21 January 2013

How to plan & travel through Europe


I have promised this post since my return home and I am excited to say it is finally here. Once I got home, I was overwhelmed - in the best way possible of course - with emails, tweets and messages across every social media platform from friends and strangers alike asking for any and all advice for their own impending Europe trips. There have been many a question like, "where should I go", "how much money will I need", "which were the best places in Europe you found" and I kept thinking I should just compile it all in one 'go to' post where you will hopefully find everything you need to plan your own trip of a lifetime. 

A disclosure before we begin this marathon post as well. This advice comes to you with the bestest of best interests at heart and with hours, and hours and hours and h.o.u.r.s of research. Planning and booking Morgs & I's 4 and a half month adventure became my 2nd full time job. I scoured every accommodation website and read every.single.review before picking hotels/hostels/apartments and read website after website and asked fellow seasoned travelers for their own advice before picking cities and countries - plus followed our hearts & spirits every step of the way. 

I will be doing a follow up post with the itinerary I did up for Morgs & I for our whole 4 and half months - so which cities we went too, how long for, and where we stayed. It is my holy grail, and I am willing to share, along with all the best websites and app's we used to book everything and get us around once over there. 

I hope that this advice helps and my wish for you & this post is that you bookmark it for future travel, forward it to friends and family who are planning their own travel adventure or simply use it as inspiration to finally book your own trip of a lifetime. 

Settle in, it's long, but most of all, enjoy xx

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Anna's Ultimate guide to budgeting, booking & travelling Europe

So you have decided you want to go away! Congratulations, is there room for one more? Relaxxx, I'm joking, not really. Before you even start dreaming of distant lands though, here are my 8 things I believe are important for you to consider from the get go.

1. Choosing the places to go in Europe.
2. The most efficient route possible.
3. Your budget for the trip.
4. What to get in order before you go.
5. Do I need a visa.
6. To Eurail or not to Eurail 
7. How to best pack for a long trip.
8. Travel tips if you're travelling with a bf/gf


So let's begin shall we?

1. Choosing the places to go in Europe


Potentially the most important part of the trip, because what is the trip after all, without all the magic from different cities and countries unknown you are about to discover. I am about to tell you the single handed most important thing you need to remember when choosing places and pay close attention now....

Do it for yourself. 

Not because your cousins girflriends best friend said her time in Florence was the best time in the whole wide world, or because your frenemy on facebook had some jealous worthy photos in Switzerland you potentially want to out do. 

Choose places that you've always dreamed about going. Cities that your friends might not have been too, but you personally have always had a fascination with. Places where you aren't just doing it to cross another country off the world list 'just cos'. And don't worry. You aren't sure you've ever had anywhere like this? That's beyond ok. That's why I'm here to help. Ready? ...

The next best way to choose your places to go is by working out what you want to feel and experience. 

When choosing our places to go Morgs & I sat down and worked out how we wanted to feel, what we wanted to experience and what we wanted to get out of the trip. We compiled a list, which I am now recommending you do, that had things on there like; "Sky dive in Switzerland", "Eat a traditional pasta and drink home made red wine in Italy", "Walk the Cinque Terre", "Feed pigeons in a Spanish square" .... the list was long'ish, but not overwhelming nor out there, but it was OUR list and a list we loved. We knew by finding those experiences we'd find fun, excitement and adventure which is what we were looking for from the trip.

So remember. 

1. Rule out places that you only want to go to because society, family, or whatever other reason has kept on your travel list. Make sure you're picking places PURELY for yourself.
2. Write up a couple of things you really want to experience; eating ice cream in the snow, hot air ballooning over an old city, doing a ghost tour underground are some suggestions to get you going. 
3. Write down key countries you have always dreamed of visiting and google some of their less touristy places you might want to travel to. 
4. Now get down to the nuts and bolts of it. Sit with a map of Europe and write down each country (with some possible cities you would like to go to) on a piece of paper then sit on that for a couple of days. See how the countries sit with you, after a few days you might want to scratch some off, add some on or keep it exactly the same. 
5. Write your final list, having worked out what countries you'll get your experiences in, the ones you've always dreamed of going to and the ones you will come home from with the most fulfillment and put those places in big, exciting, bold letters on a page. 

