Sunday, July 23, 2017

First-Time Solo Traveling in Europe? Things to Do and Tips to Save Budget

"Take vacations, 
Go as many places as you can.
You can always make money.
You can't always make memories."
- unknown
when in Rome...
This trip like Finally, one of my dreams came true! :) Since I would like to go on trip outside Asia, and yeay! So, I just installed this application called Kayak and it's really fun to check flight ticket, I put Europe destination in random and you can choose multi-city too, I have no idea so I checked the price randomly and surprised seeing it's not that expensive at that time. I was like keep checking on it like everyday and thinking whether I buy it or not, I ended up bought and freaking out yet happy! I bought it around mid of November 2016.

Kind of confusing a bit to decide the dates because I have limited annual leaves from my office like 10 days in a year ;( but I feel like at least I need minimum 2 weeks in Europe so I am looking for long National Holiday where Moslem holiday was perfect at that time, since it's Summer time and from I read it's better to go on June or September, because if July and August would be too crowded. I booked ticket from 15 June - 2 July, 2017, Kuala Lumpur (KUL) - Abu Dhabi - Amsterdam, Milan - Abu Dhabi - Jakarta (CGK) with Etihad Airways, total RM 2,327.9 (Rp7,360,459) and I also booked Jakarta (CGK) - Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on 14th of Jun, 2017 with total Rp467,422 by KLM.

So, my Europe trip this time is from 14 June - 2 July, 2017 (19D/18N), Jakarta - Kuala Lumpur - Abu Dhabi - Amsterdam and Milan - Abu Dhabi - Jakarta. I told you that my last trip to South Korea was the longest trip but I am wrong because this Europe trip will be my longest trip that I had so far and I will do Solo Traveling this time! got mixed feelings for this trip :)

* * * * *

How much exactly the Total Cost for this 19D/18N? It's around Rp 13million (1 Euro = Rp15,000, ±866 euro) excluding Flight and Visa, and My Flight and Visa cost Rp 9million, so total cost for Europe Trip is around Rp 22million (±1,500 euro), I will share the itinerary and breakdown the details at the end of my travel diaries of Europe Trip, please be patient for it :p 

Anyway, is it still on your budget? well, you decide by yourself but for me it's still on my budget, because my budget for this Europe Trip was less than Rp 15million excluding Flight and Visa, well , Rp 13million already made me happy though plus I already included one of the most expensive countries on my itinerary, Switzerland :)

Here we go! I will share to you Things to Do and Tips to Save Budget for First-Time Solo Traveling in Europe, not because I am an expert but it's just based on my experience :D 

1. Find Flight Ticket and Choose the Season
Sometimes you can get Promo Ticket to Europe like Rp 3.5 - 5 million, so you can save more money, I booked my ticket from Kayak this time and for comparison I tried Skyscanner too. I recommend Summer to do Europe Trip because you will have Day longer so you can have more time to do anything, because at some country, Sunset came around 10 PM or even 11 PM! too good to be true and feel totally safe if still bright haha especially since I am solo traveling and also the weather is mostly nice including the blue sky in order to get good pictures! haha :D

2. Schengen Visa
I recommend to apply your Visa like 2 months before your departure, especially during high season, just in case. You won't let yourself experiencing like your Schengen Visa approved on D-day or even after D-day right? haha, a month before is still okay but just in case :) You can check here to see how did I apply my Schengen Visa.

3. Plan Your Itinerary
I know..I know..it would be more fun to go there and let it flow but since it's Summer (High Season) where the price starts rise up and I am on budget so at least I already managed which country that I will go to save my budget

But this time, really, I have no details itinerary like I usually made for each day, since I only put the country name haha and you know what? Surprisingly it's totally fun to have no details itinerary because no need to rush for every place that you put on your itinerary, ohhh I am so happy :) But I am struggling when decided which country or city that I am going to go for this itinerary, you can start from your wishlist too, but really, Struggle is real xDD

Some friend recommend me to either explore West Europe or East Europe but well my route was kind of zig-zag haha since I'd like to visit Germany especially Berlin, and I am starting my trip from Amsterdam and end up in Milan. So, my route for total 17 days in Europe was like this : Amsterdam - Paris - Switzerland - Berlin - Dresden - Prague - Vienna - Venice - Florence (Cinque Terre) - Rome - Milan

For first timer, I know that you want to visit the places as much as you could because I also think like that but I ended up with decision to slow down just a littleeee bit, you can looked out my itinerary above lol xDD. In addition, sometimes if you keep moving around different country, you will also spend more money for transportation. So, in my case, I just decided based on my budget for Transportation and Accomodation in total so I can decide the place where I can go based on that budget, for this trip my budget for Inter City and Accomodation is around 350 Euro (around Rp 5million). 

