Europe is brimming over with fantastic holiday attractions: from ancient piazzas in Rome to wartime memorials in Berlin and buzzing Spanish tapas bars, you’re sure to find plenty to make a host of wonderful memories. Although thanks to the open-boundary Schengen Area, travelling in Europe may seem like a breeze, do make sure you have all the logistics figured out before taking off. Not only will it spare you some avoidable last-minute hurdles, it will certainly make your holiday run much smoother.
Make Sure Your Documents Are in Order
Do you have a passport? And is it up to date? These may seem like obvious questions, but if you haven’t has much experience, it is easy to assume it will only take a few days to obtain or update. In fact, it can take up to several weeks from the time of application. Speeding up the process is possible but it is pricey, especially if you are applying for several passports at the same time. You should leave a window of at least two months prior to your departure date to make sure your application is processed without any problems.
Figure Out Your Budget
Along with checking your passport status, establishing a budget (and sticking to it) should be one of the most important things to take into account when travelling in Europe. Depending on where you’re going, certain destinations are cheaper than others: Eastern and Southern Europe, for example, tend to have lower costs of living and lower incomes, so prices in many restaurants and shops will make your money go further.
It is possible, however, to save money even if you have chosen to visit a more expensive country or city: choosing budget accommodation and travelling in the off-peak season are just two ways to lower costs if you have your sights set on a cosmopolitan but expensive capital. If you’re travelling within the Eurozone you’ll be able to save a sizeable chunk of money in commissions by not having to exchange currency every time you step over a border.
Draft a Basic Itinerary
The idea of travelling in Europe can be slightly daunting, especially if you are hoping to stay in more than a few places, as the possibilities are virtually endless. One great tip is not to tie yourself down to flying in and out of the same airport, or even the same city, which will make your itinerary so much more flexible.
Create a rough itinerary of your trip before booking anything. Do some research into cities and sites you are keen on exploring as this will help you see just how much you can realistically fit into your holiday and how far your budget will take you. You might even find that flying back from a completely different country than you landed in turns out be the most affordable option.
Double-Check You’ve Covered the Small Details
With a few weeks to go before your journey, it is time to take care of last minute but nevertheless essential logistics. For example, make sure to inform your bank that you will be travelling in Europe so they don’t automatically freeze your account when a bill in a different currency comes through.
Other small but important things to take care of before you go include checking how much your mobile phone plan charges for overseas calls; asking a friend to keep an eye on your house during your absence to water the plants and collect the mail; and drafting a list of items to pack to avoid rushing the night before your flight.
Once you have all the critical boxes ticked you can relax! Travelling in Europe is a wonderful experience either on your own or with friends and family. Bon voyage!