A trip around Europe can be an intensely rewarding experience and will genuinely enrich your life. However, you’ll need to prepare yourself properly for your adventure abroad. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 15 things you should think about before setting off!. 15 Things To Think About Before Making A Trip Around Europe
Photo by: PROGiorgio Brida
Obviously, you need to make sure that your passport is in date before you can leave the UK. You should also make sure that it isn’t due to expire too soon after your planned date of return to the UK. After all, an emergency might arise that forces you to extend your stay on the continent, and you don’t want your passport to go out of date while you’re still in Europe! It’s best to have it renewed before you leave if the expiration date is close.
Your European Health Insurance Card
The most important thing that you’ll be taking abroad is yourself, so you need to make sure you can receive a high standard of affordable medical care if you fall ill or become injured while traveling. The simplest way to do this is to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (also known as a European insurance card or an EHIC). These cards are provided for free by the UK government and are recognized across Europe; as long as you carry an EHIC card, you can receive free, high-standard medical care anywhere in the European Economic Area for a reduced fee or (in some cases) for free. Apply for one before you go. If you already have one but it’s due to expire, you can easily perform an EHIC renewal online.
While your EHIC reduces the cost of medical treatment abroad (sometimes to nothing), it doesn’t replace your travel insurance. To be safe, you should buy travel insurance that will cover any (reduced) medical costs you incur, along with any loss of property or other emergency.
Cash and currency
Before you leave for Europe, you should change some pounds into euros and other relevant currencies. Remember that not all countries in Europe are also in the Euro zone. If your planned route takes you outside the Euro zone, you will need to research what currency or currencies you will need.
Notifying your bank
In case you do have to use your credit or debit card while abroad, ring your bank before you leave and notify them that you will be traveling abroad. This will ensure that your bank doesn’t freeze your card if you use it while abroad.
Hotels and hostels
Where possible, it’s best to book your lodgings in advance. That way, you’ll know for certain that you have somewhere to stay.
Think about how you intend to reach each place on your route. Will you be traveling by car, coach, train or plane once you’re in Europe? Regardless of your preferred mode of travel, you should check transport links before you leave the UK to ensure you don’t have any trouble reaching your destinations.
Will you be able to make yourself understood in every country you intend to visit? Make sure you invest in a few phrasebooks before you leave.
Consider the differences in climate between the European countries you plan on visiting and make sure to pack clothes that are appropriate for the different weather conditions you’re likely to encounter. The climate varies drastically across Europe, so it’s best to make sure you’re ready for anything!
What do you want to see or experience on your travels? Do as much research as possible on each destination along your route so that you know what unique sights, customs and experiences each area has to offer!
Contacting the folks back home
In case anything unexpected happens, it’s worth making sure you have multiple ways of getting in touch with your friends and family back home in the UK, and that they can get in touch with you just as easily. Check your phone will work abroad (or invest in one that will) and that you have some way to access the internet to receive e-mails, Skype calls and other forms of electronic contact.
Are you entitled to an International Student Identity Card?
If you’re a student, it’s worth investing in an ISIC. These cards are recognized as proof of student status across Europe. Many hotels, hostels and shops across the continent offer cheaper rates to students, so it’s worth obtaining an ISIC.
It pays to research the local cuisine of each destination on your route before you leave. That way, you know in advance what you want to sample! Additionally, if you have allergies or specific dietary requirements, it’s best to know what foods you won’t be able to eat.
Are you traveling alone or with friends? If you’re traveling as part of a group, ensure everybody knows the planned route and is booked into the right hotels or hostels.
The most important part of any trip is that you enjoy it. Make sure that every destination on your route is somewhere you’ve always wanted to see and that you know what you want to do when you get there!