If this is your first trip to Europe, this article will help you get ready, prior to boarding your plane and make the most of it once you get there. Europe’s diversity is one of the reasons why it is so wonderful to visit, but it can also become overwhelming, when you change countries rapidly. Here are a few travel tips that will help you navigate this experience like a pro.
The secret to a successful trip to Europe is in the planning. The first thing you have to do is to check if you need a visa to enter the Schengen zone. If so, then start the appropriate requests to get it right away. Afterwards, buy your plane tickets and a travel health insurance, which you may need to get into Europe, according to your citizenship. Anyway, it is always better to have one, no matter where you travel. Now, let’s get into details, so you can really make the most of your European trip.
Plan Your Itinerary and buy Your Airline Tickets Early
Traveling from one European country to another, by plane, is not that expensive. However, you need to plan in advance and book early. Therefore, the first thing you need to do, once you have made up your mind about heading to Europe, is to decide which countries you want to visit, during your stay.
There are many ways to go about it. You can decide to visit only one country, so you can get to know it more in depth. For example, when you head to France, Spain or Italy, the cities from the North are really different from the South. Therefore, even though you will remain within the border of one state, you will still go back home feeling as if you had visited different ones. The only thing that will remain the same throughout your trip is the language.
You can also decide to visit a few capital cities, since the airline tickets are not that expensive, if you are willing to fly with a lowcost company, such as Ryanair and EasyJet. But if you do so, then you should pack accordingly. Travelling with a lot of luggage will rapidly become costly, as they are not part of the ticket cost. If you have a small one, weighing below 10kg, some will let you take it for free while others will offer a very low price. Check each airline’s rules before booking the tickets. This kind of trip can be the perfect getaway for those who like intense, short-stays. Plan three full days per capital, to really enjoy each city.
Book your Hotel and/or B&B Early Too
Today, there are so many different websites that let you book hotel rooms, while comparing them. Choose one and look for the accommodations that suit you. Note them with their price, according to the dates when you are in the city, and then head to two other websites to see if you can get a better price. The fact is, according to the deals they have with different hotels, chances are the prices will vary from one to another, all the time. That is why it is interesting to compare before booking.
Take a Tour Bus on your First Morning in the City
You have seen them in every major city. They can be red, green or yellow and they go around town, dropping their passengers at the main touristic points. This is the best way for you to get an idea of what you want to see, while you will be staying in the city. The idea is to stay inside the bus for a full tour and note the sites that look most interesting. After, stop at your first destination and keep going however long you are staying in the city, non-stop. Do not waste too much time having lunch in restaurants. In fact, it is best to grab a sandwich or a quick snack on the go. When the lights go out and all activities close down, then you can sit yourself in a nice restaurant and enjoy local food.
Driving in Europe
If your idea of traveling is a road trip, then you absolutely must think about getting an international drivers’ license before you leave. Normally you should be able to get it to AAA quite easily. This may vary according to your country of citizenship. Be aware that some states (like Poland) will not let you rent a car if you don’t have one. They won’t reimburse you either, as it is normally written in the contract, which most people don’t read all the way to the end, when they make a reservation online.
These are the basic elements you will need to prepare to really enjoy your trip to Europe. One last suggestion: If you don’t speak English, try picking a country that speaks your own language to start. This will make your adaptation to Europe, a little easier.