Europe is one of the most incredible destinations in the world. It’s no wonder that over 600 million people come to visit it each year.
However, as amazing as Europe is, it can be incredibly difficult to plan a Euro-trip, especially if you’re short on time. We must not forget that Europe is a continent with seven geographic regions, 44 countries, and nearly 750 million people.
Unless you have all the time in the world, tackling Europe in one go is not possible.
But, with the right planning, you can see enough of Europe to have a great time and feel like you’ve “gotten a feel of it”.
Check out this guide to learn how to plan a trip to Europe.
1. Decide Your Must-Visit Places
As we just mentioned, Europe is a large continent, so you can’t expect to see a lot of it one trip.
Therefore, it’s very important to decide on your “must-visit” destinations right away.
And, while it can be tempting to pack in as many places as possible if you don’t know when you’ll be back, don’t do this! Europe has excellent transportation systems. However, moving around constantly is exhausting, and doing so won’t allow you to fully appreciate each place you visit.
We suggest spending at the very minimum, three days in each city. Also, try to pick places that are near each other. Even though Europe isn’t massive, you don’t want to be wasting your time sitting on long flights and trains.
We suggest spending no less than a week in each country you visit, and picking countries that are close to each other. Remember, you can always go back and explore more!
2. Create a Budget
After you’ve chosen your destinations, we suggest creating a budget for your trip.
While some countries in Europe are quite affordable, touristy cities always tend to be a bit more expensive, especially if you go in the high seasons.
Creating a budget will help eliminate sticker shock. In your budget, you should include enough money for food, transportation, activities, accommodation, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous costs.
When creating a budget, it’s important to look up country-specific prices. For example, Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Whereas a cocktail in Norway may cost an average of $20, that same cocktail may only cost $7 in Poland.
So, do your research and make sure that each destination you choose is within your budget.
3. Create a Route
As we said earlier, European transportation is excellent. Reasonably priced trains, buses, and flights abound here.
So, while you don’t need to have everything booked beforehand, we do suggest having a rough route created. You for sure should pre-book your flight into and out of Europe, of course.
However, unless you have tours or other activities lined up, it can actually be smart to wait to book your transportation. It may turn out that you absolutely love Rome and you want to extend your Rome itinerary and skip another city.
But if everything is prebooked, you won’t be able to do this.
Also, try to be as time-efficient with your route as possible. Don’t create it so you’re flying into Rome, going to Sweden, and then heading back down to Croatia. As much as possible, try to travel in a direction that won’t have you backtracking to visit places.
4. Research Each City
Just like you want to create a “must-visit” city list, you’ll also want to create a “must-do” list for each place you visit.
You of course probably already know about the main attractions that each city brings. But, it isn’t until you do some serious research that you’ll discover the best restaurants, the hidden nooks and crannies, and the local hot spots.
So, for each place you plan to visit, make a list of a few things you’d like to see when there.
However, don’t jam-pack the list so full that you have no time in between each activity. Part of the beauty of visiting Europe is wandering down the streets and discovering something on your own, so make sure to leave plenty of time to explore and relax.
5. Do the Free Walking Tours
Pretty much every major city in Europe offers free walking tours.
These are tours that are led by local guides in which you’re taken around the city on foot and get information about the history and highlights of the city in a span of 2-3 hours.
And, while all these tours are free, tips are most definitely appreciated.
Also, in addition to the general free walking tours, most places also offer food tours, historic tours, and other more-specific tours.
A free walking tour is one of the best ways to get your bearings in a new European city, so make sure to take advantage of these.
6. Be Wise About When You Travel
You also want to be very wise about when you travel to Europe.
In general, you should avoid the month of August, as this is when most Europeans go on vacation and therefore everything is shut down.
Also, be sure to look into the weather and activities you want to do. While Paris will certainly be colder in December, this means you can hit up the Christmas markets and avoid the large crowds that the spring in summer months bring.
Or, if you’re going to Iceland, you’ll definitely want to make sure you schedule your trip during a month when you’re likely to see the Northern Lights.
Again, you should research each individual country to figure out when’s the best time to go.
Are You Ready to Plan a Trip to Europe?
Now that you know how to plan a trip to Europe, it’s time to get started with your itinerary.
Remember, Europe is extremely Westernized and easy-to-travel, so if there’s a hiccup in your plans, don’t panic and instead just enjoy all the magic Europe has to offer!
Also, be sure to check out our blog for more travel tips and tricks!