So you are planning your very first vacation to Europe? Don’t fret. Europe is a gorgeous destination. You will have memories to last a lifetime. I just want to help you get ready for this fabulous trip of a lifetime. I have prepared a 9-step guide to help you prepare for this trip.
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If you have ever written up yourself a “Bucket List”, Europe should be on it. I cannot tell you enough about how beautiful Europe is. It is filled with history, rich scenery, wondrous architecture, culture, and beautiful kind people.
My family and I have been to Europe many times over the years. I was introduced to Croatia when I was about 11 years old. I met distant relatives, visited many towns, and visited many historical landmarks.
When traveling abroad or pretty much anywhere, there are a number of things you need to do way in advance. There are a lot of preparations you need to take before starting out on an adventure like this.
There are of course the most important. You have to make sure that you have all the proper documents ready for the time you are going to travel.
9 STEP GUIDE TO GETTING YOU READY FOR EUROPE
You need to get your travel documents in order. You need to make sure that your passport is up-to-date. In Canada, your passport has to be good at least 3 months after you come back from your trip. So, make sure that your passport is updated. Double-check online with the entry and exit requirements of the country you are visiting.
Also important is if you are traveling with children or teens. Make sure they have the proper updated documentation. Children who turn 16, need to have an adult passport. I think it might be beneficial for you and your family to get a 10-year passport if possible in your area. You will not have to worry about it for a long time.
My family is lucky. We did that and still have a few years left on our passports. We don’t have to deal with these crazy lines.
With children, you get a shorter timeframe. They grow so fast and their appearance is constantly changing.
ESTABLISH A BUDGET
If you are thinking of traveling abroad, you should start saving for it now. You have plenty of time to do it. You should not take a vacation on borrowed money. Create a budget for yourself. Cut out some of the things that you really don’t need. Say no to those Starbuck coffees. I know it’s hard but think of all the money you could be putting away instead.
Open up a savings account just for your travels. All that extra “Starbuck” money you could be putting into your savings account. Let’s say you have a coffee/latte every day. 24/7 !! One of those would cost approximately $3-$4 (here in Canada anyway). That works out to about $1,456 every year in coffee. That’s the price of a plane fare. Yikes!
Anyways, bottom line, put away how much you can spare every week into this fund. Have an amount automatically taken out of your payroll check every week. You will not even feel it when it comes time to pay for your flight and accommodations.
CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION
Now that you have a budget in place, you can figure out how much you need for your destination. This is the fun part. You have so many beautiful countries to choose from. Some could be a little more expensive than the others but you have choices now. Go online and do your research. Consult with a travel agent. They will have great insight.
My husband and I have a family friend who is a travel agent and he helps us figure out what the perfect destination is for us and our situation. A travel agent can find you the best and most economical flights. Lately, I have noticed when I research myself, a lot of the destinations I look for have an enormous amount of hours of layovers between flights. It all comes down to the cost.
Grab Your FREE Travel Itinerary
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CREATE A ROUGH ITINERARY
So now you have your destination of a lifetime picked out. Now you should plan out what you want to do when you get to your destination. Do your research and figure out what you want to do. Write down all the things you want to do and see.
When I travel, even if it’s somewhere that we go to bathe in the sun and sit on a beach, I don’t just want to sit on a beach. I want to explore the city and take in the culture, the architecture, the beautiful scenery.
You pay all this hard-earned money to go on this adventure abroad, you want to see the sites. So by all means, research your destination.
You should book your airfare way in advance while prices are low. If you wait until closer to the departure date you choose, the prices of airfare will most definitely go up. You might also lose the date you had in mind if you wait too long. Flights book up really fast.
If you plan on going to Europe in the summer month, as we do, start thinking of booking your flight right after January. Last year we waited too long. My husband picked a date this past June, to go to Europe and held it because he was going ahead of my children and me. He waited too long. So, he lost the date he wanted and had to figure out another date. Your whole itinerary can change.
BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION
After you book your airfare, which is most important, you need to book your hotel or other accommodations soon after. Again all of this should be done well in advance. I see a lot more people booking rental properties for a longer stay. There are so many beautiful homes that could be rented out for a week or two or even a month if you so wish. They are spectacular with all amenities, pool, and a jacuzzi.
You can find such accommodations online at booking.com.
CONSIDER TRAVEL INSURANCE
If you are lucky you have travel insurance through your employer. But if you don’t, you really do need to think of getting travel insurance. You never know what could happen when you are away from home. You don’t want to end up in debt because you didn’t want to spend a few extra dollars on getting insurance for your trip.
Do your due diligence and research different travel insurance companies and compare costs.
BOOK LOCAL TRANSPORTATION
If you plan on doing a lot of site-seeing as I know you must, you need to rent a vehicle so you don’t have to rely on public transportation. But that could very well be an option for you as well. You could site see by taxi or tour buses or even taxi-boats (which is the norm in Croatia)
You have tackled the most important points of your vacation abroad. The rest is simple. Make sure you have all the proper belongings to take with you. For that, you should create a list of all the things you need to take.
I wish you all the luck and nothing but the best. I hope you have an amazing adventure on your trip of a lifetime to Europe.