So you want to go to Europe, now what?
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.
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.
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.
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!