The dream of traveling to Europe for a vacation is something that many people really want to do, but due to the distance, not-so cheap airfare from the US and the small amount of vacation days available, it’s often not something that’s easy for most people to achieve – especially not when they have families to take care of.
If you’re in the position where you’re now able to take a vacation to Europe, then you’ll likely want to make the very most of it you can and see as much as possible.
To help you with this, we’ve listed out some tips and things you’ll want to be aware of before you go.
Get the right visa:
As you’re probably aware, you’ll need some kind of entry visa to visit Europe. However, since Europe is a continent made up of multiple countries each with their own policies for tourists, you’ll need to be sure you’re getting the right kind of visa that will allow you to enter your chosen country or countries.
For example, 26 of the 27 EU member states are part of the Schengen area which allows tourists holding a Schengen visa for one of these countries to move freely across the other member states within the Schengen area. However, the UK is not part of this, so if you wish to visit the UK, France and Germany during your stay, you will need a separate visa to enter the UK.
Realize Europe is not as small as you think:
Although when compared to the US, Europe may seem small, it’s really quite large as a continent, and consists of countries of various sizes. Depending on where you are in Europe, where and how you want to go somewhere else will depend on the journey ahead. Anyone expecting to be able to drive from London to Edinburgh in two hours is going to be in for a shock. Yes, Europe is great for its air, rail and bus links to other countries, but these are not always going to be short.
Plan your destinations:
Before you arrive, make a list of the places in Europe you want to see and then plan accordingly what the best way to fit everything in will be. If you plan to drive, aside from knowing it will take far longer than you think, it’s also important to make sure you have the right paperwork and are eligible to drive in each country. Another thing to consider is that some countries in the EU, such as the UK and Malta drive on the left, so if you don’t feel comfortable driving on the other side of the road, then this is perhaps not the best idea. In any case, taking out travel and car insurance is a good idea because the last thing you want is a claim from a personal injury attorney when abroad that you can’t afford.
Learn some of the local customs:
Europe is a broad continent, not just in terms of size, but is made up of many different countries each with their own cultures and customs, so it’s always a great idea to learn what goes and what doesn’t in certain places to avoid landing yourself in any trouble or displeasing the locals. You’ll also find your overall experience to be more enjoyable if you respect the local customs.
Look beyond the tourist places:
Of course it’s great to see the sights, but Europe is a vast and diverse continent full of stunning nature and ancient history, so if you want to make the most of your time here and see things that aren’t necessarily listed in the tourist guide, then do your research before arriving so you can see some of the real Europe.