From booking early, to ensuring you fit as much as you can into your stay, planning a European trip for 2024 takes time. Fear not, our years of experience can be the helping hand you need to ensure you don’t miss anything important for the best vacation. After following our 5 easy planning steps, you’ll have the ball rolling on your upcoming holiday and all that will be left to do is start the countdown in your diaries.
Within this article:
How to Plan Your European Trip In 5 Steps
1. Find Your European Destination
2. Decide How Long Your Stay in Europe Will Be
3. Planning Your European Route
4. Book Flights & Travel Accommodations
5. Discover Local Excursions & Activities to Inspire Your Trip
Trying to plan a big vacation to Europe in one go can be extensive, so dividing it into manageable but logical steps can be the best tip we could provide. For those of you who like to book last minute or maybe like the company of other travelers, our small-group tours might be the answer you’ve been searching for. With a pre-prepared itinerary, all you have to do is book your flights and accommodation.
If you want to give planning your own European trip a go, discover our 5 easy steps to get you started.
First things first, planning which European destination you want to visit. Not only should it be the first step in your journey, but it can help narrow down your activities within the later steps of your trip planning.
To try to make choosing from around 50 European countries easier, our top tip is to decide on the type of vacation you want. City break, beach holiday, and ski trips are what might come to mind first, but what about witnessing historic ruins on a trip around Italy or sampling the finest port on a tour of Portugal? Find what sparks your imagination and plan your European trip around that.
European destination decided, the next step in your planning journey is to think about the length of your trip. Asking what the recommended amount of time in one destination is, is like asking how long is a piece of string. It varies! All our European tours are divided into:
3-4 day European tours
6-day European tours
13-day European tours
For some travelers, they’ll want to visit one country for the length of their stay, but for others the temptation to cross the close borders is tempting. If you find yourself in the latter group, you can easily combine a trip to Spain with Portugal, followed by a stop in Italy, and a tour of Switzerland to round your trip off. The flexibility and ease of traveling around European countries, while soaking in the variety of cultures, makes it one of the best areas of the world to explore in our opinion.
For more advice, discover our guide to short trips, which can help those of you who are limited on your vacation time.
We’ve hit the point in planning our European trip which may take the most time. While you’ve decided on the destination and length of stay, next is planning a route. While this doesn’t have to be set in stone as we understand plans can change, solo travelers we’re looking at you here, having a rough guide can go a long way.
We’ve already highlighted that European borders are fairly close to each other, so the flexibility to venture further afield is possible with a little thought. Means of transport include:
Each of these can help make seeing more of Europe possible. Whether you want to include a quick trip to England, when looking to book Spain, or venture to Scotland first before soaking up the sun in Portugal, each is possible when planning your European vacation.
Ensure you think about seasonal travel times.
Seasonality can play a vital role when planning your European trip. Do you want to go in peak summer months or maybe you’re happier to wait out for the cooler climate and tour during fall? Each can be just as spectacular as the other, with each destination offering a multitude of activities for its guests. However, if you’re traveling throughout winter, our advice would be to check opening times to popular attractions as limited timetables may be in operation.
All the planning of your European trip is nearly complete, you just need to confirm your flights and travel accommodation. Flying to Europe from the United States is fairly easy and various companies offer direct flights to your chosen destinations, although it’s worth double checking if your trip is out of peak season.
If this is your first time planning a European trip, our guides to direct flights may be of help. With many conflicting sources as to how and when the best time to book your seats are, we’ve made it simple and straightforward:
When considering travel accommodation while in Europe, options can vary from location to location. Depending on what type of traveler you are, you might like to seek out the best 5* hotel with a matching spa to relax in, or maybe a shared room in a hostel where you can meet other like-minded travelers is more your style. Each comes with its own benefits.
The foundations to your European trip are secured, all that's left is to fill your daily itinerary. While we don’t encourage it to be planned to the very second of the day, having a rough estimate as to what your daily plan could be can help keep structure to your time away. Afterall, you don’t know who you’re going to meet or what experiences you might find while you’re on tour.
There must have been activities that caught your eye while deciding on the location of your vacation? Make sure you note them down and / or book them prior to flying to potentially score the best deal. From finding the best moorish architecture in Spain to starting the festivities earlier with a selection of Christmas markets or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, each of these activities showcases the country's cultures and traditions, which you can take home as a souvenir.
Taking all 5 of our top tips for planning a European trip on board, you should be in a great position to relax and start the countdown to your vacation. If you need any additional guidance, why not get in touch to plan a private tour? With the help of our expert driver-guides, they can share their personal experiences to help you create a unique experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Alternatively, sign up to our newsletter where you’ll be the first to know about new departure points and European tour dates for 2024 and 2025.