Congratulations gorgeous!! You now have your list!!! Now we just need to work out....

2. The most efficient route possible whilst over there

[ A map route I did up quickly as an example in Google Maps, that you can easily do yourself ]

Do not underestimate the money and time you can save on your trip by doing a little bit, ok sometimes a lot, of homework before you start getting all excited and booking. Europe can be a funny thing, places you would never think would cost much getting from and to end up being the most expensive tricky parts of the trip, and places you'd think would be expensive are cheap as chips - it is ALL in the research. 

First thing to do here really is work out when you actually want to go and can go on said adventure of a lifetime. That is always going to be different for every single person for a multitude of reasons so of course...work that out first. You are going for the 3 months of Summer? Awesome, you will pretty much be fine in any and every country you go to with weather. You are going end of Summer start of Autumn? Well work out first which places you'd prefer to be hottest and cities you won't mind if its not as hot. For Morgs & I, we were going end of their Summer to the start of their Winter (which was perfect for us), so we knew that at the start of the trip we'd want to hit places like Greece & Croatia first so we still had hot days and warm nights. So get prioritizing you! Like I said, if you're going for the whole of Summer it really doesn't matter, but if your months are going to have a climate that starts changing it's important to work out which cities and countries you want to see when the days are hotter rather than when they start to cool. 

Got it? Good. Here are the rest of the steps laid out a little simpler for you.

1. So you now have your list of cities you'd like to see when they're warmer,keep that in mind as the starting place of your adventure (you're more than likely flying in to London first anyway but there are hundreds of other cities you can fly in to as the start of your main trip). 
2. Buy a clear and simple big map of Europe. 
3. Work out, in pencil, what appears to be, for you, the most logical and non 'double back' way around all your countries as possible (refer to my above picture I did as an example, where the line went in a big circle and there was no double back). I.e if you're wanting to go to Portugal, Greece, France, Spain then on a map you would sensibly (saving you time and money) go Greece, France, Spain, Portugal (but you will see this for yourself when you look at your own map!)
4. Start to do dummy bookings. Will you be flying from Rome to Athens? (having felt that's the best route on your map). Go to Skyscanner and punch in that route with similar dates you are thinking of and see what it comes up with. If it's a high amount, you know it's a difficult route but low means go for it! 
5. Do this for almost all of your first draft itinerary to see what kind of costs you are going to be up for and if it is the best route for you. Write down all the costs you are working out to track your budget.
6. Also start having looks for accommodation on Hostelbookers, Hostelworld and airbnb. Putting dummy dates in (i.e if you already know you roughly want to stay in Barcelona for 4 nights, then put in 4 nights for accommodation in Barcelona) and you will be able to gauge the average cost it will be from scrolling through all the options that come up. 

HOW exciting you - we now have the countries and cities you wish to go, with the best route worked out for you, now we just have to work out...

3. Your Budget for the whole trip


I'm sure this is where most of you will either zone in or zone out completely but unfortunately a budget is super important for a trip. Having always wanted to do Europe for a few months (not weeks) and in luxury (not budget) I always knew I never wanted to do it by accumulating debt so I was proud to have saved for the cost of the whole trip and I came home with $0 debt. 

The thing is though you might want to do the whole thing with a personal loan or a credit card and that's fine too, whatever you want to do is the best way to go. 

What I CAN tell you however is that either before you go or whilst you're there, without a budget I promise that you will stress. I can't count on both hands (I'd need 2 or 3 sets) how many people would ask "Howww are you & Morgs doing this and not worrying about money, I'm running out!" when we were over there mingling with other travellers. 

Our secret?

We stuck to a rough daily budget that we knew we could spend comfortably!!! Did it impede our trip? Not ONCE!! In fact we had more money to do more things every step of the way. 

Do you want to know our other secret?

We had our trip of a lifetime as we didn't plan what we could do AROUND a budget. We planned what we wanted to do then made a budget for that....key important distinction. Do NOT let money get in the way of a dream trip. Work out where you want to go, what you want to do, THEN work out exactly how much you'll need. Because what we've gone over so far is the real 'nuts & bolts' of planning, let's re hash what you should have done so far before this next step.

