I just want to share to you all about my trip to Europe on March 2008. Whole trip is 22 days, while actual days in Europe was 13 days. I'll only mention those Europe trip plus Shanghai as my stop-over for 4 days. FYI, I live in Jakarta, Indonesia (SE Asia), and this is the first time I went to Europe. Cities I visited: London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Mainz, Frankfurt, and Shanghai.
My Guide will consists of several pages that will keep updating, and this is the first page of those.
2. Where to buy airlines ticket?
3. Finding internal Europe flight, train, and hotels.
4. Exploring London
5. Exploring London 2
6. Exploring London 3
7. Exploring Rome (1), (2)
8. Exploring Florence
9. Exploring Venice
10. Exploring Paris
11. Exploring Paris Disneyland
12. Exploring Amsterdam
13. Exploring Frankfurt Mainz
I didn't take tour, so all arrangement had to be managed by myself. Traveling so many countries with many means of transportation requires some efforts and energy, may not be suitable for family taking kids or senior persons. Map reading skill is also required since you have to know where to go, right?
Why not to join a Guided Tour offered by travel agent? I had my own reason for self-paced traveling:
- This (might be) cheaper
- Flexibility: when to wake up, when to take a rest. Tour usually will force you to check-in at hotel on 10pm and wake up on 6am next day for breakfast and continue journey.
- Only go to a place that I really want. Tour will bring you to boring place like museum, factory, etc something like that.
- Sleep in hotel. 30%-40% days in a tour you will be sleeping in a running bus/coach!
- This is no secret: the tour from Asia usually packed with elder people, not suitable for young people like me.
Although a good list as above, self traveling has some drawbacks:
- Tour bus will grab as many tourist destination as possible in a day. It can be done by limiting your time in a spot. Self travelling means you will enjoy each spot in more hours, the result: not all tourist attraction will be visited because lack of time
- Choosing where to stay will really depend how good you choose hotel from booking website
- Have to learn metro map, interchange, bus numbers and route
- Get used to lost in building block maze :)
- Queue for attraction tickets, sometime pay more expensive than group tour ticket.
- Get Ticket booking At least 3 months before traveling to Europe. This will ensure you get cheapest airline ticket fare.
- Check if your citizenship need to have visa to enter Europe. If so, then obtain Visa for Europe. United Kingdom visa is separately requested from Europe Schengen Visa. Switzerland Visa is also separated request (it will join Schengen Agreement on November 2008). You need to have valid ticket booking as required by visa application. Hotel booking might also be mandatory by embassy ask your travel agent to book them, don't bother the price just book without guarantee (and later to be cancelled automatically by system).
- Prepare for destination season's weather, bring proper clothing
- Do not bring bath towel. It will be provided by hotels. Wet towel will only put some kilos and space in your luggage.
- Buy disposable underwear. You come for holiday, not for spending time in laundry. Coming in winter means you don't have to bring many shirt and you might only take a bath once a day.
- Remember that low cost airlines only allow 15 kg of check-in luggage per person. They will charge you more for excess weight or additional pieces. Pack as small as possible to take them into cabin baggage.
- Prepare your regular medicine, if needed bring prescription. In Indonesia I can buy any medicine without prescription, but pharmacies in most countries require you to have prescription.
Next page: Where to buy airline ticket?