“Time is not going to wait for you to live your life, all you need is grab your bag and let go” – some wise ass
It’s been a week and I still can’t get over the hangover. Writing this just brings the pain to the fore why why why? Exactly 10 days back there lying in a jacuzzi with my newly made friends (Yeah I am trying to make you envious ). And here I am sitting at the airport waiting for my flight, still figuring out what to do with my life. Well lets just wait for life philosophy, that’s a discussion for another day. I guess I should start to the very beginning- How I conceived my Eurotrip .
How many of us have just dreamt to travel all over the world? How many have actually seen the movie Eurotrip and wanted to something crazy like that? Everyone’s bucket list definitely has a Hangover or ZNMD trip right at the top. Then comes the crazy ones, the misfits( and I am not talking about the iFans here :P) , those who are still finding a purpose, a way to leave everything behind , yeah you are right the ones travelling solo. Not many have ventured into this territory, at least my folks(Indians) haven’t been the most enthusiastic lot. Maybe we are just a tad afraid to push our boundaries or maybe we are just scared of being unchained and grabbing our destiny with our own hands. Freedom can sometimes be scary especially when you have no one around to show you the way.
So it was 11 October 2015, and I was sitting in the airplane coming back from Hanoi(Vietnam) , thinking about my experience and what I was missing. It was a great vacation with my friends and I met some wonderful people but still there was something missing and I could feel it. I knew I had to travel alone. I had to see the world with my unfiltered eyes, where there was no one to judge me, every face was a new one , every experience was a first, where I could judge no one, I wanted to leave behind the baggage. I wanted to become no one, I wanted to fly, I wanted to explore the world like I had just been born.
After 2 solo trips in India I thought I was prepared to cross the borders. It was time to do the crazy, to overcome my fears and be stupid once again. Stupidity is sometimes a virtue. The first obstacle was of course convincing my parents, which I knew was next to impossible. I mean solo trip and that also outside India (Are you kidding me?). I mean they would have certified me crazy and locked me in my room. But lets face it , I have become a very accomplished liar, and with a job that requires a lot of travel to Europe, the stars were all aligned for my Euro trip.So my “business travel” had already taken a shape inside my head. I know if my mom and dad are reading this, this might just be my last piece and I won’t be betting against this.
The first obstacle cleared and now I can help you plan your trip too. Being employed we need to use out leaves judiciously. Apply minimum leaves and earn maximum holidays. So I first rounded on the month I need to travel. This is the easy part, for me it’s usually April,Aug and December. There are lots of holidays and you can get extended weekends easily. So I rounded off August. Second how long do you plan to travel and what is your budget, both are complimentary. My experience in Vietnam had made me aware that time is something you cannot compromise if you really want to explore. So I decided 15 days were ideal. I didn’t want to just touch cities and plant a flag there, I wanted to stay there chill out and hangout with people. Though I would say even 15 days ain’t that much but then this is all you can get when you are working in IT. I took 5 day leave and I got 15 days vacation. That was icing on the cake.
Now the really studious part, where to go, which places to plan, how to get there? Surprisingly this is the most difficult task. Lots of research, lots of googling, reading thousands of blogs and being all confused. I mean this world is a big place and there are so many places to travel and you feel like fitting everything in your itinerary. So after this useless research I did what most of our kind do, search the cheapest ticket in Europe, and that was perhaps the best way to go about it. I came across two, Delhi to Vienna and Delhi to Istanbul. I wasn’t to keen on Turkey, it’s just too close to Syria :P. So now I was sure the place I have to land is Vienna and now all I needed was to plan my trip around this. So after some research I made my itinerary. I wasn’t just interested in cities, it was the off beaten tracks , the countrysides that I was interested in. So finally I filled my itinerary making sure I was spending at least two to three nights in every city. So there was my plan Vienna(Austria) –> Budapest(Hungary) –> Prague(Czech) –> Cesky Krumlov(Czech) –> Fulpmes(Innsbruck, Austria)–>Salzburg(Austria) –> Vienna. Now that I had planned this all I needed was to purchase the damn tickets, which trust me took a lot of courage. Doubts creeping into my mind whether I can do this or nor, am I being stupid? , but finally one moment of madness and finally a month before I booked my tickets. Well thank god my stupidity didn’t cost me much as the tickets didn’t fluctuate much and I was able to get a round trip for as cheap as 37k. I had planned my budget around 1 lakh including the tickets which I was pretty confident was achievable. Though being me, I knew I wasn’t much of a budget guy .
Now that I had booked ticket I need to minimize the costs on the travel in europe. Well make sure you book all your tickets well in advance, especially the one in trains. A 2nd class train ticket booked two months before can save you 70% of the cost. The buses in Europe are far cheaper than the trains and prefer buses if you plan on going short distances or overnight. Remember travelling overnight in buses not only saves you the transportation costs but also accommodation cost and a whole day. I wanted to keep my itinerary a little open in case I wanted to stay longer at a place so I did not book few tickets for which I had to shell out a lot of Euros. A train ticket from Budapest to Prague cost me 50 Euros which I could have got for as low as 20 euros had I booked 6 to 7 weeks back. If you are on a budget make sure you plan your travel well in advance. GoEuro website or the app is the best way to explore all travelling options buses, flights, cabs and trains. Make sure you book hostels when travelling solo well in advance so that you don’t end up wasting your precious time seeking accommodation when you reach. By now I am sure you know there is nothing better than Hostelworld app to find hostels. Do read the reviews before you book anything. Remember you experience in these hostels will decide how great your trip was. So after painstakingly going through the reviews I finally managed to book all my hostels. Here I was good and ready to go. And I hope you are too . Don’t think a lot , and trust me you won’t regret it. Well I guess this blog is becoming too tedious now. I shall continue with my euro trip in the next one. Till then it’s time to start planning …
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