Going on a month long Europe trip is something that every girl dreams of doing. Envision sangria by the beach, turquoise water, pastel colored buildings, & sexy accents (duh). It is your Pinterest dream coming to life! With that said, the planning process to make this dream a reality is no walk in the park. I can’t express how stressful planning my own Europe trip process has been. I have probably gained a few grey hairs from it (for real though).
Since it’s a popular destination to travel to during summer, I created a list of WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW when researching & booking all your flights, air bnbs, activities, etc. Read below to find out about my tips.
- What Is Your Budget: What is the max amount of money you want to spend on this trip. It’s not like a Mexico trip where it can easily range from $600-$1,000. For Europe we are talking about in between the $3,000-$5,000 range. Right away you will most likely be spending at least $1,500 on just the flights there & back (depending on when you go and what time you book). If you are doing multiple places like me-Greece, Portugal, & Italy- then you also have to factor in the internal flights. All of these flights will add up & you will feel as if you are spending your life’s saving just on air travel! It gets a little overwhelming at first, however when flying half way across the country- it’s what to be expected. My friend uses Skyscanner in order to find the best deals. We booked a majority of our flights from this site.
- To add on to your budget, factoring in the cost of your stay is crucial. A decent hotel is usually $200 +, and that isn’t even including the food, activities, transportation etc. I recommend making a chart and tracking your potential spending. That way you can roughly calculate how much the trip will be. Note: You can definitely make this trip cheaper by “roughing it” (meaning only staying in hostels, walking everywhere, sleeping in parks, not eating out etc).
- Are All Your Friends On The Same Page: Traveling with friends is verryyyy different than traveling with a boyfriend or family. Everyone “vacations” differently. There are those type of people that like to constantly do activities & are always on the go go go, but then there are those that like to take time & relax. Both are equally fine- it is the way they choose to vacation. Although, arguments can definitely arise if you all are not on the same page. In order to avoid running into any problems, I suggest utilizing these tips BEFORE you start your travels:
- Make an itinerary. That way there are no surprises. Make a few non negotiables. For ex: “In Portugal the one thing I am dying to do is a day trip to Lagos.” Voicing your preferences before helps to ensure that no one gets to miss out on what they want to do when traveling.
- Compromise. As I said before, everyone vacations differently. You have to be aware that not everyone is going to want to do what you want to do. What may be a good idea is to split up the days between each other. You can plan one entire day doing what you want to do: a boat tour, vespa riding etc.. & the next day your friend can plan her relaxing day: drinking on the beach & lounging. Everyone is happy & everyone in the end gets to do what they want.
- How Long Are The Layovers: Omg, the layovers in Europe are insane! When looking for flights, my friends & I were in a state of shock that just flying from Naples to Greece (a 3 hour flight direct), can turn into a full day of travel because of layovers. We aren’t talking about 1 or 2 hours in the airport… more like 10 to 13 hours! Given this problem, you have to ask yourself this: Do I want to pay less & spend more time in the airport, or do I want to pay a little more & actually get to enjoy the place I’m staying longer? I opted for spending more and getting their quicker. If I am going to Europe, I am utilizing all my time that I can to actually immerse myself in the culture. I refuse to waste half a day slouching in a airport waiting room. Side note: Even if you find a cheap flight, the conditions can sometimes be deceiving. Although it may be a $100 ticket, the cost for baggage claim could be $40 which now makes this “cheap” ticket $140… Just be sure to look at several options before confirming.
- What Are The Travel Times/ Costs To Your Destinations: These are the questions that you MUST ask yourself when you are booking your flights & your hotel. It will eliminate future problems because you will be aware of your surroundings & how much it’s going to cost to stay in the area you have chosen. Personally, I had no idea that these questions were of much importance until booking our trip to Italy. For example, we couldn’t book any flight in the morning because taking the bus is a 3 hour ride to the airport from Praiano. Our only option was to get a late afternoon flight. You have to be smart & thorough when booking or else it makes it more complicated when you get there. Below are the questions you should be able to answer before booking your flight or hotel.
- How far is the airport from the hotel?
- How far is the hotel from bus stop?
- How far is the hotel from the main tourist attraction?
- How much does the bus cost?
- How much does a private taxi cost?
- Is the place I am staying at safe?
- Is the airlines I am taking have decent reviews?
- Hostel Or Hotel: I hear pros and cons of both. Personally the thought of having my stuff potentially stolen in a hostel and sharing rooms does not exactly appeal to me HOWEVER, I have heard that staying in a hostel is the best way to meet new people & can actually be really fun. So in order to get the best of both worlds we decided to do a hostel a few times during our Europe trip (found some for $15 a night on this website). I have never done a hostel before so stay tuned for my thoughts when I come back from my trip. As for booking a hotel… honestly, I am 24 year old who can barely pay for my car insurance every month lol -I don’t think lavish hotel fits in my budget. Instead, we found some AMAZING Air Bnbs in Italy & Greece that are in prime locations. The reason why I personally think Air Bnbs are a good idea to do for Europe is because the owners are very informed with the surrounding area. If we have any questions we can always ask them & they are usually more than accommodating. Again, I will document my experience with my Air Bnbs once I get back!
- Take The Time To Actually Do Research: The most tedious task but sooooo necessary. Do your research and do it well. Take it upon yourself to research any questions you have about the places you are going, read reviews, & pass the information along to your other travel buddies. The more you know about the places you are going, the less susceptible you are to inconvenient surprises. Basically, I’m implying that Google should be your best friend by the end of your travel planning.
- Inquire About Options for International Phone Service: For me, my phone is an essential asset to my trip. No, its not for posting pictures (there is wifi for that). It’s to ensure that I will be able to reach my family at anytime for those just in case reasons. I couldn’t bare the thought of not having my phone services available when I am on a trip for that long. I found an awesome website that talks about cheaper ways to gain calling service HERE.
Hope these tips were able to offer you guidance on planning your own Euro trip. Safe Travels!