How To Plan A European Vacation (+ Free Travel Downloads!)

Welcome to my first blog post on Let’s Go Places!

I just got back from a 16-day European adventure, which is what inspired me to create this little blog. As with most vacations, there was rest, relaxation, and reflection. Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly my Eat, Pray, Love, but I did reflect quite a bit on life and happiness.

So, I won’t bore you with the details on my conclusions, because to be honest, I think I’m still figuring a lot of it out. But one thing that was clear on my trip is that I have a passion for capturing moments and sharing them with others. That’s why I decided to create an online avenue where I can post stories, tips and photos from my adventures.

Since my Europe trip is what inspired me, I decided that my first post should about how I planned for this trip (which was wonderful, by the way). Then, subsequent posts will be about each destination, with more details and photos to share.

Sound good? Great! Let’s get started.

Planning Your Adventure

There are a lot of upfront questions going into planning a trip. You need to think about the timeframe, location(s), funding, what to pack and more. And if you’re traveling with others (solo trips are a thing and I’d love to go on one!), this adds extra synchronization into the mix.

So, let me preface this with a note. I’m not a travel expert. But what I can share is what worked for me and hope that it helps as you start planning your next adventure. Plus, there are few freebies I added that I hope you’ll find useful!

Location, Location, Location

european-vacation-orange-wall

Once my sister and I decided to start planning our trip, we got super excited about the awesome places we could travel to in Europe. You should have seen our original list! We had about five or six countries that we wanted to check out. And we ended up condensing to three. But I think that was the best way to start! Craft your wish list, figuring out what your timing looks like (more on this in the next section) and then condense from there.

Our final destinations included:

As far as where to stay, I’d recommend checking out Airbnb. And if you’re staying in any of the cities above, message me and I’ll send you a host recommendation.

Psst! Save $4o on your first Airbnb stay with travel credits from me here!

Timing Is Everything

south-of-france-sea-palm-tree

If you’re traveling abroad, I’d suggest trying to book at least 14 days on our calendar. I know that might be tricky with work, but if the countries you’re hoping to see, this timing won’t feel rushed. There will be a few travel days. But if you give yourself enough time, you’ll feel like you’re actually on a vacation. And that’s the whole point, right?

So now let’s get into when you should travel. We went to Europe at the end of September and got back to the States mid-October. And I must say, that timing was nice. The weather was still warm (London was a little chilly at times) and we missed peak tourist season. So, we enjoyed fewer crowds and lower prices.

Once you know your destinations and dates, make sure to set up alerts on Airfare Watchdog and in the Hopper app. They are both great resources for finding awesome airfare deals! CheapAir is also a great place to find low-cost airfare.

Funding Your Trip

amalfi-coast-sea-boats

Depending on how you like to travel, you can be super frugal or go all out. For this trip, we had funds given to us by our parents as a Christmas gift (thank you, Mom and Dad!). We used this to book flights, train tickets, Airbnb rentals, food, drinks and more.

For a quick ballpark: If you’re planning to take a two-week vacation to Europe (visiting two or three countries), I’d suggest planning to spend around $2-3K. Again, depending on what type of trip you’re looking for. We stayed at Airbnb rentals. But I have friends who also swear by hostels (and save a lot of money).

Packing Like A Pro

positano-sunset

I kind of take pride in how well I pack. It’s minimal. Think of it as a capsule wardrobe in a suitcase. But in my case, an Everlane weekender bag (a similar bag here). Yup, that’s right. I spent 16 days in Europe with only a weekender bag.

How did I do it? When it came to clothes, I figured out what my essentials were. So for me, that was:

  • Two pairs of black pants and one pair of jeans
  • One pair of shorts
  • One dress and one romper
  • One tank top and two short-sleeved tops
  • Two sweaters and one cardigan
  • One bathing suit
  • One pair of sneakers, one pair of sandals and one pair of flats
  • And of course, underwear and bras/bralettes

And then stick to that list! Don’t add in more clothing options. You can always mix and match depending on any scenario. And then roll everything in like a pro. This saves so much space.

Also, make sure to check if your Airbnb has a washer and dryer. This helps mid-trip when you need to freshen up your clothes a bit.

Free Downloads To Help

My sister and I created a Google Doc before our trip. It literally held everything we needed and I ended up printing it out before our trip.It included our itinerary, Airbnb info, places to check out, flight info, a packing list and more!Since it was SO helpful as we were planning our trip, I decided to convert it into a few downloads that you can use, too!

Destination Wishlist

Trip Itinerary

Packing Checklist

Now go off and plan your next adventures.

Let’s go places,
Sarah

Do you have tried and true travel tips? Share with us in the comment section below.

All photos on this blog are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link back to the blog. Much appreciated and thank you for your support!

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