The exchange rate between the Euro and the US dollars is great, right now. It is almost a 1:1 ratio, which makes traveling to Europe this year more attractive than ever. Not only is it more affordable, but the many travel style options that Europe offers makes it desirable on many levels.
Europe in depth
Planning your vacation for an in depth stay is one option when traveling abroad. This type of travel is when you choose just one or two destinations and stay put or take day trips out from a central location. Since distances in Europe are small compared to what we are used to here in the United States, many unique locations can be seen on a day trip by car or train. If you wish to get an in depth look at a major city, the public transportation system of most major European cities are both safe and traveler friendly. Once you have chosen a destination to explore there are many options to get the most out of your time.
- Guided City tours: Many companies offer guided, week long tours of one destination city, such as Paris, Rome or Barcelona. With them you get the peace of mind that you have an expert at your side to guide you and inform you of all that you are seeing.
- Tour books/ Audio tours: For the do it yourself crowd, there are some great tour books and downloadable self-guided tours available for the major cities of Europe.
- Hop-on Hop -Off tours: theses types of buses are available world wide. Not only can they give you a guided city tour to orient yourself to your surroundings, the hop on – hop off options allow you to take advantage of the service for multiple days of seeing all the major attractions.
- Day Trips: From your central location, you can plan and travel to nearby locations by high speed train and return to your lodgings the same day. For example, Amsterdam to Paris is 3 hours by high speed train. You can take the commuter trains in the morning and return the same night.
For a larger overview, during your time in Europe, you may wish to visit a few different countries. I would caution you to minimize your destinations, so that you can enjoy the different cultures that each country has to offer. Here are a few options for multiple country travel.
- Guided tours: Again, as with the city tour, you will have an expert in the field of history and culture to guide you through each country and their unique offerings. Many times a tour can save you time and money, by helping you to avoid lines and popular attractions and purchasing as a group with a discounted rate. Guided tours are available for many different group sizes from motor coach to mini van. Choose an option to suit your style.
- Rail Pass: This popular mode of exploration in the past is still a viable option today. While trains have become more crowded and reservations are highly recommended, they have also become faster and more convenient way to travel for many people. As with any transportation, delays happen, so make sure to plan extra time and enjoy the journey.
- Self Drive: For those who like to stay in control of where they are going and how they will get there, renting a car and driving is a viable option in Europe and even in Great Britain. ( you get used to driving on the wrong side within 48 hours). For highways in France, you will need to have a chip and pin credit card to pay the tolls. They do not accept cash and do not accept magnetic strips. They are also, generally, unmanned. Be prepared. Cars are an economical option if you are traveling with more than two people
Take to the waterways
Europe is full of rivers that run through many historic and culturally active cities, towns and villages. If you haven’t experienced a river cruise, you may be missing out on the most relaxing way to see Europe. Unpack once and settle in. All your meals, many with wine and beer are provided, along with specialty talks on your destination, possible regional cooking demonstrations and wine and cheese pairings. Each day you are treated to a new destination or World Heritage site to explore. On a river cruise, many of the land tours are included in the price of the trip. Best of all, no see sickness.
How will you explore Europe this year? Let me help you to explore those options that best suit your travel style, time frame and budget. Contact me today for an appointment and begin to dream about new places and new faces to explore.