This month I will be going on my dream trip to Europe! So far, I have an open-ended plan, basically depending on how long my money will last. I will be aiming to stay between 3-6 months and so far I have the first three roughly planned out. Here is what I have planned so far:
Why I'm travelling
I thought it might be good to start with a brief overview of why I'm doing a Europe trip, how I'll be travelling etc.
I've quit my full-time job to do a bit of intensive travelling because I normally just take the standard 4 weeks a year to go on little holidays away. But now it's time for a big trip! I've never travelled long term and apart from moving to Melbourne, my longest stint out of Auckland was 3 weeks in Europe, when I did a week in London alone, followed by an 11-day Topdeck trip. That was heaps of fun, but it's time for me to do a bit more.
I've spent the last year saving (not very well) and I will be spending as little on my trip as I can manage. That means hostels, couch surfing and WOOFing where possible. I will be splashing out a little when I go to Greece with friends for our birthdays, but for the most part, it will be a shoestring budget kinda trip.
I have worked my trip around a few events, following a rough itinerary of the best spots. The first event is Iceland, which I decided to do at the start of my trip because I don't know how long my money will last and I know it will be really expensive. But, it's at the top of my bucket list so I have to go! Then there's Greece for the birthdays at the end of May and at the start of July I have a friend running a fashion festival in Gibraltar so that will be the end of my first 3 months.
In between these three destinations I plan on visiting other places; between arriving in Amsterdam and getting to Iceland I'll be stopping in Germany and Denmark, then between Greece and Gibraltar I'll probably get to Italy, Portugal and maybe Spain. After that I will need to get out of the Schengen zone (a visa zone for most of Europe) because I can only be in it for 180 days, so in July I will head to either somewhere in the United Kingdom, the Baltic area. Eastern Europe, or both. Ideally I would like to go back to Germany for Oktoberfest, we shall see.
Because my destinations are quite far away from each other, I'm going to be doing a lot of flying. Skyscanner is my friend for checking the cheapest time to fly in the month, and from there I usually work around the cheapest option that suits my itinerary. So far I'm using WOW Air, Easy Jet and one I've never heard of called Transavia. I'm getting pinged with baggage fees for checking in my pack which is frustrating, it's not cheap!
When I'm at a destination, I'm planning to use local transport like buses and trains, but for that, I will be winging it. What could go wrong?
This is one that I was dreading. If you've ever witnessed me trying to be an adult first-hand, you'll know it ain't pretty. I normally avoid life admin at all costs. I'm super stoked that Worldcare have kindly gifted me their GOComprehensive policy; looking through the list of what it covers was kind of a wake-up call. I've only ever had travel insurance once before through work so I didn't look around and I'm a "throw caution to the wind" type, but realistically, I need to make sure I'm covered for things like hospital expenses, lost luggage, terrorism and of course, valuables like my drone laptop. Worldcare is a really affordable option for travel insurance and I'm really impressed with how easy their website is to navigate; I was prepared to come away with a headache and more questions than answers, but I was happily proven wrong.
And because I love anyone who reads my blog, you can get 10% off any Worldcare policy when using the promo code THELOSTGIRLS10! Offer valid until 31 August, 2018. Here's hoping I don't need it, but it's really reassuring to know that I'm covered if something goes wrong.
This one is quite important for me because creating content is my passion. After a lot of deliberation, I've decided to try to sell Harrison (my Canon DSLR), due to the bulky size of it. Because I'm on a budget, I'm going to upgrade my iPhone instead. I'm sure any photographer will kill me, but my logic is that I would upgrade my iPhone anyway, and the new phones are waterproof and take really decent photos and videos. Since getting Lightroom on my phone, I think the quality of what I put out will be fine; I'm not very skilled with a camera yet anyway, and I can do it all on one device that's light and portable. If I had more money I would totally get a mirrorless camera or a smaller DSLR. I will also take my GoPro Hero3 as a backup and of course, my drone, the DJI Spark.
I'm so paranoid about running out of battery when I need it, so I got myself a portable charging station for my drone, it charges on the go which will be really handy, especially if I'm not around power points frequently. Moyork, a New Zealand tech accessories company, have kindly sent me some awesome stuff for my trip too! I'm so excited, they've given me some cables, a powerbank, a phone case, a charge clutch and some extra cables. Good to go!!
I've been bad about my money. I'm planning on travelling until I run out and need to come home, but I'm refusing to work out an actual budget because I'm scared of what the outcome will be. I currently bank with Westpac so I tried to get their travel card but the website kept telling me that I needed an AA membership, and the lady in the store was unsure how to get around it so I flagged that option. Other types of travel cards require proof of address, which I pathetically don't have as I've been living with my parents, and all my personal bills are all digital. In the end I've gone with my Air New Zealand Onesmart card, so at least I'll be getting points when I use it overseas. I am having issues with their website and the app, so that one is proving to be a bit difficult too. Hopefully I'll get it sorted soon, before I actually depart!
Planning the trip
The actual planning side of things was, and continues to be, pretty shambolic! But I make it work with a few tools that I find really handy. The first is Google Trips. This pulls all my itineraries from my Gmail account and stores them in the app. I can download them for offline access and the app has heaps of other cool features like suggestions on things to do, discounts for local tours/activities and important info about the destination. For the actual planning, I'm still using Dropbox Paper. Last time I wrote a trip about how I plan my travels I was using Google Docs, which are just easy, but after using Dropbox Paper for my trip to the Philippines I just stuck with them. I also have the apps for Hostelworld, Airbnb and Citymapper so those will come in handy soon too, I'm sure.