Traveling To Europe For The First Time

Aly Monique in front of Eiffel Tower in Paris, France the first time traveling to Europe

Traveling to Europe for the first time is so exciting, but it can be incredibly overwhelming!  I remember that feeling from when I did hours and hours of research, for my first trip across the Atlantic. My family and I recently returned from my first ever European vacation. I am all too familiar with the feeling of wanting to go all out and hit all iconic places, but Europe is just way too big to go everywhere in one trip.  You just have to make sure you return in order to continue your exploration another time.

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Travel Europe Trip Itinerary

The first couple of things you need to figure out is the where and how long.  What regions or specific things you want to visit and see? How long will your trip be, and how long you want to dedicate to each destination?  It is really important to prioritize your top few places, so you can start creating your itinerary for visiting Europe.

If you really want to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris, then choose other parts of France or possibly London to enjoy for the remainder of your trip.  To maximize the most of your first trip traveling to Europe, stick to areas around a single place to reduce travel time.  Just know that it is very easy to travel between European countries, especially with the train system. I used Eurostar Trains to chunnel from London to Paris and had a really good experience with it.

How to Travel Around Europe For The First Time

Aly Monique In Monaco
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Just know you do not have to do all this research alone! Doing the research before traveling to Europe for the first time can be so intimidating, but don’t let that get stop you from asking for help! If you are a AAA member, you can always talk to a travel agent to help get things started. AAA will help you find the perfect tourist guide to Europe, made just for you! Another option is to book a cruise or looking into a group tour.  These are easy ways to get around and see more. The best part is, you don’t have to do a lot of planning!  All you really have to do is pick out which cruise or group tour you would like to join based on your preferences.

When I visited Europe, for the first time, my family agreed to go for an NCL cruise.  Cruising is my favorite way to travel because you have a “ home base” for the entire trip. I love cruises because they allow you to visit many different places, in a short amount of time! You will not waste time packing up your luggage or traveling to a new destination.  A group tour is another great way to see lots of things, without spending too long researching because a majority of the trip is already planned! These options are great for someone who wants to maximize their European vacation, but does not necessarily want to, or have time to do the research. If you need help deciding on how to travel Europe for the first time, read this article.

Excursion Secrets

Once you pick where you want to go, and have an itinerary, it’s time to get into the finer details!  Do some research on what attractions you want to visit while in that one area, that includes food places that you are dying to try.  You need to decide if you want to see the most iconic, touristy things, or if you want to really immerse yourself in the local culture. Regardless of how you want your first time trip to Europe to go, group your “must-sees” based on their location. This will definitely help you save some time traveling between them. 

On a cruise or tour group, the main itinerary is set, but you are able to customize this trip with excursions. When given the opportunity, you are able to choose what YOU want to do.  Excursions are usually offered with different activity levels in mind. Some will be leisurely, while others may be very adventurous.

If you opt to do your own thing, or you do not even know where to start looking for excursions, I would look up what group tour companies and cruises are offering. This is my BIGGEST secret to finding really good outings on vacation! I do this because these companies offer outings that appeal to a majority of their travelers. See where these excursions are and look up companies that offer something similar. Many cruise excursions cater to first time travelers, which increases the likelihood of a memorable and comprehensive excursion.

Aly Monique traveling to europe for the first time in Sorrento, Italy
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Create your “to see list” and start planning the order. Make it so you are not constantly going back and forth between places. You have to be realistic about what you plan to see, DO NOT try to squeeze everything in! It’s literally impossible. I would recommend looking for at least one food place in every section where your outing will be. So you will not have to worry about finding a place to eat.

Final Words of Wisdom For Those Traveling To Europe For The First Time

My last piece of advice for traveling to Europe for the first time is to book excursions from reputable companies.  Look up the reviews to make sure you know what you are in for, in terms of the length, food/ meals offered (if any), and activity level. I used TripAdvisor to look up reviews, as it is more popular in Europe.

Keep in mind your time restraint especially if you are on a group tour or cruise and decide to spontaneously go do something. I would definitely recommend booking tours and excursions ahead of time. If you are feeling spontaneous, make sure to allow MORE THAN ENOUGH time to get back to your meeting place. Due to the high crowd volume, tours may take longer than the original plan, and you might miss your deadline! Definitely not something you want to deal with, especially if it is your first time in Europe.

Empty road in Madrid
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Since my family chose a cruise to visit Europe, we booked all of our excursions through the cruise line.  Being totally honest, it is SO EXPENSIVE and totally overpriced to book an excursion through the ship itself! When I looked into the reviews, many people stated that their tour was delayed due to the traffic.  If you have never cruised before, the rule is, if you are not back by the time the ship is supposed to leave the port, it will leave without you! The only exception is if you were on an excursion through the ship; then they have to wait for you to return before the ship can leave. 

Even though we had to pay more, it was so worth it! Out of the 5 excursions my family did, we did not return on time to 3 of them. I cannot imagine what would have happened if I did not choose to book our excursions through the ship. If you are taking a cruise, I would definitely recommend spending a little extra on the ship’s excursions just to be on the safe side!

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

I hope this helps reduce the overwhelming nature of planing your first European vacay. If you have visited Europe before, what advice do YOU have to share with those who will be going there for the first time? We would all love to hear it! Let me know in the comments down below!

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I AM NOT A LICENSED DERMATOLOGIST, ESTHETICIAN, OR ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSE. I AM NOT GIVING OUT ANY MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR OWN MEDICAL PROVIDER IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS. THIS POST IS INTENDED FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY AND TO PROVIDE INFORMATION BASED ON MY EXPERIENCES, AS A SELF-HELP TOOL FOR YOUR OWN USE. PARTICIPATION IS TOTALLY VOLUNTARY AND YOU ARE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN CHOICES, ACTIONS, AND RESULTS. ALY MONIQUE WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY OUTCOMES THAT MAY OCCUR FROM FOLLOWING THE ADVICE IN THIS POST. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL ATTAIN THE SAME RESULTS AS I DID. WHAT WORKS FOR ME MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU! AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE, I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT MY LEGAL PAGE FOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.

2 Comments

  1. Aira
    May 28, 2020 / 12:27 am

    Great blog! I can’t wait to see more💛

    • June 6, 2020 / 2:08 am

      Thank you! That is so kind. I post every Tuesday, so stay tuned!

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