my fool-proof guide to planning long term vacation across the pond!
The post(s) you’ve all been waiting for are here – the recap of our 2 month Europe trip!
I’m going to break this down into 2 sections. Today’s post will cover the more overall things such as planning, what we packed, what we would have done differently, etc.
Then, next week, I have a post that breaks down every country we went to, how long we were there, average cost of things, favorite foods etc! I will also have a PDF with all the restaurants that we went to!
So, without further ado, let’s get into some of the main things you should know, and asked me about on Instagram, about planning a long-term Europe trip!
PLANNING THE ORDER OF COUNTRIES:
We decided to do countries that were MOSTLY beside each other to save time traveling. We did go from Hungary to Amsterdam, and we flew there because they are far apart. But, the train system is SO AWESOME in Europe that it’s easiest to just train/bus between countries. But, you don’t want to spend 2 days on a bus, so pick appropriately.
I would recommend to do more northern countries or more southern countries. We did jump around a little but that was because of Covid and we kind of had to go where was open!
HOW TO PLAN
We have been planning this trip for 3 years and we had EVERYTHING planned and booked pre-covid, which we had to cancel. So, we ended up planning things on the fly. And, honestly? I am SO GLAD this happened because it allowed us to be so much more flexible, stay longer/shorter places than we thought we needed, go do things that we didn’t know about before getting to that country etc.
Now, I think that booking accommodations is usually it little harder when there is no covid as things get booked in advance. We did not have this problem at all, so going on the fly was easier. BUT, I really recommend doing it this way. Spontaneity is good sometimes 😊
We bought All Europe Sim Cards from World Sim BEFORE we left. I don’t think they are doing them anymore. You CAN buy these in different countries – we found one in France at a Bouygtel (their phone company) store. We probably used about .5-1 gb of data per day, so plan accordingly. I could have used less…but Instagram 😊
Mr. FFF also says to download the Google maps of the place you are going so that you don’t have to always use wifi for Google maps!
Having a lot of data was important because this is how we planned on the fly – we did a ton of googling!
For accommodations, I only used booking.com and air b and b.
For travel, we did MOSTLY trains and I downloaded the Trainline app (you can find it in the app store.) It’s free, so easy to use and has train options for most countries. For the few flights we took, we used Google Flights.
In terms of how many days to book – we did countries quickly because this is how we like to travel. We are NOT big history people so we pretty much skipped the gazillions of museums in cities which allowed us to spend less time there. If you want to go to them, you may need more time.
HOW LONG TO SPEND
We picked one big “touristy” city in each country and usually spent about 2 days there. Then we googled “best day trips from XYZ city” and picked 2ish that we thought looked fun, and devoted 2 days for 2 day trips. We personally did NOT feel rushed with this. But, like I said, you may need more time for more history stuff.
The thing is, there is NEVER going to be enough time to see everything. EVER. So, you have to decide if you want to see more different countries for less time or stay in less countries for more. We chose the first. But, there is no right or wrong!
We packed VERY minimally since we back-packed (we used these backpacks like THIS.) I think I brought 3 little rompers, 1 pair of leggings, 1 zip up jacket and a few tank tops. Of course, underwear and stuff too. But, I didn’t plan for this to be a fashion show. I got simple, cheap rompers on Amazon. I got this one in black and green and then this one too.
For shoes, I packed all birds for evenings, one pair of sandals and then these trail running shoes. The trail running shoes were the BEST THING WE BROUGHT. We only bought them because we thought we were going to Iceland but they ended up being INVALUABLE.
A lot of the roads there have cobblestones, and they hurt my feet in the all birds. These shoes had harder soles, which made LONG days on cobblestones so much easier.
I also brought my hair straightener, makeup, toiletries etc. I left shampoo and a hair dryer at home because most places you stay have this.
I used this travelon purse for during the day, since it’s anti-theft. Mr. FFF used a small travel backpack.
Honestly, there was nothing that I wished I would have brought that I didn’t…or anything that we would have done differently. Other than go with no covid so some more things would be open, but it truly wasn’t that big of an issue.
For food, what worked for us was eating a big breakfast, having a more snacky lunch and then a big dinner. Of course, you can do whatever, but only going out for 2 meals helped expenses. I brought protein bars for snacks, and also bought some there too! I actually fell in love with these Barebells there – they are incredible!
Finally, English wasn’t too much of an issue in the big cities! In the smaller places, it got a little more challenging. Google translate is your friend – especially the conversation feature. We used it ALL the time. It’s also always nice to try to learn basic words in each language (hello, thank you, bathroom etc.) as it always looks nice when you try.
I hope this was helpful! Next week I’ll do the country breakdown that I talked about earlier!
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