Your first trip to Europe can be both exciting and daunting. There is not only so much to look forward to, but also so much to plan. With so many things to think of, it can be easy to get lost amongst it all. Here are five essentials to make your Europe trip a stress-free success.
1. Plan an itinerary
As fun as it may seem to be spontaneous, being organised will help you make the most of your time. So take the time to plan an itinerary and consider booking a tour. Tour companies like Albatross Tours have a variety of different trips that offer an excellent introduction to Europe. Booking a tour means that your accommodation and transport is taken care of for you. You’ll be able to relax and benefit from the knowledge of informed (and often local) guides that will give you a deeper insight into the places you visit.
2. Research local culture
It is a good idea to research the places you want to visit and get an understanding of the local culture before you get there. An awareness of local customs, foods and history will enrich your experience overseas. Then you’ll be able to steer yourself towards local cuisine and also know which regional foods to sample. Whether travelling independently or with a tour, knowledge of local history will make the monuments, palaces and cathedrals you see take on a deeper significance.
3. Travel insurance
It’s important to get all that travel paperwork in order. With visas, passports and bookings to arrange, it can be easy to forget about organising travel insurance. However, you wouldn’t want to be without it if a travel disaster befalls you. Even a simple inconvenience such as losing your luggage can be fixed much easier with insurance. Take the time to find a plan that suits you and pay attention to coverage of luggage and medical costs. It’s important to also take copies of all your paperwork with you and have the phone number of your insurance company easily accessible.
For a pleasant travelling experience, learn your manners in the local language. A simple ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in their language shows the locals that you are making an effort. Another useful phrase to memorise is ‘do you speak English?’ Of course, when you are travelling around it can be hard to remember these in several different languages, so take a good phrasebook with you.
No Europe trip is complete without a trip to its crown jewel. To quote Audrey Hepburn, “Paris is always a good idea”. Plan to spend at least two nights in the sparkling French capital and you won’t regret it. Paris will not disappoint with its fantastic food, wonderfully cheap wine and tree-lined avenues, all under the gaze of the famous Eiffel Tower.
Are you heading to Europe for the first time? How are you managing the planning process? Share your concerns, suggestions and stories below. Read the comments to join in the community of travellers about to head off on their European adventure.