HIIIII FRIENDS, I AM BACK.
I am not going to lie. I’m exhausted. But I can’t really complain because I was just all over Europe for the past two weeks.
A few of you have asked me how to get to x, where did you stay, how was it, AND I CAN’T WAIT TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT. The only thing is, I could go on and on about the deets of my trip so I’ve decided to break up my trip into multiple posts so you a. don’t have to read a mini novel and b. so I also have time to have a social life and unpack (ugh).
Today, we’re talking PLANNING A EURO TRIP (cause that shit is not that fun if you are indecisive (ME)), want to do it all (my parents), but are ballin’ on a budget.
In November, my brother and I were trying to figure out what to buy my parents for Christmas and low and behold I got an alert (next point) for roundtrip tickets to Paris for $400!!! I KID YOU NOT. Here’s the real secret – Scott’s Cheap Flights. Scott’s Cheap Flights (the name is kinda sketch but you will get over that), is a service that looks for cheap flights to different cities and emails you anything they find, along with how long they think the deal will last. They offer a free service with limited offers, but I paid for a premium membership to get ALL the updates (I’ve seen flights to Greece for $400, Sweden for $500, and more). We were not planning on booking tickets to Europe that day (LOL, does ANYONE wake up thinking they are going to book tickets to Europe?!), but with a deal like that, we figured it was a win-win for us, our parents, and our wallets.
If you’re planning international travel and you’re on a budget, be flexible with your dates. I use Google Flights to plug in some destinations and if you list your dates as flexible, the calendar will show you the cheapest days. I used this to book our flights to London and Nice. We ended up flying easyJet, British Airways, and Transvia; all budget airlines. Just be careful of their carry-on limits (typically smaller) and the airports (typically smaller airports).
Booking hotels in Europe is like, kinda scary. The trustworthy brands are expensssiveee and the cheap ones are sketchy (location, amenities, management). I’ve had some AWFUL experiences booking off of trustworthy sites (circa Rome 2012) so when I started planning our hotels, I obviously used HotelTonight. I’ve mentioned this back in my Chicago post, but they also do international destinations! HotelTonight is a hotel booking app that has partnerships with BASIC, HIP, CHARMING, and LUXE hotels (their descriptions) at discounted prices. The only caveat is that you have you can only book a week in advance or less (procrastinators unite) on the app. Sounds scary but I’ve never had a bad experience, all of the hotels have exceeded my bougie expectations, and it takes the stress out of planning. If you’re going international or even in the States (staycation in the Cities, Chicago, Austin, and more), try it out! You can get $25 off your first booking using my code JPAPHATSALANG.
Paris: Le Pradey
London: The Strand Palace Hotel
Nice: La Villa Nice Promenade
Once you have all of your amazing plans set in place (I’m talking 3 hotels, 3 flights, and 2 train rides), MAKE SURE YOU HAVE IT ALL DOCUMENTED, especially going abroad. God forbid you lose your passport to a pick-pocketer and be SOL. Typically, I do the following:
- Print out copies of my driver’s license, passport, flight, and hotel itineraries to bring
- Print out a copy of said things and leave it with a trusted person at home
- Save the details electronically using TripIt
TripIt is an app that I started using back when I studied abroad. Hook it up to your email and it will essentially import all of the plans (reference numbers, itineraries, addresses, phone numbers, and more) into the app. The best part of this is that you can access this information SANS WI-FI (french for without wi-fi). So if you’re ever stuck or need a reminder to check into your flight, TripIt will have all the info you need.
Ugh, don’t you love feeling like you have your shit together? That’s how I feel after writing all of this.
If you have any travel hacks or need any recommendations for your Euro trip, be sure to share them in the comments! I’ll be posting on my Paris adventures next 🙂
To jag lag and long naps,