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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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The name's Annie.

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Personal, Travel

January 11, 2019

European Road Trip & More [details + recap]

Today we cover our time in Europe, even beyond the road trip. I want you to understand our WHOLE European trip, so that means you get the entire big picture perspective.

Nate and I knew we wanted to drive through Europe as opposed to taking trains or flying. We researched and researched, tried to look at renting cars but it was not promising. Our main issue was that we needed to pick it up in Southern Europe and drop it off in northwestern Europe. The orginial plan was pick up in Athens and drive up through the balkins, through Austria and Switzerland down into Italy and then up through Amsterdam before heading to Ireland and Scotland.

That was a negative. Not possible. Then the magic happened…we discovered we could lease a car for one month and then return it. #winning.

But we had to pick it up in Milan Italy, and return it in Amsterdam. Not terrible, just meant we needed a new course. This was slightly stressful for my Type A, pre-planned, un-flexible brain. But we got it done.

This also gave us a timeline of ONE MONTH for the road trip portion. You can see the entirety of Europe via the notes and map below. The blue is the leased car section.

Our route of ALL Europe from Sept to Dec

Fly from Brazil to Rome (1 full day)

PURPLE

  • Fly from Rome to Santorini Greece (4 full days)
  • Fly from Santorini Greece to Milan Italy (PICK UP CAR)

 

BLUE – DRIVE:

  • Milan to Cinque Terre, Italy (3 full days)
  • Cinque Terre to Pisa, Florence and Bologna (2 full days)
  • Bologna to Split, Croatia (2 full days)
  • Split to Dubrovnik, Croatia (2 full days)
  • Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro (2 full days)
  • Kotor up to Ljubljana, Slovenia (2 full days)
  • Ljubljana to Hallstatt, Austria (3 full days)
  • Hallstatt to Grindelwald, Switzerland (2 full days)
  • Grindelwald to Brussels, Belgium (1 full day)
  • Brussels to Bruges, Belgium (1 full day)
  • Bruges to Amsterdam, Netherlands (RETURN LEASED CAR)

 

BLACK

  • Fly to Dublin, Ireland (pick up a rental car immediately)
  • GREEN – DRIVE
  • Dublin to Killarney, Ireland
  • Killarney loop to Cliffs of Mor, Finish in Galway (1 day)
  • Galway to Dublin (return car) (1 full day)

 

BLACK

  • Fly to Edinburgh, Scotland (4 full days)
  • Fly to Budapest, Hungary (one month stay – road trips to Ljubljana, Vienna, and Prague)

 

ORANGE

  • Bus from Budapest to Krakow, Poland (one month stay – trip to Slovakia and road trip around Poland)
  • Fly from Warsaw to Thailand.

Booking all the things

We got all flights through skyscanner or kiwi, leased the car through AutoEurope, and used a combination of airbnb, booking and our Chase Sapphire Reserve points for accommodations.

Some helpful tips. Always search for flights with your computer in incognito mode. This way companies can’t keep low prices from you. And yes, Nate and I have tested this and it 100% happens. We both searched several times for similar flights on the same sites – I was incognito and he was not – and after a few searches, his prices were going up while I could still access the cheapest flights. Simply google how to search incognito on your particular computer.

As for leasing the car…it wasn’t cheap. We were going to be driving through mountains and we wanted to be comfortable considering the volume of driving we’d be doing. So we leased a Peugeot 3008, 2018, brand new off the lot for $3,200.00. I know…and dare I say it was SO WORTH IT. When you have a car, you can leave when you want, make your schedule, you don’t have to fully pack up, and you avoid all the waiting in train stations, or airports etc. It was amazing.

P.S. the car below was not our ACTUAL car, but this is the make and model.

The leasing benefits the sellers because they can then sell it as a “used car” after it’s been leased for one month and they pay WAY less taxes on it. Just learning all the things in Europe.

As for accommodations. We needed places that had parking and were close to the city center. Really we just looked between the three options we had for booking and chose the best value. You do you boo.

The planning phase

We chose our locations based on where we wanted to go. Simple as that. Then we just had to come up with the most efficient route and timeline based on having the car for one month. We worked everything else around that.

Not being rushed was also important to us. Fact of the matter is, you can do most touristy things in ONE DAY most places. And that is typically what we did. So we had one day to do the touristy things and take THE MOST PHOTOS, and then one day to just relax and walk around town. But we could have opted to have only one full day in more places. We would have seen more things, and probably ended up killing each other in the process.

So, decide where you’re most interested in, how you want to get around, what kind of timeline you have, and make the most of that.

Also, I highly recommend Europe in the fall if you can swing it. September and October were amazing. The weather is still nice, there are way less tourists, and prices aren’t quite as inflated as summer time.

All in all, Europe was great. It was a huge change coming from South America, but amazing nonetheless. Next up, we dive into the actual time in Europe with Rome, Greece and Cinque Terre, Italy. Stay tuned my friend.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

hey beautiful. i see you.

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