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How to Plan a Family Vacation to Europe

If you’ve always dreamed of traveling through Europe, there’s never been a better time than now. From the piazzas in Florence to the breathtaking architecture in Prague, Europe is calling your name. But before you book your flight, you need to plan for everything and anything. This is even more important when planning a family vacation. To make your next trip one to remember, here are four things you need to do now.

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Get Your Finances in Order

Even though you can fly to Europe for a relatively low price, you should still have enough money saved specifically for your vacation. It’s a good idea to start saving several months in advance prior to leaving. If you’ve been saving, but aren’t sure whether you truly have enough to travel without worry, you should look for ways to lower your current debt. One way to free up a monthly cushion is to refinance your student loan with a private lender. Rolling your loan into a new one usually lowers your interest rate and better repayment terms. You can then use the residual to fund your vacation in style.

Passports

If anyone in your family needs a passport, it’s important to know that it can take four to six weeks for it to be processed. If you want to travel sooner than later, you can ask for expedited services, but it may not be processed in time. In some cases, expedited passports are only given when there’s a medical emergency or death in the family. You can find out the latest processing times by checking with the consulate in your state. If you already have your passport, make sure that it’s not getting ready to expire. When traveling abroad, you need to make sure you have at least six months left before expiration.

Driver’s Licenses

If you plan on renting a car when you arrive, you also need to ensure your driver’s license is current and not getting ready to expire. You should also research what type of car insurance you need to drive in Europe. Policies may vary, so it’s best to verify prior to departure. You also need to research the driving restrictions within the country you plan to visit. Most countries in Europe do drive on the opposite side of the road, so it’s something to keep in mind. Also, some rental cars in Europe also have the driver on the right-hand side as opposed to the left.

Map Out Your Itinerary

Your itinerary doesn’t need to be set in stone, but you should have at least a general idea of what you’re going to do and how long you plan on staying in each location. If you’re only traveling to one location, you should still investigate all the sights you and your family want to visit. Inquire whether you need to buy tickets in advance, if there are certain hours that are better than others to visit and whether children under the age of 10 are allowed to enter.

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