So You Have Made The Decision To Go To Europe
So Where Do You Start?
Consider these steps when panning your trip.
1. Choose on Your Destinations.
Go to our » CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATIONS page and for some suggestions to Europe’s most sought after destinations.
2. Who’s Going To Do All The Leg Work?
There are air tickets to buy, hotel rooms to reserve, transportation to get around once you’re there, where and what to eat, see and do.
3. Determine Your Traveling Style.
Who you are and what you are makes a big difference on where you can go and what you can do.
4. How Much Can You Spend?
Money is always an issue for just about everyone of us so you’ll need to know what you can spend by setting a budget. Go to our » BUDGET YOUR MONEY page and view typical costs for traveling throughout Europe.
5. When Can You Go and For How Long?
Choosing the best time can be a little complicated for many as there are jobs, careers, family matters and the time of year to take into consideration. Go the our » ORGANIZING TIME page to view our recommendations for the amount of time one should adequately spend in each region or city.
6. What Are Your Interests
We all have our personal likes and dislikes. Culture, Food, Nature, History, are just a few areas that may interest you. Go to our » ACTIVITIES category page and find activities you like for destinations you want to visit.
7. Create an Agenda
Once you have narrowed down what you want to do and see, it’s time to work an agenda into your time frame. To help determine how many days you need to spend in what locations, go to our » AGENDA page for some guidance.
8. Booking Your Trip
If you have decided to take this on alone go to our » BOOKING ONLINE page and use the listed resources to book your trip.
9. Be Prepare with What You’ll Need
Be prepared well in advance, to have everything you’ll need for the trip. Have a checklist for clothing, accessories, passport, documents, tickets, electronics, money, etc. You will find help for these at our » WHAT YOU NEED page and » PACKING page.
Plan Well in Advance…Make a To Do List…
Planning a well thought out agenda will only make for a incredible experience. Give yourself ample time to prepare and put everything together. You’ll find it’s fun to plan and see it all fall into place.
- Once you’ve chosen where you are going you now need to decide what time of year to go is best.
- Once you have established a date start checking periodically for sales on airfares and know which routes give you the best benefits. If you plan to use airline miles for free tickets you’ll need to book those much farther in advance than 60 days.
- Start making a check list of everything you’ll need to have for the trip. Tickets, passes, documents and what you plan to pack.
- Set your tentative agenda for what countries and cities you are going to visit and how much time you will spend at each.
- Passport and Visa’s are completed and you have them in your physical possession
- Check the web sites for high volume attractions with limited access for availability and ticketing.
- Check tour services with special access to attractions as they sell out quicker than regular tours.
- Attain driving permits for use in countries that have a requirement.
- Train tickets should be coming available for ticketing 6 weeks prior to the dates for travel.
- Start to purchase museum and transportation passes or tickets.
- Make sure you have all your pending medical and dental treatments completed.
- Keep monitoring airfares they will come down from their initial price and should hit their lowest price 60-50 days prior to departure.
- Shop and purchase necessary travel insurance.
- Make personal arrangements for pet boarding and have medical requirements like exams, immunizations,etc. completed.
- Contact credit card companies and advise them what countries you’ll be in and the dates.
- If you have any medical issues, visit your health professional for approval to travel.
- Establish international coverage for your mobile devices.
- Make arrangements to notify family and friends of your agenda. Make an itinerary of days you will be where. Include hotel and transportation reservations, phone numbers to contact in case of an emergency.
- Make copies of all documents and credit cards and keep in a separate place when traveling.
- Notify the US Postal Service to hold your mail in your absence. You may do this on line at » USPS.com / manager your mail / USPS hold mail.
- Finalize your checklist for everything you plan to take.
- Make sure medical prescriptions are filled for the duration of your trip.
- Pre pack everything you plan to take. Make sure it fits into the baggage you’re taking and that you can easliy transport it.
- Double check all electronics and make sure they are in good working order. Reload fresh batteries in devices with replaceable batteries.
Day Prior to Departure…
- Check in online if possible and print your boarding pass.
- Call family, friends or neighbors that you’re departing if you have ask them to watch your home provide them with the house keys, make sure the keys work in your door lock. Leave them an itinerary so they can contact you in an emergency.
- Make sure lights you have connected to timers work at night.
- Email copies you made of your documents to yourself so you ‘ll have them on your mobile device.
