You need to ask yourself some questions in order to establish your travel parameters, regardless of who does the leg work.
Your Personal Travel Parameters
1. 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 to our ➾ Create Your Agenda page to view our recommendations for the amount of time one should adequately spend in each region or city.
2. Determine Your Traveling Style.
This is important. Who you are and what you are makes a big difference on where you can go and what you can do. Are you a youth or senior traveler? Traveling solo, with family and children, accessible travel or lifestyle travel. Go to our ➾ Determine Your Traveling Style page.
3. What Are Your Interests
We all have our personal likes and dislikes so do what inspires you. Culture, Food, Nature, History, are just a few areas that may fulfill you. Go to our » Places To See & Things To Do pages and find activities you like for destinations you want to visit.
4. Choose on Your Destinations.
Go to our ➾ Choose Your Destinations page and for some suggestions to Europe’s most sought-after destinations. Make sure to put those important things first.
5. 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 ➾ Create Your Agenda page for some guidance.
6. What’s Your Budget Limitations?
Money is always an issue for just about every one 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.
Booking Your Trip, 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. If they are an experience agent, they will know which tours to book you on, the places to stay and also eat.
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…
If you have decided to take this on alone go to our ➾ Booking Online page and use the listed resources to book your trip. Also view our Booking Flights Online page
With the expansion of the internet more and more people have become accustomed to booking 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 Multiple Services…
Many seasoned travelers still use agents for booking flights because they monitor for better rates and options. 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 and travel. Remember, if you are on a tour, you may not have the free time you want to explorer the things you want. Tours are on tight schedules to get you from one location to another so visits to sights can be very limited. That can be discouraging if you want to take extra time to really soak in the moment.
Days Prior to Departure Americans Make the Decision to Travel
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce: International Trade Commission, Air Travelers (SIAT) Survey Data on U.S. Residents Visiting Overseas Countries.
1 – 3 Days
4 – 7 Days
8 – 14 Days
15 – 30 Days
31 – 60 Days
61 – 90 Days
91 – 120 Days
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 and Packing pages
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.
1 Year prior to departure…
• 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.
6 Months before …
• Passport and Visas are completed, and you have them in your physical possession.
• Monitor Airline tickets for pricing. Booking is normally the best after 6 months to 2 months prior.
• 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.
• Make arrangements for adult supervision over any minor children not traveling on the trip.
3 Months before …
• 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 120-60 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.
1 Month before …
• Make sure you have all medical prescriptions are filled for the duration of your trip. You do not want to run out while on the trip without the ability to refill.
• Double check all electronics and make sure they are in good working order.
• Notify trusted family, friends and neighbors that you will be going away. Make arrangements with any to monitor home activities for emergencies.
• Do not post you are going on a trip on social media platforms, this is an invitation for home invasion.
1 Week before …
• Finalize your checklist for everything you plan to take.
• Test pack everything and confirm it fits into the baggage you’re taking and that you can easily transport everything.
• Provide house keys with family, friends or neighbors that you have ask to watch your home, make sure you have the proper keys that work in the door lock. Leave them an itinerary so they can contact you in an emergency.
• Reload fresh batteries in devices with replaceable batteries.
• Make parking reservations if you intend to leave your car at a parking facility.
1 Day before…
• Check in online if possible and print your boarding pass.
• Pre-pack as much possible in your baggage and stage unpacked items you will be taking with you on the plane.
• 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.
• Set your security system, if needed.
• Double check your final checklist and make sure you have everything.
• Airlines request that you check in at the airport 2 hours before and international flight departs.