+ Written your dream destinations down and what you want to do and feel over there - worked out from that which countries & cities will go on your list!
+ Bought a big, clear map of Europe and marked out your most efficient route to save time & money. 
+ Done 'dummy' bookings for majority of your trip (I did it for all my trip but I know most of you won't be thaaaat thorough) to get a really good estimate of exactly what costs you'll be up against for your flights and accommodation. 

Now you're here. Already with a good idea of flights/trains and accommodation costs so these should be your next steps. 

2. Put the amount you already know it will roughly cost you to travel once over there (flights, accommodation, trains etc) at the top of the page. 
3. Work out the number of days you will be over there in total. I'm going to use the common time of 6 weeks travel. So that would equate to 45 days. 
4. Think of a figure you think you would be comfortable with being able to have at your disposal daily....would it be $80 dollars? $100 dollars? This number is going to be different for everybody and so I am reallyyyy going to leave this one up to you (if you can go by Morgs and I's trip, we had worked out $80 euro a day each (which was about $100 Australian , and some days that was beyond enough and other days we went a bit over). Remember, this is really just for food, drinks and fun though, you've already got the other number at the top of the page for the serious stuff like flights and accommodation. 
5. Multiply the number of days you're there with the figure you have come up with. If that's $100 euro per day, for 45 days, that is going to give you a grand total of $4,500. 
6. Add that to the figure you've come up with as the average for flights and accommodation (I'll say it's going to be roughly $5,000) and congratulations you have your goal figure to work towards = $9,500 and it's time to save....

How do I save that much? 
simple really...



1. Open a savings account totally seperate to your other accounts so it's harder to transfer between bank accounts at the flick of a button (i.e. if your normal spendings account is with Bankwest, I suggest opening up a strict savings only account with NAB. It's MUCH harder to flick money across accounts when it will take days to go through).
2. Work out your budget for each pay (I would hope you would already have something similar in place anyway!) with what you need for your necessities - rent, bills, food, petrol. Once you have that figure work out how much you could comfortably put away that will stretch you but not send you broke. Remember....living your dreams and kicking huge goals sometimes take a little sacrifice. If you're used to having $500 left over every pay to splurge on clothes and going out, maybe ration yourself $150 and put the other $350 away. 
3. On every pay day....pay yourself first. As in, put away your savings FIRST, then go and pay your necessities. It was the best advice I ever got from the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. If you pay yourself first, you will always have to find a way to make ends meet. It might just mean one less dinner out that week, or not being so flippant with your bank card. I swear on my life, I did this every.single.pay.day for the 18 months we saved for our trip. And guess what? I never missed out on putting exactly how much I wanted and needed to put in to my savings, I always had the money I needed for my necessities and still managed to have a bit of fun.
4. Now eat, sleep, exercise, save, repeat. The above is really just common sense but SO important in building up a really healthy savings account and hitting your goal amount for when you want to go overseas. 

High five for getting your savings account and saving money well underway, it can sometimes be the hardest part of the trip, but you are on your way so you need to pat yourself on the back! Now here we are, not only do you now have a clear control on your budget and how to save for it, you also have your itinerary. This is where we now need to look at....

4. What to get in order before you go


Oh god. If I had 3 of me before I left I still don't think I would have found the time to have done everything I needed too with relaxed ease. Multi-tasking and midnight thought bubbles - like; 'have I written that to do list at work for Richo, shittt I can't remember if I ended up buying those vac sealed bags, god I hope Morgs remembers to pick up our overseas licenses' - will become more regular the closer your departure date arrives. Having been there and done that I know having a list of things to cross off is ever so helpful so here is your go to (and by all means add or subtract off of this) as you countdown to your own adventure of a lifetime..

+ Ensure your passport is 100% useable, up to date and A-OK. You MUST have more than 6 months left till it expires in almost any and all countries overseas and your photo must not have so much as a smudge on it. Do not f*ck this one up ladies & gents.
+ Buy a backpack, a really really good one too - don't scrimp or cut budgets on this one, you need those really fancy looking ones with the lumbar support and all that jazz.
+ Get yourself a micro fibre towel. Most hostels/hotels/apartments/b&b's come with all linen provided but our micro fibre towels were our saving grace on more than one occasion. psst - Micro fibre towels can be wrapped up tiny AND dry reallyyyyyyyyyyy quick. Winning.
+ Go down to your local RAC office and organise your overseas drivers license. It cost Morgs & I $26 each and allowed us to drive in every country overseas (you need it to hire cars and anything motorised)
+ Buy yourself a good camera. I can't see any good reason to not invest in a decent camera to capture all your moments when over there when it's one of those once in a lifetime trips. Spending thousands and thousands to get there and live those moments then capturing it all on an iphone or small digi cam just doesn't seem mondo correcto to me. If you are in a position to do so, get yourself a good camera before you leave.

