Sunset in beautiful Gdansk, Poland.
Does it feel like everyone you know wants to plan a dream vacation to Europe? You’re not dreaming. According to KAYAK, people really want to grab a croissant in Paris or hear Big Ben ring out now more than ever. Searches for European flights by Americans are up 77% from this time last year. My wife and I have stayed in over 20 cities in Europe and have loved each and every trip.
We feel blessed to have visited so many places in Europe and can’t wait to see more.
I thought it might be helpful to answer some of the questions that we’re asked about most often when it comes to visiting Europe.
I could spend all summer in the Gothenburg, Sweden archipelago.
What keeps us coming back?
- The unique culture of each city and country. Although it’s roughly the size of the United States, there are about 50 countries and 24 official languages spread across the EU. You can hop on a train, and in just a few hours, you’ll have a completely new landscape, language, and culture. The Schengen Area makes it easy to move between 27 different countries without border crossings or checkpoints.
- The people. We have met so many incredible people in our travels. From tour guides to taxi drivers to t-shirt vendors, we love meeting new friends on our travels and discovering more about their daily lives.
This sign in the Copenhagen airport sent you to either catacombs… or cotton candy.
- The history. Some of the most memorable meals we’ve ever enjoyed were in Barcelona, London, Bratislava, and Gdansk. There is so much we’ve learned about a country just from the food. From pierogies to paella, tapas to tiramisu… we always seek out an authentic meal wherever we end up.
- The food. Some of the most memorable meals we’ve ever enjoyed were in Barcelona, London, Bratislava, and Gdansk. There is so much we’ve learned about a country just from the food. From pierogies to paella, tapas to tiramisu… we always seek out an authentic meal wherever we end up.
How about a pierogi sampler with microgreens in Poland?
What’s the best way to get there?
There are so many ways to get from CVG to your favorite European destination.
- CVG offers two nonstop flight options:
However, with just one stop, there are hundreds of cities you can visit from CVG:
- Air Canada stops in Toronto on your way to a dozen European destinations.
- United, Delta, and American offer one-stop service to hundreds of cities via connections at airports like New York-JFK, Newark, Charlotte, Atlanta, or Chicago.
- British Airways can be your one-stop connection to London and beyond. Every major European city (and many smaller destinations) are just a short connection through Heathrow.
Where should I go for my first trip to Europe?
That’s a pretty big map with a lot of choices, right? Here are four ways to book a trip based on your personal preference:
- You have specific dates and want to see a specific country or countries.
- You want to see a specific country but can go whenever it costs the least.
- You have specific dates but are open to going wherever the fares are lowest.
- You are open to wherever the lowest fare takes you.
I’d recommend hopping on TripAdvisor and clicking on “Things to Do” in each destination you might be interested in. It’ll help you get an idea of not only what to do but the best time of the year for that activity.
A sunny day at a castle in Lithuania.
How long should I go, and how many countries should I see on a trip?
There’s no right or wrong answer. For a first trip, I generally recommend one or two destinations and about seven to 10 days. That’ll give you time to adjust to the time difference and recover from any jet lag. You may also consider utilizing one of the many train services that stretch across Europe, especially the high-speed rail lines. It can be a great way to add more cities to your trip.
What a view! Riga, Latvia
So, I need a passport, right? How do I get one?
Absolutely. Everyone, including your kids, needs a passport to visit Europe. There are three ways to obtain a passport:
- Routine processing: You apply, get your photo taken, send in the application, and wait.
- Expedited processing: All of the above, except you’ll get faster service.
- In-person at an agency office: If you want to travel within the next nine weeks, you’ll need to visit a passport agency office.
More details can be found here.
Didn’t think that all the way through. (Got very wet.) Barcelona, Spain
The State Department updates the estimated processing time for passports on this website.
The current wait time as of May 1, 2023 is 10-13 weeks for routine processing and 7-9 weeks for the expedited option. For an expedited passport at an agency office, you must have international travel within 14 days.
If you already have a passport, make sure it’s valid for at least six months after your trip. Check the expiration date carefully for each member of your family. Adult passports are generally valid for 10 years. However, children’s passports (under the age of 16) are only good for five years.
We stumbled across a traditional dance competition and loved every minute.
What’s your favorite country?
It’s impossible to pick just one. We’ve loved something about every single place we’ve visited!
So go on, book that next adventure! Keep an eye on my [Jay’s Deals] page for great international deals I’ve hand-picked for you.
Always try the pink soup!
Have a favorite Florida destination you’d like to share? Tell me all about it at @JayKruzOfficial on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
I can’t wait to see you on a flight to London very soon!