These are crucial MUST DO tips that will make your European adventure smooth, easy and painless.1) Go to your bank and exchange dollars for the currency of your destination. Make sure you know the current rate exchanges so you ensure you receive an accurate amount.2) Make sure you call your credit card companies and banks before you go. Let them know the dates and locations you will be traveling to so you don’t experience any problems using your cards while there.
3) A week before you go call to verify airfare, hotel, rental cars etc. and make copies of your reservations to carry with you. (I take an entire folder on the plane in my purse carrying all of our information just in case our luggage gets lost we still had documentation of everything.)
4) Go to the government website and check any travel warnings or alerts that may be issued. These can be found here.
5) If you have recently applied for a passport, make sure you track it and pay any extra fees to get it before you leave. If you currently hold a passport, make sure it’s good for at least 6 months as most countries will not allow you to travel to them if it expires within 6 months.
6) Carry the number for your destination’s local US Embassy in your phone and in your wallet. You can contact them should you have any problems while there (such as losing your passport).
7) If you are renting a car make sure you obtain your International Driver’s license…it’s quick, painless and cheap! The only place I know of to get one at is your local AAA office. You do not have to be a AAA member to get one.
8) Make copies of your itinerary and travel documents and leave them at home with a trusted family member or friend.
9) Call your cell phone provider to check international plans they offer. Nobody wants to have a perfect vacation and come home to a HUGE bill filled with roaming charges. Make sure you clearly understand what you’re paying for and what is covered under their international plan. I spent 2 hours on the phone with my cell phone provider before I totally understood it all (however, that’s not saying much as I’m not by any means tech savvy).
10) If you have any prescription medications make sure you have enough to last the duration of your trip and for a few extra days should something go wrong and your flight home is delayed. I also bought over the counter medications (for fever and pain) and put it in our checked luggage as it is much cheaper in the states.
11) Make sure all your bills are either paid or scheduled to be paid while you’re gone.
1) Browse the web to find out what the weather it typically like for the season you’re traveling. How can you know what to pack if you don’t know what to expect? Set your weather app on your phone for your destination, this way when you wake up you can check the forecast for the day and know what to wear and if you’ll need an umbrella.
2) Download the open table app on your phone so you can make dinner reservations while you’re out and about during the day sight seeing and know you won’t have to wait for a table when dinner time rolls around.
3) Make sure you’re carrying some of the local currency in various amounts with you when you land so you can tip your taxi driver, private car hire, concierge etc.
4) Check to see if your destination has a Groupon page for even more great local deals while you’re there!!! You can find a ton of new experiences and save a lot of money by doing so. It will give you the opportunity to discover new restaurants or spoil yourself a little while there and not feel guilty about it.
5) Get any voltage converters/adapters before you leave the states. You can find these at stores like Best Buy and they cost about $20-$30. You won’t be able to charge your phone or use your flat iron (GASP!!) without one.
6) For 2 weeks prior to leaving, keep a note pad around the house and write down the things you use everyday that you’ll need to pack. Most of us remember the obvious shirts, pants and socks but you’d be surprised how many of us overlook other things like toothbrushes, hairbrushes, body wash etc. Make a list for everything you need to pack so there are no surprises!
7) We flew to Europe with British Airways, so before I booked the tickets I made sure to sign up with their mileage club and now we have a bunch of points towards another flight or to redeem other rewards with! Check the hotel you’re booking with too to see if there are any reward cards worth signing up for.
8) I make a list of all the places that I want to see while at a destination then break it up into 3 group: “must go”, “would like to go”, “only if I have time to go”. I get address and print out maps for each place going from my hotel to the tourist destination just in case my GPS doesn’t work or the locals don’t understand me enough to help get me to where I’m going. On each printed google map I put the name of the place, the times they open and close and the cost for each so I am well prepared.
9) One thing I like to do while taking long vacations is to plan a day of sight seeing and acting like a tourist and then one day of rest or doing easy things (like shopping!!) to recharge my batteries and keep the trip enjoyable instead of stressful and go go go!
I hope these are helpful to you in planning your journey! If you have any other tips you’d like to share or have experienced something that you think others would find beneficial please leave comments below!
Need some inspiration for your European travels? Take a look at this Guide to 12 of the best cities to visit in England!