Few occasions bring as much thrill as planning a vacation. If your dreams include traveling to Europe, now is the time to start planning!
Planning and purchasing your vacation early has advantages not only because you may get a better deal, but also because having a vacation planned is an instant mood booster. Bad days suddenly turn into days filled with thoughts of “soon I will be promenading the aisles of Buckingham Palace.”
If this upcoming year your vacation destination is Europe, below are some tips on things you need to know before traveling to Europe. They are all things we wish we knew before our first visit, and always keep in mind when planning our next!
There are great online tools out there that allow you to get the lowest fares possible. Be flexible. With sites, such as Orbitz.com or Cheaptickets.com, you can look for Flexible Dates that let you see prices for each day during a one month time period.
You cannot use the Flexible Dates’ tool if you plan a Multi-city trip. However, search for Flexible Dates with your two main destinations. This way you will easier detect low off-season prices and flights with over-capacity. Use these days for your Multi-city trip as they will generate the lowest fare.
Consider using a travel agent
Especially for Multi-city international trips, Travel Agents can provide great services with a competitive rate. They can customize your trip in a way which is impossible to do online.
Make use of layovers or fly home from a different airport
Let’s say your final destination is Frankfurt with a one-hour stop in London. Ask your Travel Agent to extend your stop for a couple of days this way you can enjoy London with a free ride to Frankfurt.
Or, consider arriving at one European airport but flying back from another. You will be surprised; often there is no difference in ticket costs.
Be aware of the exchange rate
Don’t let yourself be surprised by the strong Euro. Chances are that the Euro will rise further. Consider exchanging some Dollars for Euros now.
Get familiar with Europe’s low fare airlines
In resent years several smaller, new European airlines started to compete with low fare ticket prices. For example, check out Ryanair.com or Eurowings.com. If you are flexible with your destination and dates you can get round-trips for under $50.
Be advised that these companies have strict luggage policies; 33 pounds max are the norm. Any additional weight will cost extra.
Considering traveling to Europe off-season
During the summer time it is also vacation time in Europe. This means more traffic than usual. Furthermore, a lot of museums, castles and theaters take a summer break.
Why not travel in spring or fall? You will be able to get better deals in airfare and accommodations during the off-peak seasons.
If you don’t mind driving during your vacation, traveling by RV can be a good and affordable alternative especially when traveling with children. Europe has plenty of great camping cites.
Get your tax back
If you go shopping in Europe, ask larger retailers for special international receipts so called “Tax Free”. Show these form with your purchase to the airport’s customs’ office. They will stamp you papers so you can claim you tax when back in the US.
Check travel sites for tips. And next time you meet with friends or talk to your family, mention that you plan your vacation and ask for their input. You will be amazed at the wealth of information and insider tips this will generate.