When finding out about our three week Spring Break in England, I immediately thought of the dozens of places we could visit in all of Europe. I mean, the more traveling the better right? Wrong.
If you ask me, its better to go less places and fully experience them than to go to 20 different cities and it all blend together, only spending a day or two in each. It's usually easier on the wallet, less stressful, and always means less travel-time.
Here's how-to step by step plan the trip of a lifetime.
STEP 1: Brainstorm
When making your list of what to see on Spring Break, its great to start with a list of cities that pop into your head you know you have to see. There's no boundaries here, those come later, so list as many as you'd like.
After this, make a small list of the go-to attractions you want to see in each city, if nothing pops into your head, leave it blank. For example, for Paris we listed The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, The Holocaust Museum. Surprisingly, we have nothing listed under Florence yet that we know we want to see without researching.
STEP 2: Set A Budget
Sticking to a set budget will save lots of stress. We set a price-tag on our three week spring break and are sticking to it. This will hopefully leave money for weekend trips to Wales, Ireland, and Scotland (all closer to England). Be sure to be thinking of all the details: hostels, train tickets, entrance/attraction fees, air travel, souvenirs, and, of course, food.
You'll find when planning a budget that the majority of your money will go to travel expenses. Whether you go by air or train, this will be your biggest chunk of change. From there, if you budget accordingly, you can sleep, eat, and sightsee on the cheap!
STEP 3: Get A Map
Don't get too attached to the idea of traveling to Spain when the majority of your travels will be in France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. We learned quickly that adding Budapest, Barcelona, and Pompeii to our travel list would be tacking on days of travel-time out of our spring break. Each day is extremely valuable- so use them wisely! And always account for TRAVEL TIME! We were so surprised to find that on our rough draft trip-planner, 1/10 of our spring break would have been spend on the train. Don't you want to spend those many hours exploring the country?
Unless one of the far out places is one you simply can't do without seeing, I'd say skip it! There are hundreds of other places to travel in Europe that will be more budget and time friendly and just (if not more) interesting!
STEP 4: Go With The Flow
As you know from previous posts, I'm an avid planner, but I can't let this get the best of me. Learn to balance planning with winging it! During any trip, its great to have a budget and idea of each day spread out, but don't take away from the fun of spontaneity. Traveling is all about exploring and finding some holes in the wall. Just leave room in your budget for it.
STEP 5: Purchase a Rick Steves Guidebook
This guy doesn't bore you to death as you read about city after city. Rick Steves is known for his great sense of humor and incredible travel tips. And believe me, his books are worth the buy.
My travel-buddies and I bought ours off Amazon. They're a couple years old but also more than a couple bucks cheaper. We also bought them all together to get free shipping. I'm all about being thrifty.
Following these steps should be a great start for your trip! More travel tips coming soon...