My best trips to Europe began long before departure day. Thanks to advance planning I had more choices and less stress. Here’s how I streamline my research and reservations.
How to start
Research online at guidebook websites such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s and Foder’s. I especially like the Eyewitness Travel Guides. Your public library has a wealth of free resources too. I check out several guidebooks to skim for a general overview of the major tourist “must see sights.”
Visit the local “Official Tourism Website” for ideas about current art, entertainment, attractions and festivals. The Timeout.com websites cover 60 cities around the world with information about tourist sites.
Book your transportation
It’s hard to decide whether to travel a by rental car, train or plane within Europe. For example, is it better to go from Paris to Rome by plane or train? Research your options in advance.
Make reservations for accommodations and popular tourist sites.
For my peace of mind, I always book accommodations as soon as I’ve booked the plane ticket. This is especially important if you’ll be traveling during the holidays, peak season, or during local sporting events or festivals. To avoid wasting your precious travel time standing in long lines at popular sights, such as the Vatican, Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in Florence or at the Muse d’Orsey in Paris, make advance reservations online.
If you’ll be staying in one place for three nights or more, renting a home or an apartment instead of a hotel is a popular alternative. My favorite vacation rental sources are www.VRBO.com, wwwairbnb.com, www.sabbaticalhomes.com and www.Homeaway.com.
Meet the locals