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- Posted:Thursday, March 19, 2015
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10 things you need to think about before you go to Europe this year
It could be 30 degrees in Rome and only 10 in Ireland. You can also experience four seasons in one day in many places. Make sure that whatever time of year you are travelling that you pack at least one item for the opposite season - raincoat, something warm like a jumper or fleece or a light short/long sleeved top, as well as a pair of jeans/long trousers.
Which side of the road?
If you are planning to drive while in Europe make sure you have an up to date and relevant driver's licence, and that you know your rules of the road! Different countries drive on alternative sides of the road so you will need to be able to adapt quickly.
One of the best things about Europe is experiencing the varying cultures and languages within each country. However, it can be tricky to adapt to each place in a short period of time if you have an intense itinerary. Of course some English is understood in most places, but it is always polite to try and lern a bit of the local language. This can go a long way in determining the service you receive.
Check your passport and visa restrictions
Not all countries in Europe have the same rules and regulations as other countries outside the EU. Make sure you know the visa requirements for each stop on your itinerary. Also, double check your passport expiry date well in advance! Most countries may only need three months but some may ask for six months so check, check, check!
What currency am I using?
There are 19 countries in Europe that are in the 'Eurozone'. Make sure you double-check as you may be surprised at the number of places who don't use the Euro. For example, Finland uses it but their Scandinavian neighbours of Norway, Sweden and Denmark do not. Poland and Ukraine also have their own currencies but their Eastern European neighbours Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania use the Euro.
Because of cost-cutting and increased security checks many European airlines have different requirements. Always check terms and conditions when booking. Some airlines require your boarding pass to be printed. Don't forget the rules on baggage allowance and liquids in hand luggage, as well and how they should be transported.
'Time' of year
When changing to summertime or wintertime the clocks will go forward or back. Each country will change them at different times but usually within a few weeks of each other. Make sure you check this in relation to your home country! It could be the difference between catching a plane or train on time.
Having so many different countries in this continent means different electrical outlets. It is mainly two or three-prong but even they differ to outlets in other continents like the USA. Get yourself a multi-country or universal adapter - it will be a worthwhile investment!
Always check what is happening around the time of arrival to your destination as it may make the accommodation and other services more expensive. There could be sporting events, holiday markets or music festivals, which are all worthwhile to go to and have a great atmosphere, but keep yourself in the information loop!
Local services and opening times
Again, with differing cultures across Europe many countries have their own traditions. While in the UK and Ireland most services and shops will open 9am-5pm, other countries may not open until later, or may have a daily siesta etc.
Thanks to Thebarrowboy, Jennier Woodward Maderazo, Blondinrikard Froberg, John Baker, Neil Tackaberry, Robert Couse-Baker, Leoplus, and Bryan Mills for the excellent pictures from Flickr. Please note they were under Creative Commons Licence at time of publishing.