Shoeaholic No More



November 2015



4 Top Tips For Planning A European Vacation

Written by , Posted in Travel

This article may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.


European vacations are one of the most rewarding but costly events that you can arrange for the family. With this guide you can plan and book your vacation stress free in advance then go ahead with enjoying your getaway without having to worry about the budget. All it takes is some research, compromise and clever thinking!

1. Choose your dates wisely

It’s most likely that you’ll want to go on vacation during the kids’ school break. Look to book your vacation for the latest dates possible in this time frame. The last week in August and the first week in September are usually significantly less money than the rest of the school break period. You might also consider waiting until the October break, when it is even quieter. Don’t worry, the Algarve still sees highs of 23°C at this time of year and the Canary Islands boast high temperatures all year round.

2. Choose a villa for accommodation

Sure, it’s easy to be tempted by all-inclusive offers but you really can’t beat a rented villa in terms of space, privacy and freedom. Booking a villa also means that you can eat whatever and whenever you want — perfect for fussy eaters in the family. If you’re not sure what to look for, let’s take an example of a villa in the Algarve from Villa plus . The average cost of a well located, three bedroom self-catered accommodation for a week is $1300, including a swimming pool and BBQ area! Be wary of peak season, when prices can increase by up to 30% compared to shoulder rates. Research the area, get a written and signed agreement and pay by credit card for extra safety. Don’t be afraid to ask the owner as many questions as you like about the property.

3. Booking flights independently

If you decide to book a villa then you’re flights aren’t likely to be included. The best advice is to research and compare as many flights as possible by using comparison sites. You also need to look out for extra avoidable charges: check in, hold baggage, priority boarding, SMS confirmation, seat selection and credit-card transactions.

3. Getting around

The great thing about European cities (Paris, Rome, London) is that the best way to explore is by foot! That being said, you’re probably going to get quite tired with the brood in tow. Look up travel passes to buy so that you don’t end up purchasing single tickets for the tube and bus every day. A 10 journey ticket in Paris costs around $13 and a 72 hour waterbus pass in Venice will be around $35. If you’d prefer to hire a car, keep your eye open for extra costs before you sign anything. It also works out cheaper to fuel a diesel vehicle. Avoid taxi journeys as this is the most expensive way to travel around.

From deciding on when to go to booking flights to choosing accommodation to getting around, these are the four cornerstones where you can save money on a vacation. Be firm with your spending money and do a supermarket shop as soon as you get there at one of the cheaper stores. Happy planning and enjoy the countdown to your vacation.

Image by Ben124, used under Creative Commons license

The following two tabs change content below.


Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at ShoeaholicNoMore or follow her on Twitter.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *