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Most Useful Websites/Apps for Traveling through Europe

Most Useful Websites/Apps for Traveling through Europe

*Also available as a Mobile App // ** Only use as a Mobile App

1. Housing

  • Hostelword*
    • Best place to find and book hostels and cheap accommodations for anywhere in the world
    • Depending on the location but most European hostel beds range from $8-$25
      • Eastern Europe vs. Western Europe
      • Dorm rooms vs. Private Rooms
      • Holiday/Peak-Season vs. Weekday/Off-Season
    • It is very well organized with ratings, reviews, pictures, directions/neighborhood, detailed descriptions, listed amenities, etc.
    • When I'm traveling by myself or with a small group of people, I love staying in hostels!
      • It's the best place to meet other young travelers (some hostels have an age limit) from around the world. I've met some really cool people everywhere I've visited.
      • Especially if you're traveling alone, this is where you can meet other people to go sightseeing with and go out at night with.
  • AirBnB*
    • Think Uber for housing! You can find single rooms to full apartments and homes that people are renting out for a day to multiple months. 
      • Keep in mind that these are people's actual homes so rules and amenities will vary and differ from hotels and other accommodations
    • It's a good idea to check both AirBnB and Hostelworld for the best options
      •  i.e. it was cheaper for me to stay at an AirBnB than a Hostel in Rome
    • If you are traveling with a big group and you all want to stay together, booking an AirBnB would be the best option
      • If you are traveling alone, this could be a good option if you want some peace and quiet but you probably won't meet anyone.
    • They have great customer service so if you run into any problems, they will be right there to assist you
  • Couchsurfing*
    • FREE accommodations! This is the best option for those on a really tight budget and/or want to experience the area living like a local
      • Many of the hosts will offer you food from their own native country, take you on personal tours, introduce you to their friends/family
    • Hosts will offer up their couch, extra beds, floor, etc. in return for your company 
      • Most are also travelers and they love giving back to the community
    • You can post where you will be on certain days and find hosts who match accomodations you're looking for
      • Hosts can also reach out to you 
    • WARNING: there have been stories about things being stolen, solo female travelers feeling uncomfortable with their hosts, and the living situation is not as stated
    • Keep in mind that you are staying here for free, so you can't expect to have all the amenities you would at a hotel or even hostel
      • Since you are staying at their place for free, you should be a courteous guest and offer to help in anyway possible 
    • There are also many Couchsurfing events that different travelers or locals will hosts such as pub crawls, potlucks, hiking, etc for you to meet other people
  • Sleeping in Airports
    • As much as this sucks, there will be times when you have to catch some shut eyes at the airport and this website will help you find the best and most comfortable place to crash at an airport. 
    • Travelers are able to write reviews about different airports and they even provide information about WiFi, showers, charging stations, lounges, and everything you would need to feel comfortable at the airport

    2. Transportation

    • Air

      • Best websites for comparing flights
        • Google Flights
          • This my go-to for the best/most accurate flights 
        • Skyscanner*
          • I get the same prices or even better ones using Google but I always double check it with Skyscanner just in case
        • Student Universe
          • Hands-down THE BEST website for international/long-distance flights 
          • I've booked flights from Europe <--> California for around $300-$350 one way on good airlines, which would be $700+ on any other website
          • Take full advantage of this while you are still young and want to travel internationally! 
      • The cheapest airlines in Europe are RyanAir, EasyJet, and Vueling
        • A lot of times these airlines will have 1 Euro deals to different destinations
        • Make sure you pay attention to the fine lines because if you don't follow them, they will charge you a ridiculous amount (that's how they make money!)
        • i.e. Print your boarding pass beforehand, Your carry-on is an appropriate size
      • Check bargain sites such as Holiday Pirates to snoop out flight deals 
        • When airlines have a glitch in their system and you can book flights for really cheap, these sites will catch it but the offers usually go away really quick
    • Ground

      • GoEuro
        • Best site to find busses/trains schedules and prices
        • It will redirect you to the actual website and at times the prices may not be the most accurate, but it normally only fluctuates a few Euros (nothing significant)
        • Only use this for ground transportation because their air prices the site provides isn't the cheapest so you the ones listed above for that
      • Rome2Rio
        • Shows you how to get anywhere by plain, train, bus, ferry, automobile
        • It shows you all transportation options, how long it will take, and links to purchase your tickets. 
        • This is a better option than GoEuro if you are not sure if there are better options besides busses and trains
          • I only used this to check travel routes when I was in Morocco because GoEuro doesn't work there. I haven't tried it anywhere else to give a full review.
        • I can't guarantee how accurate the prices or schedules are because I have not used it personally so do more research before fully committing
      • BlaBlaCar
        • How to find others driving to or by your end destination! 
        • Traveling by car is a lot quicker and cheaper than by train/bus. There are also more destinations offered.
        • This carshare service has saved me a number of times!
        • You have to make a profile and submit a request to the driver before you can confirm a ride.
          • There's a rating and feedback system for both the driver and rider
    • Water
      • Direct Ferries
        • Book ferries to travel by-foot or on a car
          • You can book a ticket to stay in the cabin area or for a room to sleep in if it's an overnight ferry
          • You can also drive your car onto the ferries and travel with it across the water
        • I only used this once to travel from Italy to Croatia because it was the cheapest option and I slept on the chairs in the cabin
          • It wasn't the most comfortable but best bang for my buck

    3. Maps / Getting Around

    • Google Maps - Offline Maps**

      • Download offline apps on your Google Maps app of the cities you'll be traveling to
        • Must be on WiFi to download
      • I wish I knew about this sooner but it is honestly a lifesaver and will prevent you from getting lost! You can use the map to search addresses and names of buildings/restaurants/destinations without wifi or data 
      • The only downside is that the public transportation functionality does not work, but I think they're working on it, so you can only use it for walking 
        • I never tried any other applications because I've been satisfied with Google Maps but if you have any suggestions of other good offline maps that has transit schedules, let me know!
      • Instructions on how to download
    • Trip Advisor*
      • This is probably one of the most popular sites for searching different restaurants and activities. 
      • I personally don't use this that often because there's just way too much going on and it takes a long time to navigate through the sites for things specific to my interests. It gets quite overwhelming!
        • Additionally, I feel like many of the people who use the site are older so the positive/negative reviews reflect their interests and will differ from my own. 
        • It's hard to find authentic, hole-in-the-wall restaurants - most tourist traps
      • It's a good place to read reviews on different tour and activity companies, to see how legit a company is before you pay for it
      • Better for activities and attractions and not restaurants
    • Time Out
      • I love the different articles and categories that Time Out has for each destination
        • I feel like they are more geared towards a younger audience so they have lists of "roof-top bars," "concerts happening this weekend," and many others
      • They do a great job of curating the best of the best and it's easier to navigate through then TripAdvisor which seems like an encyclopedia with just too much info
      • The site is very well updated because it provides things that are happening this week, weekend, and month. 

    4. Food

    • Different Blogs / Online Resources
      • I have not been able to find one platform that I really like to look up good, authentic restaurants
      • I normally use Yelp at home but it's not as popular outside of the US
      • I have to read different websites, blogs, online articles to compile a list of restaurants I want to visit
      • If you have any suggestions, please let me know!
    • Time Out / TripAdvisor

    Hopefully this was helpful! I've only extensively traveled through Europe so this was geared towards one continent but most can be used to travel through other destinations as well. I will get the chance to travel to many more places this upcoming year and I will update or write a new blog once I do. Happy Traveling!

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