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10 Tips For Planning Your European Trip

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By Dr. Drew Henry

Europe is the most popular destination for tourists. There are several important things to keep in mind before calling your travel agent and booking your next vacation:

1. Your Budget: Set your budget. This includes transportation cost and souvenir/s. If your budget is smaller, you should visit Eastern Europe, looking for packaged tours, or, if you're flexible, book a "last-minute" trip, which can often save you 30% or more. Check out the current exchange rate between your currency and that of the country you'll be visiting, to have a better idea of what your vacation is going to actually cost you. Whenever possible, travel during an off-peak season to save even more.

2. Time of year: You may not want to spend many days indoors, because the weather can be cold and rainy. You may miss a wonderful trip just because you have not checked with your travel agent or weather forecast first. This is what I recommend you if you're not sure of weather patterns, check with your travel agent who can advise you on rainy seasons or other weather-related issues for traveling to a specific spot.

3. Political Climate: While most countries that rely on tourism make every effort to ensure the safety of tourists, these days it's always a good idea to keep up on the current political climate of the country you're planning to visit, especially if there have been problems in the past.

4. Your waking time: If you usually wake up late in the morning, then a guided tour is probably not for you. Most guided tours start early in the morning, and you're on the go until evening. You may visit several cities in a country or countries within a specified amount of time, and you're required to stay with the group.

However, if you don't like traveling alone, you enjoy the companionship of others and getting to see as much as possible in the time you've got, a guided tour or cruise may be just the thing for you.

5. Your dream and personal desire: This vacation is something special and you save the whole year for. So if you have always wanted to visit somewhere or do something special -- why wait? Include it in your next vacation plans.

6. Plan your day: Take a little time to think about what you like doing before planning your trip. Do you prefer the water, or the mountains? Lying on the beach, or rock-climbing? Adrenaline rushes or visiting an art museum?

Once you know what you want to do, figure out what you'll have time to do. Many times, in an effort to get the "most bang for our buck" we tend to over plan the vacation, and end up needing a vacation from the vacation when we get home! Prioritize your list, and be willing to save some activities or attractions for another trip.

7. Use the resources that are available to make your trip special and save money: Today's travelers have numerous options when planning their vacation. You can use the Internet to find out more about the cities or countries you want to visit, check out prices, even book your flight or hotel room. Here is a useful website you can visit www.heping-hotel.com If you're visiting a place for the first time, check with a travel agent, talk to someone who's "been there, done that" on an Internet Forum, or contact local chambers or commerce or travel councils to get more information about where to go, what to see and what to do.

8. Pack lightly: Do not bring items that you will not use and unnecessary because the word “Just In Case”. When planning your trip, look at your wardrobe and pack as lightly as you can. Take only what you'll really need, and remember that if you forget or end up needing something, chances are you can get it once you reach your destination.

9. Get organized: You can use trip-planning software, or your own favorite organizing system to organize and plan your trip. Don't forget things like making sure your passport and picture ID are up-to-date, finding out if travel insurance is something you need, and how and where to exchange your money. The more organized you are in the beginning, the better vacation you'll have.

10. Have fun!: Get organized, have a plan before going anywhere. That way, once you're on your way, you'll be able to relax and enjoy yourself. But remember, there are very few "perfect" vacations, so if something does go wrong, try to relax and "go with the flow" as much as possible.

About The Author: Dr. Drew Henry is president of www.natrohotels.com and CEO of www.wellnesshotel-select.com, websites providing up-to-date resources and guides about the hotel industry.