Creating a workable Europe travel plan is the most important thing you can do to insure your trip to Europe is successful and memorable.
Developing a plan for traveling Europe is the time you gather your hopes and dreams for seeing Europe and coordinate them into a wish list of things to do, so you can experience the history, charm, and culture that draws you there.
This is when you prioritize your ideas of what to include in your itinerary with the most important things to see and do in Europe.
This is the time to read and research the places you'll visit, combining your knowledge and skills in planning a European trip to create the adventure of a lifetime.
A good Europe travel plan becomes your timeline for traveling.
It helps you know you have the necessary time to see and do do everything on your list. It allows you organize your travel goals to fit the time you've set for your trip.
Your Europe travel plan is the sum of all parts for your thoughts and wishes, your research and resources, and it combines them into a mental picture, organizing a blueprint for the Europe you want to see.
How you schedule your time in Europe, [what you see, where you go, what you do] becomes your Europe travel plan.
Whether your idea for traveling in Europe is on-your-own independent travel or participating in an organized group tour, the time you spend structuring your trip before you travel, will pay off in a more meaningful trip - not to mention better use of your time, once you’re there.
Your uppermost goal in creating a Europe travel plan is to determine which things to include in your trip and which are most important to its success.
Is it cost? Value? Comfort? Luxury?
Is it a bird's eye view of what you came to see?
Or mingling with the natives to experience their view of the world?
Is it the sights? The history? Learning about the people, places, and culture?
Or would you rather see what you came to see from a strictly tourist point of view, hitting only the notable sights and main attractions?
Is your best travel plan that of a temporary resident, exploring the sights, sounds, tastes, and pleasures the natives enjoy?
Or is it doing from a distance, observing the high spots, then moving on to cover as much ground as you can in your allotted time?
As you pick and choose the things to include in your Europe travel plan, your Europe itinerary will begin to take shape.
Almost without trying, you'll develop a sense of direction for where you want to go, based on the things that interest you most.
A workable Europe itinerary should in-clude a minimum of three or four nights for each major city you visit, just to scratch the surface.
This means your Europe travel plan should consist of visiting no more than 2 big-city destinations per week.
If you schedule more, you won't have the necessary time to explore each location...everything you see and do will quickly become a blur.
For every hotel 'stop', you need time to get your bearings and acclimate to your surroundings; time to understand the rhythm of life around you.
For Europe’s greatest cities - Paris, London, Rome, Madrid – you should consider staying an entire week, just to see the major sights.
This will give you time to understand the city and its environs, as well as create a home base for day trips, exploration, and local events.
Every European city has noteworthy things to do and see in close proximity.
Some may not be on your direct travel route or merit an overnight stay, but are definitely worth a visit. Seeing them is best accomplished by local tours or day trips out of the city.
Think Toledo, an hour from Madrid, Versailles, a suburb of Paris, Pompeii, a jump from Rome.
By using your big city 'stop' as a home base for day tours and nearby attractions, you'll not only save time and hassle from being constantly on the move, you'll make infinitely better use of your time and travel funds.
Your Europe travel itinerary should include a minimum 2 night stay for smaller cities and towns.
By staying at least two nights in a location, you won't have to 're-settle' as often.
This will minimize schlepping your bags, adjusting to new hotels, getting acquainted with your surroundings, and searching for restaurants and directions - just by being familiar with where you are.
With a 2-night stay, you have a full day to explore – uninterrupted by traveling and schedules - plus the evening of your arrival day and the morning of your departure day to visit where 'day-trippers' don't have time.
Once you discover what you want to see and do in a certain location, you can easily judge the number of nights you need for your hotel stay, in order to see what you came to see.
It's impossible to see and do everything worthy of your attention when you travel in Europe.
So pick and choose the things that you most want to see, and those that will give you lasting memories of your trip and your time in Europe.
Here are several ways to achieve this:
Check these familiar resources to use as planning tools that you may not have thought of - but which are available in your everyday world.
Spend some time gathering free travel brochures from travel agents and tour companies.
Study the prearranged tour schedules and use them as a basis for planning your own Europe travel itinerary.
Search online book stores, as well as your local library, for both fiction and non-fiction books about living and traveling in Europe.
These can provide a perspective on unique places to visit and give you options for a different, more personal European experience.
Do extensive research online, where you'll discover both obvious and not-so-obvious things to include in your travel itinerary.
Finally, consider these options as you create your Europe travel plan:
Include in your Europe travel plan the opportunity to get away from the normal tourist trek.
This will increase the possibility for chance encounters and hidden travel moments you'll remember long after you return home. These unplanned moments are as important to your travel plan and the success of your trip as the most intense museum visit.
Finally, decide on the direction of your travel itinerary. Will it take you on a circular route, through one, two, or more European countries?
Will your overseas flight take you into and out of the same European city?
Or, will a meandering route end your time in Europe far from the city you arrived in?
If so, use a common airline ticketing procedure to fly into one Euro-city and out of another, known as 'open jaw' ticketing.
This is a legal way to construct an international airline route, by flying into one city [or country] and out of another.
This can result in a less expensive airline ticket, as well as considerable time saved, rather than returning to your arrival city for your flight home. [Translate: more time to see what you came to Europe for.]
A good independent travel agent can help you arrange this type of flight itinerary, while often saving you substantial ticket costs.
Creating your travel plan for Europe is a combination of gathering information, choosing your options, and making informed decisions that allow you to see Europe the way you want to see it.
You can then travel Europe with the knowledge that you know what you're doing - and, more importantly, you know where you're going.
For more tips on developing your own Europe travel plan, see the following pages:
Planning a Trip to Europe? Include the most important thing to
insure your trip’s success.
A Travel Budget will help keep your travel costs under control.
Does your Travel Attitude increase the benefits of traveling?
Create a Travel Itinerary for Europe and bring your trip to life.
Budgeting For Travel - How to make sure your money will last as long
as your trip.