One of the first things I started doing when applying to graduate programs was to start saving for traveling (one-track mind, I know). As someone who’s guilty of indulging in those articles about “Things I wish I had known in my 20’s,” something I realized was that in every article, at least one person mentioned how they wished they took more risk and traveled more.
With this in mind, I gave my two weeks in May, told my boss I’d be leaving in June, giving me plenty of time to travel before school started in August. I chose to do both Europe and Asia (and a taste of Africa with Morocco) because most of my family is still in South Korea and Greece and Italy just looked too beautiful to pass up. Traveling to both South Korea and Europe in two months is completely doable and after researching online and asking friends, here’s the itinerary I came up with. Hopefully, it can show you how to plan your summer Asia and Europe trip.
2 Month Asia and Europe Itinerary
|Jun-15||Seoul, South Korea||Fly from SF to Seoul, South Korea||$878.50 via Singapore Airlines||relatives and friend’s place||free 😀|
|Jul-15||Milan, Italy||Fly to Milan||$650.40 via Aeroflot||Malpensa Fiera Milano Hotel||$35.23|
|Jul-15||Venice, Italy||Train to Venice||$21.28||Generator Venice||$54.21|
|Jul-15||Milan, Italy||Train to Milan||$21.28||Hotel Central Station||$31.55|
|Jul-15||Cinque Terre||Train to Cinque Terre||$26||Le Sirene||$143.88|
|Jul-15||Florence, Italy||Train to Pisa then to Florence||$10||Backpackers Florence Central||$105.80|
|Jul-15||Rome, Italy||Train to Rome||$29||Vittoria B&B||$138.65|
|Jul-15||Naples, Italy||Train to Naples||$29||Giovanni’s Home||$48.75|
|Jul-15||Mykonos, Greece||Fly to Mykonos||$148 via EasyJet||Mina Beach Hotel||$115.90|
|Jul-15||Santorini, Greece||High speed ferry to Santorini||$39.20||Katerina and John Hotel||$38.68|
|Jul-15||Crete, Greece||Ferry to Crete||$61.60||Manios Studios||$45.50|
|Jul-15||Athens, Greece||Overnight ferry to Athens||$95.20||Pella Inn||$101.28|
|Jul-15||Delphi, Greece||Bus to Delphi||$16.80||Sybilla Hotel||$21.46|
|Jul-15||Kalambaka, Greece||Train to Kalambaka||$15||Tsikeli Hotel||$27.90|
|Jul-15||Litochoro, Greece||Train to Litochoro||$17||Hotel Naysika||$25.04|
|Jul-15||Thessaloniki, Greece||Bus to Thessaloniki||$8||Alexandria Hotel||$25.75|
|Jul-15||Berlin, Germany||Fly to Berlin||$150 via EasyJet||PLUS Berlin||$84.64|
|Jul-15||Nuremberg, Germany||Train to Nuremberg||$236 via German Rail Pass||Five Reasons Hostel||$28.61|
|Aug-15||Munich, Germany||Train to Munich||Wombats City Hostel Munich||$82.98|
|Aug-15||Heidelberg, Germany||Train to Heidelberg||Lotte||$34.33|
|Aug-15||Frankfurt, Germany||Train to Frankfurt||Five Elements Hostel Frankfurt||$66.18|
|Aug-15||Amsterdam, Netherlands||Train to Amsterdam||$78||St. Christopher’s at The Winston||$113.69|
|Aug-15||Marrakech, Morocco||Fly to Marrakech||$366.40 via British Airways||Riad Dar Tamlil||$227.94|
|Aug-15||Lisbon, Portugal||Fly to Lisbon||$275.28 via TAP Air Portugal||Rossio Hostel||$232.79|
|Aug-15||Home (SF, USA)||Fly to SF||$1,315.35 via
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My wallet slightly cried when I tallied up the total but in hindsight, it was worth it. I had saved for about 6 months before going on the trip so if you start saving in advance, you can definitely make the trip possible. Also, to save money on flights you can check out websites like The Flight Deal or slickdeals, which is how Sharon found her $150 flight to Milan.
Tips for Traveling in Europe
Flights – For cheap flights within Europe, check out EasyJet and RyanAir. Be careful of hidden fees though! These budget airlines tend to make up for their cheap prices by charging you for anything from extra legroom to seat selection.
German rail pass – To save money on traveling by train through Germany, I bought a rail pass in advance. The price varies with age and number of days you’re traveling, but overall I was able to save some serious euros this way.
Packing smart – Having never gone backpacking before, I wasn’t sure if I packed everything I needed but it ended up being fine. If anything, I probably overpacked and was proud that I was able to fit everything in one backpack. I cover everything you need in my previous post here.
It’s been a year since I did this trip and as I was researching for this post, I can’t help but miss it a little bit. Catching the sunset at Santorini, eating stuffed grape leaves on the beach at Crete, swimming in Litochoro while staring up at Mount Olympus..these are all memories I hold close to my heart. Like with most travels though, it was really the people I was lucky enough to meet along the way that made the travels that much more memorable. Random strangers helping my friend and I with directions in Athens, talking philosophy with locals, and the new friendships made with other backpackers (all united in our excitement of exploring a city for the first time) – this is what was really valuable for me and what motivates me to continue exploring.