How to Plan a Trip to Europe

How to Plan a Trip to Europe
Whether you are heading to the Mediterranean shores of Italy or the scenic landscapes surrounding the Alps, planning a trip to Europe requires some forethought. However, it is a process that requires several weeks, or even months, of planning. Besides the decisions you need to make in planning an itinerary, there are logistical tasks, such as obtaining a visa, which you will need to complete before heading across the ocean.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Valid passport Valid visas (if required)
  • Valid passport
  • Valid visas (if required)
Step 1
Choose a destination. Research the country (or countries) that you are interested in, and determine which you will visit during your trip to Europe.
Step 2
Obtain a valid United States passport, if you do not already have one. Usually, the passport application process will take between four and six weeks. If you already have a passport, make sure that it will not expire during your trip. For information about U.S. passports, see Resources.
Step 3
Secure a visa for the country you are visiting, if necessary. This will depend on what countries you are planning to visit. When visiting countries within the European Union, nationals of 34 countries--including the United States and Canada--do not need a visa, if staying for three months or less. If you have questions about this, check with a consulate of any EU country .
Step 4
Book your flight. This is often the most expensive part of any European trip. To save money, consider booking through an online discount travel agency, which can shave off a portion of the fees or other costs associated with airfare.
Step 5
Book your lodging accommodations. This will be determined by your budget, and how long you plan on staying in each country you are visiting. To save money, consider choosing a hostel, but only if you have already researched its customer reviews. If you are fortunate enough to have friends or family in the areas you are visiting, contact them to ask about staying in a spare bedroom or even crashing on a sofa.
Step 6
Determine your local transportation. While you are visiting each country, you will need to know how to get around. This could take some research---for example, renting a car requires understanding the traffic laws within each country, which are considerably different than in the United States. Similarly, you could look into renting a bicycle or find out about how to use each city's subway system.
Step 7
Tie up all of you loose ends. Be sure to contact your credit card companies and bank to ensure they know you will be abroad. This will enable them to keep an eye on any suspicious activity that may occur on your account, should you lose your credit or debt cards during your trip. Look into your cell phone provider's service in the regions you are visiting, and decide if you will need to purchase an international cell phone. Perhaps most important, ensure that you have packed everything you will need, including maps or language handbooks for tourists.

Article Written By Tom Ryan

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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