Making a trek to your favorite bookstore to find the best travel guides should be your first priority, when planning a trip to Europe.
Located there, in bold words and living color, are the pictures and promises to create your European adventure.
There you can leaf through page after page of ideas and destinations with the sights and sounds of Europe to set your heart racing.
There you begin to formulate a plan for the research you'll do, to create the structure and shape of your European trip.
Don’t let the word research scare you. It's not your college term paper.
This is travel. It's easy, and it's fun!
It's in reading the best travel guides that your dreams of travel begin to gel around the places you'll visit.
It's in the words your mind takes flight, as you mentally walk down worn cobbled streets and through picturesque villages.
It's the images in your mind as you see yourself a citizen of the world, gliding through crowded markets and colorful street scenes.
It's scouring the best guides that you feel that first tinge of awe at the monu-ments and mountains, the citadels and scenery, and long to see them face to face.
Here you mentally envelope yourself in thousand year old architecture, catching your breath as you're transported through time.
Here the novels you've read and the history you've learned start to breathe and take on life.
This is where you plant the seeds of your Europe travel adventure, focusing on the one destination that speaks to your soul and imagination.
It's here - in the very best Europe guidebooks - that the seeds of your adventure blossom and grow into your best travel dreams.
But before you spend your travel money here - only to waste it [along with your time] over there - you have to know what the best Europe guidebook should include. The very best guide should:
The best European travel guides should give you information to help you decide the kind of trip you want.
Will you travel as part of a group on an escorted tour through Europe?
[The pro is less hassle, with someone guiding you along the way. The con is you’ll be at arm’s length from the people and culture you hope to immerse yourself in.]
Or will you travel independently, by combining stand-alone travel packages to create your own Europe itinerary?
This will allow you to travel closer to the ground, offering a more personal, 'Europe as a European' experience.
The best travel guides should give you current, reliable information on must-do museums, not-to-miss sightseeing, tourist friendly transportation, reliable shopping venues, and knowledgeable details on the local cuisine.
Whether your choice is a Europe guidebook with a familiar name, proven to provide quality travel advice, or a lesser-known book with a narrative that speaks to your personal travel vision, choose your guide carefully.
Use it to decide where to go and when to travel.
Use your guide to decide where to stay, what to see, and what to do.
Use it to create your personal dream of what Europe travel should be.
And most of all, choose the Europe guidebook that suits your personal travel style.
The best travel guide should help you decide where you go, what you see, and how you eat while traveling in Europe.
And these things you do, and see and eat will create the memories of your personal European trip to cherish long after your trip is done.
For more info on choosing the best Europe travel guide, see:
Updated reviews of popular Europe guidebook series:
DK Eyewitness Travel Guides - A visual tour of Europe before you even get there.
Rick Steves Travel Guides - Whether your Rick Steves fix comes from TV, radio, newspapers, or on the road, Rick will guide you on a more personal European trip.
Insight Travel Guides tout themselves as The World's Largest Collection Of Visual Travel Guides. It’s time to judge for yourself.
Fodors Guides are the largest global publisher of English-speaking travel guides in the world - always current, detailed, and 'local'.
Frommers Guides deliver the most reliable, candid travel info available, no matter your budget or destination.
Europe For Dummies provides up-to-the-minute travel info on everything European. Also included - a review of Unofficial Guides.