Must Know Tips for Planning a European Vacation

Do you have an amazing trip to Europe on your bucket list?  Planning can be half the fun. If this is your first trip to Europe – you’re in for a treat. The options for exploration and adventure are only limited by your imagination! From joining an organized tour to backpacking on your own, any number of options is available to meet your interests and budget. Take these recommendations from the travel specialist to ensure your European vacation is filled memories to last a life time.

Some of the most critical components of planning for a trip to Europe need to be addresses well before airline tickets or hotel accommodations have been made. The first step is to check the expiration date on your passport.  If you need to renew your passport, or apply for a new one, allow at least three months processing time.  Appointments to process renewal or new passport applications can be made at your local post office. Pay special attention to requirements for children. Double check that you have all the proper documentation with you prior to your appointment. Do know that most European countries require that at least ninety days remaining prior to expiration preceding your date of departure from that respective country.  Once you’ve secured your new passport, take a picture of it. Leave one on your phone and print a hard copy to leave with a friend or family member not joining you on your trip. Should your passport be stolen, it will be much easier to process a new one with a copy of the old one.

The next step is to review international calling plan options with your cell phone carrier. Check out the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and explore the options available for data plans at Best Buy.  Free public wifi is not nearly as popular in Europe as it is in the United States. If you don’t make arrangements with your cell phone carrier for data coverage, you’ll need to make arrangements in each country. Make sure that your cell phone has a removable SIMM card. If so, you can purchase a pre-paid SIMM card loaded with a specified amount of data for each country. This is the most cumbersome option. It’s best to check with your cell phone carrier prior to leaving the United States.

Finally, order Euro currency from your local bank. This can take up to two weeks to arrive at the branch depending on your bank. Cash is much more widely used than credit cards in Europe compared to transactions in the United States. Many smaller establishments and restaurants do not accept credit cards. The exchange rates will be much more favorable in the United States than at the local train stations and airports.  Don’t discount the value of coins;  Euro coins have a much great value than dollar coins. Take along a change purse to keep track of your coins and allow easy access.

Finally, work with a travel agency to book your flight and hotel. You’ll get a much better rate than booking individually online. You’ll also benefit from the expertise and resources a professional travel agent has to offer. Be open to new foods, sights and adventures. Remember that as a tourist, you’re a guest in your host country. Respect their customs and culture and you’ll be treated with a warm smile every time!  Have a grand time during your European adventure!