Where do you want to go?

Notre Dame Cathedral,  Paris, France
Notre Dame Cathedral,
Paris, France

If you are reading this, you probably have some idea of where you want to go. If not, deciding is your first step. would you like to go to a bustling city where you can stay busy all day?  Or would you rather relax in a small town, leisurely shopping and people-watching?  If you have friends who have traveled, ask them for advice.

Rocky Coast,  Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
Rocky Coast,
Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

When you have a general idea about where you would like to visit, do some research and read about the area.  Make a list of possible countries or cities and then begin to prioritize. It’s best to plan an average of two to three nights minimum per place. With a longer trip, you can do short stays for the first part when you are full of energy, but then it’s good to follow the short stays with four to six nights at the same place.  Be sure to consult a map as you are planning so you can see what cities would work well together.  You can travel in a loop, flying in and out of the same airport, or you can fly open-jaw, which means that you fly into one airport and out of another.

When do you want to go?

The Alps, Switzerland
The Alps, Switzerland

It is important to make sure the place you want to visit works with the time you have available. The weather makes Norway a poor choice for Christmas break. Going to Paris during fashion week is great if you are interested in the latest trends, but if you are not, it doesn’t make sense to fight the crowds.

A Sunny Day in Venice, Italy
A Sunny Day in Venice, Italy

If you are employed, you need to determine how much time you can take off work. Save up your vacation days if you can–three weeks in Europe is ideal. If you can’t get three weeks, don’t give up. You can see a lot in two weeks and one week is even do-able if you limit yourself to no more than two places.

The links below will help you get started:

Planning your Itinerary