TransAtlantic airfare may be less expensive than it has been in the past, but it is certainly not cheap.
If I you are going to spend the big bucks to travel overseas, you probably want to have an authentic experience, and stay awhile.
Here are 3 Great Azure Idea's you might want to take into consideration when planning your next trip...
1. I have been on several trips planned by tour companies, in my experience these are incredibly rushed. It seems like you are packing and unpacking all the time...because you are. Normal you will only be staying a maximum of only 3 nights in any one city... not to mention that this type of traveling can cost three times as much as planning a trip on your own.
Do your own research! Unless you are traveling to a location in which you really do not feel comfortable, it might really be best to just go that extra mile and make your own arrangements. It does take a little bit of time, however what you will end up with is a trip that is designed JUST for you. You will not waste precious time at a destination in which you have no interest in seeing, and you will be able to spend as much time as you would like at that location that you have been dreaming of visiting over the past 20 years.
Meanwhile, you will be saving approximately 10,000 dollars (depending upon how many travelers are in your party). What can you do with that extra 10,000 dollars? Why not visit that other destination you have been eyeing for 15 years, next year!
2. Because you have the complete freedom to plan your trip... it is not necessary to confine yourself to the unoriginal, choosing to stay in an apartment in a place like Europe not only gives you much more space for your money, but it also makes for a GREAT authentic experience. Many apartment companies have a minimum 3 night stay, but they also tend to give you a break for stays of 7 days or longer. I really suggest picking a city with a good location, and staying there for atleast a week. Use the location as a homebase that you can take daytrips from, but don't run yourself around. Stay, soak up the culture, visit some coffee shops, flea markets, take an early morning walk and people watch. Why not visit the local market and cook yourself dinner in your kitchen one night? (YES! these apartments will have kitchens!)
The above photo is from travelingtolisbon.com
Not only is it important to pick a good homebase city. I would also highly suggest to choose an apartment that is close located downtown in a city, or atleast close to lots of action, not necessarily nightlife, but markets, shopping, and most importantly, a metro or bus station. You will absolutely LOVE how much you will see on foot rather than in a tourbus.
It is nice to be able to walk the street like the locals and see how the locals live.
3. Simple, cliche, but important still.
Don't weigh yourself down, pack the essentials, research what the weather will be like and bring the bare minimum. You are there so that you can see the location, not so that the location can see you. Be comfortable, don't bring too many things that you will constantly be worrying about the safety of, and definitely do not bring so much with you during the day that you will not enjoy walking around and exploring.