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Planning a European Vacation

If you are planning a trip to Europe, it can be overwhelming to think about the logistics and scheduling of everything. Giving yourself plenty of time to plan and making sure you are prepared before leaving the country are the best ways to keep the trip stress-free and enjoyable. Traveling to Europe is an exciting and unique experience that will truly get you excited for future international trips. However, there is a lot more planning that goes into an international trip than a domestic one. Before you decide the details of your trip, it is important to take the time to organize and plan your European vacation thoroughly. Here are a few things you should consider when planning a trip to Europe.

Get Your Documents Ready

To ensure you have the necessary documents ready for your trip, you will need to do some research on your destination country. A passport will definitely be required to travel to Europe, but depending on your situation, there may be other documents or IDs needed to enter and exit the destination country. Once you have done your research on what is needed for your trip, you will need to ensure that all of the necessary documents are in your possession and that they do not expire for at least six months. Some countries do not consider a passport with less than six months' validity acceptable, even though it technically has not expired yet. Also, look into any rules your destination country may have about identification, passports or money exchanges, and make sure you have the documents required for each.

Note: Before you start planning your trip, keep in mind that new passports may take up to six weeks to be processed.

Create Your Itinerary and Start Pursuing

About six months before you plan to travel, start forming a rough itinerary. If you know there are certain attractions or European cities you want to experience, include them in your itinerary. Forming this plan will allow you to nail down the length of your vacation, and what you can realistically cover within that timeframe. When you have a list of places you want to include on your trip, look into each one's availability. Some attractions sell out years in advance, so you may not be able to attend each one on the list. Knowing what is available and what will not be can also help you to develop a schedule that is more concrete. Starting to research and book certain tours or attractions can give you a better idea of your travel itinerary and when you will need to move from one destination to the next.

Learn More About Your Destination

European destination cities have various important features you need to research before you visit. First, you should look into the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar. You may need to budget more or less than you originally thought because of the exchange rate. Look into restaurants close to your hotel and see how much an average meal costs in the city, as well. Taking time to complete these steps will help you create an accurate budget for the trip.

It is also important to learn about the seasons in the countries you plan to visit, regarding extreme heat or cold. Knowing what to expect weather-wise will help you plan accordingly when it comes to deciding what kind of clothing to pack.

Book Your Vacation

Now that you know where you want to go and what is available, you can start booking different parts of your European trip. Since airfare will probably be the most expensive piece of the vacation, start shopping around for that first. Giving yourself plenty of time to book your flight will provide you with many different options for airfare. Lodging and transportation while at your destination will also need to be coordinated long before your trip. Shopping on discount websites or booking package deals can save you money in this regard. You should also look into multi-day or multi-night discounts and consider staying at the destination an extra day or night if it helps with the daily rental car rate or the nightly hotel fee.