Booking Europe... wish me luck!
If you have been keeping up with my stories on instagram, then you know that my best friend & I are spending the month of October in EUROPE! We are making this our Mamma Mia, Eat-Pray-Love trip of a lifetime! We can hardly wait to explore, eat, drink & dance our way from place to place! With that being said, it’s time to PLAN!
I have gotten a lot of messages asking how to book a trip to Europe, where to start, how to know where to look... the list goes on. I have asked myself the same questions. This is by far the longest, biggest trip I have ever planned on my own. Lo is so good at finding cute spots & fun fits, while I have been learning & tackling the booking aspect. I love how much I have thought of & learned along the way! I figured as I experience the process of planning, I would share my plan of attack as I go!
Before starting... your best tools are going to be Pinterest, Instagram pages you love, Instagram story highlights, TikTok & Google! Besides asking friends & family that have traveled to these places, the other sources will be your best friend while figuring out what you want to do & where you want to go! That's what Lo & I did for the majority of planning our trip until getting there to see what else we want to do! We like to also fly by the seat of our pants & see where the wind takes us!
Also, YES!! I will be doing a FULL blog post/itinerary of our Europe trip once we are back! Including cities we visited, where we stayed at each location, what we did, where we ate, the shopping, the sights... ALL of the adventures you can imagine! I will also be linking all of my outfits from the trip here on my LTK as I pack/wear them, so be sure to follow me so you can shop all of the travel looks!!
WITH THAT BEING SAID... LET'S GO TO EUROPE!!
PICKING LOCATIONS We had a rough idea of places we wanted to go. Positano, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Rome, Paris, Santorini... the list went on! We chose our top favorites based on what we wanted to do personally for us & away we went! I will be sharing our exact lineup & ALL details of the trip once we set it all in stone & have more figured out! We may switch some up while we are there so stay tuned for after the trip!!
MAP IT OUT Once we decided on our favorite cities & countries, we sat down to figure out which locations made the most sense in order. We looked at dates that we wanted to be in each area & decided the places based on location. If two or three that we wanted were close together, we did those in a group. We have some that go from north to south, while others are in a circle around the country. There are a few that we are bouncing around, but they worked best for our schedule & timeline. I suggest pulling up a map after nailing down your locations, looking at what is close by & setting your itinerary, hotel/airbnb you want for each spot & your transportation to & from each spot!
HOTELS/AIR BNBs Talk about stalking the internet! We researched hotels, pricing, airbnbs, sights & views, anything you need for a beautiful vacation spot, all from social media! TikTok had TONS of great hotels! We loved being able to see videos of stunning locations, along with Pinterest photos & google searching. I will be sharing all of our hotels & vacation home links on my Europe blog post once we are back!
TRANSPORTATION SO much of these big trips are just google research. I would look up maps to see if we would be crossing water to our next spot & if so, I would research ferries, water taxis, or private boat rides to get there safely. If it was just city-to-city on land, I booked train tickets or planned out transportation with where we were staying. There are only a few that we had to book flights for, but traveling around Europe can be super inexpensive once you're over there. Our ferry tickets were just $20 to get to & from new countries, while one of our flights was only $80! For this part of planning, you don't necessarily HAVE to have every plane, train & automobile booked, but if you are a planner, I suggest leaving some free time between just in case you miss one here & there. You can also purchase your tickets at base locations/boat docks/train stations etc!
RESTAURANTS One of my favorite parts of traveling is asking the locals where to go. Not just for food, but for everything! However... 9 times out of 10, they will have the best recommendations for the best food around! Whether it’s a local must-try or a family owned fave, I LOVE asking the locals where to go! If you want to set some up before hand, we also used Pinterest & recommendations for this! I asked on social media where favorites were & added those to the list. I will be sharing ALL of those on my instagram & posts as well!
WHAT TO DO/PHOTO SPOTS This is kinda all the same as above! We made a Pinterest board & saved EVERYTHING that looked magical to us! Stunning photos that inspired us, activates that we wanted to try, skills we wanted to learn & photo spots that we wanted to capture! This also gave us a vision for the trip. We go to have LOTS as options, because as I'm sure you can guess, not everything goes perfectly to plan while traveling, especially on a trip of this size! I also like having not everything planning out, while having these spots in our back pocket because I love the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants freedom that comes with no schedule at all! We can easily tour around all day enjoying & exploring, then refer to our notes for fun stuff to throw in along the way!
