Planning Where to stay and what to do
So now that work had given me the ok to plan my Europe trip, I had to decide what I would do in terms of lodging. I had to decide between hotels, airbnb, hostels?
I felt hostels might be a bit too risky since this was my first traveling alone and for some reason I felt that as a 35 yr old, I would probably be the oldest person there. Now hotels, well, that’s just too impersonal…so for me, the best choice was to look for an airbnb.
I had only used airbnb once ,and was a bit hesitant but I decided to create a plan. My plan was the following : I would rent a room in an apt with a female host who looked more or less my age. I figured staying with a girl would feel safer and if she was around my age then at least we would have things in common to chat about.
The first airbnb I choose was in Barcelona , two girls shared the apartment; both of them looked more of less my age , so I contacted them and they seemed very nice, at least over email. Second airbnb was in Paris, this time I decided to rent the entire apt even though it looked tiny , I just didn’t have luck finding one that met my plan. 3rd airbnb was in London, she was also around my age and seemed very nice as well; 4th airbnb was again in Barcelona just in another neighborhood.
Ok, so airbnb’s were booked. Now…how do I find things to do on my own and of course I had a very strict budget. Google is my best friend…so I googled things to do for free. I decided to make a list of places to go and see that did not require an entrance fee .Some museums in europe are free on certain days; there are plenty of monuments and historical sites that do not require an entrance. I decided to divide my days with 3-4 sites to see , not cramping too much into one day since I didn’t want to feel rushed. I just wanted to enjoy each day, wake up at whatever time I felt and just take it easy.
Google maps is a great way to bundle things according to distance from each other, so I would pin the places I wanted to see each day based on proximity; that way I wouldn’t be traveling all over the city and I would save money on trains as well.
As much as I wanted to be carefree,I had to have a game plan in place. Planning for a trip like this is very important; reading about the city is key and taking a notebook with what to do and see , addresses and times. I know a lot of things can be done on your phone or laptop; but I guess I’m old school and prefer to write it down.
The planning process can be just as exciting if you take your time and are honest with yourself as to what kind of trip you want to experience. For me, it wasn’t much about seeing every “touristy” place available. I wanted to also see the city from a locals point of view and meet people..and share experiences.
Ticket bought, airbnbs booked, list of places to see done. Next step? what to pack!