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Travelling around Europe can offer many fantastic experiences and adventures. Europe is diverse in its languages, culture, landscape and food – so much to see and do. Before you go, it is good to prepare and plan ahead.
This section is all about important things to know, have or bring!
You can also tap into the wealth of information and guidance available through the European Youth Portal.
You can move freely around the countries of the European Union for up to 90 days, as an Irish citizen. It also applies to EEA countries and Switzerland. You do not need a visa to travel to another EU country, and your passport won’t be stamped when exiting your country or entering another country. The Citizens Information website provides more information.
You will have to show your passport or national identity card if you travel to the Schengen Area from Ireland and you pass through an immigration checkpoint. The Schengen Area is the name given to a region of Europe where there are no border checks between countries. Ireland is not part of the Schengen Area. The Citizens Information website provides more information.
Travel Insurance – Travel insurance protects you from a range of risks when you travel – e.g. lost luggage, theft, and cancelled or missed flights. More information
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – allows you to access public healthcare in another EU/EEA state for free or at a reduced rate. How you use an EHIC abroad differs from country to country. In some countries you might have to pay for treatment, even though you may not have to in Ireland. You can use it when you are travelling abroad or when you are staying temporarily in another EU state. It’s free! More information
Europe is connected through a network of roads, railway lines, inland waterways, inland and maritime ports, airports and rail-road terminals. More information
Travel by Train: Discover EU is an initiative of the European Union which offers young Europeans the opportunity to travel across Europe by train. More information
Accommodation can be an expensive part of your travel. However, there are options that will help keep the costs down – hostels, budget hotels, and homestays that keep the cost of your travels down.
Online booking systems and price comparison websites have made finding cheap accommodation much easier – e.g. booking.com, trivago.com or hostelworld.com.
Another option for finding cheap accommodation is Airbnb.com, which offers listings of local houses and apartments.
Your mobile phone will be an important resource when travelling – for maps, money, communication, and research. Check if your mobile network provides 4G Roaming when travelling in Europe – if not, buy a ‘SIM Only’ from a provider that does. Make sure you bring a charger and, if necessary, a plug adaptor.
Roaming allows you to travel outside your home country to another EU country without having to pay any additional charges to use your mobile phone. More information
If you are going to a country where English is not the first language, there are lots of apps to help you learn the language (e.g. Duolingo).
You can find language exchange sessions both in Ireland (before you leave) and abroad.
But don’t let language stop you. English is recognised in most countries and you pick up words very quickly.
University or College Card Your student card from college or university can often be used to avail of student discounts and savings. So, you should get used to asking if there’s a student discount, no matter where you go – clothes, tickets, food.
The European Youth Card You don’t have to be a student to get the card. It’s available to all young people under the age of 31 or 26, depending on your country. The card is usually valid for one year and the price varies from country to country. Check out the card in your country and don’t hesitate to get in touch with the local card office to find out more. It offers discounts on travel, food, clothing and more.
ISIC Card: This is an internationally accepted proof of student status. With the ISIC card, a student may redeem discounts for travel, accommodation, visiting cultural institutions, and other benefits. The ISIC Association also issues the International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) for non-students. The membership fee varies country by country.