If you are planning on exploring Europe this summer in 2023, here is what you need to know before you go. After returning from back-to-back small group tours this past month, I thought, I better let my followers know what’s ahead for European travel. Traveling this summer to Europe is gonna be EPIC. Just wow! From the UK to Italy to Greece and beyond, Europe is gonna be covered up!
So, here it is what to pack to where is my passport, here are my 2023 Europe Travel Tips if you are heading overseas. I am just one travel advisor and I have over a dozen families, couples, groups heading to Europe this summer. Revenge Travel is real.
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I have been exploring Europe extensively over the years and I can honestly say I have never seen the sites this crowded. From school trips to bachelor parties, family get-togethers, honeymooners, you name it, everyone is traveling. So be prepared.
If you are planning to explore Europe this summer remember to book ahead. From concert tickets to dinner reservations, DO NOT WAIT until the last minute to make reservations for anything.
Most restaurants require reservations now EVEN FOR TWO people. Please don’t assume you can walk up to a restaurant and get a table for six at 7:00 p.m. anywhere in Europe without a reservation. You will enjoy kebab, pizza or Mcdonald’s. SMH!
Museums and shows are equally packed so PLAN, PLAN AHEAD. If tickets are available online PURCHASE them in advance. Most places have QWERTY codes attached, either screenshot these and keep them in a separate album in your photos library or print them off and carry them with you. From the Book of Kells to the Sistine Chapel – THEY ARE SOLD OUT! Again, DO NOT WAIT!
Pack Light/Safe Bags
Next up packing for Europe this summer. I get this question quite a bit from clients, how/what do I pack? If you are traveling for a 9-10 day adventure, please only pack for 7 days plus of course underthings for every day. MOST airlines have a weight limit of 50# unless you have priority status with them and then the poundage goes up. If your luggage weighs more than 50# you will pay an extra fee. These luggages come in all colors, I do recommend a hard cover over a soft cover. The price difference is minimal.
Airlines vary in extra fees (be sure to check yours in advance before arriving to the airport.) The last thing you want is to have to shift things and shove or throw away clothing while waiting in line to check in.
Do I need a pick-pocket safe bag?
The short answer to this question. Yes, you do. I’ll put a few options here below for you PLEASE, whatever you do, don’t wear a backpack. This is one of the most common bags for criminals/thieves to get into.
Baggallini Everywhere Bag
If you can find an RFID purse/bag these are the best. Consider it one more layer of safety and protection. Slings across your chest are great or purses that are in your front are better.
Should we get €uros or £ before going overseas? This question is asked all the time as well. Here’s my answer.
First, if you would like to order a small amount (€100/£100) before you travel to Europe for a little safety, you can do this most times through your local bank. Many times (the exchange is typically pretty bad and there might even be a fee) ORDER THESE WAY in advance, sometimes it takes weeks.
Here are a few DO NOTs PLEASE…🙏
DO NOT exchange $ at the Airports – these are some of the worst conversions Awful exchange rates and fees to boot.
DO NOT take/withdraw money out at exchange kiosks/machines these are equally bad!! Please, please avoid these, I call them EuroNOTs, the exchange is awful and they also charge a fee. Your €250 could turn out to be well over $300.
- Notify your ATM/BANK card company stateside to let them know you are traveling internationally and will be getting out money at Bank ATMs when you are abroad
- ONLY USE ATM/BANK(preferably inside a bank) machines to exchange money (right outside the bank is fine too, but make sure the ATM is a part of the actual bank)
- Change the language to English
- Use different denomination amounts for smaller bills otherwise you could get stuck with unusable €100/£100 bills that no one likes to take at smaller venues.
- How much should I get out? My recommendation is no more that €200/£200 per person at any time unless you plan to make a huge purchase. You can also split it up. If you are pick-pocketed (any amount is not ideal to “lose” but this is not as bad)
- Do your research before you go Map out the distance from your hotel/Airbnb to the closest BANK ATM upon your arrival and make this your first stop.
Another question I get asked? Which credit card do I need? When you are exploring Europe you will find pretty much everyone takes MasterCard and Visa. Hardly anyone takes American Express or Discover anymore. The few vendors that do are typically annoyed that you even asked.
In the words of my Italian friends, “They don’t have Italian Express, why would we take American Express.” Amex charges vendors a higher fee and as a consumer you should be careful as well because there may also be a foreign currency fee that can surprise you on your next bill. Save AMEX for America.
