood or the tone I wanted to convey, I think it worked here.

      But thanks for the feedback!

  5. Europe is amazing to travel, it just depends how you do it. But I suppose there’s the same to be said about every country.

    I’m off to cycle round Italy for 6 months, and although Europe’s expensive, I reckon I can survive for 6 months on a budget that would usually be used up in 1-2 weeks of normal holidaying.

    But then again, I don’t mind being a tramp…

    Also the bike gets rid of all the problems you have with travelling, I just pedal my ass everywhere.

    • Adam

      That sounds like an amazing trip, Samuel! Cycling definitely eases some of the costs (you could always camp, etc etc) but it’d still come with some hefty costs—especially if you were going further than a single country with it. Shipping fees for a bicycle can be expensive on an airline….something I’ve never done but I’ve met a few travelers who have.

  6. I love Europe! Like you, it is my favorite continent to travel. All the reasons you mention are true – it’s crowded and expensive. However, nearly every trip I have taken has been in the Fall. It’s my favorite time of year to visit. You get to see a different side with many of the tourists gone. I actually spent Thanksgiving in Paris one year – a little cold but loved it!

    • Adam

      I think the Fall is probably a good time to be in Europe. I was living in London once from September to December and took a few short trips during my semester—it was definitely easier to travel then because nothing needed to be booked in advance BUT it did start to get cold.

  7. Just wondering, have you spent a summer in Berlin? I can imagine it gets pretty insane. I know when I lived in London it became almost impossible to discern “living” and “traveling” during peak tourist season. Still loved every second of it though :)

  8. Europe is expensive you’re right but it’s do awesome and packed with so many places to visit that It’s always worth spending a bit more !

    • Adam

      Couldn’t agree more, Robert. Worth every euro-penny!

  9. Europe is expensive but it’s also fantastic and great things have a price.

    • Adam

      Very true, Ayngelina! Europe, to me, is always worth the cost! Otherwise I wouldn’t still be here :D

  10. I’m still in the planning stages of a 2-month trip to Europe for this summer… and I can definitely back up your statement that Europe is NOT cheap, especially during the summer months! But I’m still really looking forward to it.

    I’m dealing with the sticker shock by sticking mostly to Eastern Europe and the Balkans, which aren’t nearly as pricey as Western Europe!

    • Adam

      Hey Amanda,
      Yup – this is a popular way to get to see Europe…but to do it on the cheap. It’s usually why I always stick around the Mediterranean because so much of southern Europe is cheaper than the rest… Plus, you know, they have sunshine and beaches!

  11. The price is the main drawback for me, which is why I haven’t done Europe yet. When I go, I want to spend several months there, and so far I haven’t been able to coordinate with the bf to take extended breaks from work at the same time. Soon, hopefully!

    • Adam

      Hey Scott,
      Yeah, vacation time can be a big problem with travel—especially if you have to coordinate. I do think European travel can be affordable sometimes and it definitely helps if you have someone to travel with!

  12. You know, Europe is super awesome for hitch-hiking!

    • Adam

      So I’ve heard! I was considering hitch-hiking my way to Italy when I go in June. Still up in the air on that one…

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