Larry’s Europe Planner
Europe is on your bucket to visit and re-visit. Follow my Europe planning suggestions and you will save time, save money, and enhance your vacation experience.
When? When will you be traveling? Prices and availability of places to visit and attractions vary by season.
What? What do you want to see? The first thing you have to accept is that you cannot see it all in one trip. Avoid the temptation to over schedule your itinerary. You may find yourself running from place to place and see Europe from inside a rental car or train with little time to really enjoy yourself and “experience” Europe rather than just “visiting” Europe. You may want to see major cities, such as London, Paris, and Rome. Or, decide on a regional visit, such as Tuscany, Great Britain, Bavaria, Provence, or Scandinavia. Remember, you can’t see it all.
Budget? Is your budget a “target” or a “straight jacket”? Your budget will help you determine when you travel and what you can see.
How? Will I see Europe on a land tour staying in hotels along the way? Or, maybe a Europe ocean cruise visiting the Mediterranean, Great Britain, or the Baltics and Scandinavia? Or, will it be a Europe river cruise along the Rhine, Danube, or Seine rivers? Each has advantages. As you consider each option consult with your Columbus Travel agent for professional input and advice.
Best advice? Take a piece of paper. Draw three columns. Label the first column A, the second B, and the third C. Talk with all persons in your family or party that is traveling and make a list of what you want to see and visit on your trip. Column A is “This is what I absolutely, positively, must see or I will die!” Column B is “We really, really want to see this, but if we don’t somehow life will go on.” Column C is “I would like to see this, but if it doesn’t work out it’s okay.” You are prioritizing what is important for you to make your Europe trip the best ever. And remember, there is no right or wrong to your list. Your interests and list will be different from mine. It’s what is important to you.
Daily Schedule. After you have determined how long you will be gone, what have identified you’re a, B, and C lists, take another piece of paper and number each day. For example, if I am planning to be gone 10 days, I write 1, 2, 3, 4…to 10. Now fill in what you are planning for each day. You will be surprised how fast your time fills up. Don’t over schedule your trip. Allow yourself time to just relax, stroll cobble stone alleys, visit street markets, and see major attractions.
Documents? You will need a valid passport. Some countries will require a tourist visa to enter their country. Go to https://travel.state.gov This site is maintained by the U.S. State Department and provides a wealth of travel information. In the middle of the home page look for “Learn about your destination”. Enter each country you plan to visit. Look for entry visa requirements, travel alerts/warnings, and other useful information. Take a color photocopy of your passport information page, leave one at home with family/friends, and take one copy with you. In the unlikely event your passport is lost or stolen, you can get it replaced quickly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate office.
Now, go and enjoy Europe…and email me some photos!