4. Book Your Transport or Hostel in Advance
I think you know the reason, haha, of course it will be more cheaper, some people recommend to book like 2 - 3 months in advance to save more budget, well, you can do that and you can get more cheaper especially for Flight and Train, well, Train is recommended to travel in Europe, no need to stand by 2 hours before and no need to worry with your baggage if overweight etc. I used GoEuro to compare Bus & Train price and Skyscanner for Flight. GoEuro helped me a lot for this, you can also buy the ticket from there and some will book from the Bus website itself like FlixBus, Regiojet and Hello. You can pay using Credit Card but if your Credit Card failed, just register PayPal and pay from it. PayPal is another method for payment, you need to register your credit card information there, so basically it's a payment using Credit Card too but via PayPal.

No need to print out booking confirmation for Bus or Train because most of them stated on their confirmation that you can show it through Digital which is good or you can just save the file .pdf to your phone. But make sure to print out Boarding Pass for Flight Inter-City because if you didn't, there would be additional charge for printing-out in the airport and it's quite pricey.

I also booked in advance though but in my case, since I was kind of still struggling with cities or countries that I want to visit so I booked around a week before departure and even I booked my hostel just few days before my departure and some when I am on my way to airport haha, I am way too relaxed for this trip lol. 

I always booked through Agoda or Booking.com recently, comparing from those 2 then booked whichever has lower price, sometimes I googled randomly to get discount coupon if any and I got it for Agoda or sometimes you can get discount if you booked through their apps. For Hostel I always choose dormitory since it's a great place to meet another travellers. My hostel budget is below 30 EUR, but sometimes I tried to push it below 25 EUR and for Intercity Transportation, my budget was below 30 EUR for each transportation but I tried to make it lower.
Dormitory at Mountain Hostel - Swiss Hostel
5. Free Accomodation
I think for this trip I got great helps especially for accomodation because during this trip, I only paid for 6 nights in Hostel. Where did I get Free Accomodation? Staying with friends, Overnight Bus (2 times) and Couch Surfing (CS). 

I keep mentioning CouchSurfing so I guess I will telling you how cool this website can be and help me when I go traveling. Through this website, you can meet local people, any travellers, new friends or ended up becoming good or even best friends until now, get some advices for traveling, and you can also stay on their places if they decided to open their house, you will Surf (if you stay at their house) and we called them Host (the one that opened their house for those who want to stay) It's for Free but please mind not to treat them like you're in Hotel. Anyway, before you decided to meet or even stay with them, I recommend you to read their references and their profile.

It's rare for me to Surf on someone Couch since I prefer to stay in Hostel if I go with friends, but since I am solo this time, I decided to use CS to Surf, I can meet local people, new friends and hang out with them which totally fun for me. Local people know more than a tourist like me, I also can learn about their cultures and know things that I might couldn't get if I go alone, of course it's adding my knowledges and insight too, having friends from around the world are always exciting, beside I could also fluent my English! And the last but not least, it's help you to save your hostel budget. Too much good things from this website :)

6. FREE Wifi
I planned to buy simcard during this Europe trip but finally I decided to depend on Free Wifi, no worries for that because it's easy to find Free Wifi like everywhere in Europe, but I found it's quite hard to find in Italy, because almost Free Wifi there required user and pasword but at the end I never had any difficulties for that, because there will be another way to get Free Wifi, well, I survived :)

7. Download Useful Apps
My Top 3 Apps for this Trip :
-Google Maps, still my number one apps to check the route for my itinerary and helps me to find my way anywhere
-Go Euro, to check transportation and comparing price between Bus, Train or Flight, you can also book from here directly, payment method is so easy using Credit Card
-SBB Mobile, this is actually Switzerland apps for train in the city, but it helps me tremendously especially to calculate my Switzerland budget, because from all those countries, for sure Switzerland is the most expensive one but still I don't want to skip it, so, special for Switzerland I did some research especially for transportation cost

Another Apps that I installed, usually I installed when I almost reach the cities :
-TrenitItaly Transportation, I planned to go to Cinque Terre so that's why I stayed in Florence, so I used this apps to check the train schedule, and I also plan to go to Pisa Tower but still thinking whether should I go or not, the train's name is Trenitalia.
-Berlin Subway and VBB Bus & Bahn, Germany Transportation, for subway I used Berlin Subway quite a lot and just found out on my last day if VBB Bus & Bahn is actually more accurate haha
-Paris Metro, Paris transportation, To check the Metro line which actually you can just download the picture of Metro Map.
-Maps.me, it's offline Maps that you need to download the area first then you can use it offline but I only used it for few times and not as much as I use Google Maps but it's also good apps

Those are applications that I installed during my Europe Trip, for Transportation Maps, well, you can just download the picture and you're good to go because I did that mostly for my trip or if I am lazy to download it, I can just check it on the station.

