For many people, Europe represents the trip of a lifetime, which means when you plan a trip there, it’s imperative you prioritise all your options so they’re realistic with the time you have available.
After doing the essential stuff like making sure you have a valid passport, it’s time to plan an itinerary. Hopefully some of these top five tips can help plan a trip to Europe effectively.
1. Make sure you establish a budget.
Yes, it’s tedious, but unless you have a clear idea on where your money’s likely to be spent, and how much you have in the first place, you’re not going to be the happiest traveller when you’re phoning relatives for loans barely halfway through your trip.
Things to consider as you plan a trip to Europe are travelling in the off-season, meaning avoiding school holidays and the peak months where possible. If this isn’t possible, consider booking cheaper accommodation. Of course, a few nights at The Ritz in London’s a dream for anyone, and we’re not suggesting you don’t go for it if your budget allows for it or the occasion demands it, but you can still see the city from the hotel down the road.
2. Have a focal destination as you plan a trip to Europe
There’s a good chance there’s one particular part of Europe you’d like to see above all others. If that applies to you, keep that main destination in mind as you plan your trip.
Say that you wanted to plan a trip to Europe with London at its heart and you have two weeks. Maybe you’d spend the first two nights there, then head off to Ireland for a couple of nights, spend another night in London then go to the Low Countries via the Eurostar. Maybe then you’d take budget flight to Spain and Portugal, then again stay in London before heading home.
Obviously, as you plan a trip to Europe you can make that central destination anywhere. You could make it Budapest in Hungary then go on to explore the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Or you could start in Copenhagen in Denmark, then head off to Sweden, Norway and Finland.
This particular idea may not be for everyone, but it’s one worth keeping in mind. That’s because although it’s not huge, Europe’s an incredibly diverse continent, and some semblance of structure will be vitally important to make the most of the time you have. Having a focal destination as you plan a trip to Europe is therefore not a bad thing.
3. Do things stage by stage.
If you choose not to go with the idea outlined above as you plan a trip to Europe, at least break your trip up into stages and explore sections of the continent methodically.
There’s little sense in beginning your trip in London, then flying off several thousand miles to Greece for a few nights, only to then come back and spend a few days in Wales, a mere three-hour drive from the English capital.
Europe’s small size combined with its diversity can really help you out here. You can see an incredible number of cultures and countries in a relatively small area – and therefore on a small budget, if you plan a trip to Europe effectively.
4. Book accommodation in advance.
Providing you’re not intent on travelling completely “on the fly” we’d highly recommend booking hotels in advance as you plan a trip to Europe. As well as this adding structure to your plans, it’ll also give you a better idea of your budget while you’re on your travels.
Doing this will also nullify the possibility of being turned away at successive hotels because they’ve got the “No Vacancies” signs up everywhere. You’re more likely to get a good discount by booking well in advance, too.
5. Pack sensibly.
When you plan a trip to Europe, you must take account of potential extremes of weather. Before even considering the terrain in Europe (part mountainous, part below sea level), there is the basic fact that Scandanvia, for example, will likely be much colder than, say, Spain, no matter what time of the year you go.
If your trip’s likely to take in a good deal of the continent, you’re almost certain to experience almost any kind of weather you can think of.
Of course, how you utilise the steps outlined above while you plan a trip to Europe is up to you, your budget and the time you have at your disposal.
Hopefully the tips provided here will help you plan a trip to Europe without the hassle.