Travel SOS: what’s the best way to ‘do’ Europe?

Lee Mylne offers Julie advice on the best way to ‘do’ Europe.

Travel SOS: what’s the best way to ‘do’ Europe?

Lee Mylne has managed to combine her two passions – travelling and writing – into a long and successful career as a travel journalist. Her work is published in newspapers, magazines, websites and travel apps in Australia and around the world.

Julie is planning on a visit to the UK and, while she’s in the neighbourhood, thought she’d enjoy a short stint in Europe. She’s asked Lee Mylne for some advice on the best way plan her adventure.

Q. Julie
I am planning to head to the UK to visit some family I have dotted around the country and while I’m there, I thought I would pop over to Europe and see some of the sites. I’m not sure how long I will be away for or even where I want to go in Europe. I was planning on booking a one-way flight and just booking everything else on the hop. Is this the best way to do it, or should I be more settled on a plan?


A. I really can empathise with your dilemma, Julie, as I’m in a similar situation myself right now. With one reason to go to Europe at the end of the year, I’m looking at building on that and planning to see a bit more while I’m there. After all, why pay the airfare and then not make the most of it?


But what to see and do? There’s so much to choose from, it’s almost impossible to advise you but if it’s your first trip to Europe, then of course you must see the highlights – and for me, that means Paris and Rome at the very least. So many great cities and places to choose from make it a fabulous task to sort out what appeals to you or what has always been on your ‘one day’ list.


middle aged woman in europe


I’d also consider Austria (if you’re going during the European winter, where the Christmas markets are fabulous), Spain (Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world), Amsterdam for the canals and flower markets … oh I could go on and on! You might also want to consider Scandinavia or Eastern Europe, I’ve got Poland and Russia on my potential list, and can’t recommend Finland highly enough after a visit there last year. 


Booking ‘on the hop’ in Europe is not a bad idea. You can get some great deals with low-cost airlines and it gives you the flexibility to change your plans once you are there.  Sometimes serendipity is the thing that makes our travels so interesting, as long as you are prepared to be flexible and to go with the flow.


Of course, if you prefer more certainty, then you might want to book ahead and even do an organised tour of the European highlights. There are plenty of tour companies to choose from!


Once you’ve done a bit more planning in terms of time frames, you might have a better idea of what you will prioritise. Whatever you end up doing, Julie, I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time and you’ll come home with many great memories!


Do you have a travel question for Lee? If so, email your Travel SOS to




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    1st Apr 2017
    Hi my wife and I travel to the U/K regularly and have visited many European countries, the company we use is called National holidays they have pick up points in quite a few towns and cities mostly from the north of England. They do tours ranging from short stay (4-5 days) and up to 14/15 days, they are a lot cheaper than the major companies and include meals and sometimes include drinks, usually you are based in one country and go out daily to different tourist spots, eg last year we went to Italy for nine days stayed in Riva del Garda and toured daily to Venice, Verona, Limona an many other walled cities and towns. The year before, we toured through France to Prague, Budapest and Vienna. You can check their website out just type in nationalholidays and you will see a link to their site. Good luck
    1st Apr 2017
    Just to add to my previous post, I meant to say they are not 5 star, but hotels are clean and food is ok
    1st Apr 2017
    I finally went to Europe with my daughter in 2015 and wanted to see as many of the iconic places as we could in the limited time we had, and on a budget. We chose Cosmos 'Best of Europe" 3 week bus tour. It started in London & went to Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, France and back to London. My daughter wanted to spend time with a friend in London so we arrived a day before joining the tour and had another 5 days there after the tour and also went on a day tour to Stonehenge and Bath (which we had booked from Australia & the bus picked us up from our hotel). The Cosmos tour was quite hectic but well worth it to see so many wonderful places in such a short time. Our Tour Director and Driver were amazing and the other people in the bus were great. Having a few days in London after the tour turned out to be a good move because it gave us a chance to sleep in, relax a bit & take our time before facing the long flight home. It rounded off the whole trip nicely.
    1st Apr 2017
    Seeing all of Europe in a week or two is nonsense. Spending time in a country is priceless. It costs to travel but it is possible to do this fairly cheaply as well and one needs to get the balance between the experience and the wish to see it all quickly sorted.
    My suggestion is spend a month in a country, not 3 days. With Airbnb and VRBO this can be inexpensive. AVOID HOTELS. They are a rip off and then you need to eat out on top of that. That'll kill any budget.
    If you are going to tour then look for cheap offers on sites like Travelzoo, etc. well ahead of your departure and fill in the blanks. Then pad out with your own itinerarry. Good luck.
    1st Apr 2017
    That's all very well, Mick, if you don't have commitments and hindrances at home, which I have, and if your time is limited. I was tired of putting off visiting Europe and when a small window of opportunity came up, I grabbed it. I'm not young and you never know what's around the corner. I would never have forgiven myself if I suffered a debilitating health problem, as people do, and missed the chance to go altogether. A couple of people very close to me, one who has since died and the other in a nursing home said "go now, before it's too late". Both people thought they would travel again but couldn't. I regret not having travelled much sooner and spending more time in each country, but I will never regret my whirlwind 3 week tour.
    1st Apr 2017
    jen 50 don't take any notice of this so called expert on travel mick, the farthest he has been and that was in his dreams, was to the local shop and then he got lost on his way home, every saturday's travel advise in lifechoises he can't help himself but to criticise it as he does with any other article in these columns, just read them and you quickly will see through this jealous, wish it was me instead of you person, attempting to make anybody's love of travel too hard and seeing another part of this great world a waste of time, at the moment he believes he is on the skislopes in canada, therefore he is wearing a mask in his picture on this site so as not to be recognised when he goes to the local shop here and be found out the fraud he is.
    All I can say to anybody hoping to visit Europe or for that matter anywhere in this world, listen to your heart and take advise of experts not the blowhearts the likes of mick, travel can be beautiful and it will enhance your appreciation of the planet we live on.
    1st Apr 2017
    Try Central and Eastern Europe, especially if you have any concerns about security in Western Europe. Hungary, Czech Republic , Poland have much to offer in culture and tourist attractions. The people are friendly and welcoming and many speak English, if you are worried about the language barrier. The local food and beverages and of course accommodation are as good as and in some places better than what is on offer in Western Europe. One other big attraction is that these countries are relatively cheap compared to the rest of Europe so that is an added bonus. There are many tours that cover this part of Europe, if you prefer that, or you can just go as you want. Flights from London and other parts of the UK fly regularly to these countries.

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