8. Travel Light
Another struggling for me is when I did packing, because I plan to travel light with just bring my Trolley Backpack for this trip since I thought I am going to move around so make sure you bring not more than 10 kg, I also bring few clothes, most of my clothes are neutral colors, especially Black and I am planning to use my clothes like over and over again, I also plan to wash my clothes there. And I guess I will just buy my clothes there too. 
my bag quite full with food that I bring for some friends :D
I choose trolley because I can just pull it and no need to carry it plus it's cabin size. I don't want to be burnout when carrying my stuffs. In addition, I booked my flight with Easyjet from Basel, Switzerland to Berlin, Germany and they strictly only allow you to carry 1 bag into Cabin, I thought quite hard to pack the things into this 1 trolley backpack and Rain Cover Backpack helps me a lot for this :) I also bring my sling bag for daily because I think it's more safe to have your bags in front of you, sometimes I also use my small backpack but most of the time I use my sling bag.
Stuffed all my stuff into this 1 trolley backpack and Rain Cover helps!
9. Food
I only concern with the food at Switzerland since most people telling me it's expensive there, so I prepared and bring few instant noodles for it, my backpack quite full with food because I bring some for me and my friends as a gift from Indonesia. Anyway, to save budget for food I went to Supermarket quite often since it's cheaper there and mostly they have big portion so you can eat for lunch and save the rest for dinner if you want. 
Sandwich from Paul, Louvre it's really big!
Most of tap water in Europe is drinkable. (Tips : bring your bottle anywhere to save another budget for drink), if you buy mineral water, normally will cost around 1 - 3 Euro, sometimes if you go to big Supermarket it can cost 30 - 50 cents. 

If you're diehard fans of rice and spicy, well maybe you need to prepare more :p like bringing Sambal, mini rice cooker (maybe), etc. For me luckily, I kind of reducing eating rice for few months already, I can't really eat spicy food, since it would burn my mouth and stomach and basically I eat everything so food in Europe are doesn't matter for me. I can feel full by eating sandwhich in a day. In this trip, I put my meal budget 10 EUR for a day.
Got it at Convenience Store inside Ams Central St. (3 Eur)
10. Medicines
I think for this trip I prepared medicines quite a lot than usual, maybe because I will travel alone so I prepared well for the medicines, I brought some vitamins, cold (Indonesian disease : masuk angin), flu, painkiller, headache, stomaches, etc. I had bad experience for my last flight to Singapore which cause my left ear hurt so bad, that's why now, I bring earplugs to prevent similar things that might happen again.

11. Don't be too harsh with yourself
I know you're in budget but don't let your budget hold things that you want to do there, you're in holiday so you have right to be happy :) Eat Gelato, Pasta at Restaurant etc. On this trip, I only did 2 times for Overnight Bus since I thought it would be so exhausted if I keep doing it for few times. I did some limitation for myself that I don't want to ride a bus more than 9 hours. And even though I have friends mostly in each city but I decided to have me time in Switzerland and I also spend more time in Rome, because it's almost end of my trip and I want to cooling down. Since I travel alone so I need to be responsible with myself and take care everything by myself, I want to stay fit during this trip.

12. Enjoy every moment
You save your money for this trip and it's totally far from your country, it's not right if you are not happy during the trip so I would like to say Enjoy every moment! Because I really enjoyed every moment in Europe! meeting people, old friends, new places, new things, food and enjoying too much until I didn't realize it's already my last day in Europe, haha. I will go back to Europe someday and hope to stay more longer! *fingercrossed

Those are Things to Do and Tips to Save Budget for First-Time Solo Traveling in Europe. Hope you will find it useful and you might want to arrange yours now! Happy Traveling and don't be afraid to Travel Solo in Europe. Keep reading to see my Travel Diaries in Europe and thank you very much! Have a great weekend :)

2 comments:

  1. Hello kakak :)

    Wah, I already saw some pictures on your IG. And it's really exciting finally the stories will be shared here!

    Alright I'll wait and explore together with your journey heheh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello again Zahrah!

      Thanks for stopped by and yeah I'll be share my travel diaries soon..hope you enjoy it :)

      warning : gonna be my long post ever for traveling blog post ^^;;

      Cheers,
      MJ

      Delete

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