SM Takes Europe: 30 Days Summer Euro Trip 2015!

Ever since high school, I have wanted to backpack in Europe (thanks to Rory Gilmore). It took me 3 years of being in the UK… FINALLY, I’ve set foot in Europe.

So today’s post would be about:

The planning process

Tours I joined

A main idea of my itinerary

YES people, I realize I am 6 months late with this but hey, this isn’t something that will get outdated with a late posting… yes? #Sorrynotsorry haha.

Phew!

I was meant to travel half of the leg with a friend who bailed on me the last minute… I was up for backpacking solo. My parents kinda forbid me to do so… I guess I understand their worries especially with me being a girl. As much as my ego is bruised that it seems like they don’t trust me or don’t think I am capable of travelling on my own, I wanted to give them a peace of mind since it’s the first time I’ll be travelling to countries of foreign language I do not speak. The compromise? I joined a tour. This way, they know exactly where I am each day with a set itinerary and contact person who is to some capacity responsible of me throughout the tour.

I will say, this all came together pretty late (about a month before the tour). Due to my last minute planning, and the constraint that I needed to have a tour that fit my time (as I was to join my Parents for an Italy Tour right after), my options were pretty limited (which is great for someone who takes FOREVER to make a final decision).

Decisions, Decisions

To be honest, I did not have any specific destination in mind when looking for a tour. As in, I didn’t mind the destination. With little to no research before planning, don’t be surprised. All I knew at that time was that I WANTED to EXPLORE Europe, regardless of where first.

I managed to narrow it down to 3 different tours by 3 different tour companies.

Archer’s Bohemian Rhapsody

Busabout’s Rhapsody Trek

Contiki’s Eastern Rocker

However, as I was hell-bent on going as many places as possible and setting foot in Europe without wasting a day after I finish placement, this mean it really was just two choices:

  1. Archers Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Contiki’s Eastern Rocker + Busabout’s Rhapsody Trek

The overall price difference was about £10 extra per night for choice A. Of course, price was not the only factor…

Archers Bohemian Rhapsody

Contiki + Busabout

Pros

Cons

Pros

Cons

+ Stay in a Hotel instead of Hostel

+ Covers admission fees to more spots

+ Much more time at each destination

+ More thorough exploration of each destination

 

– More expensive

– Unlikely there’s people my age

+ Likely to make friends with people my age

+ £100 cheaper

– Stay at Hostels

– Not so value for Money

– Does not cover most admission fees

It came down to whether I wanted to opt for a fun trip meeting people my age or a immersive trip of understanding and exploring the culture and more of each destination solo. At that time, I preferred doing things at my own pace (part of me finding myself), not having to please or be influenced by people. So, I ended up opting for Archers tour as it seemed more value for money (from some reviews, Contiki seems to lack this by comparison) and the places for that particular tour appealed more to me… Come to think of it, being a fan of art and music, the tour’s main destinations was the perfect start to Europe for me.

**Tip if you’re considering taking a tour: I’ve found out from experienced travelers on my first tour that Cosmos and Archers are under the same company! BUT for the same tour, Archers prices are usually lower!

*This does not mean I am writing off Contiki/Busabout tours. I used to be a pretty sociable person, but recently, I seem to get really impatient and negative around people… I think it has got a lot to do with my lifestyle change and this dark phase I’m going through. Hopefully, when this changes, I think I would consider going on a tour like Contiki/Busabout. From reading reviews on them, they seem like a fun social + travel experience!

The second Italy tour… well, my parents initially booked one back home, but I found out that I could get the exact tour cheaper if I were to book it from here in the UK. However, it was fully booked when I tried to, and the travel agency back home apparently couldn’t hold the booking for us either. AND, my parents already BOUGHT their flight tickets. Luckily, I managed to find another Italy tour which matched the tour dates of the one we wanted to book. Their itinerary differs slightly, but it still looked like a good tour and my mum’s travel agency agreed. So, we ended up with this – 8 days Italy Tour.

The 30 Days

Yes. I travelled for exactly 30 days! For the first tour (Bohemian Rhapsody) with Archers, I mainly visited Munich, Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg (Red route on the map). At the end of the tour, I flew solo to Milan, spent about 3 days there (even got to catch the Milan Expo!) before meeting up with my parents for the Italy tour (yellow route) around Italy’s major cities – Venice, Florence and Rome. Both this and the previous tour are coach tours, meaning that coach was the means of travelling between each destination. At the end of this Italy tour (, unfortunately my dad had to part ways with us, leaving me and my mum to take on Paris for a great 4 days (which was still not enough for me!) and the final 3 days in Strasbourg.

Here is the exact itinerary in a timeline:

Day 1: Munich

Day 2: Munich –Nuremberg–> Prague

Day 3: Prague

Day 4: Prague

Day 5: Prague –Bratislava–> Budapest

Day 6: Budapest

Day 7: Budapest

Day 8: Budapest –Baden–Vienna Woods & Mayerling–> Vienna

Day 9: Vienna

Day 10: Vienna

Day 11: Vienna –KremsRiver Danube CruiseSplit–> Salzburg

Day 12: Salzburg –> Munich

Day 13: Munich –> Milan

Day 14: Milan

Day 15: Milan

Day 16: Milan –> Venice 

Day 17: Venice

Day 18: Venice –> Ferrara – Pisa –> Florence

Day 19: Florence

Day 20: Florence –> Assisi –> Rome

Day 21: Rome

Day 22: Rome

Day 23: Rome –> Paris

Day 24: Paris

Day 25: Paris

Day 26: Paris

Day 27: Paris –> Reims –> Strasbourg

Day 28: Strasbourg

Day 29: Strasbourg

Day 30: Strasbourg –> London

 

Wait no more: Wanderlust Wednesdays!

With only one week left till Easter Break, no more excuses – I will start Wanderlust Wednesdays where I share in-depth travel post(s) each week on this 30 Days Summer Euro Trip of mine! Probably one post for each destination. Yes, hopefully more than one post each week as you can see, there is a lot of places (equals lots of posts) for me to cover!

I’ll be sharing my travels, photos, reviews (restaurants, tours etc.) and travel tips which I hope will be helpful to other travellers =) I’ve been meaning to share this forever (and have mentioned it A LOT in my previous posts), so let’s hope I stay committed! Show some love and comment on any ideas you have for my posts, or even to say hi!

Fellow traveller,
Sum.

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