A Guide to Getting Through Airports in Europe

Are you headed for Heathrow? Dropping in on Munich Airport? Or maybe you’re passing through Paris? Wherever you’re flying to, you’ll want to know how to navigate a busy European airport.

You might already know what to expect when flying around this enthralling continent, but there’s no harm in brushing up on some airport basics. To make plane travel as painless as possible, these tips will guide you through Europe’s airports.

Be the Early Bird

First things first: always double-check the dates and times on your plane tickets. Because there’s only one thing worse than showing up for your flight a day early, and that’s showing up a day late.

Closely monitoring your flight’s status is always a good idea too. You’d hate to arrive at the airport nice and early only to find your flight has been delayed for a few hours – you could’ve fit in another museum trip instead of sitting around in the departure lounge! The skies above Europe are pretty busy, so delays are always a possibility.

 

Keep Yourself Entertained

Waiting for a plane may not sound like the most exciting activity, but there are ways to alleviate the boredom of being stuck in transit. Europe has some of the most tourist-friendly terminals in the world.

For instance, these are some of the best features found throughout Europe’s most-visited airports:

  • Filling in time at Munich Airport is easy thanks to the designated nap zones, mini-golf, and brewery. There’s even a Christkindl market if you’re travelling during the festive season!
  • Heathrow Airport has a luxury spa where you can enjoy being pampered and a shopping precinct with high-end brands like Tiffany and Co.
  • Vienna International Airport’s beautiful architecture make it a delight to explore. And there are giant couches and reclining lounges to enjoy once you’ve done enough wandering.
  • There’s no shortage of shopping opportunities and dining options at Dublin International Airport. Time flies while you explore the ‘Loop’ shopping centre here.
  • Want to tire yourself out so you can sleep soundly on the flight home? Zurich Airport offers bicycle and inline skate rentals for a bit of exercise and fun.

If you don’t have time for shopping or mini-golf before your flight, find a comfy coffee shop and make the most of the free Wi-Fi found in most European airports. This could be the perfect chance to post all your holiday photos to Facebook!

 

Surviving Customs

If you’ve ever spent hours in border security in a foreign country, you might be a little nervous about going through customs in Europe. Don’t stress – this part of the travel process is usually uneventful.

The European Union makes travelling between member states fairly easy. As long as you plan your trip carefully and have all your travel documents in order, there’s nothing to stop you from strolling through the customs queue.

Here’s what you need to know about airport customs in Europe:

  • This should go without saying, but all travellers to Europe need a valid passport. Some countries won’t accept passports that are set to expire within 6 months, so always apply for a new one if this applies to you.
  • Many countries in Europe don’t require Australian passport holders to obtain a visa for shorter stays. Just make sure you check what kind of visa regulations apply in every country you plan to visit.
  • Customs laws vary between countries, but you will usually be allowed to bring in goods up to a certain value. So don’t be afraid to stock up on souvenirs!

If you ever lose your passport while in Europe, there’s no need to panic. Simply head to your nearest Australian embassy to have it reissued.

Ready to experience Europe (airports and all)? Check out our European Christmas, New Year and Winter Wonderland Tours to start planning the perfect end-of-year holiday.

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Julia Higginbotham

Julia Higginbotham is the Marketing Executive at Albatross Tours