Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis A travel agent’s ability to inform and guide discerning travelers has become more important than ever. With millions of travel websites, blogs and booking agents out there, many people are opting to create trips independently of an agent when planning a European trip. But as your years in the travel industry have shown you, the benefits of using a travel agent go far beyond getting one’s flights and hotels booked.

Bespoke travel agents coordinate life-altering experiences for their clients based on those clients’ unique interests. On top of that, they protect clients from travel disasters and shady tour operators, and ultimately help travelers to avoid absolutely average experiences that make them think they may as well have stayed at home.

To help you keep on the forefront of local knowledge, we’ve put together this list of advice for travelers who want to avoid the common pitfalls when planning a European trip.

  • Avoid whirlwind packages. Packaged tours that claim to show you absolutely everything in next to no time are probably more interested in selling packages than ensuring travelers have an authentic and fulfilling travel experience. They might very well take you on a whirlwind tour but your experience is likely to be more of a slog than a holiday. In an article on 10 common mistakes that travelers make while visiting Europe, Lifehack refers to this exhausting sort of trip, explaining that “many Europeans throw up their hands in horror at such an exhausting itinerary. It indicates superficiality and a lack of cultural awareness, which they will never understand.”

  • Leave some “slippage” time. In travel, change is almost certain - flights are delayed, trains are missed, baggage gets lost. Reality often falls short of your plan for it. “Slippage” time is the time you leave for things to go wrong. But when planning a European trip, travelers should not only ensure that they leave enough time for things to go wrong but also for things to go right, very very right. If you happen upon a magical city that seems to speak to your soul, there’s nothing worse than being rushed off to the next spot you don’t even like half as much.

  • When planning a European trip be wary of super cheap flights. Many low-cost airlines sell flights at extraordinarily low prices. What they often fail to mention, however, is that flights often arrive in obscure airports that are miles and miles from the place you actually want to go. Transport from smaller airports can sometimes add a hefty cost onto your trip. Most low-cost airlines also require payment per bag checked in. Between the airport transfers and baggage fees, once all’s said and done travelers are left wondering if they’ve saved any money by taking the apparently cheaper route.

  • Travel light. As the same Lifehack article correctly points out, compared to the US, “everything in Europe is smaller and more compact.”

  • Avoid hiring a car (particularly in the big cities). When planning a European trip, it’s too easy to look at the small continent and think that driving from place to place just makes sense. What travelers often forget, however, is that congestion fees and parking in Europe is a nightmare. Following from the previous point, in a place with limited space, carting a huge load of metal about can not only be cumbersome but also, when driving along those narrow cobbled-stone streets, hair-raising! The best way to explore a city is on foot, but in Europe public transport is, by and large, first class, and so getting around without a car isn’t a problem. Of course, there are times when hiring a car offers a unique experience. Travelers might opt to experience Italy by coasting through the Tuscan hills in an old vintage classic car, or hopping on a gorgeous vespa to ride along the shimmering coast.

Companies like Charme & Adventure specialize in providing authentic tailor-made tours of Italy. They use their local knowledge to ensure that travelers avoid travel mishaps and experience only the best. When you’re planning a European trip, contact us for more information about tailor-made tours of Italy. We know all the ins and outs, from the best place to hire a classic car to the finest maker of tiramisu. With decades of experience in tailor-made travel, Charme & Adventure specialize in leading travelers to experience Italy in the most authentic ways.

by Luca on Oct 8, 2015