Are you planning to visit London, Berlin, Paris or the like and are struggling to determine the best way to begin organizing your tip? This guide will go over some of the things you will want to do and consider when traveling to parts unknown (to you).
–Book your trip well in advance. This will allow you to save money, and will give you an adequate amount of time to prepare for your visit. Be sure to thoroughly research the area you are planning to go to in order to determine the places you would like to see, how to stay safe, and seasonal events you may be interested in checking out. Purchase a guidebook, and a dictionary of the language of the area you will be taking a trip to.
– Take weather into consideration. Many people feel spring may be the best time to visit Paris for example, but Paris is also lovely during the winter seasons, with seasonal festivities and Christmas celebrations. Bear in mind if you visit a European country during a less popular season, you will encounter less tourists like you to deal with, and may find the trip easier and less expensive to plan. Then, a week before you take off, look into the weather of the country you are planning to see and pack accordingly. For those interested in visiting London, say, although it rarely sees snow in the winter, it is likely to rain. Be sure to pack a rain coat and umbrella.
–Pack intelligently. You will be kicking yourself if you overpack for your trip and end up lugging too many suitcases around, or if you forget to pack something important. Bring clothing that can be layered, clothes that can be used to mix and match (and therefore cut down on the number of pieces you bring) and small accessories that can alter the look of your outfit, so you can get away with packing less clothing. Bring one pair of walking shoes, and one pair of shoes for going out. Many European cities like London require a lot of walking, so ladies, please pack more than simply high heels!
–Look into the currency of the country you are visiting. While you may assume packing Euros is adequate enough, England, for one, still heavily favors the pound. You may find yourself incurring serious bank fees if you need to use your card heavily because you did not bring the proper currency to the country you are going to. Speaking of money, always call your bank before you leave for Europe to let them know that you are planning a trip. Banks will recognize credit card use in another country as fraud and if unprepared, you may have to face the embarrassment and stress of a declined credit card if you do not let your bank know it is in fact you utilizing the card. If you are visiting from the states, you should know that much of Europe uses “chip machines” – that is credit card readers that identify your card information off of an embedded chip on the card. If you do not have a chip on your credit card, request a newer card from your bank that does have one. Soon enough it will be standard in the United States as well, so it will be helpful for you in the long term as well.
–Know how you will get around before you leave. For example, you may need to get a transit pass one week in advance before you arrive in your country, so be sure to do your research. Know where the airports are, and how to get to them quickly. Also, bear in mind that your incoming flight might be from a different airport than your outgoing flight.
–Look into the country’s customs to avoid embarrassment or frustration. While every country has an abundance of customs, slang, and its own nuances, there are some major things you might want to look into before leaving. For example, how do you let people know you are finished with your meal in a restaurant? In London, if your fork and knife are not crossed in the middle of your plate, the waiter will assume you are not finished eating.
–Be fully prepared for an emergency. Go to your physician for a checkup before leaving. God forbid you get sick in a different country, if you have gotten a preliminary checkup you can pin down the cause of your illness faster when you get home. If you may require dental work, see the dentist before leaving. Medicine users should be sure to stock up on their necessary medications before leaving the country for a trip. Finally, try to limit the amount of valuables you take with you, and list every valuable you have. Take down the serial number, model and make of the item, and take photos of them in case they are stolen.
Planning a trip to Europe is an exciting, yet overwhelming thing to do. If you prepare for as many contingencies as possible, chances are you will enjoy your trip much more. While there is no way to prevent anything unexpected from happening, a bit of extra planning and research will surely come in handy.