Did you know Europe is home to the most popular tourist destinations in the world? According to USA Today, France brings in 70 million tourists each year; most head to Paris. England, according to Visit Britain, hosts 32 million people annually, generating £97 billion for the economy. With the incredible number of people taking a European vacation every year, it’s no wonder that, according to Hotrec, the European hospitality industry employees 9.5 million people, or 4.4% of the European workforce.
Four Steps to an Amazing European Holiday
- Choose Your Destination
- Do Nothing Else Before You Have Your Documents
- Plan Ahead to Find the Best Hotels, Airfare
- Buy a Eurail Pass
As NBC News suggests, the most important step in planning your trip is deciding where to go. If you decide to start at the best hotels in London, for example, then that will inform the cost of your trip, what sort of documentation you need, and so forth. Once you know where you’re going, you can get an idea of how much it’s going to cost. Say, for instance, you’re traveling from New York City to London; you’ll need to save up an average of $80 more per ticket, according to Kayak, than you would if you were flying into Paris.
Next, you need to gather all the documents you’ll need to get into each country you plan to visit. As Independent Traveler writes, it’s going to cost you at least $200 to get a passport; an additional $60 is required to have it expedited. Since you need a passport to visit any country other than your own, this should be your first step. Next, figure out if you need visitor visas. Your country will likely have a visa waiver agreement with others. The United States, for example, has a visa waiver agreement with 37 other countries, according to Travel.State.Gov. If there is no waiver for the country you’re visiting, apply for a visa immediately.
If you want to save money on the best hotels in your destination city, and shave significant amounts off your airfare, then make sure you plan at least eight weeks in advance. According to Fare Compare, the price of air travel rises by £5 every day you wait. Not only is the price rising, but availability is dropping. Plan ahead to save and to make sure you’ll have a place to stay.
Now that you have your destinations chosen, your documents in order, and your reservations made, you need to find a way to get from place to place. Assuming you aren’t set on hitchhiking your way across the Old World, the cheapest way to get to and from hotel accommodations is a Eurail pass. Eurail passes can be purchased for single country, single region, multi-region, or global access. If you’re planning on exploring the full expanse of Europe, then the global pass, according to Eurail, is the best deal; it lasts up to 3 months, costs $420, and grants access to 24 countries.
Given the volume of things to do and see across Europe, it can be difficult to plan your trip. With these steps, you can avoid delaying your trip for document issues, save money on the best hotels and airfare, and get around without a problem. Bon voyage! See more.