Now is the time to let your family dream vacation come true. Most of the transcontinental flights go to a fixed list of the larger gateway cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. That said, London is always expensive and the cities of Western Europe are never cheap. Plane tickets can be cheaper than the train but they require more planning and the airports for the budget airlines often lie far out of town making even a short flight a half-day ordeal.

I love to see as much as I can on a trip, which means I struggle with the temptation to jump from city to city. This is actually the worst time to visit Europe. Depending on how much time you intend to spend in Europe & the number of countries on your plan, getting a Eurail pass can lead to big savings, and the train is a great way to see the European countryside.

We had a few places in mind such as Argentona (to visit friends), Freiburg (Black forest in Germany), Austrian Alps (downhill mountain biking & hiking), Pisa & Venice (Jasper has just finished a school topic on Italy), Lake bled, Slovenia (outdoor activities and wilderness), Pag & Trogir (beautiful Croatian islands) and Montenegro (beauty & remoteness).

Places of historic significance in Slovenia include old towns such as Ljubljana (the capital, with an old historic centre, castle, cathedral) and Celje (centuries-old town with medieval castle), but if you find yourself short of time, Slovenia is not Europe's must-see.

Cost is something to consider as well: renting a car for the entire time that you're in Europe may work out cheaper for the five of you than a train passes for the whole family. It's an ideal place for some family beach days as it would be out first stop on the Mediterranean coast.

Unless you're spending most of your travel days taking long-distance high-speed trains, buying a rail pass is probably going be an unnecessary expense. It doesn't get much better than a trip to London and Paris. On this trip we spent time in Berlin, Munich, camping in northern France with some friends, Paris (of course), the south of France (mainly around Cannes), and then Milan briefly, Florence, and Rome.

If your trip is planned last minute and you don't have enough time to wait for better deals, flight aggregators are your best bet for flight tickets, while can find you the best bargains for accommodation. We took a train then cable car up to Murren for a fantastic view but there are a few different peaks you can visit.

I have found that 4 or 5 days in one place can be a quite good overview and even give you some down-time too. Whilst I haven't been backpacking around Europe yet, my parents travel a lot and they mentioned to me France is getting very expensive now. Loved reading this, even though I don't have kids, to show that it is affordable to travel to Europe.

Last year, we went to Paris, Bruges and Amsterdam, and my 8 year old twins loved it. In 2017, I want to plan a spring break trip at the end of March to probably Europe again. I just try to plan and make best use of the time in Europe. Portugal's capital city, Lisbon, has much in common with other prominent European cities.

Many rental car offices aren't open on Sundays or open for just a few hours so we'll end up driving an hour longer to pick up the car at the rental company's airport location instead of their downtown city locations. Get lots more inspiration for travel by train in Europe in the On the Luce ‘European Rail Travel Ideas Book', launching early 2019.