Bringing a suitcase that you can’t carry
Cobblestones and giant suitcases don’t get along. Just because you can check it on the plane, does not mean that it will comfortably roll down the aisle of a train or that you will want to carry it up the uneven, steep hill to your hotel. Leave the refrigerator-sized behemoth at home and stick to smaller rolling carry-on cases.
Traveling without a suitcase or bag that fits the strict limits of budget airlines
Often, the cheapest, fastest way to jump from city to city is to fly one of Europe’s popular budget airlines (easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling, airberlin, Norwegian Air, to name a few). But they’ll look for every possible extra centimeter and kilogram (the metric system!) to charge you hefty fees. Check the airlines’ websites for specific size and weight restrictions before you fly and don’t try to fudge it. If possible, consider picking up an inexpensive scale before you go. Also, here are a handful of online booking sites that specialize in European budget airlines: Skyscanner, momondo, and CheapOair.
Only staying in international chain hotels
Sure you might earn more Marriott points, but you’ll miss out on the character that makes each European city interesting; family-run hotels and B&Bs open the doors to the homes and lifestyles of locals. They also often rock the best breakfast spreads, just so you know. A lot of tasty pastries, breads, cheeses, and jams from local purveyors.
For great deals on smaller hotels and guesthouses with a solid selection of last-minute availability, use HRS, BedAndBreakfast.eu, and Booking.com. Or, if you’d rather not share a bathroom with Frau Schweinsteiger, you can live like a true local in an apartment from Airbnb.
And, finally, for the most Instagram-worthy digs, book your stay on a local farm, vineyard, or mountain hut through one of the many agrotourism sites like Austria’s Holidays on the Farm, French Vineyard stays, and Discover Tuscany. You can get your hands dirty by pitching in or just kick back and enjoy a different pace of life far from the crowded metropolitan areas.