Summer’s coming fast and we’re planning to skip town. And speak French and shop fashion and eat Italian and sip wine and lie on a beach and do like the locals do—everywhere we go. Take a guess where we’re headed. You got it. Ah, Europe. It’s still one of the top dream destinations for Canadians, and—no surprise—it’s only getting more popular with time. Getting ready to pack? Here’s everything you need to know to make your next (well-deserved) European vacation run smoothly.
STEP-BY-STEP: HOW TO PLAN FOR YOUR TRIP TO EUROPE
1. Get your documents in order. The most important thing to remember is to make sure your passport is up to date. Getting caught at the airport would be a nightmare.
2. Establish a budget and make booking decisions around it. You’ll have more fun if you have a ceiling on what you’ll spend.
4. Create a rough itinerary. You’ll need to know when you want to fly in and fly out, and have a plan, roughly, for what you want to see when. The trick is to do a little research so you don’t find yourself hunting around for places to go and things to do.
5. Book your airfare. Nowadays, this is both easy and more complex. There are so many websites to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at many different prices. Start early and compare.
6. Book your accommodations. Keep in mind that a travel site like Transat Holidays can take care of all aspects of your European trip, or as many as you’d like. From two stars to five, they’ll customize the trip to your specifications.
8. Book local transportation. Do a little research on how you’ll get around. Check out the ease of the subway system, whether the destination is bike friendly, and, of course, the train itinerary, since in Europe, the train goes everywhere at reasonable prices. At some points, you may also want to rent a car to get around.
9. Tackle last-minute financial logistics before you fly. You may want to visit a currency exchange so you arrive with cash on hand. Also, call your credit cards to give them a heads up that you’ll be in Europe. Same goes with your cell phone. If you’ll need it when you’re overseas, load your phone with an international package.
10. Pack smart! Check the weather daily (it changes!), make a packing list, and buy whatever you don’t have. Bring a raincoat or umbrella, just in case, and if you’ll be carrying your luggage, try not to overpack. One thing we know you’ll need for sure: room in your bags for all that shopping.