Also, not a commercial but I do get asked this question a lot, which card do you use? I have a Chase Visa Travel Preferred Card to help with travel expenses and benefits, this is the easiest for me to use and for Europeans to accept. The annual fee is $95 and offers some good incentives for a frequent traveler that I enjoy.
Additionally, more and more restaurants, stores, even farmers markets are taking credit cards since COVID. The contactless free environment has arrived. So this is another reason to have a good card and not feel like you have to carry as much cash around.
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So some bad news something is going around. Booo! While exploring Europe I came back with some kind of virus. I just got back from Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Germany, and Austria. Upon landing stateside recently, I ran to my doctor to get tested because it felt like COVID. Luckily it was not COVID, RSV, or the Flu. So we concluded it definitely was a virus.
It was pretty bad too. On my return flight from Ireland, the cacophony of coughs sounded like a muted classical ballad and not in a good way.
THANK YOU!!! As a matter of fact, I had a coughing fit so bad before boarding the plane and couldn’t get my credit card to work at the vending machine I broke down and cried. Thankfully, a complete stranger offered me her full-unopened water bottle for the flight. If you are reading this and were on flight DL177 you are an ANGEL sent from above and I thank you so much!!
AND YES! I wore my mask the whole 7 hours home. Ugh… they are the worst.
However, I would recommend wearing one on your flight as well if you have flu-like symptoms, (cough, congestion, runny nose, sinus headaches) please consider wearing a mask on the flight this summer. This virus is a doozy.
Should I get travel insurance?
Definitely before COVID, I was always hesitant about getting travel insurance, was it worth it, what does it really cover… is it just a scam? However, post-COVID, I always recommend that people purchase insurance based on their comfort level. The companies that I use specialize in traveling to Europe and travel in the Caribbean. They now have policies that include some coverage for COVID, cancellations, and unforeseen circumstances.
As far as I know, there aren’t any insurance companies that cover a full 100% of your trip but there are several that will cover the majority of your expenses in the case of cancellation and medical (not pre-existing) while you are traveling. They are pretty good, not great. Like I said, it’s your comfort level.
Ask for a quote?
However, I do know that medical expenses overseas especially if you have to travel for medical reasons between places can be pricey. Also not an advertisement, but if you need help sifting through options let me know. I’m happy to help.
Here are a few passport concerns we are seeing? DON’T WAIT to RENEW or REPLACE.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: A Passport is really only good for 9 years not 10! Apply at least 6 months before you NEED IT AND apply six to nine months before your expiration date to renew.
If you apply for a passport it could take 6-12 weeks to arrive or longer after you have completed all the necessary paperwork. If there is a hiccup, unsigned documents, names missing, names not matching, married, unmarried names, etc. it will take a bit longer. PREPARE to WAIT! The Passport offices are backlogged with travelers wanting to travel and are trying to keep up.
CHECK TO SEE WHEN YOUR PASSPORT EXPIRES!
Also a frequent question. One I ask all my travelers before completing their itinerary. MOST European countries need at least 6 months on your passport before expiration for you to travel in their country. Check travel.state.gov to be sure for the country you are visiting.
If you arrive at the airport and your passport is due to expire, you will be turned away and sometimes the expense is uber costly. So PLEASE CHECK!
Some Good news while exploring Europe!
The good news is most places are very happy to see us back. Exploring Europe doesn’t have to be uber stressful. If you are o.k. with slowing down a bit and chilling at a local park or just grabbing a drink/cup of coffee you can just relax and enjoy the people watching.
Enjoy a FREE TOUR
One of my favorite tips is to enjoy a FREE tour of the city or Hop on a Hopon/Hopoff bus. YES, I know they are cheesy as all get out, but they also give you great, safe transportation around the city with a bit of history. If you didn’t get tickets to something this is an EASY button and kinda fun.
Did you know Virgin Voyages has Mediterranean Sailings? Adult-Only Cruises designed for adults!
Check out the LOCAL SCENE
Ask at your hotel/Bnb what is happening locally. We found out Bruce Springsteen and the EStreetBand were in Dublin the weekend we were there. No, we didn’t go see them, but we did have some great chats at pubs talking about it. We did find out there was a protest for the coronation and although I was super interested we skipped that and went to a pub instead.
Additionally, you can check out the local festivals before you go. For instance, heading to Amsterdam, London or Paris this summer, they have the most amazing markets (check out to see if your dates line up and hit a local market) super fun. In Rome, check out the Trastevere neighborhood this is amazing food and cool architecture.
This is my short list of traveling to Europe this past month, I’ll be heading back soon to Ireland for another small group tour. Thanks for following, liking, and sharing my blog. More soon!
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
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