First Steps for Planning a Europe Trip

So you want to go to Europe, now what?

First Steps for Planning a Europe Trip

It’s really easy to wrap your head around the idea of backpacking through Europe but not so easy to wrap your head around all the logistics that have to go into that very lovely European adventure. Logistics, you say? Yes, the who, what when, where, why, and how. This task can seem overwhelming or tedious, but the more prepared you are, the greater your chances of a successful trip. Therefore, it’s crucial to have certain things figured out before leaving on that big adventure.

Travel Far, Eat Well

First things first, get the proper documentation! Passports, drivers licenses, visas (no, not the credit card). You won’t be going anywhere without the proper documentation for the countries you are visiting and this documentation could take several months so start early!

For more information on obtaining a U.S. passport click here.


Next, establish a budget. It’s important to factor in your budget even before choosing your destinations. Some countries are cheaper than others and your budget may influence which countries you can visit and how long you stay. Two weeks in Paris during the summer sounds amazing until you realize the cost involved in staying that long. Eastern European countries are far cheaper on average than Western European countries and out of the way destinations are often much cheaper than major tourist attractions.

Travel Far, Eat Well

After determining a budget, pick a destination. Is there a particular attraction or city on your must-see travel list? This step depends greatly on your preferred travel style– some prefer to visit as many cities as possible and others prefer to spend several weeks fully immersed in a country or region. If your travel style is to visit as many cities as you can (and you have the budget for it since this style can be expensive) then make a list of all your must-see places and try to determine a feasible route that can incorporate as many of these attractions and cities as desired. On the other hand, if your travel style is slower and you prefer to immerse yourself in the culture of a region then you will want to narrow down a specific country or area to visit that can accommodate your budget.

Looking for additional travel tips? Don’t miss the 5 W’s (+H) which helps streamline the planning process and of course the ever important money management while traveling.

What are the first steps you take to plan a trip? Leave a comment below with any additional tips you have for the planning stages of a trip!


13 thoughts on “First Steps for Planning a Europe Trip

  1. Sometimes I let airline prices dictate where I am going to go. I have so many places I would like to visit sometimes it is worth plugging them all in during the timeframe I can travel just to see where I can get reasonable airfare. That worked for Mexico during the H1N1 outbreak and for Belize this year. For a while it was inexpensive to travel to Greece. That always leaves more money in the budget for the fun stuff. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is such a great idea!! I will definitely have to try that out, I have many places I want to visit too. Airfare is often one of the most costly expenses so traveling to destinations with inexpensive airfare is a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kate the planning of a trip is actually one of my favorite parts of traveling! I wonder if our ages being so different makes a difference. At this point the choosing of the destination is a big thing for us. We hope to travel and be healthy for decades to come but we are now more aware that more physically demanding trips need to be planned sooner rather than later. So as a ‘boomer’ I would say think about the kinds of trips you want to do in the next 10 years. then of the most challenging, start there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Planning trips is one of my favorite parts, too! I have an engineering background so I love figuring out all the logistics of the trip. I never really thought of thinking of the kinds of trips you want to take and doing the most challenging first, but that is a fantastic idea, Sue! I will definitely be thinking about that when I’m planning my next trip. There are a lot of long hikes I would like to take and they would probably be much easier while I’m young. Thanks for reading and for the awesome suggestion! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is a great tip, Andrew! I try to focus on a specific region or a few countries. Trying to hit all the major cities around Europe on one trip would require a lot of wasted time in transit and that’s no fun! Thanks for reading 🙂


  3. You are right, Europe can be expensive for people from the Us (for Australian or Chinese/Japanese people, it’s quite a bargain), especially all the Nordic countries like Iceland, Sweden, Norway, …

    When I plan a trip, i tried to read a lot about what to do. Then I make a list. and then after, I’m thinking about the logistic and the budget 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Gin! Luckily, Europe is a lot more affordable this year for people from the US than it was in previous years and my hope is it becomes even more affordable next year! I love making lists of all the fun things I’m going to do in my destinations too! Thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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