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It’s about this time, the 3-month benchmark, that my travel OCD sets in. This is when I start going thru my international travel checklist for Europe. I start narrowing down my list of sights to see and places I want to visit. By this point, you definitely should have your tickets to and from said country. Then comes the tedious part, scheduling. I use Google Drive to organize my schedule, pretty much down to the hour. I did mention I have travel OCD right? As a note, you can use this list as a backpacking travel checklist as well. Don’t worry, you can handle this. At the 3-month point, you really only have to get some basics locked down at this point. Starting with the decision of whether or not to skip around to other countries in Europe. To help you, here’s my international travel checklist for Europe.
International Travel Checklist
When I booked my flight for England I also decided I wanted to see Rome. I wanted to stay for 3 nights. Why? You’ll find out later in this article. So what I did was research flights to Rome. Since I wouldn’t be leaving directly from London I also had to research trains to get me to the airport. Even if you don’t plan on taking a train to the airport, you should research how long it takes by car or whichever sort of transportation you’re taking.
Timing Your Travels in Europe
I do highly recommend the train as they are really reliable. For example’s sake, say the earliest train I could take to the airport left at 7 am, the train takes 3 hours to get to the airport (transfers and such). So earliest flight I should take is 11 am. Always leave at least an hour for yourself, if not more. It was too far out to book my train ticket, but book it soon! If you do book early there are sometimes discounts. But I booked my flight through Kayak from London to Rome. Word to the wise, if the flight is cheap, they may be charging you for your bag. I was going to a wedding so I’m brought some more stuff so I have to have a checked bag.
What’s next on your vacation checklist? Once you’ve decided where you’re going to be during your trip you should find some budget accommodation. I use Hostel World to do my research, add it to your backpacking travel checklist as it’s the gold standard for researching hostels. As a note, sometimes if the hostel has its own website ie. YHA they may have a membership program you can sign up for and receive a discount.
For hotels, I’ve used Google to compare different sites as it shows a wide array of budget accommodations. Sites like Expedia and Travelocity don’t always show the same hotels so it’s best to look at Google first. Follow your chosen hostel or hotel’s social media channels or newsletter to stay in the know about deals and sales.
If you booking your hotel or hostel, especially in the summer season, you should get these in advance as they book up quickly. Booking late can also drive up prices as a number of the deals will already be taken. You’ll also have a larger selection the further you book ahead. For last minute deals, should you need them, check out sites like Hotel Tonight as they sometimes still have good deals for budget accommodations.
Now that I’ve kept you waiting, why 3 nights in Rome? Well, I only had a limited time, but the real reason is that I did my research on what I’d like to see and came across the Omnia Card. The card is a tourist pass which is good for 3 days so I figured I could do the big items on my wishlist I’ve had for a while. Besides if you’ve ever been on vacation with me, you know I can move fast! All the attractions covered on the tourist pass are listed on their website. The nice thing about tourist passes is that it’s like a fast pass at Disneyland, you get to cut the lines. They also sometimes include bus tours.
I’m not actually a really big bus tour fan, but since I was only there for a short amount of time it helped me to see a lot in a little amount of time. It also acted as a discount card to other museums and exhibits. Do note, that if you’re a student, it may be cheaper to just buy tickets with your student ID but do check out the details before deciding. This all goes for other tourist passes as well such as the Paris Museum Pass.
Lastly, get tickets for high demand events. I really enjoyed going to see the ‘Tempest’ at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater when I was in London two summers ago. So when I found out I would be returning I decided to go again. This time seeing ‘As You Like It’. These events sell out really quickly, especially if they have a recognizable actor in the cast. So make sure to buy asap!
I did the yard tickets last time which was great, however, I figure this time I would have just spent 3 days walking around Rome so I’ll be tired. I caved and bought tickets in one of the galleries. By Broadway standards, the tickets are still pretty darn cheap so I didn’t feel too bad about this splurge. Besides, they have the BEST actors in their plays so you know it’ll be a fantastic show!
Checking Off That Vacation Checklist
Hope this helps you get ready for your trip! Please feel free to comment below or email questions! As I said, I have a bit of travel OCD so this is really, truly how I go about my planning my travels so I hope my international travel checklist for Europe is of help.