Many people dream of traveling to Europe at least once in their lifetime. The old continent has a wide range of cultures, languages, attractions, and intricate histories that draw in people from all over the world. Whether you are passionate about architecture, art, or music, Europe features opportunities for intellectual exchange, entertainment, and inspiration.
Travel can also be overwhelming, and planning a trip to Europe is no easy task, especially if it is your first time going. Travelers often underestimate the amount of time it takes to travel within Europe, even though flight or train times aren’t necessarily long. Bear in mind that it will take a big chunk of your day to travel from a city to another city. Below we provide you with some useful advice about how to plan your trip to Europe and make the most out of your visit.
Your Unique Trip to Europe
Europe is a popular destination because of its diversity in several areas. There are places that boast festivals like Berlin and Amsterdam or feature beautiful beaches and islands like Greece or Spain or have incredible food like France. Every country in Europe tells its story through its buildings, customs, and people. Your trip to Europe can be unique because you will go to the places that you like. Plan your trip to Europe based on your personal preferences and needs. Read further about some additional advice.
Travel Documents for Your Trip to Europe
Every country in Europe requires that travelers carry a valid passport. If you don’t have a passport or is about to expire you will not be able to travel to and within Europe. Currently, American citizens can travel to Europe without applying for a visa for stays of up to 90 days. However, the European Commission is expected to launch an electronic travel authorization in 2021 that will become a mandatory requirement in order to enter the Schengen Area. The ETIAS visa waiver for Europe will be available through an online application in which travelers will be required to complete their personal and passport details.
When to Travel to Europe
Decide on the season of the year that suits your needs and availability first. For many travelers, money and time are often the biggest constraints. If you plan your trip with several months in advance it is possible to book cheaper flights and find better deals for your accommodation. If you avoid Europe’s high season, which is July and August, you are likely to find lots of options. Unless you’re looking for an extremely hot summer, spring and fall are beautiful seasons that paint the cities in pretty colors and enjoy good temperatures. Do consider that the weather in Northern Europe tends to be cooler than in the southern countries.
Decide Where You Want to Go in Europe
Once you’ve decided when to go and the time you have available for your journey, start thinking about what you want to see: which cities, beaches or even events or festivals. Europe is well communicated and fortunately, there are several low-cost airlines, trains, and buses that will allow you to move freely. With this being said, consider the time you will spend traveling from one place to the other. Perhaps you will benefit more from a narrower list of destinations so that you can really explore the place, connect with locals, and relax.
The best advice we can give you is to pack the essentials. Bring comfortable shoes and clothing, and perhaps an outfit to go out. Depending on where you go, people might dress more casually when going out. Barcelona, for instance, has a very laid back atmosphere, while some spots in Paris might require a fancier dress code. Come prepared to walk a lot as it is not only the best way to get to know the places, but European cities are designed differently and you will have to walk to reach a metro or bus stop.
Food, Drinks and More
Europe has food for all kinds of tastes and budgets. From street food to food markets to Michelin restaurants, you will be able to find crunchy fries, falafel, and oven pizza. Depending on the country, drinks might be more or less expensive, though a beer or a glass of wine have fairly similar prices. If the weather is nice you can also purchase food and drinks at a supermarket and have a picnic outdoors. Most countries in Europe host a series of events and festivals throughout the year. Each major city has cultural centers, museums, and art galleries.