For those of you who don’t know, I studied abroad for a semester in college (promise it’s no longer one of my personality traits😜). Well, I studied for like 2 seconds and traveled for 6 months. I was living in Brussels, Belgium, and had the opportunity to travel to 15 countries and 27 cities while living there (and overall, I’ve been to 21 European countries). Talk about the time of my LIFE! During my time living in Europe, I learned A LOT of tips and tricks from the friends I made and the experiences I had– and I’m here to share some of my top tips for traveling around Europe!
This blog post isn’t just for if you’re wanting to get married in Europe. If you’re wanting to travel to Europe for your honeymoon, go with a group of friends, travel solo, or if you’re going to study abroad, keep reading!
If you’re interested in eloping in Europe, check out this blog post. If you want to read my full Brussels Blog that I kept while abroad, check it out here where I share alllll my travels and tips over there and share my recommendations for specific cities of what to see and do/where to eat/where to stay/etc.
Where to Stay When Traveling Around Europe
I HIGHLY recommend staying at an Airbnb!!! This is a perfect place to stay and get the more local experience. You can stay in a place with a beautiful view, be near a lot of fun activities, and/or be more secluded in a more private area. If you’re traveling with friends, you can all split an Airbnb too to keep the costs down.
Alternatively, you can stay in a nice hotel. There’s always plenty of options depending on your budget and if you want a more luxury experience. I always recommend booking directly through the hotel website. Most hotels are generally super safe, provide free breakfast, and you don’t have to worry about wifi/etc.
If you’re traveling with friends or traveling solo, I also suggest getting a hostel. In Europe, hostels aren’t just for 18-22 year olds, I promise! They’re a great way to meet other people, go on excursions with others, and are usually reallyyyyy cheap. I do recommend bringing your own lock to keep your stuff safe while you’re out exploring. Most hostels has a community kitchen to use, will provide sheets, and also rent out locks and towels.
What to Pack for Europe: Clothing
This list is more for you if you’re moving to Europe or if you’re planning on staying there for a longer trip:
- Look at where you’ll be going/moving to and see where it lines up on the map to get a guess at what the weather will be like (for example, Belgium lines up with Canada, and weather in Belgium was similar to what I imagine it’s like in Canada)
- Pack clothes with no graphics or words; you kinda stand out as a tourist if you do
- Heavy coat
- Lighter jacket (jean jackets are quite popular in Europe right now!)
- Sweaters and scarves
- Umbrella and/or a raincoat
- Fanny pack (they’re actually super fashionable in Europe right now, and are perfect to protect yourself from pick-pocketers!)
- Whatever you do, DO NOT overpack!!! (lol as if I didn’t..) You know you will end up wearing the same 4-5 things, so bring more accessories (scarves/jewelry/ scrunchies/etc.) to change up an outfit rather than bringing like 20 shirts and wearing the same 5.
- A canvas bag or 2 because it typically cost money (like an extra 10 or 20 cents) to get a plastic or paper bag from the store (grocery store or a clothing store!). It saves you money in the long run, plus you’re saving the environment
What to Pack for Europe: Technology
- Outlet Adapters (this is what I mainly used and it was super helpful because you can charge multiple things at once! Plus it has both the EU adaptor and UK adaptor, which was super helpful if you’re living in or traveling from one to the other).
- A portable charger is a LIFE SAVER for those long days of sightseeing.
- A camera!!! It doesn’t have to be the most expensive camera out there (seriously, a point-and-shoot is cheap and works wonders too!!), but you’re going to want to capture this once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon / trip / semester with more than just your phone camera.
- Extra batteries and memory cards for your camera.
- If you’re studying abroad or moving to Europe, get a burner phone or some kind of international phone plan (SIM card)– you’ll have to do this when you first arrive.
- Download WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, or Facebook Messenger to text, call, and videochat with family and friends back home without using data (and tell them to also get the app before you leave!).
Traveling within Europe: Finding Tickets
Whether you’re traveling to Europe for a longer trip or a shorter trip, I really do recommend traveling to at least a couple different cities or countries while you’re there. Of course it depends on a few different factors, but *usually* the most expensive cost is the flight from the United States to Europe. Once you’re in Europe, traveling to other countries is similar to traveling to another state in the U.S. Here’s a few options to find those cheap tickets:
- GoEuro/Omimo – It’s an app that gives you train ticket, bus ticket, and plane ticket options to cities so you can choose the cheapest way to travel. I used this the most when booking trips!!!
