If you want to see as much of the world as you can you may like to try country-hopping. You don’t need to limit a holiday to one country per trip. There are many ways to fit multiple countries into one trip without having to spend huge amounts on travel and accommodation. Here are a few ways to pack more excitement and variety into each journey.
Take a cruise
One of the easiest ways for country-hopping is to book a cruise. Here you get to stay in the same room every night, whilst getting the option to explore a new location on land every day. You usually only get a few hours per day to explore – unless you book an excursion with the cruise you may only be able to explore the local port. There will also be days when you are at sea and confined to the boat. However, this is likely to suit many people that want the opportunity to explore new countries but also the security of having accommodation and a restaurant to come back to every night. The likes of TripADeal cruises have multiple cruise options in different areas of the globe from the Mediterranean to South East Asia. Don’t think that cruising is for old people only – there are many cruises for young people and cruises for families and kids too.
Country-hopping by coach
A coach trip is another popular way of seeing lots of different countries in one trip. Companies such as Global Coach Tours offer coach trips with multiple stops around Europe. Like a cruise, the stress of finding your own way is removed, although you do have to get used to staying at different accommodation each night. Coach trips are cheaper than cruises, but more intimate – you’ll be stuck in a coach within close proximity of the same people each day. This can be great for people travelling alone, but perhaps not so good if you’re looking for an intimate couple escape. There are similarly coach trips out there for all ages and demographics.
Try interrailing for country-hopping
You can also visit multiple countries by train. ‘Interrailing‘ is a common means of getting around the likes of Europe or South East Asia. You get to choose your own route and stay at the places you want to stay at. Some people book their whole itinerary ahead including travel and accommodation, whilst others may prefer to do it more spontaneously. Either way, interrailing is much harder work than travelling via coach or cruise, but better for those that want to make their own itinerary. It’s also easier to work interrailing around any budget.
There are some incredible classic train rides across the world in the style of the orient express more like coach trips and cruises that make country hopping feel very luxurious. These are generally very expensive, but for their premium price you get a cabin to stay in each night and an on-board restaurant to dine at whilst you travel. The International Rail Travel Society details a few trains that offer this experience. Like a cruise or coach trip you are bound by the train’s route and so cannot create your own itinerary.
country-hopping by driving yourself
Another way to fit multiple countries into one holiday is to go on a roadtrip. Driving from country to country gives you ultimate freedom to plan your route. You could take your own vehicle or you could hire a car. It can be expensive as you have fuel to consider, toll costs and potentially any hire car fee, on top of having to book your own accommodation every night. If you bring your own vehicle, you do have the option to sleep in it at night to save costs. Taking a camper van or caravan is likely to make this a more viable option (or you could take a tent and aim to stay at campsites along the way).
A standard driving license may be all you need to travel in most countries, whilst others may require an international driving permit. In some countries such as China, you need to take their test before you can legally drive on their roads – such countries may be no-go areas if you are planning a multi-country road trip. Also be aware of vignette laws – you can only use motorways in some countries if you’ve bought a vignette.
Make use of cheap flights
Booking multiple flights might seem like an expensive way of country-hopping, but if you’re smart about it, it can be surprisingly cheap.
If you’re traveling somewhere long distance, it can actually be cheaper to break up the flight into two flights and stop somewhere else en route, rather than opting for a long-haul direct flight. For example, if you’re traveling from London to New York, you may as well stop off at Reykjavik or Lisbon as you could end up cutting the cost of the flight by half. Even with the added cost of a hotel for the night, it can still work out cheaper than a single flight with no stop.
Last minute flights are also a great way of saving costs. In order to book up flights, airline companies will lower costs a few days before. This does rely on having some spontaneity – it could be worth booking the time off work months before but only waiting a few days before your trip to book the flights.
Sites like Skyscanner are ideal for finding the cheapest flights. Be prepared to fly using budget airlines – you may have to put up with less legroom or do without in-flight entertainment as a result.
Note: This is a collaborative post.