I have been fascinated with Europe for longer than I care to remember. The love affair probably began when I visited Europe for the first time, nine years ago. The impressive and picturesque landscape, varied scrumptious cuisines, and extensively rich cultural heritage made me fall madly in love with Europe, and ignited my passion for travel. Thereafter , my desire-turned-obsession to explore and taste the whole world , one at a time, has compelled me to travel as much as I can . When I am not blogging, reading, or discovering new eateries around, I am planning my next travel.
How to prepare for your perfect European holiday :
Get acquainted: Like I always mention, I love to mingle with the crowd and live like a local, when I’m traveling overseas. Europe, especially, has a beautiful and diverse culture and I feel you can maximize the quality of your stay by getting acquainted with the mannerisms, culture, and language( a few pleasantries to be changed like Hello, Please, Thank You etc.) It isn’t mandatory, just a matter of preference, but it does make things easier in the countries where the locals are not too fluent in English.
Visa and Air Tickets: Most important thing, you need to book yourself an air ticket, and print a copy of the same to show in the Visa office to go along with the other documents (Application Form, Photographs, Passport, Bank Statements, Evidence of Occupation, Cover Letter, Travel Insurance, Accommodation details). There are some fantastic websites with affordable deals these days, if you plan well and do a little research. I have learned that the booking should neither be too early or too late, maybe a month or two prior to the travel date, gives you some great deals. Obviously, you need to consider the timeframe required for the Visa completion as well.
Accommodation: While choosing a stay, I would suggest you to experiment a little, and not just limit yourself to the hotels. During my last vacation in Europe, I stayed in B&Bs, and had an incredible experience. The warmth and personal touch of a B&B and a great host, make your experience incomparable and better than hotels. You can choose from home stays, vacation rentals, Bed & Breakfasts, and many more affordable and great options. Booking.com and Air BnB are two of my favorite sources for this. Also, make sure that the place you book is in or near the city center, where you can easily access the train stations, or nearby attractions, shops etc. It proves to be very helpful, unless you want a quiet, remote area to yourself.
Foreign Exchange: It is helpful to be prepared with the foreign exchange before you are set to travel, so that you don’t have to run looking for a decent exchange shop in another country. Although, not all foreign currencies are available easily, and some you will have to buy from the country you are visiting. For example, when we visited Prague and Budapest, we had to look for a decent exchange rate shop and buy there itself. Some websites offer great deals in Foreign exchange in India.
Packing: Once you have got yourself the Visa, your travel plans are confirmed. Now, you can start packing for your dream vacation. While packing, you need to consider a few trivial details such as the weather conditions during your stay there. Europe has Summers, Winters, as well as Rainy season, and you want to be prepared accordingly, to not let the weather conditions spoil the fun for you. Although you are free to wear according to your comfort and preference, I always like to mingle with the crowd. “When in Rome, dress like the Romans’, I live by this when I’m traveling, so I get myself acquainted a little with the fashion and style of the place I’m visiting 🙂 There is one thing to keep in mind, if you want to visit a church, it’s preferable to be decently clad, cover your shoulders and legs, some places are strict about that. Not to forget the essentials – Mobile Chargers, Camera, Caps, Goggles, Medicines, Sunscreen, Moisturizers, Passport, Airline tickets, Foreign Exchange, Maps/Guides, Travel Journals, Drivers License)
Food: It’s essential to be aware of the kind of food readily available, according to your taste, in the country you are visiting. The good news is, almost everywhere you will find vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian options(so the vegetarians need not worry). if you can’t find one, you can always request them to customize your dish to being vegetarian, and most places would be happy to accommodate.
An offline map: I have observed and learned this from my husband that you should always download an offline Google map of the area you are in, or are planning to visit. It proves to be extremely useful, if there is no internet connection. The map will not only show you the directions, but also suggest restaurants or shops nearby, and you can choose according to your preference.
Arranging Local Transportation: If you plan to travel within Europe, to a different country, or another city, It’s preferable to book your tickets in advance. There are many options ranging from the flights, trains, to buses, depending upon the place you are travelling to and from. Planning well in advance not only takes care of your Visa formalities and the documents required to be shown, but also gets you a better and affordable deal.
Now you are all set to get rolling for a wonderful holiday.