Day of Departure…
- If you are leaving your home unattended, shut off water at the main valve and turn the dial on your hot water heater to vacation.
- Double check your final checklist and make sure you have everything.
- Airlines ask you check in at the airport 2 hours before and international flight departs.
The nice problem with planing a trip to Europe is that there is so much to see and do. Most of us only have two weeks to go there so while you would like to see as much as possible, it probably isn’t possible. Never make the mistake of trying to see too much as it will only lead to frustration and fatigue. Some tours rush you into and out of sites so quickly you never get a chance to soak in the moment and create a lasting memory of Europe. Plan on taking more time at locations to see more of the area. You’ll regret not taking the time to see something when you were so near and not knowing if you’ll ever be back again.
1. Who’s Going To Get it Done?
It was only a short time ago when someone went to Europe everything was done by a travel agent. Their knowledge of places abroad would allow them to book you in the good hotels, lowest cost airline tickets, the right tours, etc. They became your personal travel consultant and would literally book everything. Not anymore, with the internet you can not only book everything but, attain information about the places you plan to visit so you’ll know what and what not to do.
Use a Travel Agent
Travel agents can save you a lot of time searching online. A good travel agent will get to know your personal likes and dislikes, as well as your travel limitations. They can be especially helpful finding good rates for flights and other services, based on the best times to travel for value and weather. They have access to information that the average web surfer does not. A good agent will monitor sales and the fluctuation in prices knowing the right time to purchase and save you money.
Book Everything Yourself Online
With the expansion of the internet more and more people have become accustom to booking domestics flights and other services online. While it can sometimes be a little time consuming, it can also be fun and rewarding. Aggregate web sites can search for hundreds of rooms, flights and more at the press of a keyboard. Searching for these services can be a little more difficult when traveling to another country. Some foreign web sites, for local information, are not in english or poorly translated to english, making them hard to navigate.
Use Both Services
Many seasoned travelers still use agents for booking flights because they can find better rates through their reservation system. They can monitor more closely the fluctuation in prices allowing them to suggest better travel times. Some web sites allow you to enter your travel destination and they will notify you when rates go down for that travel. You can read reviews from actual travelers at web sites on rooms, attractions, dinning and more. These can be very helpful when you are determining where to eat, sleep an travel.
2. Determine Your Traveling Style…
Your lifestyle can dictate what activity is more ideal for you to do than others. Your personal interests will also affect your traveling style so keeps this mind. Physical limitations, lifestyle, who you are traveling with will all determine your traveling style. Whatever category you fall into, here are a few tips.
You will find discounts for children at many attractions and for transportation. While the young ones may not want to view the paintings at a gallery or greek pottery in museum there are plenty of things to make them happy. Euro Disney is just outside of Paris and there are other amusement parks across Europe as well as most major cites have zoos & aquariums. Remember Europeans have children too and they need to keep them entertained as well so you will have a vacation more like them.
While you may not be able to do more adult things in Europe, your children will be exposed to a different culture which could be an enormous life experience for them. Open air cultural museums will let them experience how people live in other countries and how it is different from where they live. Some museums have interactive exhibits that will allow them to participate in many of the local customs. You know your child best and if this is something they will enjoy, if you are there to tell them what they are seeing, it could be an eye opening adventure. They will learn early in life that there is another whole world out there. Helpful web sites for family traveling.
What type of traveling is going to make you feel more comfortable? In a group, alone, with a spouse or partner? Make sure your provide time for resting, if it’s a tour make sure they provide down time for rest. Pack and ware comfortable clothing in favor of stylish ware. This is an experience and you do not need the extra stress, so chose what traveling environment best suits you best. There are tours designed just for traveling seniors and you amy find some of those at our tour page.
While there is a lot of walking, seniors that are still very mobile should have no problem. Yes there are buildings and structures with no elevators, just steps. Everyone will need to decide how much one can do, you must know your physical limitations. The number of steps to get to the top are usually posted so you know how much it will take to get there. Some old hotels have no elevators but someone can always assist you. Many streets are cobblestoned so wheeling those suitcases over them can be a bit bumpy. Make things easier by trying to stay at accommodations near public transportation so you do not have to far to walked with luggage. Taxis are always available in the larger cities.
There are many pharmacies and any one should be able to fulfill prescriptions for any medication as they do in the US. Europe had good medical and health facilities and you should have no problem finding one if necessary.