A little overwhelmed yet? You shouldn't be - it should just be list making time and excitement, oh and of course you need to know the following...

5. Do I need a visa?



The short answer is....there is no short answer.

This section is only relevant if you are an Australian citizen reading this post - if you're planning it from another country the information isn't hard to find out though. The BEST advice we got and followed was from the 'smart traveler  website so the long and the short of it can be surmised like this.

+ If you are going to be in Europe Schengen Area for 90 days or less (that's 3 months people), then you will NOT need a visa. Even ONE day over 90 days however, you will need to contact the Embassy for whichever country you're in at that time.
+ If you are there for 4 months for example, but 1 month is spent in the UK and a week in Croatia (Croatia is not part of the Schengen area) then you still won't need a visa as you are in the Europe zone less than 3 months.

Here is an excerpt directly from their website however with fancy wording and correct advice that will be relevant for your own trip. (This section is sooooooooooo important to not get wrong)

"Generally, Australian tourists planning to spend less than a total of 90 days within a 180 day period in the 'Schengen area' do not require visas for countries which are parties to the Schengen Convention.
The following countries are parties to the Schengen Convention: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
It is important to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen area. The absence of an entry stamp from the initial Schengen port of entry could result in a fine or create difficulties during subsequent encounters with local police or other authorities throughout the Schengen area.
Some countries require you to register with local authorities within three working days of your arrival.
Australians who are likely to exceed the cumulative 90 day limit, or who are visiting the Schengen area for other than tourist or business purposes, should contact the High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of the country or countries concerned to obtain an appropriate visa. Visa rules relating to work and business visits are governed by the individual countries.
Travellers who exceed the 90 days within 180 days period of legal stay in the Schengen area risk being fined or even banned from entering the whole Schengen area for a period of time.
Australians should be aware that the United Kingdom, Ireland, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine are not part of the Schengen area. Australians should consult the nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of these countries for visa information.

Kapeesh? It's really not that hard, if your trip is 3 months and under and you're going to be in Europe then you won't need a visa. Any longer you will need a visa, or you need to split your time up in the non Schengen states (all listed in the last paragraph above). The serious stuff is almost out of the way but there are still a few more things to consider, especially...

6. To Eurail, or not to Eurail 


Even the word Eurail still sends me in to a bit of a travel related spin, as both Morgs & I had spent copious amounts of hours (I seriously mean hoursss) on researching if it was worth getting a eurail pass or not for our own. We both came to the same conclusion that for us, it just wasn't worth it but for you it could be completely worth it. It can just vary so widely for each individual.

I could sit here and rattle off all the facts about Eurail from a boring 'what eurail is, how it works' point of view so you could make your own mind up from a more educated position, but I'm not going to do that as I never found that worked for me. What I wanted to know the whole time Morgs & I were umm'ing and uhh'ing about getting one or not, was who had actually traveled and either decided to use one or not. They were the opinions I ended up going by, and by doing so, here are our own personal facts we found incredibly helpful and have since come up with our own to help you also.

+ Once you pay for the eurail and once you're over there, it's not as simple as then just hopping on any train you like (which is how they sell it to you essentially) and it all falling under your one time amount paid to acquire the card. Any & Every train you want to get on to travel on long distance trips within a certain country or across borders, you actually have to reserve your seat and pay €10 fee per trip. If you happen to miss that reservation (and believe you me it can happen, regularly) the original fee paid and booking made doesn't stand and you have to make a whole new booking and pay the €10 fee all over again. So Eurail costs don't end at the 'one time' fee of $xxx (it can vary) for the card, every train you get on you also have to pay another €10 and pre book. For Morgs & I, we preferred just arriving to the train station and booking that morning and that be the end of it. Another way to do it (it works out cheaper) is when you arrive in the train station from another country or city, we would then book our next train ticket then and there for wherever we were going next. If anything ever stuffed up too (like we wanted to swap the destination or time) the offices at the train station always helped as we had brought the ticket from them, in their country, we met a lot of people in lines who would get offered no assistance as eurail had nothing to do with that particular countries train company
+ We never regretted NOT getting one. We had budgeted before we left on average what the trains would cost between each city for the countries we would be needing to use the trains in and so for us it never would have been worth it.
+ Whenever we got in to conversations with other travelers at hotels or hostels and got chatting about where we'd been, where we were going and swapping advice, Eurail almost always came up and 85% of other travelers had done their own research and also decided against it too.

