Europe, although so dreamy, can be incredibly overwhelming when it comes to planning your next adventure. With so many things to consider, so many countries to visit, languages, currency, visas, sites to see - it can be a lot to take in. These next few steps will help to guide you through the process we use when creating incredibly European itineraries, to help you create your own too!
Start by creating a list of all the places you’d like to go and experiences you’d like to have. It’s a great idea to use a tool like Google My Maps to have a visual understanding of what is where. As you create your list, make a note of what experiences require advanced booking so you can ensure not to miss out! Many experiences you can book as you go, however some more unique experience require pre booking often months in damage. Consider experiences such as The Circle Experience at Stonehenge, allowing you to visit after hours at dawn or dusk, also providing you with access beyond the roped fence, this is the closest anyone ever gets to the stones. Consider also visiting the Summit of the Eiffel tower, although it can be booked on the day, if you’ve got a tight trip planned, you will need to book in advance to secure your particular time slot. The same can be said for famous restaurants throughout Europe, such as Jules Verne, in the Eiffel tower or high teas in London. Restaurants such as these book out months in advance, best to know before you arrive!
Create a shortlist of the destinations and countries you’d like to visit. Use the map you’ve create help you figure out where you’d like to shortlist. This will help you start to piece together what parts of Europe you would like to explore and will also help you to decide how long you may need in each country. You might have Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Colosseum on your list (just the highlights, right!), now you can shortlist visiting London, Paris and Rome.
Next, create a travel path or direction. Start with a large hub city for the best availability of flights such as London or Amsterdam. Once you have a starting point, work out the destinations you’d like to visit in an order, some factors that might play a part in this include peak travel times such as June school breaks, and events or time sensitive experiences such as the Chelsea Garden show, only on particular dates. Location also plays a factor in organising your direction, for example, if there are not specific events you are travelling for it makes sense to start in London, then head to Paris, then Italy, then Berlin, then back to London, rather than darting all over the place London, Berlin, Italy, Paris etc.
It's best to find accomodations close to most of the experiences and activities you've mapped out. This will help to save in Uber fares getting to and from, or save your legs in trying to tackle major cities solely on foot, and possibly save you too from getting lost on the public transport systems.. For many European cities, they are rather large and sprawling, often deceptively large. For example, in London if you intend on experiencing a lot of theatre and museums, staying in Eastern London would be a mistake, costing you in travel and time (about an hour in the car on good traffic!) to visit the places you’d like to see the most. An easy error to make as the museums, theatre district and East London, are all essentially London but span across about 20kms!
Map your transport between destinations, for your international legs you may have a few options to consider. For visitors from places like Oceania and the States, you may be used to flying to new international destinations, however through much of Europe there are various ways to travel, from flying to the trains, catching a ferry or boarding a bus. Check which modes of transport may be more convenient, cheaper and closer to your final destination. Another common mistake is flying from London to Paris. Whilst this is a great option, many of the airports in both cities are away from where most travellers stay, making travel time between hotels and airports a little bit farther. By comparison, there is a 2 hours train connecting the cities, whilst the flight time is only 39 minutes, this doesn’t take into consideration your 2 hours prior to check in, or time to collect your bags and transit from the airport to your hotel. Experiencing various modes of transport throughout Europe is just another of those experiences you return home with, so why not try them while you can.
Now you’ve got an understanding of what you’d like to do, where you would like to visit and how you’d like to get there, you’re ready to book your European adventure! Booking as far in advance as possible ensures you the most availability for everything you'd like see and do, as well as gives you plenty of time to start the countdown between now and then. The further in advance you're able to book, usually also means the more savings you're able to make, especially on flights and hotels. For many attractions, the price is often the same regardless of when you book, however some have early bird discounts and others may save you money when booking in a tour, which often needs to be done in advance.
Are you ready to start planning Europe? Reach out to our team of Travel Advisors at any time for additional pointers and tips for making the most of and booking your Euro trip.