According to the United Nations, there are 44 countries in Europe today. How on earth are you going to decide which one(s) to visit and where to go within each one?
Answering that question depends a lot on you. Which country or countries have you always longed to see? Do you have an affection for theater and royal palaces? Go to England! Do you like golf, rugged landscapes and whisky? Go to Scotland! Do you have Italian family ancestry and love pasta and wine? Go to Italy! Are you passionate about buttery croissants, magnificent art, and French bistros? France is the place to go! Have you always wanted to attend Oktoberfest? Then Germany in September is your answer.
Of course, the list goes on and on. But the point is to see the European destinations you have always been most interested in. That’s where you should go first. If you’ve been there and didn’t get enough, go back and take a deeper dive into the culture. Or if you’ve already been to some of the places that peak your interest, what other European destinations make your list?
Speaking of lists, go ahead and make that list of all the places in Europe you would love to visit – and then prioritize your list. As mentioned, we recommend staying as long as you can in the destination (s) you choose, so that you can really experience the people, culture, food, and activities available in each one. If you only have a short time to travel, staying put in 1 spot will give you a different sense of the region than if you are constantly moving from place to place.
We find that our clients traveling to Europe tend to enjoy their trip more and get more out of it when they stay longer in fewer places. We find that to be true when we travel to Europe too! It’s hard to give up some destinations, but it often yields a better result for your time in Europe. Plan to return and explore more European destinations on your next trip!
Now that you’ve thought long and hard about how much time you have and which cities, regions, country, or countries you want to visit, establish a European route and timeline for your trip. Do some reading online to learn the kinds of things you’ll be able to do and see in each area. Trust that the more you read, the more you will find amazing places to go while you are in Europe. You are on the cusp of planning a great trip.
Check your european travel paperwork
Is all your paperwork in order? When was the last time you renewed your passport? Remember that children’s passports expire in 5 years. Adult passports expire in 10. Go look at your passport if you are unsure when it expires and make sure you will have at least 6 months validity after your trip. You do not want to plan your entire vacation just to show up to the airport and be told you can’t fly. It’s happened. Don’t let it happen to you.
Do you need ETIAS authorization to enter the countries you want to visit? ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. and is intended to enhance security in Europe and improve border management. The system is expected to be introduced in November 2023 and it applies to all visa-free non-EU citizens. I know that’s me. Is that you, too? If you want to travel to Europe next fall, you will need to have this authorization. Plan to get it far in advance of your trip!
Are there any regulations related to COVID that you need to be aware of in order to travel where you want to go in Europe? Most have been dropped, but these can change frequently, so be sure to know exactly what is needed for your specific destinations. Requirements can be different in each country.
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