An American’s Guide To Visiting Europe - Everything You Need To Know
POSTED BY Mavy | May 2, 2017
Label: City Breaks, Europe, Family Travel, Travel Tips
Europe is an amazing place to visit and, if you’ve not been before, you need to add it to your bucket list.
Despite being a small continent, there are so many cultures to experience, and whichever country you visit you will find that things are very different to how they are in the US.
We’ve put this guide together to provide you with some info on what you need to know if you are planning a trip. From places you simply have to visit to entry requirements, we’ve got you covered.
When visiting Europe it’s easy to assume that you will just need to change your dollars into Euros, but this is not always the case. Despite Europe widely using the Euro as currency, there are countries which have not adopted it, so make sure you get the right currency for the country or countries you plan to visit! This is particularly important to note if you are planning to visit more than one country while you are on vacation.
For example, if you are visiting Ireland you will need Euros, however, if it’s Northern Ireland you plan to visit you will need Pound Sterling.
The Interrail website has a handy guide to which currency you’ll need, which can be found here.
Americans holding a tourist passport do not need to apply for visas to travel to Europe on vacation. We do advise checking that your passport is valid for at least 6 months, however.
Don’t forget that you’ll need different power adapters for any electrical items you bring with you. The voltage also varies, so take care that any devices you have are compatible with the country you are traveling to. For a full list of plug types and voltages, check out this list from World Standards.
You’ll find that in much of Europe you will get by speaking English, as English is taught widely, however it is both helpful and respectful to learn some of the basic phrases you will need to use in your destination country.
Before you travel, pick up a phrasebook to take along with you in case you get stuck, and try to memorize the basic phrases you will need when eating out, traveling, or asking for directions.
There are various apps available now which can help you with learning a foreign language, and can be handy to have with you should you get into a bind.
Places to go
Although Europe is relatively small compared to the States, there are many places to visit, each offering a unique experience. Here are some of our favorite European destinations, spectacles, and events to check out:
London is a diverse representation of English culture, with world-class museums (many of which are free), Sunday markets, quaint pubs, and stunning architecture.
There’s no new language to have to learn for a trip to England, however, the culture is rather different. For starters, everybody drives on the left, and tea can either mean a hot drink or a meal!
Of course, no list of European destinations would be complete without mentioning the City of Love. Even if you are traveling alone, you’ll fall in love with the city itself. From the food and wine to the art and the history, the atmosphere is magical.
Of course, if you aren’t in a romantic mood, there are plenty of things to see and do in this city, for example, you can visit the ancient Catacombs beneath the city.
Iceland is a fantastic country to visit, with hot springs, stunning country scenery, and waterfalls to see. Visit in the winter time to catch a glimpse of the northern lights, or in the summer time if you fancy a spot of whale watching! And definitely don’t miss out on a trip to the Blue Lagoon.
If you love art and music, you should pay a visit to the colorful and vibrant city that is Amsterdam. Wander the cobbled streets, enjoy a coffee by the canal, and maybe even head out into Oost or Jordaan to visit their outdoor cafes.
For a fall vacation to remember, head to Germany at the end of September for Oktoberfest. People come to enjoy this festival from all over the world, and you can experience a true sense of community as you drink beer together. There is a real sense of German tradition, with traditional outfits and food!
The Greek Islands are perhaps the perfect beach vacation. There are hundreds of islands, so you’ll be able to find the right destination for you no matter what you’re looking for.
Santorini is beautiful and full of history, Ios and Crete are great for a party, and Paros is a little quieter if you just want to relax. Wherever you choose, you’ll love the local culture and cuisine.
While Scandinavian countries tend to be expensive to visit, if it suits your budget you won’t regret a trip to the fjords of Norway or a stay in trendy Copenhagen.
The Scandi lifestyle is becoming more and more popular abroad and if you pay them a visit you’ll have no doubt as to why. There is a high quality of life and the cities are clean and beautiful.
Prague is a beautiful and enchanting city with a lot of history. If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck as it’s very affordable. You’ll get more bang for your buck, but the city doesn’t have a cheap feel to it at all as the food is delicious and the buildings are picturesque.
If you want to take in a lot of Europe in one trip, you may want to give Interrailing a go. Pack a backpack and ride the railways of Europe with one of the great value rail passes available. You’ll get to see plenty of the landscape and it’s a great way to get around on a relatively low budget.
Check out the different passes available on the Interrail website here.
Of course, this has only scratched the surface of the amazing places there are to be seen in Europe, but hopefully this has given you a little bit of an idea of what to expect.
If you are planning a trip to Europe, be sure to check out our deals on cheap flights here at Globehunters, or speak to one of our experienced travel consultants who will be happy to help you build a tailored package including everything from flights to car hire.