A trip to Europe is stll number one on many people's bucket list. Why? Perhaps because many Americans can trace their family heritage to somewhere in Europe. We are also very familiar with many of the countries - they have been in our history books since high school and they are  constantly in the news today.

When I was younger, I spent 6 years in Germany and traveled Europe extensively. We are constantly involved with training classes to keep up on the latest opportunities in all European countries.

How to Visit - in other sections we have talked about going to Europe on cruise ships, escorted tours, or even small river boats. When we think about Europe as a destination we are talking about "City Stays" or "Fly Drive" sorts of trips.  Many companies are offering a hybrid of "on your own" and an escorted tour. You check into a hotel and the tour company has a "super" concierge who coordinates with you to make sure you are finding your way (where to shop, which are the best restaurants) then they arrange local tour operators to take you on day trips and bring you back to your hotel at night. This routine avoids some of the drawbacks to making all the arrangements yourself yet gives you complete control of your time.

Where to Go - is really up to you. Italy is still the most visited country in Europe but France, Spain, Germany, and the Scandanavian countries are very popular also. The new destination is Eastern Europe. Americans have never been exposed to Eastern Europe - it was behind the Iron Curtain and largely ignored in our history books. Now we are able to visit Prague and Warsaw and Budapest and the word is out that they are great places to visit.

Where to Stay - is probably one of the most important issues that go to make a happy and memorable trip. Location, location, location just like buying real estate can make or bread a trip. European hotels can be a surprise to Americans on occasion - a good example is the occassional lack of wash cloths. Room size is often a surprise as is the lack of an elevator (remember many of these hotels were built in the ninteenth century).

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Villa Stays

An alternative to a hotel stay is to stay in a villa. It makes sense if you are happy to be located outside of the city proper. Villas often allow you to experience the culture of the smaller towns in which they are located. This is often the choice of travelers that have been there and done that - I've seen the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees - I'm ready for a different experience.

Villas are often surprisingly inexpensive especially if several couples are travelling together.