Here at To Uncertainty and Beyond, we like to encourage you to consider ways of exploring a region that you hadn’t previously considered. As people get into their 30s, backpacking can start to wear thin. A night or two in a hostel can be a fun way to connect with your 20-something else, but after that most 30+s are ready for their own bathroom!
Here are some ideas for some ways to see Europe that aren’t backpacking centric.
Leasing a car.
Several places in Europe have options for short term leasing a car, most notably France. The minimum time frame is usually 21 days and it works out a whole lot cheaper than rental plus insurance.
Our friends the Benders just did this. This did have one little issue….. their car got towed in France. Let their misfortune by your lesson 😉
Driving gives you incredible freedom.
A month in…
Friends of mine spent 2 months in Amsterdam a couple of years ago and loved it. Likewise it’s fairly easy to rent a vacation apartment in Paris for a month at a not-too-outrageous price.
A base in Paris would also allow you to hop over to London for a weekend and a West End show. You might even be able to find someone in London to apartment swap with for that weekend.
There are all sorts of levels of cycling trips, ranging in how much roughing it is involved
Most roughing it – you take camping gear on your bike
Medium roughing it – “Credit card touring” – you bring clothing on your bike but stay in hotels and eat at restaurants so you don’t need to haul camping and cooking gear.
Least roughing it – Organized tours were you have a support vehicle to carry your gear (and you if you flake).
Portugal, Italy, and France are popular destinations for cycle touring.
Like the cycle tour option you can also do walking tours, either carrying your own gear or with a support vehicle. Once again, Portugal is a popular country for these, as are Austria, France, Spain, and the UK. There are some options in which you walk on your own, without a guide, from hotel to hotel but your luggage is transported. One of the things we’ve notice is how we increasingly prefer active holidays, but we also increasingly prefer paying more and avoiding discomfort. You can also do free (pay what you wish) half day walking tours in numerous European cities.
While personally I’m prone to motion sickness, my parents love cruising. Sometimes the cabins can be pokey but there are some amazing luxury options. I think most people think of the Mediterranean when they think of cruises in Europe but there a bunch more options that take in Eastern Europe highlights like Budapest and Prague. Read our Prague Tips. And, our Budapest tips.