No matter where you find them, the travel tools and resources you use to plan your trip to Europe will make a difference in the way you travel, as well as the outcome of your trip.
The websites you use for online research will make a difference in the sights you see, the places you stay, the foods you eat, and the people you meet.
They'll make a difference in the experiences you have and whether your trip is filled with energy and excitement.
The travel tools you use will help create those special points of adventure you carry home and store as your best travel memories.
No single resource or website can provide the perfect information for each and every traveler.
But every travel tool you use can impact your trip and help to make it either the experience of your lifetime or an exercise in pain and frustration.
In our current age of electronic everything, the ability to research travel online opens the world to travelers as no previous form of travel planning has been able to do.
But with millions of online travel sites and hundreds of travel booking engines all around the web, how do you sort through the number of sites clamoring for your attention to find the best, most credible options to plan your trip to Europe?
Where do you find the best travel guides with current information and useful tips you can rely on?
How do you know which travel agent to use [online or store front] with an expertise to match your travel needs? [Or should you use a travel agent at all?]
How do you sift through oceans of material to find the perfect tour to fit your budget, your time, and your travel dreams?
Which travel tools can help you know if the travel company you do business with is trustworthy and in good standing, both financially and with their peers?
How do you choose from hundreds of Europe travel packages to find the most cost effective plan to suit your personal travel style?
How do you decide
How can you even learn how to travel Europe without succumbing to travel information overload?
The answer is simple: one travel planning website at the time.
Today's travel planners are familiar with the big name online booking sites like Expedia.com, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor.com, and hundreds of others like them.
But it's often hard to find sources of information that tell you how to plan your trip.
And therein lies the crux of what we do....
Throughout this site, we try to give you the 'how to' for planning your overseas trip. We include links to online travel resources that can help with the travel tools and basic components for planning a trip to Europe.
To help you find these online tools, we've created this mini-index for where you can find these links on our pages.
Link to the articles below where the original information appears, and where you can find each travel link in its original context.
Whether you need info on weather, currency, passports, travel insurance, staying safe, or anything that will help you plan your overseas trip, we hope these links for off-site travel tools help.
Before You Travel - Use the U.S. Post Office website to hold mail while you’re traveling.
Checked Luggage - Europe and much of the world use metric values. Easily con-vert from U.S. measurements to metric: pounds vs. kilograms & inches vs. centimeters.
Country Specific Information - Use Consular Reports known as Country Specific Information, along with the World Fact Book to learn about countries you’ll be visiting.
Travel Budget - Calculate conversion rates at Oanda.com for more than 164 global currencies.
Travel Research - A global index of tourism offices, Towd.com, has contact info for visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, and tourist offices.
When To Travel - Wunderground.com lets you check global weather patterns, including averages for highs, lows, wind, and humidity. Also, check weather anywhere in the world at Weather2travel.com.
Online Travel Research - Check local, regional, or national news anywhere in the world at Worldnews.com and OnlineNewspapers.com.
Applying For A Passport - Purchase certified copies of personal documents [like Birth Certificates] to apply for a passport at Vitalchek.com.
Or link through the CDC website, cdc.gov, to order vital records from all U.S. states, territories, New York City, and the District of Columbia. [same page]
For missing birth documents, births abroad, or if you're a naturalized citizen, find information at travel.state.gov. [same page]
The Department of State website can help you find the nearest facility to apply for a passport. [same page]
Getting A Passport - Request information, ask passport questions, or check the status of your passport application at NPIC@state.gov.
Need A Rush Passport? - When you need a passport for an emergency or unplanned travel opportunity, contact the regional passport agency nearest you to schedule an appointment.
Check first to see what the current processing time is for standard vs. expedited passport service. [same page]
Once your rush passport application is in the system, go online to check its status. [same page]
Passports For Children - In some circumstances children can leave and return to the U.S. by land or sea without a passport. They must be part of a restrictive group, traveling only in the Western Hemisphere: getyouhome.gov.
Safe To Travel - To check safety for anywhere you plan to travel, use the Department of State website for travel warnings, advisories, or alerts.
Travel Emergency - Register your trip online through the STEP Program, so you can be located in the event of a personal or national emergency.
U S Embassies and Consulates - If you have a critical emergency overseas, find help at the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
To access individual web pages for American Embassies and Consulates, try U S Embassy.gov. [same page]
Certified Travel Agents - Check our Travel Tip to see how ASTA can help you find certified travel consultants and their area of expertise.
Becoming A Travel Agent - Also check ASTA, if you're interested in finding a legitimate travel school.
Check IATA to find out what it takes to be successful as an accredited travel agent. [same page]
Before you do either of the above, check facts & figures at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for information on salaries and compensation. [same page]