Image by Movan Brenn used under the Creative Commons License.

Why bother? You won’t understand the language, it costs an arm and a leg and worst of

all you have to have a hideous passport photo taken. Only kidding! A trip to Europe is

the coolest thing you can do (outside of getting an invite to a post-Oscars party). And

you will definitely remember your vacation for years to come, no matter how awesome

the post-Oscars party may be! But like all big adventures it pays to plan ahead and

sweat the details. Here’s a top six list to start you off.

1. Plan your itinerary 
This may feel like stating the obvious, but bear in mind you won’t be able to go

everywhere – Europe is pretty big so think carefully about what you want to see, where

you want to go and prioritize. If possible, plan a route that takes you to countries with

adjoining borders as it cuts down on travel time, overall costs, and you will still get a

great experience. For instance, France and Spain may be next door to each other but

the culture, lifestyle and food are worlds apart.

2. Planes, trains and automobiles 
Think about taking the train. Europe is very well served by railways; it’s a great way to

see the landscape and gives you the chance to meet the locals along the way.

Alternatively, great value flights to Europe are usually available and if the mainland

features highly on your itinerary, hiring a car can make sense especially if you are

sharing costs and driving with a friend.

3. Pack light… 
You really don’t need a huge wardrobe for your trip especially if you’re going to be

moving around a lot, so pack accordingly. Casual clothes work best and if you are really

stuck then it’s a perfect excuse to do a bit of shopping in those cute little boutiques

Europe is famous for.

4. … even lighter!
Go easy on the electronics and gadgets. You can always use an internet café if you

have a desperate need to get in touch but realistically, a smart phone and a camera

should do for most people. It is also worth bearing in mind that you will need voltage

adaptors for any chargers you bring along.

5. Think outside the box 
Once in Europe you might consider a package deal from a local travel agent. For

example, Barcelona city breaks can be obtained from London, and cutting down on

those trans-Atlantic flights will save you a lot of money. Another great idea is to go

beyond the obvious tourist sites. For instance, in Paris the Eiffel Tower may get all of the

attention but for a lesser known and quirkier landmark, visit Père Lachaise Cemetery to

visit the graves of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.

6. Be smart about money

Many, but not all, European countries use the Euro. Try to minimize the amount of cash

or travelers cheques you exchange to avoid commission. ATMs are as widespread as

they are back home, however, check with your account provider about any

charges/exchange rates before you travel to avoid any nasty fees. If you are on a

budget, check the exchange rates when planning your itinerary. Eastern Europe, for

instance, tends to be a bit cheaper than the Scandinavian countries.

So get started on your European trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately you still will need that

hideous passport photo, but don’t worry, you’ll probably amass a few hilarious ones

along the way too!

Thanks for Expedia for help bringing you this post.