10 Must Do's when Preparing your Trip to Europe
You decided to go to Europe anytime soon? Now you are thinking about what to prepare in advance in order not to forget anything? We recommend you to prepare your trip well in advance for a couple of reasons: it saves money, stress and useless trouble. Here is our 10 Must Do List for everyone planning on traveling to Europe and not getting lost before.
10 Essential things to Prepare Before Traveling to Europe
Here are our 10 points you should definitely prepare before you are traveling to Europe :
1. Get your Documents ready
Without the right documents you also will not be able to even start your trip. Most countries require a passport that is valid for the next six months at least, so double check the validity of your documents well before. In case you need to apply for a new passport, bear in mind that the application and processing of a new passport can take up to six weeks. This process can be accelerated if you use an expedited process (please check if available at your Citizens Registration office!).
If you are planning on renting a car at your destination make sure to check out the website of local car rental services before. The requirements vary from country to country and sometimes you even need an international driving licence which also needs to be requested before.
2. Check Visa Requirements
Before you visit a foreign country, especially on another continent, you should certainly check for a necessary visa. Although tourist visas are not required in all countries, application processes for visas can take up to 10 weeks (China for example) and can be expensive. A typical Schengen tourist visa costs around 60 Euros, whereas a tourist visa for the US is around 150 Euros. If you are an American citizen, check out the website for international travel for necessary visas.
3. Book Attractions in Advance
If you are planning on visiting one or more of the major cities in Europe like London, Paris, Berlin, Rome or Venice, you will most likely be facing long queues in front of the popular attractions. It is very common to wait up to three hours in front of the Louvre or up to five hours in a queue before being able to enter the Eiffel Tower for example. In order to save costs and especially your limited time on your vacation, it is important to book your tickets in advance. Visit GetYourGuide in order to browse through the best attractions and cultural sights.
4. Pack a Light Baggage
Especially when you are planning on visiting Paris or Berlin, you should not pack too much. This is for two reasons: airlines are more and more decreasing their baggage allowance. If your baggage is over the allowance benchmark of 20kg (in most cases), you will be heavily charged, which can be up to $50 per kilogram. Secondly, many places in Europe can be a pure shopping heaven. Think in advance what you need and how likely you are going on a shopping tour!
5. Book Pocket WiFi
You are going abroad and want to stay connected with friends and family at home? Or just browse Facebook and post your holiday pictures on Instagram? Data Roaming abroad can quickly make a nightmare out of your holiday. The Roaming costs charged by your own cell provider can be immense and can reach up to $5 per MB. In addition, hotel-, coffee shop- and public WiFi can be a usual source of unstable and insecure internet connection.
Rent a Pocket WIFI from My Webspot and avoid this problem. A Pocket WiFi is a device that is smaller than an ordinary smartphone. It acts as your mobile high speed internet router, shareable with up to 10 devices (notebook, tablet and smartphone). It also allows you to use unlimited data, whereby you are offered 1GB of data volume of 4G LTE internet per day. Order it to your hotel or accommodation to stay connected.
6. Fight your Jet Lag
You probably know this problem from previous trips into different time zones and it is annoying. You can avoid arriving tired and sleepy by preparing yourself with a few simple methods. Try to sleep early the night previous to your flight. Second, as soon as you are on the airplane set the time to the timezone of your destination and try to sleep and eat at times of your destination. Third, as soon as you arrive, although you might be tired, stay awake until the nighttime, go out as soon as you arrive and start exploring the new environment. These simple ways will help you most in adapting to the new time zone as quick as possible.
7. Inform your Credit Card Company
Prior to your travel you should tell your credit card company when and to what places you are traveling to. Credit Card companies have security procedures whereby your card gets blocked as soon as an unfamiliar transaction is made. Assuming you are traveling to Europe could expose you to a situation where your transaction is denied. This can happen because your Bank considers this transaction as a credit card hacking. Give your bank a call or visit in order to avoid any inconveniences.
8. Do not Overestimate yourself
One important and most of the time underestimated point when you prepare your itinerary should be to add some buffer time. Many tourists plan a lot in advance and rush from one attraction to the other. By rushing through many tourists end up seeing less and being totally stressed out. Our recommendation is to prepare an adequate amount of time for your sleep, between activities and your meals.
9. Make copies of your personal documents
Although it is most likely not going to happen, still it is good to prepare for the worst case - your passport or other important documents get lost or stolen. In order to prevent this case, make copies of your documents and store your original passport and other documents in the hotel safe. You can also save the files at your personal cloud provider in order to avoid unnecessary paper.
10. Travel Insurance
If not included already in your normal health insurance plan you should prepare yourself to be on the safe side and buy a travel insurance. Furthermore travel insurance is usually very cheap. Although having a travel insurance is included in the visa requirements for many countries, it is not a requirement for all countries. Many tourists get stuck in foreign countries and come into financial distress every year because they cannot pay the hospital bills from an unlucky accident.
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