Student & Youth Traveling…
The best reason for traveling in your youth is you have your youth. Physically you are at your pinnacle when you are young and you obviously can do many things you may not be able to when you are older. Some young people work hard to build a career, foresee marriage and having a family on the near horizon and worry about affording to go to Europe when they are young, putting it off until later. Unfortunately for some, situations later in life make it even harder to go and a wonderful opportunity is lost. We encourage everyone to look hard at the opportunity to go when you are young. You will meet young people from other countries and immerse yourself in different cultures only to walk away with a greater understanding about the world we live. These experiences will help shape your life for the better and leave you with memories that will last forever.
Europe has always been a great place for the young with little money and a lot of energy. Backpacking has been big with the young in Europe for decades. Hostels are plentiful and hitchhiking is legal and safe in many countries. Camping out is another way to save money on hotels. If one can rough it a little, one can travel very cheaply. Guides like Rough Guides, are written with the young and active traveler in mind. Time Out is read by young travelers because it focuses on information for events and city life activity.
Accessible Travel for the Physically Challenged…
For sometime now the US has taken a leading position in the world for accessibility for the physically challenged. While things are improving, Europe is behind the curve when it comes to providing accessibility to attractions, hotels, etc.. Even leading up to the 2012 Olympics, London had not made all tube stations completely accessible as you still need to use steps before you get to an escalator or lift. There are limited curb ramps, lifts, inaccessible train platforms, transportation assistance and designated parking.
There will always be limited access to some areas because of the age of structures in Europe. Some of these are centuries old and altering them structurally in any way could physically damage them and comprise their integrity. Many of the transit web sites listed on our » Public Transit page, will indicate which stations have lifts and escalators. Remember to also inquire first before booking at a hotel if they have lifts, easy access to facilities and accessible rooms. Even if you are not physically challenge, remember you will be carrying luggage from time to time in and out of airports, train stations and other facilities so look for ways to make that a little easier.
It is important that LGBT travelers visit countries where you are not discriminated against, are safe and welcomed. In 2001 the Netherlands was the 1st country to recognize and legalize gay marriage in the world. Currently 12 European have legalized gay marriage and also have other types of legal partnerships. Not only is the recognition of same-sex marriage important but, countries that have passed laws that against discrimination and hate crimes.
However, several countries not only do not recognize gay marriage, civil unions and partnerships have even passed laws banning these them. Some have even gone so far as ban any expression of freedom with the LGBT lifestyle. This means you have no protection under the law should a crime be committed against you.
Visiting countries that have open door policies is highly recommended. Their country’s social recognition is highly important from The Netherlands high 92% approval rate. However Russia’s low 25% approval makes it a country to avoid traveling to for the LGBT traveler.
You can find all legal and protective status’s at multiple web sites listed below. You will also find services for accommodations and activities that are design for the LGBT life style.
Same-sex Marriage… 🇧🇪 Belgium / 🇩🇰 Denmark / 🇫🇮 Finland / 🇫🇷 France / 🇩🇪 Germany / 🇮🇸 Iceland / 🇮🇪 Ireland / 🇱🇺 Luxembourg / 🇳🇱 Netherlands / 🇳🇴 Norway / 🇵🇹 Portugal / 🇪🇸 Spain / 🇸🇪 Sweden / 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
Other Partnerships… 🇦🇩 Andorra / 🇦🇹 Austria / 🇨🇿 Czechia / 🇪🇪 Estonia / 🇩🇪 Germany / 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein / 🇬🇧 N. Ireland / 🇸🇲 San Marino / 🇨🇭 Switzerland
Foreign Recognition only… 🇲🇹 Malta
Unrecognized Status… 🇦🇱 Albania / 🇧🇦 Bosnia Hercegovina / 🇨🇾 Cyprus / 🇬🇷 Greece / 🇮🇹 Italy / 🇲🇰 North Macedonia / 🇷🇴 Romania / 🇹🇷 Turkey
Restrictions and Bans... 🇧🇾 Belarus / 🇧🇬 Bulgaria / 🇭🇷 Croatia / 🇭🇺 Hungary / 🇱🇻 Latvia / 🇱🇹 Lithuania / 🇲🇩 Moldova / 🇲🇪 Montenegro / 🇵🇱 Poland / 🇷🇺 Russia / 🇷🇸 Serbia / 🇸🇰 Slovakia