3 Mistakes Travelers Make Planning First Trips to Europe

April 9, 2012

Too little vacation time and the fear of missing out leads some travelers to make vacation choices that cause stress and disappointment. But there are some ways to prevent trip planning pitfalls for a more enjoyable trip.


It's a common tendency - travelers planning trips to Europe, with too few days off from work, hoping to fit in everything they can. They believe it will be years, if ever, before they return and thus pack their itineraries with visits to as many tourist sights as possible.

Even if your trip is the one time you will ever visit the destination, know that the memories you bring home will be of those moments that arrest your attention or evoke emotion (watching the sun set over the Roman forum, the first sip of a great wine at a candlelit French caf? or taking an evening walk along the Seine), rather than the tourist attractions themselves.

To ward off the stress and exhaustion that comes with an overstuffed schedule, avoid the temptation to add too many sights to your itinerary in the limited time you have.

Failing to Consider Distances

Along the lines of squeezing in too many sights and activities is the idea that because European countries are close together compared to US cities, it's easy to visit many countries on one trip. Visiting Paris and Venice on the same trip may sound like a fun idea, until you factor in a 13-hour train ride.

While planning your trip, find out the distances between the places you wish to visit to determine if you have the transit time to spare. You'll likely find that spending most of your time enjoying a particular destination is preferable to spending time on a train, in a car, or on a plane between European cities.

Making the Cheapest Deal your Goal

The temptation is ever present. That great deal is right around the corner, if you wait a little longer, look at just one more website. Getting the cheapest deal has become a virtue in itself.

While finding a good deal is, well, good, particularly where budget is a concern. In fact, we seek out the best rates we can get for clients. Still, what most people really want is a good trip. A deal for a flight requiring two connections and a six-hour layover or a hotel that's a 30-minute taxi ride from town may not satisfy.

Focus on the aspects of the trip that matter to you most - great art, a beautiful hotel room, easy walking distance to museums, convenient transportation, gracious service, etc. Then base your primary selection criteria on the hotels, services and airlines that can deliver on that experience.

Considering a vacation to Europe? Get Europe trip planning help.

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