Europe (solo)

I woke up to a text from my sister a couple months ago, 'Sissy, let's go somewhere!' It was long overdue for us to take a trip. Being a master of my own schedule I suggested May. Like most people with 'real' jobs, this was not feasible for Bryn's schedule. Ho hum.

 

Curious and excited about the notion of going abroad, I started looking at tickets. I should've known I was tricking myself into something wonderful. I've been itching to visit Europe and so, when I saw a direct flight from Boston to Copenhagen for $169 I was, well...extremely ready to buy it. And just like that, I was planning a 2 week trip to Europe.

 

I'm traveling to Copenhagen, Lund, Chambery, Paris, Giessen, Amsterdam and London. Sound like a lot? It is and I'm ecstatic. It is such a privilege to visit a foreign place, grow and explore. I'll be visiting family and friends and using the time to reflect on some business ideas that have been brewing. Amazing how time away from the familiar can offer such clarity!

 

I'll be documenting my trip as much as possible. For now here are some helpful tips that have aided me thus far:

 

Flights:

First, I found the best budget airline; be careful here, sometimes cheap is expensive. Some airlines have extreme hidden fees, regulations and/or horrible service leaving you in the dust. Do your research and weigh all options, even the more costly ones.

My choice: Norwegian Air

Second, in order to find the best rates search from major hubs. Austin isn't a big airport, therefore flights are typically more costly than say, Houston. So I looked at flights from New York/Boston/Orlando/Ft Lauderdale/Houston/Dallas into cities like Copenhagen/London/Paris/Barcelona, etc. I tried different variations with the low fare calendar and voila! Boston-Copenhagen for $169 was born. Granted I had to purchase a seat but after that, I didn't come out of pocket a dime.

You're probably wondering how I got to Boston. I took a megabus to Houston, stayed with my grandma a night, then flew to Boston for a mere $65.

 

Sites to use when booking:

Kayak

Skyscanner

Hopper

Google ITA Matrix

Voyages-sncf (for trains)

 

Accommodations:

I'm so lucky to be staying with friends and family in Lund, Chambery and Giessen. In the other cities, I'll be staying in air bnbs. I considered a hostel for Amsterdam but because of the time of year most were sold out or egregiously overpriced.

When looking for air bnbs, because of my short amount of time in each city, location was at the top of my priority list. Don't be afraid to scroll through 3 or 4 pages and know that the newer apartments with fewer ratings are going to have the best deals. They're trying to get bookings!

 

Packing:

You don't need that much stuff. Keep telling yourself that. You can still be stylish and fabulous with a humble amount! I'm traveling with a small carry on (roller bag) and an oversized purse.

 

*note* they will weigh your bags collectively, purse included. They require your carry on to equate 10 kilos (which is absurd). Hence:

 

The attendant at Norwegian Air alerted me that my carry on/purse were 5 kilos overweight and that I would therefore have to check my carry on for an additional *arm and a leg*. You're kidding me, right. I asked her if she planned on weighing me too. "Of course not!" .....I then asked her if I could use the bathroom. I pulled out my handy baggu bag and stuffed what I thought was 5 kilos inside. I strapped the bag to my back, threw my trench coat on (over extra layers) and walked slowly and squarely back to the attendant with a wide smile and a large hunchback. She weighed my bags, a nice 9.2 kilos, stamped my ticket and I was on my way!

 

My full itinerary:

 

May 1: bus to Houston (Megabus), stay with grandmother

May 2: fly to Boston (American Airlines), 8 hour layover

May 2: fly to Copenhagen (Norwegian Air)

May 3: train to Lund (TGV)

May 4: fly to Geneva, train to Chambery

May 6: train to Paris (TGV)

May 9: train to Frankfurt (TGV), car to Giessen

May 12: train to Amsterdam (TGV)

May 14: fly to London (easyjet)

May 16: fly to Orlando (Norwegian Air)

May 18: fly to Houston (spirit)

May 19: bus to Austin (Megabus)

 

I hope my journaling offers you an insight into my love for culture, aesthetic, and doing things frugally yet efficiently. À la prochaine!

Four Seasons, Houston (I did not stay there...just used their bathroom and had an espresso ☺️)

Four Seasons, Houston (I did not stay there...just used their bathroom and had an espresso ☺️)

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The market at Eataly  

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Seaport in Boston