Use Europe Travel Packages
To Travel On Your Own

Europe travel packages frequently get a bad rap.  

For many travelers they create a mental image of lining up two by two, waiting for a whistle to blow, then moving on command.

If you’re new to overseas travel planning, you may think all Europe package vacations are the same thing as group tours.

Escorted group tours.

A gaggle of geese following their leader like drones, turning heads and nodding every time the tour guide points to another cathedral.

But, if you've already done some planning for travel in Europe, you probably know that Europe travel packages are not just guided group tours, but rather come in all shapes, sizes, prices, locations, inclusions, and degrees of parti-cipation.

Not to mention duration [length of packages], intensity [do as little or as much as you want], and make it easy on yourself simplicity [plan your travel without the guesswork].

You also know that deciding how to travel Europe is the first step to planning a successful European itinerary.

And by using a combination of smaller Europe travel packages, you can create your own independent vacation in Europe, based on your own schedule, your budget, and your personal travel style.

To be clear, there are hosted group tours to Europe sometimes called 'Europe travel packages'.

They’re an extremely popular way to travel throughout Europe.

St. Nicolaaskerk in Amsterdam

Global tour operators offer hundreds of group travel packages or escorted  group tours. 

And thousands of European travelers take them every year - not only to the Euro-continent, but to destinations throughout the world.

But travel in Europe easily lends itself to independent travel. And that’s where Europe travel packages take on a whole new meaning.

They can also be bits and slices of cities and countries, driving and flying, hotel stays and train trips, that when combined, give you the option of traveling in Europe your way in your own travel style.

This becomes travel on your own schedule, at your own pace and time.

And this is how to travel Europe and go from being a spectator to being a participant!

Why Travel On Your Own?

One reason so many European travelers prefer to travel Europe on their own is because they don't know who they might be traveling with on escorted package vacations or group tours.

It's fairly easy to determine limited information about prospective group tour participants by reading between the lines of tour brochures.

The inclusions of the tour, the tour itinerary, the type and class of hotels, as well as the cost of the tour, should each give you some idea as to the kind of traveler who might choose a particular escorted group tour.

But there’s no guarantee the personalities of actual tour members will mesh with your own - or with each other.

The Roman Baths in Bath

Another reason European travelers shy away from escorted tours is due in part to today's terror sensitive world.  Some overseas travelers would rather not be part of a 'westernized' tour group, especially in certain locations.

Whether this is genuine personal fear, or subtle paranoia, is subject for another discussion.

But more and more European travelers are opting to travel on their own, and the travel industry is increasingly adding 'travel at your own pace' options for doing just that.

Seasoned travelers often strike out to Europe on their own, doing only a minimum amount of advance travel research and preparation. These are the true nomads of travel, who generally fall into one of two groups:

They are young, often first time European travelers.

  • They have little fear or anxiety of the unknown and travel with few set plans for what they'll see and do when traveling in Europe.
  • They have vague plans for their beginning Europe destination, but little idea where their travel experiences will take them. The fantasy of having no detailed travel plan becomes part of their overall travel experience.
  • They're often backpackers with limited plans for the places they'll visit, their means of local transportation, and whether or not they'll stay in cheap hotels, youth-oriented hostels, or on a friend-of-a-friend's couch!

Or...they are truly experienced travelers, who have traveled in Europe [and possibly throughout the world] numerous times.

  • They're intrepid adventurers, often headed away from 'westernized' destinations, having been there, done that - or with no desire to do so.
  • Their travel interests lie in the unexpected, the truly 'off the beaten path' non-touristy locations, where neither food, accommodations, or trans-portation are in any way similar to that of their everyday lives.
  • Their overseas travel plan for Europe - or wherever they travel - is more rough and rustic, down and dirty, hands-on, living like a local type of experience.

Neither of these groups bother with more than the most basic Europe travel plan. They travel simply: close to the vest, with no need of travel packages, leaders, guides, groups, or tours.

Their companion is a familiar travel guidebook, in which they put their trust for the outcome of their European adventure.

Typical German Homes

But for most of us, this is not our idea for how to travel in Europe, either on our own, or any other way.

At the very least, we want some kind of travel safety net.

We want a level of pre-planned assur-ance for what our adventure will in-clude, and how our European trip will unfold.

And the best way to create a 'travel at your own pace' independent trip with some level of security is to choose individual Europe travel packages and combine them to form your own customized, independent vacation for traveling in Europe.

10 Things To Know Before Booking Europe Travel Packages

When researching and booking Europe travel packages to create your own customized travel plan, there are things to know to ensure a memorable trip:

  • Do your travel research online, but book directly with a human, if possible.
  • Always book Europe package vacations with a company that has a toll free number, so you can reach a live person, if a problem arises.
  • Compare prices for booking some components of your trip a la carte. Europe package vacations aren’t always the cheapest way to travel.
  • Most Europe travel packages focus on larger cities and areas of greatest tourist interest, where prices are higher.
  • Accommodations are generally in larger chain type hotels, rather than smaller boutique, 'Mom and Pop' establishments with local flavor.
  • Prices for Europe package vacations are usually based on two people traveling together. They may or may not be stated as a per person price. Make sure you understand the total price of your package.
Acqeduct of the Free Waters in Lisbon
  • Know whether taxes, tips, service, and other charges are included in your final package price - or if they're additional charges.
  • When you 'add on' to basic tour packages, you increase costs and lose flexibility.  Attraction tickets, transportation passes, and entrance fees are often cheaper, if you handle these yourself after arriving.
  • International airlines frequently offer local independent travel packages for their destination cities.  Check them out online, but before booking, speak to a reservations agent by phone to be sure you understand exactly what you're buying and what's included.  It can be difficult to change or cancel online bookings. 
  • Know the stability of international tour operators offering Europe package vacations. Review details on how to validate their reputation and reliability in this article on escorted vacations.

In short, before you book any Europe travel package with an independent travel agent, an online agent, or directly with an international tour operator, always research, double-check, and ask questions to make sure you know the terms, inclusions, costs, and conditions of the travel package you plan to purchase.

Your time, money, and trip are on the line.

The only person who will do the best job of planning your Europe vacation is you.

For more information on how to travel Europe, check the following:

Your Travel Style is a reflection of your lifestyle - how you live, what you like, what makes you tick. The kind of traveler you are determines how to travel Europe and beyond.

The right Europe Guided Tour determines the outcome of your trip. Will it be successful and memorable, or tiresome and tedious?

Escorted Vacations to Europe are offered by international tour operators throughout the world. Learn how to choose the best escorted tours to Europe.

Independent Travel lets you travel Europe on your own – but not alone. Use Europe travel packages to take the scary out of traveling Europe without a group.

Return to How To Travel Europe

Travel Tip

Always pay for any form of travel arrangements, including Europe travel packages and tours, with a credit card. This gives you some protection should the supplier default.

Since most credit card agreements give you 60 days to dispute a charge for valid reasons, the closer you are to your departure date when you pay, the more protection you have.

[This does not allow you to renege on charges just because you change your mind.]

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