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.

Budget

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!

The 5 W’s (+ H) of Trip Planning

Who. What. When. Where. Why. How.

The 5 W's (+ H) of Trip Planning || Travel Far, Eat Well

Planning a trip can seem like a daunting task- where do I start? I like to take a version of the 5 W’s plus H to help me organize and start the planning process for any trip I am going to take. This is a great place to start since it breaks up the planning process into different sections (questions to answer) and makes the task seem a little less intimidating. These questions don’t have to be answered in any particular order.

WHO.
Who is going? You need to know who you are traveling with or whether this will be a solo adventure.

WHAT.
What will you do? You should have an idea of some activities or sites you want to see when you reach your destination.

WHEN.
When will you go? You need to know what time of year you are going to travel and how long you are going to stay.

WHERE.
Where will you go? You will need to narrow down a list of your top must-see places and a feasible route from place to place or choose a specific country or region to fully immerse yourself in.

WHY.
Why are you going? There are tons of wonderful reasons to travel including culture and festivals, gastronomy, scenery, self-exploration, vacation and many others. These factors may influence the “where” aspect of the trip planning process.

HOW.
How are you going to get there? This includes your budget (“how much can I really spend?”), transportation to/from & around your destination(s), and lodging accommodations (hotels, hostels, apartments, couchsurfing, etc.)

The 5 W's (+ H) of Trip Planning || Travel Far, Eat Well

The 5 W’s plus H of trip planning do not cover every aspect of your trip that will need to be figured out, however it’s a great place to start! You will still need to fill in all the important details that these questions don’t cover but after answering these six questions the planning step seems a lot less daunting.

How do you normally start planning for a trip? Have any tips for future trip planners?