Skip the Car Rental in Europe Use Public Metro Transit
Skip the car rental in Europe and get around using the public metro transportaion. Most all large European cities have great public rail systems, underground metro, city trains, and street cars that can get you within a block or two of anywhere you want to go. This can also be true with other major cities around the world, with the exception of the USA. Rental cars during a family vacation can be a hassle in Europe because gas is expensive, parking is a definite challenge, and trying to understand all the different rules of the road ca be stressful. Instead just hope on the nearest street train or underground metro and leave the driving to someone else.
Taking the underground metros are fast since you’ll avoid all traffic on the streets above. Taking the street cars are also fast on allow you to site see as you travel along. You can grab a city public transit map at any major train station or airport when you arrive. Many large cities also have apps that have offline maps making it convenient to figure out how to get from one place to another (plus you’ll look less like a tourist because people will think you are just texting while you are studying your route). Google Maps is an excellent tool for planning your routes and it’s free! Get on Wi-Fi and plan your route and then take a screenshot to your photos and you’ll have the exact map and trains to take offline.
All you need to do is grab either a one way ticket or a day pass, if you think you are going to multiple places in a day, at a kiosk at the train stop or from a ticket office in a metro station. There really is no price advantage buying either a one way or a day pass. It’s more about convenience and time.
In all honesty it is extremely rare that anyone will ever check you for a ticket on a street car and many tourists cheat the system by taking free rides. But in the special occasion a person is caught without a ticket (and one that is not validated) the penalty can be extremely expensive ($50 USD and above) where a typical one way ticket is about $1. It’s just not worth the risk and it’s bad karma.
In many places just because you have a ticket doesn’t mean you are all set to ride the train. Look around at the train stop or when you jump on the train for a validation box. These are usually yellow, orange, or red little box on the hand poles. Just put your ticket in and it will time stamp it or punch it to show that it is validated. Riding the underground you’ll defiantly need a ticket to get in and out of the underground stations. If you are going to be in a city for multiple days you may benefit from getting a multi day pass. That keeps you from having to stop and buy tickets each trip and allows you to just get on and get off stress free.