I’ll be honest. I haven’t written a full travel blog in a week or so because I am planning a full blown trek to Europe. I have been traveling a little around my hometown in L.A and have been hiking up to some great views, but I haven’t had two seconds that weren’t dedicated to work or planning this awesome trek!
If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Europe, check out the steps i’m taking and my time line-adjust for your own needs!
This is what I’ve been doing for the past month or so:
Schedule of Planning a Trek to Europe:
Travel Rewards? Get a credit card
*This wasn’t my first step but I’m writing it first so YOU don’t make my mistake
Do you have a travel rewards credit card? You might think about getting one. I wanted to get one so I could start accumulating miles and getting free flights. Unless you are successful and already have excellent credit, you’ll need to do it 1 month before buying your tours/flights/hotels/etc. My company is making me wait 30 days until I receive my card. I don’t have the time to wait to buy my plane tickets. You might! Start looking now!
Find friends to travel with
I have a lot of friends who are travel-inclined but money-declined…. Haha. Meaning a lot of my friends just have full time corporate jobs or just have a lot of bills to pay. My friend and sorority sister Monica reached out to me if I wanted to accompany her across Europe. HELL YEAH I’m in! I work full time as a copywriter and a digital manager, but I work from home so it’s easy for me to pack up and go.
Friend who has money, time, and loves to travel? CHECK.
Set dates for how long you can possibly travel
I didn’t really have many commitments that keep me in the states in the summer. My friend Monica did so we decided we could only leave June 21 and had to come back before August 10 or 11. Which was a huge chunk of time! I’m very happy that we could both make it happen.
*Find what dates you are flexible 1 or 2 days with because certain flights are cheaper if you leave a day early or later.
Dates set? CHECK. I’ll be gone from June 21- August 10 or 11! Keep reading to see if I’m visiting your home country!
Map out top destinations you BOTH want for the trip
We both are SO in love with travel that we wanted to go to… basically every country. Her top countries were Portugal, Switzerland, Paris, Italy, and Belgium and mine were Italy, Switzerland, England, Ireland, and Greece. Luckily, we both really wanted to explore the United Kingdom and Ireland- so we booked two tours! We decided to book one in the beginning, leave a month for exploring, and book another tour at the end.
Make sure that, even traveling with a friend, you both are open and willing to compromise. If you both can’t settle on seeing the same sights or exploring the same countries, agree to split up for a few days and then meet back up. This may be your exciting summer, but no one wants to travel with a negative nancy because they didn’t get their way! When you come back together, you’ll have exciting stories to share!
Meet with a travel agent for advice
We mapped out all the destinations, how many days we wanted to spend at each country, and what our max budget is. We wrote out a list of top questions to ask a professional, and called Alicia’s travel in Pasadena to book an appointment. They always give me the LOWEST price on all my airfare.
We asked about the train, Rail Europe, and asked about the best ways to travel. We asked for advice on what to do in each country, what had better reviews hostels/air bnb/ or hotels (the winner was Air BnB), and basically how to plan our attack.
Contact a travel agent if you are lost or need direction! They’re a godsend. CHECK.
We found AMAZING deals for tours at expat explore. We found a travel code that cut our tour 50%! Instead of 1000 for each tour, it ended up being 500 each- including transport, hotels, activities, and some meals.We didn’t wait to lose our seats- we booked on the spot.
Look into some tours that take you where you want to go. You’ll meet awesome people and have 7 days off of looking for your own hotels/transportation. Want to see where I’m going? Keep reading!
Look for cheap airplane flights
My travel agent looked a bit for us, but mostly Monica and I are doing this on our own. We have some apps that ‘watch’ flights and that notify us when the flights are at their lowest. Hopper is what we are using.
Set some alerts on certain flights and be ready to book at a moments notice.
ALSO- think about the train pass because summertime in Europe is PACKED. Trains will be packed so we are going to book tickets 3 months before we leave.
Start booking hotels/ hostels in the area/ air bnb/ asking friends for the couch
We are currently looking into Air Bnb. Couch surfing, hostels, hotels, and apartment renting to see what our cheapest/nicest options are. We are booking these as we go.
We are currently decided on visiting:
Belgium and Brussels
Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls
Possibly Nice and Morocco
and finally IRELAND
We are not afraid of spontaneity and probably won’t book EVERYTHING before we leave. We want to allow ourselves room for fun and adventure. Any advice on where to go, where to stay, staying safe in Europe, packing tips.. etc? We would LOVE some tips from fellow pro travelers.
Follow me to wait for Part 2 to see how our planning journey is progressing. Then you’ll be able to see our journey live in June!!
Spot you soon,
Did you know I’m also on Instagram & Twitter? @SpotTheRedHead
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