How to Plan a Trip to Europe | 5 Steps

In our 2016 example, the two of us went to 5 countries in 5 weeks for $5,000 –
including everything. And it was a trip of a lifetime. Planning your trip to Europe all starts with being inspired. So, it all started in an English pub.Sitting with my family in Orlando, Florida,
in this little hokey pub,
it was still charming!Just the cozy wood bar… football game on/soccer game on– — little booths and all the different…
bangers and mash…“My first bangers and mash!”And like, what are these things about,
and what does this actual thing look like. I feel like I was perceiving a representation of a more
trueness that exists somewhere else. It was like a circle in Plato’s world of forms– Ugh, sorry… That was my inspiration. What was your inspiration
for wanting to go to Europe? I’ve always wanted to go to Europe. I grew up reading classics,
and Jane Austen is my favorite author — – Yeah it is!
– And I love art! I would randomly like, in college, just like… google flights and imagine myself going off
to Florence for a month and… living in a small village in Tuscany. We’re in a poppy field in Tuscany!Step 2:Sit down with a piece of paper and preferably
a map of Europe next to you. We just literally sat down with a piece of paper
and we were like… “Where are all the places we want to go?”
I think it was actually on the back of a receipt. – I wish we kept that…
– I know! So we wrote down a list of all the places
we wanted to go and it…varied… greatly. We were like, “All the places in Europe!”
And it was Ireland all the way to Greece. – Geographically terrible. – This is your time to just get it all out.
– Just dream. – Brainstorm, dream, imagine. And then, ask yourselves, like when it comes
time to narrow it down because even when you’re given 5 weeks –
like we had 5 weeks… – You still can’t do it. You still can’t do all the places –
that at least we – dreamed of… that we wanted to go to before we died. – Not in one trip.
– Not in one trip. After you brainstorm,
pick the non-negotiables. Ask yourself, like we asked ourselves… What are the places that we’ve always
dreamed of going? First of all… And then what are the memories
we want to have? – Like what stories do we want?
– What kind of trip do you want? And then also we thought about –
we’re going in winter. So, what are the places we want
to go to in the wintertime. – that are season-based. – Or even limiting, like it was February. We probably don’t want to go to Greece, because most of the small towns
we’d want to visit are closed. So, that’s another way to narrow it down
when thinking about the season. And then go through
and just circle those spots! Circle them on your list,
look at where they are on a map, and start to try to get the outline
of your trip down. – The last thing you said, “seasons,”
brings us to… Step 3:Plane Tickets and Time Frame– We put these two together, because…you have to be flexible
with your plane tickets. We were ultra-budget backpackers. And I’ll go through some of how much
we spent and things like that later, but… all of our decisions were based off of… how much the plane tickets cost. Be flexible enough to plan your trip around
when the tickets are cheapest, because that’s going to be
your #1 most costly single item. – Because you never know,
if you stay one extra day sometimes that can cut your costs in half. If you have tons of money, or if you’re
booking your flight with points even… it’s not as much of a factor. But if you’re paying for your tickets with cash, you want to save money,
you want to be budget travelers… be flexible in your time frame;
and be flexible in when you go. We went in off, off, off-season. …end of January. Yeah, we were there the entire
month of February until March 3rd or 4th. Be flexible in when you can go. Off-season / shoulder-season is the best time – in my opinion – in general. Less crowds, cheaper —
– Yeah. Shorter lines… Talk about having the whole beach to yourself. – This is fantastic! – There’s no one here! If you are going to have to go
during a peak season, use points. Get a travel credit card and use points. – Travel credit card!?
What do you mean, Ellen? We can talk about this more in-depth
on another video or on a blog post… – But it’s extremely important. – For multiple reasons… foreign transaction fees… Every time you swipe your credit card
in a different country then you are avoiding getting charged
$2-$5 for an out of network fee. And also, for getting points! – We flew to Switzerland,
and it would have been $3,000… – $3,000 per ticket. – And we got it for how much per ticket? – $5.
– 5 dollars. – It’s not costless…
– You only pay your taxes and fees. We use a traveler’s credit card called,
Chase Saphire Reserve and Chase Saphire Preferred and I’ll put those affiliate links in the bottom. – Bonus! If you get the Chase Saphire Reserve,
you get Priority Pass access for lounges in airports. So before your flight, hang out in the lounge. Free WI-FI, you can take a shower, take a nap.There’s free food, free drinks…It’s just — it’s lovely. So we started off with an open-jaw itinerary, which basically means you fly into one airport, and then you travel around a bit, and then you fly out – back home –
from a different airport. So for us, we flew into London
and we flew out of Rome. I think we’ve stumbled upon something historic… And the reason we did that, is because you want to start in a place
that is more familiar to you and get used to the whole concept of being
a foreigner in a different country… England – English…
At least you have that going for you. But then as you go more south
and more toward foreign places like Italy – when we ended it Rome,
is very different than the U.S. It’s nice to kind of wade into the water… your toes first, and then get in the deep end. – Especially on your first trip. It’s nice to get off the plane and actually
be able to read some of the signs. “Ausgang” “Ausgang” “Ausgang”
Man, Ausgang is a huge city! …That means “exit.” Ah…[speaking German]– Yeah… What she said.Step 4 is…Filling in the Middle of Your Trip,
now that you have your beginning and your end.
