Traveling to Europe in 2012
The euro crisis has been a prominent fixture in international news for the last few years. Whereas at one time Greece was the focal point of economic disaster in the European Union, today Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland are struggling as well. This has to do with a number of factors, not the least of which is the recapitalization of Spanish banks as well as Ireland’s massive debt. In most cases, the countries being hit hardest by this euro crisis are experiencing the residual effects of the housing bubble burst that caused the global recession in 2008. But what does this economic uncertainty mean to travel to the European Union in 2012? The answer, according to experts, is not much.
According to Nadja Popova, a travel and tourism analyst at Euromonitor International, travel in some countries, such as Italy, is expected to grow in the next few years. This is due to many travelers from emerging markets, such as Brazil and China, opting to vacation in Europe. It remains to be seen whether the types of extreme travel deals that are currently found in Greece will be available in countries like Italy and Spain. That being said, there are travel deals to be had in the EU now, mainly via local airlines, which are offering cheaper flights due to many locals’ hesitation to travel outside of the euro zone.
Since it’s likely European travel deals will be in abundance in the near future, here are some basic tips for European travel in the 2012-2013 seasons.
Remember your Passport, Don’t Worry About the Visa
A passport is required for travel to Europe, but many foreign nationals are not required to have a visa. In fact, citizens of 42 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and the U.S., are not required to have a visa to enter the EU.
Choosing a Time to Go
Europe has a typically moderate climate throughout most countries, and summer is still the popular time for tourists to visit. Checking local weather forecasts for average temperatures, rainfall and storm conditions is encouraged.
It’s possible to find low fares to Europe in the coming months as a direct result of the EU crisis. But because there is a single European market for air transport, there are always deals to be had in multiple air routes. Those who wish to drive through the EU are going to need a valid European driving license.
The euro is used in 17 countries in the EU. While it’s difficult to predict the extent of the effect the euro crisis will have on the exchange rate, it is likely that some fluctuation will occur. This could mean cheaper prices for travelers.
Regardless of the economic outcome, there are many reasons to visit Europe sooner rather than later. Many countries, including Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal, are rich in culture, containing many historic plazas, churches, city centers, parks and nature reserves that are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. No matter the economic climate, there will always be good reasons to enjoy Europe.
About the author: Dan Ripoll is the founder and CEO of Without The Stress, a nationwide passport expediter specializing in same day passports and expedited passport renewals. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
Image via: yotourist.com