I have two important things to say also though that need to be seperate from the above.

+ If we could have done it differently, we would have organised a Eurail for Italy (but only Italy), and I am suggesting you look in to this yourself too. We did spend over 3 weeks in Italy and covered a lot of ground but apart from that, trains in Italy are expensive, quite expensive, especially compared to places like Germany, France & Spain (note: We easily found France to be the least expensive). Having a Eurail for Italy alone would have ended up saving us quite a bit of money, so learn that lesson from us.

And lastly,

I still hugely encourage you to do your own research on Eurail. This was just our experience but I find sharing experiences vs re hashing known facts helps more in forming your own decision. Now you have this information though, do go and look at the facts (cost for a eurail pass for one country vs 2 or 3 countries and the cost for 10 days vs 3 months etc) and make your fully informed decision then.

Right! Now we have the serious stuff out of the way, (I can almost hear the collective hooraaaay) your next thing to give serious consideration too is...

7. What to pack for a long trip


I s.t.r.e.s.s.e.d over the fact I only had a backpack with me for 4 and a half months that could comfortably carry 15kg of my clothes and things in. How the HELL was I going to fit everything in and almost more importantly how was I going to still feel good and have some variety in my clothing options to mix up my outfits? Somehow, I managed. And not only did I manage, I felt like I had a masters in packing by the time we had returned home. Packing can already be tricky enough already for short work trips away or two weeks to closer holiday destinations, so their really is so much more added pressure and stress to 'get it right'  for a huge trip like Europe.

Having obtained my masters in packing from my own 4 and a half months away, I have learnt there are some simple things you can remember that will help you when you are about to pack your life in to a suitcase or backpack which are as follows...

+ Don't go overboard, pack as light as you can. I adhered to this rule to a T when picking clothes that would go in the stay pile vs. back in the wardrobe pile. The lighter you pack the better...you WILL buy things over there.
+ Pack basics and nothing too patterned or 'stand out'. Taking your fav tshirt/dress/whatever that has a really identifiable pattern on it doesn't  do you any favours in the 'mixing it up' to give yourself different outfit options. I stuck with majority basics - Blacks/Whites/Plain colours .. and then mixed them many different ways to the point where I could almost not outfit repeat for just over 3 weeks (which made it great for photos!)
+ Take some accessories that will go with almost anything you packed clothes wise. My plan was to pack basics, and bring enough bold necklaces, earrings and scarfs to rock the outfit a little more sassy. It felt nice to still be able to feel comfortable but dressed like I'd be dressed if I were at home with my whole wardrobe at my dispense.
+ Plan outfits before you pack it in the suitcase/backpack so for the first few days you know exactly what to grab and not spend time pulling everything out to work out what you're going to wear.
+ Trust me & listen to me when I say; Take sneakers & some gym type gear!!! Morgs & I didn't plan on 'working out' on holiday (& didn't once) but packing our gym gear and sneakers saved us weekly. You are going to want to do fun crazy things - like bike ride the Austrian alps, Canonyeong, Sky Diving, Trekking through old towns....having reliable shoes and gym type gear helps in a lot of situations.
+ Take lots of underwear. Lots. Seriously. I think my undies count topped out around 35 pairs....but I never ONCE ran out of undies. One thing you are always going to want when travelling is clean underwear and it's better to be over the top than save packing space on this item.
+ Did I mention Pack light? PACK LIGHT.
+ Pack 2 pairs -minimum- of black leggings (trendy if you can, but comfort is the name of the game here). I KNOW ordinarily wearing leggings as pants is a fashion crime ordinarily, but they will save your comfortable life in Europe. Plus they are great for wearing on commute days on trains and planes, around hotels and hostels to relax in and when you really just don't feel like wearing jeans on a day you're going to walk 24km (yeah we did that)
+ So so so so important .... Take a first aid kit!! Buy a small travel one from any Chemist, you should not leave the country without one. Our first aid kit doubled as our first aid / life saver kit. We ran out of panadols one day and luckily found some in there, got stuck with a clothing problem and desperatley needed a safety pin which was in there and used it for numerous other occasions all of the time. Do not forget this item in your bag. It should be a priority.

