This summer, trips to Europe are expected to be cheaper and busier than in previous years. This is due to several factors, including the strengthening US dollar against the Euro, increased competition among airlines, and a desire to travel after two years of Covid Restrictions.
Airlines are already reporting long lines, canceled flights, frustrated passengers, and lost luggage, and the summer season is just beginning. For those who have already planned a trip to Europe, here are some ways to be prepared and create the vacation you had planned.
Be Prepared To Wait at the Airport
European Airports have been plagued with delays, outside security lines, canceled flights, luggage issues, and airport strikes in Paris and throughout Italy, with rumors of more on the way.
Be prepared for long lines and delays at airports. Arrive early and have all your documents ready to go. If your flight says to be there 2 hours early, consider adding another hour or two.
Check with your airline in advance to see if your flight is on schedule and be aware of any changes that may occur. Canceled flights are popping up even as vacationers wait at the airport. Download your airline's app for up-to-the-minute information.
If your flight is canceled or you miss a connection, call your airline, or speak to an agent as quickly as possible. Flight cancelations can cause backups for passengers that last for days.
Bring Only Carry-on Luggage
It may be a long vacation in a carry-on, but paring down can ensure you have your suitcase on your vacation. If you must check luggage, make it as identifiable as possible and put your name and phone number on it.
Check the dimensions of your carry-on before you head to the airport to ensure you won't have to check your luggage.
If you haven't purchased travel insurance for your flight, you may want to add it now. It will ensure you won't be stuck in an airport without compensation for missed connections, hotels, and more.
If you are going to Europe this summer and haven't made hotel reservations, do it now! Hotels and Airbnb rentals are nearly booked for the summer in popular spots. So you may need to book outside of the city center to ensure you have a place to stay.
Book your car rental. Rental Cars are still expensive and, in some cases, just not available. If there are no cars to rent, you have time to plan your trip with alternate transportation. Most of Western Europe has very good rail systems that can get you to your destination.
Book museum entry and historical sites early. For example, If you are heading to Italy, you will want to book tickets to see the Coliseum more than a month ahead, as they are known to sell out quickly. The same goes for most other popular locations.
Can You Avoid the Crowds?
European travel is on the rise, and most popular destinations will be more crowded than in years past. However, you can avoid some crowds if you are willing to make a few sacrifices.
Check out some of the less popular destinations. With everyone booking hotels early, you may find that some of the smaller or less popular destinations may have availability. For example, try exploring some of the beautiful small towns in Europe instead of staying in capital cities.
Go to popular places at unpopular hours. Get up early to have some alone time in your favorite museum, or go during dinner hours to guarantee quality time at a historic site.
Take a mid-week vacation. Since most people only have weekends off, avoid the crowds by planning your trip during the week. You may find better availability and shorter lines. If you are in a large city, this won't help you enormously but may be the difference between a 1-hour and a 3-hour wait.
The Good News?
The good news is that you can get more for your money in Europe.
The value of the Euro is falling to near parity with the US Dollar, which means great deals on lodging when visiting Europe. Hotels, restaurants, souvenirs, and other attractions will be more affordable than they have been in years. In some ways, this makes travel to Europe very attractive.
If you can book a trip for September or October, you can escape the crowds and still get the bonus of the low Euro.
Traveling to Europe this summer can be a great experience if you prepare for the crowds and possible delays. You can still have a great trip by booking early, being aware of the situation, and avoiding the busiest times.
If you must travel during the peak season, try to visit some less popular destinations mid-week to avoid the worst of the crowds.
Finally, remember that the value of the Euro is low right now, so you can get more for your money while visiting Europe. With a bit of planning, you can have a great trip.
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