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How To Plan Your First Trip To Europe

   

Going to a new country, in fact, altogether a new continent, requires a lot of planning and taking care of the minute details to make sure you don't face any hassle.

If you are anytime planning to go to Europe to explore its Alps mountains, it's historic ruins, its world history, art and literature, the beaches, seas and oceans and other landscapes you wouldn't have imagined, we have few things you should take care of on priority basis that will ensure that you will have the best of time in Europe.

1. Applying for Schengen Visa

Schengen Visa is the one visa policy in Europe that gives you access to the major countries of Europe. After getting your Schengen Visa, you are free to travel to 26 countries that are covered under the visa.

European Union countries accessible by Schengen Visa- Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Non European-Union countries accessible by Schengen Visa- Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City have open borders, but are not members of the visa-free zone. The Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands are special members of the EU and part of the Schengen Zone even though they are located outside the European continent. Ireland and the United Kingdom – that still maintain opt-outs and Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus – that are required to and are seeking to join soon.

2. Documents required for Visa

1)Visa application form.

2) Two recently taken photos must be attached. Both photos must be taken within the last three months, according to the visa requirements.

3) A valid passport. Not older than 10 years and it should be valid for at least three more months beyond the date you plan to leave the Schengen area. And Older passports with visas on them (if you have any).

4) Round trip reservation or itinerary. It must include dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from the Schengen area.Travel insurance policy. A document that proves you have travel health insurance for the whole Schengen territory.

5) Proof of accommodation. A document that shows where you will be accommodated throughout your stay in Schengen. This can be one of the following:

a) A hotel/hostel booking.

b) A rental agreement.

c) A letter of invitation from a host at whose house you will be staying / Hotel Booking Voucher / Visa Letter mentioning the exact hotel names

6) Proof of financial means. Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself financially throughout your stay in the Schengen. This can be one of the following:

a) 6 month Bank account statement – that shows you have enough money in your account for the trip. The statement shall be no older than 3 months.

b) Last 3 year ITR which is the main proof of your income and whether it is enough to support your stay in the European union country or not.

In case your parents are sponsoring your trip then c) Sponsorship Letter – by your parents that confirms they will be financially supporting your trip to the Schengen. In order for this letter to be valid, it must be accompanied by a 6 month bank statement of the sponsor, no older than three months and the sponsors last 3 years ITR

i) ITR recommended is 7 Lakhs and above. If you provide Bank proof of your Fixed Deposits (FDs), Life Insurance or the property assets in your profile the chances of your visa application getting pass also gets brighter.

ii) Traveled to 2-3 international country prior

iii) A Good employment history

2. The Visa Cost

For Europe you require a Schengen visa. The visa fees is approximately 6000 INR (Adults) & 3600 INR (6 years - 12 years) for Indian passport holders. The above fees are approximate and keep changing.

3. Arriving at the airport

For Domestic and European holidays, the recommended check-in time is two hours before your flight. For Transatlantic and other Long-haul destinations, you should check in three hours before your flight.

4. Get a travel insurance

Travel Insurance is a necessary requirement to get the visa or travel to Europe but instead of providing random insurance policy to the client we recommend that you should get travel insurance for your travel from your Bank so that claim settlement is smoothly handled. As you have a long standing relationship with your bank and your relationship manager will be able to guide you better.

5. All countries do not accept Euros

Most of the European countries have Euro as their official currency but there are still some countries that prefer their own currency. It's better to know about them and their exchange rate for a hassle-free journey.

Currently, countries with Euro currency- Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. It’s also used in Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.

Countries that DO NOT have Euro: Iceland, Norway, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the United Kingdom.

6. Set the clock to 24hrs

You will be going to a different time zone altogether and the time zones will change as you keep on travelling.

You will be entering a different time zone, it is suggested that you keep your watch on a 24-hr schedule. You will also take some time in adapting the different time zones so give it ample time to adjust your sleep and wake-up cycle.

7. Rentals in Europe

Most countries in Europe are smaller in size. It is easy to commute from one place to another within a city. While most countries have a well developed public transport. Some of the countries also offer cycle tours. You can rent bicycles, scooters, cars or trucks as well. On the other hand there are hop on and hop off bus tours you can go for if you do not want to drive around yourself.

8. Language barrier

Contrary to your beliefs, English is not the common language around Europe. In fact, most people only speak their native language. In countries like Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungry, Portugal, Poland you would find only 12-20% (approximately) of people speaking English.

You would find most of the people speaking their own language and they do not speak English. However, it is a travel friendly place so you can find shopkeepers and local vendors speaking or understanding English.

You can also learn some basic languages of the country you want to visit. That will only help you to get familiar with the locals and the country.

9. Carry an universal adapter

The socket sizes are different around the country. You should carry a or buy an universal adapter to charge the appliances.

For travel in the UK and Ireland, you will need a type G adapter. This has three flat prongs in a triangle. This will be used in England, Wales, Ireland, North Ireland, and Scotland. For any other travel in Europe, you can use a type C, E, or F. These will all be the round, two prong outlet.

10. Ask what you are eating

With so many cultures coming together, and food habits joining in. It is always good to ask what is being served on your plate. Ask about the meat as Europeans commonly eat beef, buff, pork and other meats that you don't eat especially if you have religious beliefs.

Also, in most countries, seafood is not even considered non vegetarian. They might serve you some seafood for a vegetarian dish.

Always ask what you are about to eat if the ingredients are not clearly mentioned.

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