Europe is and has always been our top destination for our culinary vacations and foodie tours. At The International Kitchen we’ve been helping our travelers explore European culture and gastronomy for decades, and have plenty of tips and tricks to make your stay successful.
So what are our top 7 tips for before you leave for Europe?
- Make sure your documents are in order
- Check with your cell phone provider
- Protect yourself
- Pack smart
- Take your travel documents with you
- Have some cash
- Plan ahead – but don’t obsess
Make sure your documents are in order
First – you need a passport. You probably knew that, right? Did you know that it must be valid for 6 months AFTER your scheduled return?
Check with your cell phone provider
You’re going to want to take a ton of pictures and post things on social media just like everyone else. Make sure your carrier provides international service, and make sure you understand the costs (and purchase an international package for traveling if necessary). International charges add up quickly if you haven’t arranged this in advance.
The #1 tip – travel insurance. We never travel without it. Not only does it protect your investment if you have to cancel ahead of time, or if your trip gets interrupted due to unforeseen circumstances, but it also protects you while you are traveling! No one “wants” to spend money on insurance. But it’s 100% worth the cost, whether you get your policy through our partner (Travelex) or another carrier.
What to Take
Packing… everyone’s least favorite part of a trip. There’s no way to make it easy, especially now when baggage allowances are so strict. Remember that Europeans tend to dress more nicely than Americans. So while it’s fine to bring your comfy clothes, make sure you have some nicer things for dinners out. Also, pack a spare outfit in your carry on just in case your luggage gets lost (travel insurance can help with this too).
Take your travel documents with you
We send travel documents via US mail or email to anyone doing a cooking vacation with us (and a voucher to anyone doing a cooking class or one-day tour). You’d be surprised how many people leave these home, but it’s useful information to have with you. Sometimes it includes meeting locations and times, and it always includes the local contact you should call in case of any snafus.
Have some cash
It’s hard to say how much cash to bring on a trip. You shouldn’t need a lot of cash except for incidentals, tips, shopping, and any meals or beverages that are not already included (and this varies by trip). We recommend bringing 200-300 Euros for a week-long trip to cover these expenses.
Plan ahead – but don’t obsess
The key to a successful trip is to plan – or better, let us plan a fabulous foodie trip for you – but not to obsess over every detail. You need to leave a little room for flexibility, as in Europe things just aren’t as structured as in the US. The trick is to plan what you can, and be willing to go with the flow once you’re there.
By Peg Kern
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