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helpful travel tips

Budgeting... the Key to Enjoying a Great European Vacation
By :: Jason DiLoreti

Preparing a budget is one of the first and most important steps to ensuring a great trip to Europe. Nothing can kill a great vacation more than running out of money or spending (or charging) more than you anticipated. By taking some time, you can prepare a trip that will meet your budget needs.

packEU has created a budget checklist in an interactive Microsoft Excel format and in a printable PDF format, to help you better prepare for your European Vacation. It is simple and easy to use. Please let us know if you have any questions or need further assistance.

| download excel budget checklist |download pdf budget checklist |

Some budget things to remember ::

  • Planning and preparing will make a great difference in your trip, but it is impossible to think of everything that could happen. You don’t want to spend too much time going round and round with, “what if’s”. Anything can happen, just be prepared as best you can. Be light hearted and remember… this is a vacation.
  • When looking at your budget, remember, it is better to go for less time and have money to enjoy yourself than to plan a long trip on a shoestring budget. You don’t want to get to Europe and not have the ability to do anything. You will want to take a tour, rent a moped, enjoy the food, and see the sites. Make sure to leave room to for these things.
  • The exchange rate. Make sure to keep a careful eye on what the current rates are. This is important. They are constantly fluctuating and this will also determine how much you can afford. My family has gone to Italy the last three years. Each time the exchange rate was different (and each time it was more expensive to go). Airports are the worst place to exchange money. Either get some money before you leave, or get funds when you arrive at your destination. Also note, if going to an exchange place, venture off the tourist path and you will get a better rate.

Other money matters to keep in mind ::

  • ATM’s are plentiful around Europe, especially in major cities. Most of the time you will get the best rates from your bank. Check with your bank before departure to see what kind of rates they offer. If you have a check card that can access your checking account, make sure you have a 4 digit pin #. This is the easiest way to get the local currency and receive the best rates. (Compare the rate with the local exchange place first)
  • Traveler’s Checks are a good idea to have in case of an emergency. Keep it in a safe place away from where you are carrying your money and/or credit and bank cards. American Express would be the way to go. They also offer a new Traveler’s Check Card. It is refillable and can be used wherever they accept American Express.
  • Make sure to get a money belt. It is worn under your clothes in a safe place. It can hold your valuables, such as rail passes, passports, plane tickets, money, or visas. You want to make sure to leave some money in your pocket or bag. The money belt is not a purse; you don’t want to be accessing it during the day.
  • The Euro. The Euro is the currency of twelve European Union countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland. Other countries within the EU use their own monetary currencies.

A few suggestions on what is -- and what is not -- worth the money on a vacation:

Not Worth the Cost

  • Airport food and drink
  • Breakfast in bed
  • In-room phone calls
  • Cheap souvenirs
  • Commercial photos
  • Formal clothing you wear once

Worth the Expense

  • A good hotel or hostel
  • A great room with a balcony and view
  • Dinner at a fine restaurant at least once
  • A good bottle of wine with the meal
  • Use bonus miles to upgrade
  • A digital camera
  • Good-looking but comfortable shoes
| download excel budget checklist |download pdf budget checklist |

Jason DiLoreti ::
Jason DiLoreti holds a bachelor's degree in Cross Cultural Studies and has travelled throughout much of Europe. He previously lived and worked in Copenhagen, Denmark while helping establish and administrate a college level school. Currently he is working in the internet marketing field. | contact |

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