Prepare your trip to Europe

Got your mind set to visit Europe? You will need to make sure your passport has not expired. Then the following step is to plan your budget and how long you plan to stay. Once you have figured that out, it will be easier to prepare for your trip.

Europe is a popular destination for most travelers. Some of the perks of this beautiful continent include a range of diverse cultures in each country. A trip to vast continent like Europe can be overwhelming.

The following guide explains how to prepare for a trip to Europe —so you can spend a short time worrying about your trip and more time staring at pictures of men in kilts and castles.

The steps to follow to prepare for your trip to Europe:

  1. Ensure your passport is valid. If it will expire before your date of return, you need to renew it.
  2. Book your international flights.
  3. Figure out your means of transportation in Europe: rent a car, get a rail pass, and/or book flights within Europe. You can buy rail tickets as you travel, but it is advisable to reserve seats on some trains before you travel.
  4. Make reservations in advance, for popular restaurants, accommodations, major sights, and local guides.
  5. Figure out if you want to buy travel insurance: compare the cost of your potential loss to the cost of the insurance. Check whether your existing insurance (health) covers you.
  6. Call your bank. Inform them that you will be using your ATM cards in Europe. 
  7. If you are bringing your kids, ensure you have the right documents, including passports and letter of consent to travel without both parents.
  8. Backup your essential travel documents, including your itinerary.
  9. If you are a student, you should carry a valid school-issued ID to take advantage of student discounts throughout Europe.
  10. Use your smartphone to sign up for an international plan to reduce your travel costs.
  11. Download all the apps you will use on the road (maps, translators, transit schedules e.t.c). If you like to watch movies during downtime, download these before you travel, as you probably will not be able to use streaming services overseas.
  12. Sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrolment Program to get updates about your trip, and to help your relatives get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
  13. Take care of your medical needs. See your doctor for medical checkup, and visit your dentist if possible. If you use prescription drugs, stock up before your departure.
  14. Make a list of items that you will be traveling with (such as electronics). Include serial numbers, and models.
  15. Read the airline carry-on restrictions. The Transportation Security Administration’s website has a list of what you can bring on the plane with you.

Essential Documents Needed To Travel to Europe

There are two important documents required for a trip to Europe.

Passport:

  • It should be valid for more than six-month whenever you travel abroad.
  • Check the expiration date on your passport before traveling to Europe
  • Ensure you carry your passport when traveling to a different country in the Schengen zone. Even if there is no border control at that time, immigration authorities may reinstate border checks without notice.
  • You can read about passport validity for your destination country, along with other important information, on the internet.

Visa:

  • If you stayed for three months in the Schengen zone on any six-month period, you will have to wait another three months from the last date of departure from the Schengen zone before you can apply to enter the Schengen zone again.
  • If your case is not among these conditions, or if you plan to reside in the Schengen zone longer than three months, contact the embassy of the country where you plan to spend most of your time, and then apply for a visa with them.

Schengen countries may reinstate temporary external and internal border checks without advanced notice to travelers. Travelers should carry their passport at all times when traveling to and within the Schengen area.

Check your Schengen visa sticker to know the list of Schengen countries you are permitted to visit.