- Momondo – It’s a website and an app that finds cheap flights AND will even give you the option to set a budget and find a plane ticket for anywhere that fits into your budget (super cool opportunity to fly somewhere you might not normally visit).
- Ryanair – It’s a company known for cheap flights in Europe. Just make sure to print out that boarding pass beforehand to avoid that 55 euro fee!! Also read ALL the fine print because some flights allow for an extra baggage free of cost and some will make you pay for the extra baggage. It really just depends on the flight that day
- Train Stations – Traveling by train is really inexpensive and easy to do if you’re traveling within a country (and not at all stressful!).
Traveling within Europe: What to Pack
This is more for if you have a “home base” and are just traveling somewhere else and coming back. This depends on how long your trip will be, what time of year you’ll be traveling in, and where you’re going!
If you’re trying to pack minimally or are going on a weekend trip, I typically just brought a backpack so it would be easy to carry if we arrived early and we couldn’t check into our room until later, or if we were leaving the city later in the day and had to be checked out by the morning. Plus some airlines make you pay for a bag if it has to go in the overhead compartment, so a backpack is easiest if that’s the case. But I used a smaller suitcase or a duffle bag on longer trips!
But some essentials that you should have for every trip are:
- Your bus/plane/train tickets!!! Either printed out or downloaded on your phone
- The address of where you’re staying (you should save the address in the ‘notes’ app on your phone in case you don’t have service when you first arrive!)
- Outlet adaptor (this one is seriously the best!!)
- Chargers for your phone and camera
- A portable charger
- Fanny pack/a small bag to carry your stuff around for when you don’t need to carry your heavy backpack around
- The obvious, clothes. Look up the weather beforehand. For a weekend trip, I recommend bringing 1-2 pair of pants and 2 shirts/sweaters. Maybe a jacket and/or scarf. Figure out whatever’s best for you, but you definitely don’t want to overpack if you’ll be carrying your bag around all day when you arrive!!
Transportation in Europe
Depending on where you go, you’ll most likely have to rely on public transportation (especially in a bigger city). For students or locals, check to see if there is a student discount for a semester or a few months/a year subscription or if your school offers a cheap option so you can take the tram/metro/bus around your city. Otherwise, you can get a ticket and just pay a small sum of money to use the tram/metro/bus around the city.
You can always also rent a car, get a taxi, rent a bike or moped, or walk (depends on the city though; otherwise walking might be a lot!). Uber isn’t available in every country in Europe, so don’t always plan on relying on it when you travel!!
European Elopement and Couples Photographer
Well hey there – if you didn’t know me already, I’m Emily! I’m a European photographer based in North Carolina. I spend a lot of time photographing adventure elopements and sessions of rad couples around the world. I’m obsessed with all things elopements, love, hiking, outdoor adventure, and am truly so grateful that I get to call this my job!!!
If you’re looking for a photographer for your European elopement, European honeymoon, or European couples session who will:
- Photograph your beautiful European elopement ceremony and activities through storytelling photos that you can look back on for the rest of your life
- Help you come up with your dream elopement day or session and itinerary
- Help you find activities in the European area to make your elopement or session intentional, unique, and memorable
…then I’m your person!!!
Visit my website to learn more about me, get to know my approach to photography, and then reach out to me if you think we’re a good fit. I cannot wait to hear from you and start planning your dream European adventure!!
Final Tips for Traveling Around Europe
- How to Elope in Europe
- Always wear comfy shoes. Most likely, you’ll be doing a lot of walking around the different cities to go sightseeing and a lot of the time, the roads and sidewalks are made of cobblestone. High heels would not be very fun to walk around in. Nice sneakers are a ‘thing’ in European fashion, so you won’t stand out.
- Use Facebook to find events happening near you if you’re looking for a more local experience. There’s something for everyone – bar crawls, light shows, museum exhibits, etc.
- Where to Travel Around Europe
All these photos were taken by me- if you are wanting photos while on your European elopement, European honeymoon, or European trip, I’m MORE than happy to join you 😉 You can contact me here.