Ever since I got my first job I always dreamt of travelling to Europe as that was when I knew I could take care of my own expenses. Knowing that this Europe trip is going to cost me a bomb, I immediately started saving. After saving up for a year I knew that I no longer had to wait for anything except my visa, hotel bookings, intercity travel, airport transfers and boy the list is endless! Planning this big Europe trip wasn’t easy but I managed to book everything on my own and travelled to Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Valencia, Ibiza and Lisbon in just INR 2, 16,165(including shopping)! I could have managed at a price lesser than that but since I was staying in 4 star hotels, this was the best. Below is a list of things you need to take care of when planning a trip to Europe.
View From Pena National Palace in Lisbon, Portugal
1. Make a list of the countries and cities that you wish to visit. Make sure that they aren’t too far as most of your time would be spent traveling. Decide if it’s Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern or Central Europe that you wish to visit. For me, I knew the cities that I wanted to visit. Starting from Paris in France, I wanted to be in Spain visiting Barcelona, Valencia to attend the Tomatina festival, Ibiza and then end my trip in Portugal with Lisbon as my last destination. As I booked my tickets on KLM, (New Delhi, India to Paris, France and return from Lisbon, Portugal to New Delhi) I had an advantage of squeezing in Amsterdam where I had a layover for five hours!
Grafiti At The Red Light District In Amsterdam, Netherlands
2. Before you book anything, make sure you apply for your visa. Ask your travel agent to show mock bookings so that you can apply from the country where you are staying for the maximum number of days (I applied through Spain) and as soon as you get your visa, you start making reservations.
3. Figure out the number of days you want to spend in each city and know the name of the street which is located centrally so that you find a hotel at that location. In Paris the best area to stay at is Champs Elysees as that is where most of the city attractions are located. And if you are travelling on a budget then hotels in Paris are expensive. Since we were 3 people, I booked a flat through Airbnb. In Barcelona I booked Hotel Barcelona House which is located on La Rambla. I booked Expo Hotel Valencia which was located in Avinguda de Pius XII, Bora Bora Apartments in Ibiza which was located at Platja d’en Bossa and Pensao Londres in Lisbon located on the Dom Pedro road.
Ushuaia in Ibiza, Spain
4. Once you have booked your hotels, the next thing you need to get sorted with is your intercity travel. After comparing the tickets for Euro Rail, bus, flight and ferry, I found that the intercity tickets from Paris to Barcelona should be done by booking budget airlines. From Barcelona to Valencia, one should book the bus as it only takes 4 hours and is economical. From Valencia to Ibiza, booking a ferry is recommended and from Ibiza to Lisbon again I had to book budget airlines. You can click here to book your bus and for ferry you can book here.
5. One mistake I did was to also book cabs online for transfers from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. I call that a mistake because the cab charged a lot more than it should! The best way to get a transfer to your hotel is to go out of the airport and get cabs on the spot. In case you still want to pre-book like I did, you can book your airport shuttles here. Since I was attending the Tomatina festival in Valencia I pre booked my ticket here.
Sunset From Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza, Spain
6. The only thing you are now left with is to prepare your itinerary. To make the most of your trip, you ought to eat, roam and love like a local! Read recommendations online or just approach information centers in every city, get your hands on the city map and you are ready to rock this big Europe trip!
If you have any doubts or want me to plan your vacation, feel free to write to me.