IMG_1199.PNG

Hi.

Welcome. Make yourself at home.

Europe Trip 101

Europe Trip 101

I recently returned from Europe with three of my girlfriends that was nothing less of epic. It's a little overwhelming when faced with how to tackle a Europe trip, so I wanted to share some of the basics I learned and help prevent some of the mistakes we made. Sightseeing can be pretty exhausting since you're constantly on the go, along with the fact that you want to experience the local culture just as much as the touristy stuff. Here are some things you can do to keep it smooth sailing (and run on autopilot explorer once you're there).

Plan in Advance

  • Online booking is available for many of the tourist attractions - this will not only sometimes save you money, but it will enable you to skip the line once you get there. Below I will outline which attractions to do this with, and which ones aren't worth the extra $!
  • Museum Passes
    • Both London and Paris have "The London Pass" and "Paris Pass" respectively, which may be worth it if you're staying longer than a few days (and will go to all of the attractions included)
  • Eurostar train
    • We took this high speed train from London to Paris, and the ticket gave us 2-for-1 museum admission to many of the sights in Paris - such a great deal!
  • Metro passes
    • London "Travel Oyster cards" are available for purchase (and mailed to your house) prior to your trip, which will give you discounts as a visitor. The normal oyster cards (that residents use) can be purchased upon arrival as well, but won't include said discounts

What we did

  • # of days (24)
    • In my opinion, I think at least 3 weeks makes it worth it - there's so much to see!
  • What countries and cities (We did London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Milan, Berlin, Copenhagen)
    • The only reason why we went to Milan was how much cheaper the flight was versus out of Florence
    • London: It's expensive! Try to stay somewhere in zone 1-3 to minimize charges on public transport. There is unlimited travel between zones 1-2 up to a $12 daily max
    • Paris: try to stay west of the city - it's safer and cleaner (i.e. 15th arrondissement over the 4th)
    • I would love to go back for Barcelona, Tuscany, Greece, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway
  • Departure + return round trip flight
    • Plan 6 months ahead for the best deals - I was able to get my flight for under $530 RT
  • EasyJet or RyanAir flights in between countries (cheaper and faster) - besides Eurostar from London to Paris 
  • Options for housing: AirBNB, hostels, B&Bs, SERVAS, with friends, hotels
  • Commute within cities: metro/tube passes needed to be purchased in all countries, despite tons of walking
  • Major attractions that you want to see
    • This will guide you where you should stay, but also help make sure you don't leave before you see everything you wanted to

Tips

  • Try to find at least a few places in your trip with washer+dryer so you can wash clothes - if not, there are some laundromats in Europe, just not as convenient
  • Blowdryers + curling irons/straighteners need to have dual voltage - otherwise, will fry. Most AirBNBs had it included in their amenities
  • Look into SkyRoam: a wifi hotspot service you pay $8/day when you use it, and $0 when you don't! I didn't learn about this until after I returned, and it would have been so helpful and convenient - directions, yelping restaurants, and overall searching for wifi would have been more enjoyable
  • Learn some basic phrases and words of each country you're going to: it'll make the world of a difference in getting through your day. 

 

What to pack

  • Outfits: focus on basics
    • Check weather 15 days out, and pack accordingly with lots of mix & match options!
    • I read tons of articles on how to pack and what to pack for Europe, so click on each of these links to read more
  • Shoes: focus on comfort
    • For females - 1 tennis/running shoe, sandals, boots - no heels needed!
  • Toiletries
  • Adapter + charger converters
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Plastic bags for dirty clothes
  • Extras:
    • Dryer sheets: keep suitcases/dirty clothes from smelling
    • Detergent pods: even with washer/dryers, no detergent was provided
    • Dry shampoo
    • First Aid kit (Pepto, band aids, Steri strips, Neosporin, allergy meds, Tylenol, antibiotics - ask your physician if they'd be willing to write you one just in case, because finding a doctor and getting seen is a pain) 
    • Summer scarf (you won't be allowed in any churches if you are sleeveless/have bare shoulders)

How to pack

  • Travel backpack
    • Go to a local REI store and get fitted! I made the unfortunate mistake of not doing so, and paid for it in an injury
  • If going with the traditional suitcase
    • Pods for organization
    • Shoe bags
  • Consider investing in an RFID proof and locked day bag - lots of pickpockets

 

Attractions/Things to See & Do (in my opinion!): *denotes getting a tour!

London

  • London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey
  • Tower of London and Crown Jewels*
  • Stonehenge + Bath*
  • Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park
  • Chelsea Soho, Notting Hill (Portobello Road: lots of bars and restaurants, and an amazing Saturday flea/farmers market/street food)
  • Primrose Hill: best view of the London skyline

Paris

  • Louvre
    • Either buy a ticket in advance (skip the line), or enter underground from the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall, off of Rue de Rivoli and the Palais Royale Musee du Louvre metro station
  • Versailles*
  • Eiffel Tower
    • Go up - at least to the 2nd floor - and see the view
  • Arc de Triomphe + Champs Elysees
  • Musee d'orsay
  • Musee de l'orangerie, Tuileries Garden 
    • This is A MUST. Go see Monet's Water Lilies piece that spans 8 full walls in 2 rooms
  • Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris
  • Pantheon
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Palais Royal

Rome

  • Sistine Chapel, Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, St. Peter's Square*
    • Absolutely, without a doubt, purchase a guided tour and in advance. This place is an incredibly amazing but enormously overwhelming, and you won't even get half of the beauty if you walk around by yourself (not to mention there is always a million people there)
  • Colosseum, Roman Ruins*
    • Beat the long lines by either buying a ticket in advance, or go to the roman forum to purchase the same dual entrance ticket, go see the forum first, then back to the colosseum 
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Spanish Steps
  • The town of Trastevere
  • Just walk the streets - every corridor leads to another beautiful monument or open plaza

Florence

  • Galleria dell'Accademia: see Michaelangelo in person!
  • Walk around this town and explore - the slower pace and less tourists (than Rome at least), was a nice change of pace for us

Berlin

  • Holocaust memorial
  • Reichstag concentration camp
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Berlin Wall Memorial

Copenhagen

  • We only had 1 day here so I can't speak to much - will have to come back. But definitely check out the Copenhagen street food market, walk through the downtown shops, and try their chocolate!

 

Happy Traveling!

How to Tackle the Unimaginable

How to Tackle the Unimaginable

Origins

Origins