How I Trot the Globe

A friend asked me for tips on traveling to Europe earlier today. I thought it would be fun to post on my blog because it helps me relive my glory days and hope it helps somebody else. Here’s my winded response:

“i feel like i have endless advice, but really, do what makes sense to you. plan as little or as much as you want. planning is half the fun! if you do feel like you want my advice…here it is:

i would book pretty much all transportation ahead of time (aka any extra plane tickets and a eurail pass)

i wouldn’t plan everything out, but i would book the majority of hostels and have a basic itinerary (like days 1-4 in london, days 5-12 in timbuktu, etc), but i wouldn’t plan out much more than that. unless you like having everything set ahead of time.
maybe add things like “while in paris we will go to the eifle tower, but it could be any of the 4 days there. we’ll get to it after we pop champagne on this hillside”

we had so much more fun wandering where the world would take us than trying to hit specific museums and monuments. there were a few “I must see this or I will regret it forever” moments, but for the most part we winged it. i found it much easier to say things like “at some point on the trip i want to go horseback riding” and then do it spontaneously then plan all that out ahead of time.

it’s also important to set a few rules ahead of time. like, is it cool to go your separate ways all day long if you need to? do you want to go out every night? do you want to see every single museum in paris? do you want to eat out at fancy restaurants every night? knowing what kind of travel buddy you are getting in with can make a huge difference. there are friends i would definitely NOT travel with that i love dearly. you are besties, but you should talk about these things ahead of time to avoid crankiness.

set a budget. overestimate everything, by a lot. then be happy you didn’t spend that much instead of pissed at yourself for going over budget the whole time. save on food, housing, and shopping. not tres important. splurge on activities.

pick hostels with bars in them (for the most part). sometimes it can lead to crazy things and can be easier than trying to find bumpin local bars.

don’t lose eachother. have a new daily plan of where to meet in case you do lose each other. we came very close several times and it was terrifying.

trust others. seriously…that creepy guy in the molester van that has been staring at you all evening? he’s the only one that can drive you to your hostel and he’ll do it for free.

pack light. you don’t need whatever you are thinking about bringing. some key things to bring:
–electric socket converter
–too many undies
–locks for your luggage

plan to go where sounds fun to YOU. everyone can go to paris, but not many go to Bled, Slovenia. (and bled was SOO much better than paris) be creative.

YAY!!!!! I’m so excited for you. You will have the trip of a lifetime!

my favorite spots:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponte_Vecchio

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/annasmith/annaineurope/1184866860/tpod.html

http://www.destination360.com/europe/croatia/dubrovnik

p.s. I ment Ljublana, Slovenia is better than Paris, not Bled. Let’s not get carried away. “

-M

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