Well, it all comes down to one thing really. Money. Where we go, what we do and how long we are away, all this relates to how much money we have. They are also related to each other, so, for example, if we want to stay away for as long as possible then we need to head somewhere cheap and not move around too much. Or if we want to do more, it will shorten our stay. This makes it important to have a clear goal on what we want out of traveling, which is difficult when working with a Gemma, who wants everything!
But here we go:
- Primary goal- Travel for at least 3 months
- Secondary goal- Explore at least 10 different locations
- Tertiary goal- Be away for 4 months (most likely a fixed location for the last month)
Location, Location, Location
It was very easy to narrow down where we were going, to somewhere in Europe. This is because it’s easy to get to and does not require a visa at the moment. Money (or lack thereof) made southern/eastern Europe the most likely. One of our limitations is that we are travelling during the autumn months, we will have to stick to a journey plan that gives us more daylight to play with. No heading north for us!
We split this up into two tracks:
First we drew up plans of a route from London to Paris, then down the west coast of France, before crossing to Barcelona. The plan then would have been to travel through Spain and Portugal. The benefit of this route was that it was safe, or maybe comfortable might be a better way of describing it. We both knew about these countries and the education system had at least tried to teach us the languages (failed miserably, in my case). The downside of this journey was money, this is not to say we could not do it, just it cost more than the alternative.
Here is a brief breakdown of my estimated accommodation costs:
- Paris £40
- Nantes £40
- Bordeaux £40
- Toulouse £40
- Barcelona £25
After reading a bit on the internet, I decided the best route had to be down to south-eastern Europe. Not knowing much about this part of the world, I started with the easy option, London to Amsterdam, then Berlin, Prague and down to Budapest, with a couple of other stops on the way. But we also looked at where we could afford to go after that and we soon had a large wish list of places to visit. The positives for this route were the cost (cheaper) and it’s more of an adventure.
Here’s the basics for this one:
- Amsterdam £50
- Berlin £40
- Prague £20
- Brno £20
- Bratislava £30
- Budapest £20
On traveling between cities I found there were cheap options, from around £20, wherever we went. So long as we were flexible as to method i.e train, bus and different routes.
Well in our relationship Gemma has the deciding vote, on this at least. As I did most of the planning, after Gemma gave me a list of places she wanted to see, both routes had what I wanted. Although, that’s not to say I did not make clear to her that I favored the East Route. Ok, so I kept shoving each place I found into her face and insisting that she have a look. My main reason for pushing the east route was that it’s completely different, I see very little chance that we won’t, some time in the future, visit France, Spain and Portugal (and we have already seen some of these places) but Romania, Croatia and Serbia are less likely, especially if we get into a bad habit of going for the comfortable option. In the end (probably to shut me up) Gem agreed and the east route was picked. Win!
Now i’m waiting for her to edit this (G: Editing complete! Just a spruce up of the punctuation)
Wee Disclaimer: Prices are a very rough estimate as I only spent 5-10 mins costing each location based off of hostelbookers.com, booking.com and airbnb.com from around Feb 2016. We were looking at September booking and we heavily rounded the prices off for ease of comparison.