Wednesday, March 03, 2010

5 reasons to travel to Europe this Spring

We all have a million excuses as to why we can’t travel but what about all the reasons why we should? Europe is chalk-full of activities for travelers of every age whether you’re on a mission for adventure or you simply plan to take it easy. A cultural, eye-opening jaunt through Europe just might be the ticket to beating those mid-winter blues.

1. Museums are not as crowded. You seldom have to wait in line for big attractions such as the Louvre in Paris or the Vatican Museum in Rome this time of year, the exception being Easter weekend and school holidays. Museum passes coupled with short lines makes visiting museums as easy as walking in the door. Furthermore, you can take in the experience on your own sweet time without being jostled by other tourists.

2. The Europeans are home. Mingling among the locals is the best way to sample real European culture. Italians linger for hours over dinner on a sidewalk café, the fashionable French strut down le Champs-Elysees, and the Spanish head to the bars in the evening for tapas and pintxos. Concert series are in full wing and special art collections are available to the public that might otherwise be closed during the busy Summer months.

3. Proximity. Europe is relatively small and it is so easy to cross borders. No visas, no custom lines. Think you don’t like Venice so much? An overnight train will put you in Vienna in time to see the opera. Or hop on a cheap flight to Barcelona via Ryan Air. Traveling to Europe is a great way to experience many different cultures in a short period of time.

4. Affordability. The economy is improving and the dollar is going up [slowly], meaning you will get more Euro for your American dollar. On top of that, cheap flights to Europe are not difficult to find and car rentals are affordable and easy to secure during the down season.

5. Health benefits. Even short vacations have been proven to reduce to stress levels, blood pressure and even one’s heart rate by taking a break from the pressures of work and home life. Leisure travel has been found to contribute to improved overall health and well-being by helping to restore balance to one’s mental and physical health. The benefits of travel last long after you’ve returned home even. New experiences shape the way we look at the world and help to put our lives in perspective. That pesky work situation might not seem quite so bothersome after escaping town for a few days.

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