I just got back from Europe after a 1 year stay in Munich. Done quite some extensive traveling too.
If you have any questions feel free to PM me.
1. you could purchase a European rail-pass which provides you with unlimited (except certain private lines/high-speed connections) rail travel across most countries in Europe while the pass is valid (e.g. 5-days/7-days). This is generally expensive but if you travel extensively, you stand to save quite a bit of money.
2. if you're staying longer in certain countries, for example Switzerland, you could purchase a Country rail-pass which provides you with unlimited travel within the country (except certain private lines/high-speed connections) while the pass is valid. This is considerably cheaper, and you can purchase the long-haul ticket (e.g. Zurich to Salzburg) separately.
3. some cities like Zurich also offer local rail pass, which provides unlimited travel (rail, bus, ferries) within the city. This is dirt-cheap.
Advantages of rail-passes:
1. free travel on train, buses, ferries (mostly public transports).
2. some free tours and entries of tourist areas (e.g. museums). You have to check with the local tourist center.
3. offers other discounts (e.g. entry to attractions or at certain shops/hotels).
4. In Germany and Switzerland, trains are extremely comfortable, frequent, very efficient (short traveling time) and on the-dot (in Switzerland, when the electronic signboard says 2 mins it means 2 mins, 1 min late and you'll miss the train/bus - not like the those we have in SG's bus stops).
1. you could try searching for promotional air-fares on certain longer routes (e.g. Zurich to Salzburg). Sometimes the fare including taxes can be cheaper than rail tickets.
2. the rail network in Eastern Europe is not as extensive nor as reliable. You might face some problems there.
Hotel wise, you could try http://www.etaphotel.com. It's a budget chain (1-star) belonging to Accor Group (Novotel, Mercure is also under them). It's safe (keep your doors lock though), cheap (cheaper if you book even earlier), clean, comfortable (air-conditioned, attached toilet and warm water bath) and fuss-free. The locations are not exactly city-center but very convenient. Don't expect 5-star service (you got to drag your own luggage, no room service) though, because man-power in Europe is expensive, they keep the head count to a minimum (there might be only 1-2 staff in the hotel after working hrs). Oh, and don't bother paying extra for the breakfast. If you're staying near a supermarket or convenience store, head there to grab a sandwich and latte (it's much cheaper and better tasting).
Etap might not be as well-established in Eastern Europe. But it's generally cheaper there, so you can stay in some better hotels.
This is just some general advice since I don't know how you're planning your trip. You can pm me if you got specific questions =]