How to Plan Europe Trip – The Questions, Unknowns (and Answers)

lourve museum paris france

Is it easy to go on a 10 days or 14 days trip to Europe without a Tour Group?

Yes. It’s fun to plan an Europe trip, workout the logistics, travel, stay, food, safety and other details and walk away with good memories for rest of your life.

We just came back from a 14 days trip to Europe from India (April/May 2018). This is my third trip to Europe and it was bit more challenging logistically with a group of 7 (5  adults, 14 and 8 year old). We were traveling with my uncle’s family and my uncle had been to Germany several years ago via SOTC, a travel company that organizes group tours). My first two trips came when my wife was studying a abroad as part of her Masters Degree in Aix-en-Provonce, France.

Traveling to Europe or any other country as part of organized tour group is just not our thing.

To get a richer travel and cultural immersion, self-travel is the best. We want to be travelers, not just tourists. We like to get lost, wander, make unplanned stops and explore the back roads.

When you are going as part of a tour group, they handle the logistics. You would pick an itinerary, pay the fees, hop on a plane and follow their schedule. I think there’s no fun in that!

While were in Paris, sitting on the grass next to Eiffel Tower, my cousin’s friend was also at the Eiffel Tower. He’s from India on his Honeymoon on a 30 days Europe trip as part of an organized tour group. He apparently told my cousin, “We are tired with all the rushed travel and running just seven days into the trip and ready to go back home”.

How to plan your first Europe trip – Questions

You are going to be anxious about lot of things. There’s lot of unknowns. Here’s list of questions you would have when it comes to self planning your Europe trip:

Planning and Sights

  1. How many days for Europe Trip?
  2. How many countries to visit in Europe?
  3. What cities to visit in each country?
  4. How many days to each city in Europe?
  5. What is the best time to travel to Europe?
  6. What things to do and see in each European city?
  7. How to plan your day within each city?
  8. What should be the order of the countries to visit?

Stay

  1. Where to stay?
  2. Where to book the accommodation?
  3. Should you stay in a hotel, Airbnb or hostel?

Food and Eating

  1. Where to eat?
  2. Is it possible to cook?
  3. Can we get Indian Food?
  4. What kind of food do we get?

Travel and Transportation

  1. How to travel within each city?
  2. How to travel from one country to the next?
  3. Where to buy the train tickets?
  4. How to find cheap trains?
  5. What railway pass to buy in Switzerland?
  6. How to book the flight tickets?
  7. Should you take a backpack or a suitcase?
  8. How to pack for the the trip?
  9. When to arrive in the next city?
  10. How far in advance should you book the hotel rooms?

Personal and Safety

  1. Would it be safe to travel on your own?
  2. How to take carry the currency?
  3. How many clothes and dresses to carry?
  4. How to do laundry and where?
  5. What about internet, Wi-Fi and phone connection?
  6. Should you carry the passport with you at all times?

Know, anyone looking at this list of questions might think – “Oh Boy! I’m going via a tour group”.

Travel is about having the best moments, experiencing the culture and their way of life.

To experience what Europe go to offer, you should travel on your own. Interacts with locals, take an unplanned turn, get lost, wander a lot and find what each culture and the country has to offer.

Interactions with a Local:

We stayed in 125 year old home where the wooden floors would creek at Rothenburg, Germany. The owner of the home, purchased it from a sculptor, who sold it the current owner, as he was getting old. This home was located within the old city walls. We can see the the dressers that was carved from the wood in 1830’s. I came know that, he’s been to Bangalore and Delhi to work on 5 start hotel constructions some 30 years back.

Interactions like there with locals enriches your travel experience. I wouldn’t have come to know about the history of the place, if I had opted to stay in a standard hotel!

We will share answers to all the questions based on our experience. If  have any questions about your Europe trip, please let us know.

Featured Image – Photo of  main hall way in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

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