10 Tips for Travel to Europe
As a Mom and Entrepreneur, it’s important to take breaks away from your business and the daily grind. Chalk it down to self-care. Travelling can be an eye-opening, learning experience for your children and a deeply rejuvenating experience for you. You’re certain to come back with fresh ideas and renewed excitement.
For some people, planning a business trip is almost like second nature and a trip to look forward to but for others not so much. Irrespective of how you feel, whether you are planning a business trip or a family vacation in Europe, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
It is recommended to travel light and maybe you can take these useful tips for travel to Europe into account, to ensure the trip is running effortlessly and without a glitch.
1. Passport and Visa
First, check your passport and ensure you have six months before your passport expires at best and you must have 2-4 blank pages otherwise you may not be able to enter some countries.
Leave a photocopy with your spouse, another family member and Secretary just in case something is amiss.
Keep essential identification details in a secure TripIt profile where it is easily accessible in case you need it. It may seem like good sense, but don’t forget to bring your passport to the airport. In the hustle and bustle of packing, it’s a simple item to leave behind.
You may get visas on arrival in some countries, but for others, like the United Kingdom, for example, you must apply for a Visa beforehand to be granted admission. Make sure you sort this out before leaving for your trip.
Upon your return to the US, you’ll require immigration and customs clearance. Save yourself the hassle, long queues and inconvenience by applying for Global entry at a $100 fee that can speed up the process significantly.
European Travel Information System
ETIAS, the European Travel Information System is going into effect on January 1, 2021.
ETIAS is the simple, stress-free solution for short term travel throughout the Schengen Zone, a group of 26 countries that eliminated internal border controls so travellers could move freely through Europe.
All you need to do is apply for a valid passport and complete an ETIAS application online. Fees are set to be low, around $8.
Once you’ve obtained this, there’s no need for getting a Schengen European Visa. This is a hassle-free solution for short-term travel in the Schengen Zone.
2. What to Pack
When travelling for business, you are reliant on your laptop and cell phone for keeping in touch with co-workers and clients. Being proficient in charging devices is crucial.
The electrical outlets and currents differ; therefore, it is essential to have the right adaptors. Ensure that you pack a European adaptor that fits your charging devices.
Avoid packing heavy suitcases for the trip. Instead, travel as light as possible with only one or two business suits, undergarments and a few blouses or shirts that you can change for a transformed look every day.
Make sure you are packing at least one top for each day that you’ll be attending a business event.
Pack neutral brown or black shoes that go with all outfits.
A pair of sneakers is necessary for casual outings if you’ll be having some free time for exploring European coffee shops and tourist attractions. Bring a coat when travelling in Winter.
Pack a small calculator in case you need to quickly calculate exchange rates.
You may need to pack a travel iron since not all hotels offer them to guests.
Other useful items to pack are electric razors for shaving and a compact dual voltage hairdryer.
3. Sleep Training and Jet Lag
The best thing that you can do before leaving is to get two nights of really good rest before you depart. Also, try to get some sleep on the flight itself.
Consider taking a sleeping pill and using earplugs and a sleep mask.
Depending on where you are going, you can expect a fair amount of travel time. Sleep disruptions are normal so be prepared to feel tired.
If possible, try to arrive early prior to a presentation or big meeting and permit your body time to adjust.
4. Learning the Local Culture and Language
Spend some time researching the local customs and culture.
Learn a few basic foreign phrases to communicate with cab drivers, salespeople, Hotel and Restaurant Staff – and to impress your clients, prospects or colleagues if you’re going on a business trip.
The polite thing to do is to familiarize yourself with a few phrases like “Good Day”, “Please”, “Thank You” and “Good-Bye”.
Learning more of the language is perhaps impractical as most countries communicate in English and you may be visiting a number of countries, all speaking different languages.
Bring a pocket translation book, this way you can reference common phrases easily.
Read up on local news of the country. It’s inevitable that you’ll be making some small talk with a colleague, taxi driver or customer so it’s helpful to know a little something about local events.
5. Travel Tips and Safety Considerations
Bring along earplugs, a sleep mask and a pillow for the flight to Europe so you can cash in on some rest particularly if you need to attend to business as soon as you’ve stepped off the plane.
Always keep your wallet or bag close to you when on the street.
When napping alone on an overnight train trip, keep your possessions under the seat and out of sight.
Remember, the emergency phone number for Europe is 999.
Share a copy of your itinerary with colleagues and family. It’s always useful to have people know where you are.
6. Getting Cash on Arrival
Certain countries don’t use credit cards as frequently as you may be accustomed. For instance, paying for a taxi with your credit card in the US is not a problem. However, in other countries, this may not be possible.
Draw some cash in the local currency when you’re at the airport to cover for taxi rides and other minor expenses along the way. If you’re travelling for business, your company may even have a policy permitting you to take a cash advance at a prescribed limit.
7. Getting to Know the Area
When checking in at your hotel, remember to ask for a business card and a map. A local map can help you with acquainting yourself with the city that can be fruitful when attending meetings or making time for sightseeing.
In the event of getting lost, you can show the map to the taxi driver to find your way back.
8. Having a Backup Plan
Work out an emergency plan in advance in case things go south. Take into consideration information like international evacuation, emergency medical assistance and contingency plans for unexpected disturbances like political protests or local union strikes.
9. Staying Healthy Abroad
Avoid drinking water from the taps since your body may not respond well to the different mineral content in the water. You may end up with an upset stomach.
Also, avoid eating uncooked or raw fish, vegetables or meat.
Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands regularly. A pack of wet wipes can come in very handy when cleaning your seat in the aeroplane or hotel room surfaces.
10. Staying in Touch
Ask your mobile carrier about setting up a suitable plan to avoid paying for costly international roaming call and data charges. You can also connect through Wi-Fi hotspots and turn off your cellular connection to save costs.
Have you travelled to Europe recently? Was it for business or pleasure? And did you come back feeling refreshed and renewed? Share your travel stories or tips below.