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5 Things to Plan for Your Trip to Europe

The best thing to do when traveling is planning ahead, especially if you’re doing several destinations in a short amount of time. Traveling is expensive and there are never enough vacation days, so savvy planning is a must.

1. Sightseeing passes

Many European cities offer passes that provide entrance to several top attractions. Some passes include perks such as public transport, fast-track entry to some attractions, guided walking tours, hop-on-hop-off bus tours, and river cruises. These passes may be a good deal for some cities and not so much for others. Some great options include the Paris Museum Pass and Vienna Pass.

Sightseeing passes are totally worth the expense if they’re covering the cost of admission to all your must-see sights. Anything on top of that is a bonus. With the pass, you always have the option of popping into other attractions as well.

Remember, some attractions can only be accessed with guided tours, such as the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.

2. Hop-on-hop-off bus tours

Hop-on-hop-off buses are among the best ways to explore a city. Most of these buses offer pre-recorded narration in a number of languages. Some may feature live guides as well. The buses make stops at or near popular attractions every 15-30 minutes, so you can easily hop off at any point and catch another one at a later time. You could always just sit back and enjoy the full tour, which usually lasts 1-2 hours.

3. Commute to and from the airport

Airports are usually located a little further from the main cities, and getting to and from can get frustrating and expensive, especially at odd hours. Be sure to look into airport transfer well in time, as it can get difficult to reach your hotel at 3:00 am or to the airport at 5:00 am.

4. Pack light

This is extremely important. How many times have you come back from a vacation to realize you didn’t even wear many of the items you’d been lugging around? Whether you’re traveling to just one city, or hopping onto trains to just about anywhere in Europe (especially the latter), be sure to pack light.

Travel packs are probably your best bet. They pack easily, give you hands-free convenience, and make it simpler to maneuver through crowds. Many come with great features such as padded backs and waist-support straps. Invest in a good travel pack and that’ll be the only way you’ll ever pack. Check out my post "The Best Way to Pack for a Trip" for more information on travel packs. If you have back trouble or other issues, then try going for a rolling carry-on instead of a larger suitcase.

Having less stuff to lug around is much more important than having extra outfits to wear. Honestly.

5. Get international roaming or a pocket WiFi

If your network provider offers affordable international coverage, get it before leaving. Getting a sim card in a foreign country can be cumbersome.

If your network provider doesn't offer international coverage or if it's too expensive, book a pocket WiFi to pick up at the airport at your destination. If you haven’t heard of them already, pocket WiFi devices provide on-the-go access to wireless internet. As the name suggests, they are pocket-sized, so are super easy to tote around. With one these devices in hand - or in the pocket - you can opt out of pricey roaming plans or getting a local SIM card. A single pocket WiFi connects to 5 or even 10 devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. These can especially be a great deal if you’re using a lot of devices, or sharing WiFi with friends or family members on vacation.

Most of these devices come with connections that work across most countries in Europe, so you don’t have to get a new one each time you get to a new destination.

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