7. OUTFITS To say I was excited to shop for this trip was an understatement! It is a weird transition time as far as weather goes, so that was the interesting part. ALWAYS check your weather when traveling. For us, we are getting some beach weather, some chilly fall days & lots of travel days in-between. It’s all about customizing it to your timeframe & your style! I have already been linking EVERYTHING I bought for this trip on my LTK!
Picking outfits that you can re-wear lots of ways will help when packing too. Layers, basics & accessories will save you on space while packing & also gives you room to shop while you're there!
Referring to tip #6, we would find outfits that would stand out/be fun for different locations we had seen online! For example, I knew I wanted to shoot a red dress in Santorini, so I bought one that I thought would be beautiful there! Not everything has to be set in stone or "planned out" but having some inspo & styles saved will help you decide what vibe you want for different places.
If you don't have ANY idea what to pack, grab some neutral basics that you can style lots of ways & you’ll be good to go! My go-to neutral pieces include: tanks, blouses, sweaters, jeans, shorts, a denim jacket, cozy outfits for travel days, comfy tennies, a pair of heels, sandals, a cute beach hat, a ball cap, accessories you love & BOOM, you're set to mix & match all vacay long!
8. SAFETY/WHAT WE NEED This will be every parent/protective friends' favorite part of your trip plan. SAFETY IS HUGE! Not just for out of country travel, but also when going anywhere. Whether I am traveling alone or in a group, I am SO CAREFUL & like to have some extra gadgets with me. I will link some of my favorites for y'all, because these will come in handy for years & trips to come!
9. PRICE/LOGGING COSTS I recommend coming up with a budget for your trip. Think about how many places you want to visit. How much are you willing to spend to get there? How expensive of a hotel or AirBNB do you want? Do you want to do backpack style & go for as low of a cost as possible? It is all up to YOU! We chose where we wanted to spend a bit more & that helped a ton. We knew we also wanted to shop while we were there, so once we started booking, we kept track of every penny we were spending. Since we are splitting everything for the stays/ transportation, I reccommended using the SplitWise app. I HIGHLY suggest this for any trip or event you have with friends! You can input who you are splitting with, how much dinners & hotels cost, photo copies of receipts, EVERYTHING! It logs it all for you, keeps track of who spent what, who owes who & at the end it pays everyone out with the click of a button!
This also allows you to track how much was spent in total for your entire trip!
10. PACKING Y'all know I love to organize when I pack for trips! I have found so many helpful travel-must haves for packing as well! Packing cubes, jewelry organizers, bags to save space, storage to make room for EVERYTHING & lots of other great tips & tricks!
Packing cubes are great for separating by styles of clothing (tops, dresses, pants, etc.) or even putting exactly outfits rolled together to keep every event, day, or location in one! For this trip, I am going with the style option since I will be mixing & matching a lot.
Jewelry organizers will SAVE you from losing earrings backs, tangling your necklaces & forgetting where you put your rings. I LOVE having all of my items ready to open up & pick out without any hassle! These are also great for trips like this where we will be moving locations & I don't want to empty lots of bags of random jewelry & potentially losing or leaving it all over the place.
As far as storage goes, this will depend on weight as well. When following this part, be sure not to pack so much that you go over your weight limit! You can fit SO MUCH into your suitcase or bag when you use every inch you've got available to you. START WITH YOUR HATS! Stack them however they fit together best, then stuff the bottom one with socks, bras, scarves, headbands, whatever you may have! Flip it over flat & pack around it! This allows you to safely take your hats with you without them getting all bent up, while not wasting any space AT ALL! Also stuff your shoes or purses you're taking with any of those items as well! An easy tip for weight & bulky-space... wear your heaviest shoes (within reason lol!!)
My last tip & this is one I can hardly ever do, but really need to... pack at LIGHT as you can! Especially for Europe; you will be so glad you have smaller & fewer luggage pieces. Hauling a ton around from ferry, to hotel, to train, to airport... it can be a LOT! Take less outfits than you think, because you will be able to restyle/rewear in more places & cities! Trust me on this!
Obviously there is more to each section, but part of it is learning more & more as you travel! Every time I go somewhere new, I learn new tips & tricks to make the next vacation easier! These are just a few things I have done/learned in the Europe planning process!
I will GLADLY take any insight y'all have for planning this BIG trip! If you have been over to Europe & have favorite cities, restaurants, locations, must-see/must-do activities, or just want to drop travel ideas, let me know in the comments below! I can't wait to see what y'all have in mind!
This will be the best place to resort back to while I am gone. It will help answer any questions you may have until I share our full itinerary after the trip, once I am back home. For all planning, tips, outfits & more info... this is the place to check! I hope it helps until I get home from our European, Mamma Mia, Eat-Pray-Love adventure!!