Planning Your European Trip

Unless you have an unlimited travel budget and an infinite number of paid days off (who does anyway?), your European trip will require serious preplanning. This is important because you would want to maximize your experience and minimize the common problems travelers face once they're in a foreign country.Planning can make a lot of people cringe; most first-time travelers would just like to throw caution to the wind. However, taking this attitude will not only cost you money, it can be a source of agitation and frustration as well. The good thing is, planning for Europe doesn't necessarily mean working out a rigid daily itinerary.

Flexibility is the key to an enjoyable independent travel experience. You will, however, feel better about the trip by sorting out the major details and focusing on what you want to do there well enough before you jump on the plane.The basic questions you have to ask yourself are: Do I want to travel alone or with other people? If I don't want to do it alone, what kinds of people are traveling with me? How much money have I budgeted for this trip? How long can I be gone? Do I want to see a broad European panorama, or just focus on a number of cities and countries? Are there certain activities (like biking or trekking) that I can do while I'm on my trip? Am I more interested in the natural European landscape, or will I want to see more museums and architecture? Am I in this for cultural understanding and language exposure, or do I simply want to check out the nightlife and festivals? Open your mind to the possibility of making changes while you're on the road because eventually you might find yourself doing things you just saw along the way. You might even alter your course or your company - it's all part of the joy of traveling.What kind of trip would suit you better? You can choose from organized tours, going it alone, or traveling with friends or family.Travelers often think that organized tours are boring and restrictive, but in fact, this is a good choice for first-timers who are still getting a "feel" for the landscape they are exploring.

Life on a tour is easier because everything is done for you - from the hostel bookings to your food to your transport. A good tour guide can be very informative as well. Your traveling companions will be also fun to get to know. However, the downside of organized tours is that they can be more expensive than independent travel. And because you're with your companions for most of the time, it can isolate you from the local culture.Doing Europe alone is also a good choice.

The chances of staying alone are slim, since you will meet many backpackers along the way. It gives you more time to meet the locals and immerse yourself in the culture. You are also more free to do what you want and go to wherever suits your tastes. It is not so difficult to travel solo in Europe; it can even build your sense of independence and character. However if you plan to go solo, try traveling alone first and if you find yourself craving for company, then maybe this is not the best option for you.

Traveling with friends eliminates isolation and loneliness. You can also save a lot of money on transport and accommodation because you split the bill most of the time. However, you must be sure that your companion likes most of the same things you like, otherwise it can be difficult to reconcile competing interests and personalities and you might end up cutting the trip short. This mode of travel usually works for a group of three to four at the most.

.Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Europe Vacation.

By: Michael Russell


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