It’s with great pleasure that I welcome a guest blogger for the *first time* to The Marissa Daily for today’s post: Bharti Rana! Bharti is an avid reader and has worked as a freelancer content writer for many organizations. Currently, she is working as a blog writer for immigration law websites and more. Aside from content marketing, she is also a travel enthusiast who loves exploring new places and sharing her experiences and insights with readers through blogging. Welcome, Bharti! Find her on Instagram here.
A vacation in Europe is an unforgettable adventure. Many of us dream about it. People from all over the world flock to Europe as a year-round destination. Some of them like to relax by the sea, while others choose outdoor activities in winter. History lovers visit sights or castles in old towns. Europe is beautiful in winter and summer, spring and autumn. If you’re planning your vacation for the first time, here’s a guide for things to consider when planning your first European holiday.
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What do we do first when planning a vacation? We may contact travel agencies, and choose and order the best tour for us. They can be expensive and may include activities, and excursions you don’t need or don’t like. The self-planning holiday is a great alternative, especially for budget travelers. You can go to those places you like the most. The choice is yours – to travel alone or use the services of a travel agency. For planning yourself, you might consider making a detailed itinerary – or checking out travel blogs to find ones that have been written by other travelers. Also consider setting a budget so that you know how much money the trip will be in its entirety. Inexpensive travel is possible – but at the same time, have an emergency fund ready in case your plans change.
Check if You Have a Valid Passport
Before planning a trip, you need to make sure that your passport is valid. If it expires after 3 months, then there is a greater chance that you will be denied entry to one of the countries in Europe. No matter how long you stay there, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months. But if you have European citizenship, for example, a Latvian passport, you will have more possibilities. For example, not only can a European passport holder enjoy a vacation by the sea or in the mountains, but they also can live as long as they want in any beautiful place in Europe.
See If You Need Additional Documents
The presence of an additional document (ETIAS). Citizens of Canada, the United States, and other countries that are included in the list of visa-free countries have the right to freely travel around Europe for up to 90 days without a visa. But at the end of 2023, tourists will need to have another document called ETIAS. This is an electronic travel authorization. It can be obtained by filling out a short form online – here’s more information from the European Union.
Check Vaccination Requirements
Do you need COVID-19 vaccination documents or a negative test? Each country decides whether to set a limit or not. But, many European countries are gradually opening their borders to people who don’t have a vaccination certificate. You should find out what type of vaccine is listed on your certificate and what type of vaccine is required by the country you will be traveling to. In addition, some countries may require a test certificate for COVID-19, which has a negative result. This is not a prerequisite for entering Europe. For example, today you don’t need to take a test if you are going to Latvia or Spain.
It’s definitely best to pack only the most essential things in your suitcase. A small carry-on suitcase has many advantages while traveling. For example, you won’t have to pay for extra luggage or stand in line, and you will not worry that your luggage will be lost. Plus, having a small number of things will enable you to travel by public transport. And public transport will be an affordable way to travel between cities for you.
One way to save money is to pay for purchases in local currency. You have to exchange the currency in your country for the one that you will pay during your travels. Many shops and hotels will offer you to pay in dollars or euros. You shouldn’t do this if you want to save your money. After
all, during the currency converting process, you will lose 10 – 20% of your budget.
Hotels & Accommodations
A hotel room will cost less if you book it for a long time. Hotels often give a discount and you will pay less. For example, if you book a room for 7 days at once, you will pay for 6 days, and the 7th day will be free. If you arrive on the eve of the holidays, then you should book a room in advance, because the closer to the holiday, the less likely you are to find good and inexpensive accommodations.
Saving on Food
A lot of restaurants offer set menus and a wide variety of food. You can refuse them if they seem expensive to you. By choosing restaurants located away from tourist centers and areas, you can save a substantial amount of money. Typically, inexpensive and delicious food will be on the menu that is written in the language of the country of your stay, and not in several languages. There is no mandatory order to set lunch or dinner. Local cuisine in bars is a good option for tourists. Be sure to check the hours of operation, because few restaurants are open from morning to evening. Some of them close after 3pm!
Renting a Car
If you are using your car, some countries require you to have an International Driving Permit. But this requirement also depends on your country of residence. You should know about this in advance to avoid problems. When mapping out your route, remember that driving all the time without stopping will be impossible. Tourists have to stay in hotels to spend the night – it is necessary. And if you rent a car, then don’t forget to indicate in the contract which countries you will go to. Also remember, that left-hand traffic is not only in the UK but also in countries such as Cyprus and Malta. A best practice is to research a country’s traffic laws and street signs prior to driving there.
Europe is always hospitable and ready to show many interesting places to tourists. But there are some nuances that you should know in order not to be disappointed in the trip. Now, after reading our article, you will be able to use the tricks to make your trip one of the best periods of your life.