I asked Morgs to contribute to this section for the guys and this is what he emailed me back. Short, to the point and what got him through 4 and a half months of travelling (whilst buying other stuff along the way).


Keep it simple,

Bare essentials, lighter the better!

2 pairs of shorts
2 pairs of trousers or jeans
8 t-shirts
1 nice dressy type shirt
1 pair of running shoes
1 pair of thongs
1 pair of nicer shoes
20 pairs of jocks

And a first aid kit.

I hope by now you're feeling a lot more calm about what is ahead of you on such a huge trip...You can at this stage, if you've been doing everything correctly as you go along, pretty much relax, take some of those deep woosaaa breathes and know that you have your shit under control. Well done! The next step is just going to help you if you're about to do said trip with your other half and help you it will...

8. Travel tips if you're travelling with a bf or gf 



Ahhhh love. Sweet, sweet love. Love whilst you're travelling with a boyfriend or girlfriend though can be such a fickle, crazy almost all consuming thing though (i.e. completley different to the normal love when you're just in your routine at home). One moment you can be staring deep in to each others eyes reminiscing of your most amazing times whilst walking the Cinque Terre and the next moment you're both yelling you can't believe you ever thought you could do this trip together and you want the other person to go home (note; this didn't happen to Morgs & I but we did see this happen on the Cinque Terre) ... This advice was written and shared right here on the blog after travelling together for a few months but I felt it good to include it in this particular post again. Can I just say though, without a shadow of a doubt, you will undoubtedly get in fights with your loved one when you're over there, and that's totally ok, totally normal and probably sometimes, totally necessary. It's how to react in the arguments and how you deal with each other afterwards that is incredibly important though. This is the same with life in general but you must always, always remember to keep a cool head, don't say anything you can't take back and that you really do in fact love them, they're just the only person there you can take your frustrations out on at that moment in time....Coming from two people who love each other very much (that's Morgs & I guys!) and who want you to have the trip of a lifetime together, here are a few key other pieces of advice we put together to remember when travelling with your special someone.

  1.  If one of the two of you is starting to get agitated, annoyed, flustered, or stressed, be sure to remain the calm, upbeat, happy one. It works. Trust us. It works. This has saved us twice on the trip so far - once in Cardiff & once in Belfast where both of us have assumed the role of staying calm or happy if the other one gets stressed. It diffuses any situation almost immediately. 
  2. If you are starting to get grumpy, be honest & call a time out. We worked out almost straight away while travelling that communication is key (when isn't it I suppose). If either of us are needing an Anna or Morgan break we just say and go sit in the sun by ourselves, read a book - whatever! 10 minutes later it's like you haven't seen them in a week!
  3. When in a foreign country, where you don't know the laws, the rules, or what the people are like, always remain with your partner, & don't be a dickhead. We went out in Dublin for a big pub crawl and I knew, even though neither of us are jealous types (at all), if either of us gave too much attention to other gendered travelers or if I let a random guy talk to me at the bar, fights would erupt  It sounds stupid, but just be respectful & don't do anything that could piss the other one off - the same should apply in Australia, but especially when travelling. 
  4. With everything that you carry, own, have brought over, adopt the concept that you're both equally responsible for everything all the time. Taking a bag out for the day and the man is carrying it? Or maybe your more responsible so hold on to things like passports or itinerary's and phones. It doesn't matter who is holding it your both responsible to ensure it is on you & remembered at all times. This tip alone has probably saved us 10 fights. We evolved, adapted, came up with this almost day 1 when I lost tickets to the London Eye - its ok I ended up sweet talking us on - and Morgs almost lost our backpack with all the electronics in it. Neither of us got mad at the other as either of us could have checked & asked the other have we got anything, have we remembered, can we look after it for awhile. If you're both responsible as well you are almost guaranteed to never forget anything. 
  5. No matter what the problem that is going to cause the huge argument, no matter how tired and agitated you are, or how angry you are at the other person - stop and realise exactly where you actually are, that you're living a dream, & be grateful for the opportunity. Life is already too short for anger & arguments over nothing ... especially when you're having an extraordinary time overseas. Any harsh words or misguided anger is going to be such a waste when you should just be grateful and excited for the opportunity to live a goal of travel & be experiencing awe inspiring moments with a loved one. So drop it, walk away, leave it, cool down - do whatever you gotsta do to let it go and move on.

