"The Rough Guide First-Time Europe" tells you everything you need to know before you go to Europe, from visas and vaccinations to budgets and packing. It will help you plan the best possible trip, with advice on when to go and what not to miss, and how to avoid trouble on the road. You'll find insightful information on what tickets to buy, where to stay, what to eat and how to stay healthy and save money in Europe. "The Rough Guide First-Time Europe" includes insightful overviews of each European country highlighting the best places to visit with country-specific websites, clear maps, suggested reading and budget information. Be inspired by the full-colour 'things not to miss' section whilst useful contact details will help you plan your route. All kinds of advice and anecdotes from travellers who've been there and done it will make travelling stress-free. "The Rough Guide First-Time Europe" has everything you need to get your journey underway.
"...especially useful for anyone veering from the standard itinerary." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Written by the same author as the best-selling Rough Guide First Time Around the World
Most helpful customer reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful.
Excellent place to start planning
Although this book is aimed at backpackers planning to spend 1-3+ months in Europe, it applies to low-budget backpackers on shorter trips as well. The book is divided into two main sections: the first section (about 2/3 of the book) is the information you'd use for planning, the second is a snapshot of 20-30 individual European countries with highlights and facts for each. There aren't more than a few pages per country, so plan to buy country- or region-specific guide books in addition.
I am planning a 10-day trip to Italy and I found the packing, transportation, and pricing information most helpful. The book has comparison charts of the costs of hotels and food in each country, which help you figure out where (in what countries) your money will go the furthest and help you calculate a realistic budget. It also has a whole chapter devoted to packing, with suggestions on what to take (and what to leave behind!) and a sample packing list.
This isn't a book you would take on your trip, but I think it is an invaluable resource before/while planning a trip. I'm just planning my flight and figuring out the rest of my agenda on my own, and this really helped give me an idea of what to expect.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful.
An invaluable armchair resource, and the author freely admits it is not a guidebook
By Jessica Lux
When my college-age sister declared she wanted to backpack Europe but, "it just seems so big," this is the first place I turned. In the introduction, the author tells you that this book is based on his personal experience, that it is aimed towards budget traveling, and that it was never intended to be a comprehensive guidebook. Use this to get a rough game plan and supplement it with other more detailed Rough Guides on specific personal areas of interest. The full-color, glossy "20 Reasons to Visit Europe" in the Introduction will give anyone more than enough ideas for exploring the continent.
The guide open with invaluable advice about prioritizing your itinerary, the importantance of flexibility in your itinerary, and a reality-check on how long it takes to visit and travel to the hot spots. His budget chapter is not to be missed, along with the finance info scattered throughout the book. Unlike many other authors, the author doesn't use the cop out of saying "prices change and I'd hate to quote you wrong, so I'm going to be intentionally vague." He doesn't quote prices for specific locations, but he lets you know that an insanely cheap hostel is $6, while the most expensive he's seen is $28. This gives the novice travel a reference point to do a reality check on any price a vendor quotes them. He provides realistic, economic, and rock-bottom overall itemized trip budgets up front, so the reader can decide how to scale their travels and expectations.
Other topics covered include a detailed packing list (don't wear brand new shoes!), transportation info to Europe and once inside, accommodations, communications, medical information, safety information, and references to tourist bureaus, airlines, insurance providers, and online resources. The text is supplemented by CasaBianca's own personal narratives and examples of tourists who made mistakes.
One of my favorite sections reads as follows [p. 39]: "You WILL go to and eat at a McDonald's when you are in Europe. If you are an American, yes, I know that you wouldn't be caught dead in one in the States. Yes, I know that you are going to Europe to experience authentic foreign culture, not transplanted American food. Why [will you go]? The bathrooms will be the initial lure. Semi-clean, free, convenient bathrooms with guaranteed toilet paper will be few and far between in some cities. Once you have crossed the threshold...the battle is all but lost...Smells pretty good, and I can get something familiar, in a hurry, and it's not too expensive....' The Golden Arches will triumph in the end."
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful.
Fine Primer for Long-Term Visitors
This book is aimed very much at budget travelers looking to spend a long time wandering around Europe (i.e., students on summer vacation, people who can take 6-12 months off work). It is fine as a general primer, although much of the specific advice you can pick up through country-specific guidebooks or google searches. If you are thinking about heading to Europe next summer (for the whole summer), and want a book to help you to start thinking early about the process, then this is a good starter, especially if you're thinking about trying to find a way to pay for your vacation while you're actually in the middle of it (lots of suggestions on how to find work). There is a modicum of surprising and fresh advice in the book - it strongly discourages traveling with others; it tends to find that the disadvantages of being tied to someone else outweigh the advantages - and the best advice in the book for budget travelers I think is that it stresses that bargain-hunting shouldn't be the raison d'etre for your vacation - so don't let penny-pinching quash your fun. On the other hand, if you are looking to travel to Europe for just two weeks (because, despite the book's fantasizing, your boss actually wants you to come back when you've used up your vacation days if you want to avoid being fired), you want to know more specific info about sights, or if you don't think staying in a 2 or 3-star hotel is the height of luxury travel, then maybe stick with the guidebooks for your specific countries (or a Europe guidebook more focused on countries, not basic logistics). This book really only features a few pages truly useful for the latter class of traveler, and you can probably get all of it from country/regional guidebooks, the internet, and conversations with friends.