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Planning ahead is essential for a perfect vacation. Being flexible enough to grab special travel promotions that are advertised for limited times is certainly a plus. The more preparations people make before a trip to Europe, the more comfortable these travelers will be as everything will go smoothly and they will enjoy their vacations.

There are certain essential steps to take for a memorable European vacation:

  1. Compile Essential Documents

Because procuring a passport takes some time, it is a good idea to plan ahead for a month to six weeks prior to a trip. Checking on an existing passport to be sure it is not expired is a wise move. Verifying that the passport is valid past the end of a traveler’s trip is also important since some countries demand this extension. Some European companies require not only a driver’s license but an international driving permit that American citizens can procure from AAA (American Automobile Association) and Canadians from CAA (Canadian Automobile Association). Those U.S. tourists entering Russia or Turkey must have passports and valid visas. Making preparations ahead of time is necessary because obtaining such documents takes a long time.

  1. Make out a budget

Planning expenses is essential to choosing destinations as there are times and places to travel that are less costly than others. To assist travelers, there are apps such as TrabeePocket (iOS | Android) that can offer assistance with keeping track of expenses while bookings are made.

  1. Plan an itinerary

Booking air transportation to Europe first before arranging for lodging and other things allows flexibility with dates and opportunities for discounts. Planning hotel stays and accommodations or stays at bed and breakfasts, castles, farmhouses, etc. can add interest to the trip. Traveling with a group may also be a wise decision since the tour guide can eliminate much of the stress of language barriers and unfamiliarity with customs, rules and booking of hotels and transportation. The itinerary is lined out, there is security in a group, and the guide is familiar with languages and protocol.

Travelers can also choose the security and ease of a cruise where certain perks are granted on American ships, such as no fees for money exchanges. Groups can visit various locations onshore, too.

  1. Make Arrangements for Leaving Home

Before departure, travelers should calculate financial needs, notify credit card companies and arrange for pet sitters, mail-pickup or stoppage. They should be certain that their phones will work overseas, and they should consider purchasing travel insurance and electrical adapters.