Planning a trip to Europe can be daunting.
I should know since this is what I do for my travel clients.
But I want to offer up some basic advice to help you not get so overwhelmed by it all.
These are basic tips to help you with the overall structure and flow of your trip.
And hopefully it will ensure that you have an amazing and memorable holiday to Europe.
Tip #1: Don’t try to do it all — less is more
The biggest mistake we all make is trying to see and do it all.
You will come back home exhausted and feeling like you saw a lot but you’ll remember very little.
It will all be a blur.
Less is truly more in that you may actually visit fewer places and sites but you’ll have more experiences that will stick with you.
And you’ll end up with more memories.
Do not try to see all of Scotland in 10 days.
You’ll enjoy your trip more and not come back from your vacation needing another vacation.
Choose a few sites or places and really experience them.
This flows into the next tip…
Tip #2: Make a list then choose your top 3-5
When you first begin planning make a list — do a brain dump — and write down everything you want to see, do and experience.
Now whittle that list down.
What are those 3-5 things you don’t want to leave without seeing, doing or experiencing?
This list can be longer if you have more than 2 weeks.
Put those top things on your list first and schedule out your time accordingly around these “musts” for your holiday.
My ex-boyfriend, E, gave me this advice for my first trip to Europe.
And it is great advice that I adhere to to this day.
Tip #3: Slow down
This goes with #1 and #2 — slow down.
Take your time and truly experience a place.
Slow down and relish in what you are seeing and doing.
Talk with the locals.
When you are rushing around with that damn checklist in your hand you aren’t really connecting with a destination.
You’re simply scratching the surface.
Stay in a city or town for more than one night.
Heck, stay 3 or 4 (or more) and really become familiar with it — connect with it and find out what makes this place tick and what makes it so special.
You’ll love what you find!
Tip #4: Make sure your trip flows
You don’t want to be going from point A to point B then back toward point A again.
Be sure to map out your trip so you aren’t wasting time in a car, on a bus or on a train.
And with the slowing down approach, don’t pick out 3 destinations that are miles upon miles apart.
You’ll end up spending one of your precious days traveling all day.
This might be okay for some but maybe not so much for others.
It’s a personal preference.
So keep this in mind.
And think about how you’re going to get from point A to point B.
If you have a car then it’s probably not much of an issue.
However if you are using public transportation, you want to be sure you can get from point A to point B without too much difficulty.
You don’t want to be on 2 trains and 2 busses all day to get there.
At least I don’t think you do.
Tip #5: Connect with the locals
There is nothing better than connecting with the local people — even if you don’t speak the same language.
This is one of the best aspects of travel in my opinion.
My fondest memories usually involve the locals in some way.
And if you are racing around, trying to see and do it all, then you have less time to make those connections.
Even if you are a shy or introverted person make an attempt to communicate with the locals.
If there’s a language barrier, learn a few words of the local language and use them.
Smiles and laughter go a long way — as do sharing photos of your family back home.
The humanness of travel is our reminder that there is less that makes us different and more that makes us the same.
I promise that if you slow down, dig deeper and connect with the locals that you will return from your travels with memories that will last a lifetime.
Tip #6: Use a personal travel planner
I can’t end without at least making this suggestion: if you are still overwhelmed and need help in planning your trip to Europe, then use the services of a travel planner such as myself.
It can be worth spending a little bit more to ensure that you have the trip of your dreams.
A travel professional can create that perfect itinerary that is seamless — that is logical and runs smoothly.
Travel planners find the best value so you have an amazing vacation without breaking the bank.
For me, I pride myself on creating customized, one-of-a-kind trips for each client based on their needs, wants, interests and budget.
It’s YOUR trip.
Not your neighbor’s.
And a travel professional like myself can save you a lot of time and aggravation and keep you sane as you make those plans for your trip to Europe.