It’s been less than a week since my partner and I returned from our whirlwind trip to Europe and I can barely recall what we did because of how fast-paced it was. Thank God for pictures! Firstly, the vacation was a success! There were no major mishaps and I am fortunate for everything we saw and experienced. This post will be purely the basics of our trip and I aim to provide tips for your potential future Europe trip!
CITIES WE VISITED (in order):
- London, England (highlights: the cool markets and cheap beer)
- Paris, France (highlights: the amount of things to see AND the patisseries)
- Madrid, Spain (highlight: the delicious and cheap tapas)
- Amsterdam, Netherlands (my favorite city of the trip for its beautiful canals and being the most walkable city …oh, and seeing the Red Light District and coffee shops made for an even more unique experience!)
- Berlin, Germany (highlight: the history insights on WWII and the Cold War)
- Barcelona, Spain (almost tied with Amsterdam as our favorite destination for its stunning architecture)
TIPS ON TRAVELING AFFORDABLY TO EUROPE:
- Our Accommodations: we lodged entirely via Airbnb! We never paid more than $42/night (USD), with Amsterdam being the most we paid for lodging.
- Our Flights: we flew low-cost airline, EasyJet, within Europe and paid no more than $100/ticket and flew once via Iberia from Madrid to Amsterdam.
- The Season: traveling in February is what I mostly attribute the affordability of our trip to. Our flights to and from Oakland, California cost just $520 round-trip via Norwegian Air! I highly recommend this airline. 2 meals for a 10 hour flight.
IMPORTANT OBSERVATIONS and TIPS FOR TRAVELING IN EUROPE:
- The Bathrooms (or WC as they say in Europe): you have to pay to use all public bathrooms (this was quite the detriment for my small bladder). I highly suggest dining at restaurants that have bathrooms so you can use them then.
- Drinking Water: there is no such thing as free water at restaurants! This is definitely something I’ve taken for granted in North America. Buy cheap bottled water or fill up a water bottle at your hotel/Airbnb. Tap water was safe to drink at all the cities we stayed in except for Barcelona (according to our host).
- Public Transit: if you choose to take public transit everywhere like we did, make sure you have lots of change on you! Many machines only take coins. If machines do take card, then they must be a credit card with a PIN number. I highly suggest getting combo day passes if you’ll be taking transit a lot (e.g. we got a discounted 3-day pass in Paris).
- Cash and Currency: many places in Europe are cash only and I highly suggest taking out pounds and euros back home and not once you’re on vacation. We made the mistake of bringing American cash to exchange in Europe only to find that they take a lot of commission when converting the cash for you. Also see if your bank offers free credit cards to use abroad! We got one from Bank of America with zero fees and tried to use it as much as possible overseas.
I hope this was helpful for your future European travels! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions. I hope to write more in-depth blog posts on each city shortly, which I’ll link to here.
PICTURE HIGHLIGHTS from OUR EUROPE TRIP:
I would love to hear about your past and future Europe travel plans in the comments below! Also let me know if you have any questions about our trip.