Try to stay in places for at least 2 nights. We have learned this the hard way… It is very hard on youself,
both mentally and physically to change places after only staying
in it for one night. It gives you very little time
to actually get to know the place… to get a feeling for it… to get settled in where you’re staying… Travel days are throw-away days –
unfortunetely. I mean, they’re still enjoyable at times,
like riding a train or something. But for the most part, you’re going to spend your entire day
at the train station at the plane…”station”? Also known as the airport. And… it’s just going to be a lot of back and forth,
packing luggage… finding a cab or an Uber… finding your way to your place… It’s a lot of logistics. So, just consider that day,
you’re not going to be able to do much. The less places you go to
the less travel days you have… and the more time
you can get out of individual spots. We basically consider it a bonus
if we actually get to do anything on a travel day. – Yeah. It’s basically dinner. Whenever you change countries,
you also change cultures and usually language along with it. Just a matter of doing that,
adds a level of stress to you that you can’t really will away from it. You can try to positive think your way, but there’s still a level of stress
that it comes with. You don’t know how to say, “thank you.”
You don’t know how to say, “hello,” or… “I’m sorry for stepping on your shoe –” Accept it. Be ready for it. And if you feel yourself like, “Man, I’m really irritable.” Did you change countries that day? That’s probably why. Give each other grace if you’re traveling
with a travel partner. Give each other grace on travel days
and on changing country days.Especially when it’s your fourth country,and you’re saying hello in 4 different languages
before you ever get to the right one
even if you do, actually, get to the right one.– Then you go to Luxembourg,
and they speakallthe languages. Consider that travel day
as a little bit of a grace period in your planning and in your itinerary,
when you are looking at the middle. For our trip in 2016, I made a spreadsheet. – Did you!?
– To be fair… – Did you!?
– I’ve made a spreadsheet for like – Everything.
– almost all of our trips I personally think my first one was my best one. But here is the spreadsheet that I created.
– That’s a lot of colors…– I color coordinated it according to
– Oh there’s just two…
the city, so I could visually see how long
we were staying in places.
– Gosh, I’m glad I’m married to you…
– And… how many nights we were staying in each place.And then you’ll see I wrote out,
“Travel Day”
and blocked out how many travel days.Another reason why writing out “Travel Day”was helpful besides just trying to have as few as possible.was when I was trying to look and see
if getting the Eurail Pass was worth it.
For us, it wasn’t.
Actually, I did the…full options of getting all of the different
variations of Eurail Pass
– Did you now?
– And… it was actually cheapest for us
to purchase in advancefor our train tickets;
so that’s what we ended up doing.
But that’s another reason why
writing out your travel days is helpful.You don’t have to be as detailed as this
in your spreadsheet.
You can just put your dates and the city
and mark travel days out or how many nights.
I also used it as a way to track how much
we were spending…
my notes on links to places we wanted to go
and how much it all cost.
I’ll include this as a template,
a spreadsheet template in the link below if you want a way
to start planning your trip.But this was our basic guideline for the trip.And also you can see…
we went through several variations.
Like in our first version we were going to —
– Oh wow…
– Ireland and Scotland, which I totally forgot
about until I looked back at this.
– That’s a lot of travel days.– So, we ended up taking out Ireland and Scotland
and things like that in the different versions.
– Also, travel days areexpensivedays. You’ll spend the most money on travel days
because of tickets or food that you wouldn’t otherwise be spending
that you had to get in a hurry. But if you have less travel days,
and you’re on a budget, it’s better! It’ll cost less. – And you’ll spend more time soaking up
the culture of a place. So again, I’ll include this spreadsheet template
in the link below in the description so you can have a starting off point
for filling in the middle of your trip. Step 5: Determine a Budget. Now for a travel couple like us,
you can expect to spend between $60 – $70 on food, which is like a restaurant meal
and street food for the rest of the meals or grocery store, and $60 – $70 per day on lodging, which is like a bed and breakfast
or an AirBnB Now you may hear that and think,
“Wow, I’ve heard larger numbers before!” And yes, I have seen those larger numbers
before as well. But let me tell you,
it is possible to stick to stick to this budget. We actually came in under-budget. So another thing to consider is to balance out
your big cities and your small towns. We had an average of $60 a night on our lodging, which means sometimes we spent $30 a night
in lodging and other times we spent $100. But the average over our trip was
$60 per night in lodging. Now where did we spend
$30 per night on lodging? We rented a room
from a lovely French couple in Caen…in Normandy.
– Ah, yeah!
We stayed there for $30 a night for 2 nightsso that we can spend 1 night in a castle
in Normandy for about $80 a night. Caen was adorable, but the castle…was magical.Youcanstay in thosedreamplaces if you
go in shoulder-season to off-season, and you balance it out in your budget. In our 2016 example, the two of us went to
5 countries in 5 weeks for $5,000 – includingeverything. – And it was a trip of a lifetime. Go get inspired. Go plan it out. Brainstorm. Look at plane tickets. And book that ticket! – Do it!
– Book the trip!

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