There's no doubt about it: planning a European trip is exciting.
Getting travel ready is the key to jump start your plans and breathe life to your trip.
Whether it’s your first time traveling overseas or your tenth, the anticipation of where to go, what to see, and what to do, builds with each step of planning and preparation.
From the time the first thought of traveling to Europe makes a synapse in your brain, until you set foot on European soil, the goal of getting travel ready domi-nates your focus and becomes a friendly driving force.
There are numerous ways to guarantee success when planning a trip to Europe.
Some are simple and free of anxiety: make a few phone calls, visit a couple of online booking sites, and you’re done.
Think. Book. Go.
But if I was given to clichés, this is the time to consider the adage:
The pleasure of what you do is directly proportionate to the amount of effort you put into it.
If you do little research and advance planning for your trip to Europe, you'll arrive at your destination and quickly become confused, frustrated, and ill-equipped for the people, places, and culture you’ve thrown yourself into.
You won’t have a good time.
You won’t enjoy your trip.
A better way to get travel ready is to take the time to research your destination and learn as much as you can about the people, the history, and the culture, as you immerse yourself in the process of planning your vacation.
This will guarantee the adventure you're about to embark on will become a wildly memorable experience.
Here are some simple steps to help you:
Start by choosing a few top-shelf Europe guide books, along with reviewing an equal number of online travel websites with current, practical information on the places you plan to visit.
Use these to gain an overview of information about your destination, which will, in turn, help you choose the things to see and do, while there.
Personalize any general knowledge you find by checking with friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances who’ve already traveled to your destination and can personally tell you about experiences, places of interest, and the best use of your time and money.
Use these personal recommendations [which you may or may not follow] to fill in information gaps you find online or in guidebooks. Often, first-hand insights and recommendations will add significantly to your initial travel plan.
Social media can be a treasure trove of ideas from previous travelers for what to do and see when traveling to a particular place. But always 'qualify' what your 'social friends' suggest, by doing your own research and gathering your own background information.
Next, create a realistic travel budget, so you know where your money will go - and most importantly - that it won’t run out before your trip is done.
Make a plan for your travel funds, so you'll know you're getting good value for what you pay.
Estimate what your expenses will be - not only major costs like tours, airfares, and hotels, but daily ex-penses, like entrance fees, meals, entertainment, and local transportation.
A well thought out travel budget will help keep expenditures to a minimum, while getting the maximum from your travel dollars.
Develop a workable on-the-ground itinerary with sights to see, attractions to visit, potential crowds and wait times, and - above all - time to stop and smell the roses.
Plot out where you'll go, how you'll get there, and how long you'll stay.
Read up on cities and towns, local events, and historical influences that make Europe such a cultural attraction.
Research museums and places of cultural interest to determine which are really important for you to visit, and which you can skip. You can't see them all.
Learn about the architecture, the antiquities, and the festivals that draw visitors from throughout the world to share in the European experience.
No matter how many times you travel abroad, you learn new ways to save money, reduce hassle, and make better use of your time.
Your ultimate goal for planning a trip to Europe is to make sure you have the best possible time at your destination.
Being prepared: choosing the most important things to see and do, knowing how and where you’ll spend your time, keeping your costs under control - will all help you accomplish your goal.
The list of tasks for getting travel ready is impressive. If you’re not a 'list' person, you need to become one.
European travel planning is all about details - way too many important ones to remember. The one thing you forget to do, will be the most important.
Make a checklist of the major things to do:
These are just some of the things you need to handle when getting travel ready.
The minor details – all the things we cover on this site – could fill a book.
Know that when you're planning a European trip, getting travel ready is almost as much fun as the trip itself.
It’s one of the times in your life you can plot your own course, focus on what you want to do, and create your own success.
European travel planning is personal creativity at its best.
And it's attention to detail - on steroids.
Seasoned travelers know the more they learn about the places they plan to visit before they travel, the more they’ll enjoy those places when they get there.
By increasing your knowledge before traveling, you'll decrease the potential for stress and anxiety once you're there.
Travel creates its own intensity. Done properly, it becomes a major life event. You go for the experience - you come home with the memories.
There's no one thing that will have greater impact on your trip than taking the time to research and prepare yourself for your experience in Europe.
There's simply no substitute for getting travel ready.
For more help and ideas on getting travel ready, check the following articles:
Does your Travel Attitude increase your travel benefits?
Build A Travel Budget - You'll spend less, save more, and not run out of money.
When Planning a Trip to Europe don’t forget the most important part of your travel plan.
Create A Travel Itinerary and bring your trip to life.
Your Europe Travel Plan can help you structure your time and save time.
Budgeting For Travel helps you keep your traveling expenses in line.