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.