_________________________________________________________________________________

That's it beautiful souls. My complete guide to getting ready for your own big Europe trip of a lifetime. Well done on getting down this far, I know she was a long one but oh SO necessary. Can I just say this now also that I've been waiting to say the whole post; Like anything in this big beautiful crazy life of ours, you should only just take what you need from advice. You can either take it or leave it, and that's totally ok, but just know that it is there for you if you need with a whole lotta' love from me.

If you guys have any personal questions or burning un answered ones that didn't get answered from this post then flick me an email at lifesshinyprettythings@gmail.com and I'll be more than happy to answer them in there!

My wish for you is that you're own adventure is as big, great, shiny & wonderful as you hope and plan it to be.

Travel really does awaken the soul, spark a fire and fuel adventure and I can't wait for my own next chapter in my ever growing travel story.

Good luck you, can't WAIT to hear all about it.

With love, light & so much enthusiasm for your own travel,

Anna xx

p.s stand by for the post following this .. I'll be sharing my holy grail of travel... our complete itinerary!

10 comments:

  1. The best traveller´s manual ever, you should have it published as a guide or something ;) By the way I think I´ll be planning my travel to Aussie. I don´t know if you´ve heard but we are electing our new president. One of the candidates is absolutely unacceptable for me and I worry if he wins it´ll all go back to where we were in the communism era. Sad thing is a lot of people are going to vote him in the second round. So maybe I´ll have to emigrate and Aussie is probably the only and the best choice for me ;) Hope you´ve started a new week well.
    xx Eve.h

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    1. Thanks SO much sweets. I wasn't wanting to publish it as I was just so excited to share it with everyone to hopefully help & inspire others to plan their own trip. I am sharing our whole own itinerary tomorrow to help even more and even if it helps one person or inspires one small holiday I'll be one happy girl :)

      I am so sorry to hear about the election fear going on at the moment. If I can help you in anyway let me know. I can navigate around the immigration website pretty well (from my politics job). You would make a wonderful new citizen of Australia!!! p.s just pack some bathers :) xxx

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  2. Such a lovely things to share, maybe you can make one for Australia too for when I come visit :) xoxo

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    1. Ooooo Oosteng I would LOVEEE to do that :) I am starting a new segment on the blog for showcasing my own hometown (after travelling and seeing so many beautiful things Im determined to find just as much beauty right where I live) so hopefully that will inspire you to get to Aus sooner ;) xx

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  3. This suuuuuuuch a fantastic post, Anna! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I will definitely be reading it more than a few times before we jet off on our honeymoon to Paris, Italy and Dubai. xx

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    1. Why thank you lovely! And honestly I was SO excited to share it all. I know its ALOT of information and most blog readers would read just the top but I wrote it knowing there were lots of people out there wanting to or trying to plan their own huge trip and I knew how overwhelming it was when I first started. I just had NO idea where to even begin. Your honeymoon sounds freaking divine. Love to hear where you're going in Italy! If you're going to Cinque Terre my suggestion is only stay in the first 2 towns ... and Paris you two MUST do a romantic dinner river cruise on the river siene - its where you really see why Paris is called the city of lights (& love!) Dubai is just luxury and relaxxinggg. Morgs & I are going back to Dubai as soon as possible. Will have to touch base with you to chat more about your own travel xx

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  4. OMG - awesome post! So much info! Totally printing this ... my husband and I are hoping to do our first European trip this year!

    Shia
    World According to Shia

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    1. Well I hope it helps you in the any way possible Mellissa! :) Europe was the most amazing time of our lives so I know you and your husband will have your own times of your life! Let me know if I can help with any other advice if you think of questions as you go along xx

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