planning's the key to a successful trip to Europe
By J. Michel Knight
October 25, 2006 | A cool summer breeze brushes softly
against your feet as you quietly sit and enjoy a Nutella
and banana crepe at a quaint little bistro in Paris.
While devouring your new found joy in life, you look
through your bag and search for your favorite travel
book to discover what new destination you plan to go.
This can be a common situation for anyone who wants
and desires to travel through Europe for the first time
or for a return trip. Megan Ridge, a senior at Utah
State University said, "People think that traveling
through Europe is scary and dangerous, but if you prepare
for it in advance it can be very rewarding." Ridge,
a senior majoring in interior design, recently returned
from an internship where she lived in London and traveled
"The difference about my experience is that I got
to live there and be part of their culture," said Ridge.
This idea of becoming part of a culture while just visiting
is not far off. Anyone can eat and shop where the locals
do, as long as you plan ahead and find sources that
will aid you in making a memorable experience while
abroad in Europe.
To have a truly successful experience one start planning
early. Start looking for airfare and plan on getting
your application in for your passport
if you don't already have one. It is important
to be prepared with all the documentation necessary
so that are not frantically searching for it at the
end. Also it makes traveling much easier on your nerves.
Now that the proper documentation has been taken care
of, now comes the exciting part of planning where to
go and what to see. Start planning about four to five
months in advance to allow yourself to find tours or
specific festivals and exhibits that you might be interested
in attending. There are many ways to go about finding
such information about what to see and when is the best
time to go. Rick
Steves is a great source in finding such information
especially for the first time European traveler. Steves
has guided tours as well as printable information if
you are the kind of person who likes to discover things
on your own.
After the desicion has been made where you want to
travel, it is time to start searching for airfare
. Most travel agents suggest starting to look for
airfare about three to four months before you plan to
travel. Some of the popular places to fly into are Rome,
, and London.
It is to your advantage to watch for the best possible
prices so that you can save money to spend somewhere
else while you are traveling through Europe.
At this point it might be wise to make a few reservations
at a few hotels along your way. If this is a route that
you would like to take make sure that you have allotted
yourself enough time at each destination so that you
will have adequite time to see and do all that has been
planned. Another venture that might spark some interest
is staying in hostiles along your journey. Hostels are
inexpensive and if traveling with a larger group they
are reasonably safe.
If you chose to use more hostels rather than hotels
it is wise to not carry a lot of goods and money in
your pack because the chances of theft are moderate.
Don't be afraid to stay at a hostel, they are safe and
in most cases nice. Also the experience is something
that will last a lifetime.
As always when traveling, be safe and always plan
ahead for things to go wrong. Have all your documents
copied i.e. passport, drivers license and anything else
you are using for traveling. Keep both copies and real
items in separate safe places. If by chance things do
get stolen you will have copies of those items, which
is better than nothing. Keep track of everyone in your
group and make sure that no one is lost at any time.
Having these small and simple precautions taken care
of will make your travels easier and more enjoyable.
There is no right or wrong answer to where you want
to travel. It is your story, create something that will
keep you talking for years afterwards.