For the duration of my last semester of college, graduation was looming over my head. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as some big changes were coming my way. As a December graduate, I would be living at home for at least a semester (after 4 years on my own!), while the rest of my friends continued to party on in various college towns. Living with my parents wasn’t the worst thing that could happen, but I figured I needed there to be a light at the end of that tunnel (a really bright light to make the whole experience much less stressful).
So I came up with the perfect solution: PLAN A EURO TRIP.
Where to Start
To be honest, I did the majority of the planning for this Eurotrip on my own. I researched flights to Europe, hostels, routes to take, tours to take, where to go, and what to do (for as little as possible). I did have a large variety of resources. For starters, my mom is a travel agent, and everyone who works for her was more than kind while assisting me. They even suggested I help other students plan trips, for a small fee (so if this interests you, please reach out to me.)
My friends and I wanted to keep this trip very low-budget, with the biggest expense being flights to and from Europe, and truth be told, booking these tickets was our very last step.
My Step-by-Step Eurotrip Planning Process:
- Make a list of all the places you want to go. Once this list is made, contact a travel specialist to see which city is the cheapest to fly into (or do some research on your own, like me, because what my mom told me didn’t end up being the case for us). From there, plan out your trip city by city. Don’t worry about how many days in each place yet.
- Make a spreadsheet to calculate your costs (or contact me, I can put one together for you and do the research for you.)
- Once you have a city by city list, check to make sure there is either a Eurorail train, bus, or inexpensive airline fight from one city to the next. Use your costs spreadsheet to figure out the most inexpensive option (also take a look at times of these transportation methods and which is the most convenient for your plans.)
- Make lists of each of the things you want to do in each city. This will help you get an idea of how long you want to be in each city. (I provide my customers with a template to fill out, based on this, I help them figure out how long they should be in one place. I also let them know if they are missing anything crucial, or any tips I have accumulated through my travels.) Include tours, sights, parks, shopping, nightlife, restaurants, and any day trips you may want to take!
- Plan out how many days you will spend in each place.
- Look into hostels. Include potential hostels in your spreadsheet so that you can compare. (I will share with you, city by city, what hostels I stayed at, considered, or have heard good reviews about.) Don’t rule out hotels because often times a hotel will be just as inexpensive as a hostel.
- Converse with your co-travelers. Make sure everybody is happy with the plans you have set.
- Make a day-by-day agenda, including travel from city to city, allowing time for checking in and out, and other time to just explore. This doesn’t have to be in an exact order, but at least bunching together what you want to do every day. (My clients have me do this for them. I look at everything making sure enough time is allotted. Since my services come with a complimentary team of travel agents, I am able to let you know if I think you can fit more or less in one day.)
- Purchase your transcontinental (across the ocean) ticket.
- Book everything else, including hostels, train tickets (they go on sale approximately 3 months prior to the start of the season you are traveling in), and flights within Europe. If you have tours you plan on taking, book these in advance too.
Do Things Your Way
Just FYI, I did not do step 9 and 10, in order. Personally, I actually booked my ticket to Europe somewhere between step 7 and 8. I found an amazing deal on StudentUniverse and had to take advantage of it. Since, I knew I would be flying back from Europe via a ticket I would purchase through frequent flier miles. Once I had planned where and when I would be ending my trip, I booked my return ticket. Do what works best for you!