I’m super excited about my upcoming December mini-travels in Europe, and as such spend a great deal of time reading about things to do there, places to see, how to get about etc. As I sat on my lunch break last week looking at ways to get to a tiny town in Austria, I got chatting to a colleague who had enjoyed 6 weeks in Eastern Europe over the summer exploring the cities and tourist hotspots.
She was amazed at how organised I’ve been with getting things booked, as she travelled with the mindset of ‘where do I fancy going today?’. And it got me thinking, should I be more like that?
As it turns out, I am quite like that, which is why things are never set in stone until they get booked. I am always changing my mind of where I’d like to go, how long I want to be there, what I’d like to see and where I’ll be going after. But the fact that I book before going is what makes the difference. And the reason? Budget.
My boyfriend and I are taking a lot of train trips in December, and everyone has said to us ‘you should get an inter-railing pass‘. While this would work out cheaper if we were both under 26, or were travelling in just one country, by booking ahead we can actually save money on the trains. It’s also cheaper for us at times to stay in a hotel rather than a private room in a hostel. But we can only get the cheaper price if we book in advance.
Time is also a factor we need to consider. As we’re only going for a total of 16 days, by planning ahead I can make sure we don’t waste any time that could be better spent seeing places.
At the end of it all, the main difference between myself and my colleague is the kind of trip we’re taking. She had just finished uni and had time to make her way wherever she fancied. Hostel dorm rooms and an inter-railing pass were the best bet for her. Hotel rooms for one are expensive, and last minute train tickets can be ridiculous. Myself and my boyfriend, on the other hand, are trying to find the balance between working full time jobs and maximising our annual leave to allow us to travel and see as much as we can. We work hard, and I want our break away to find the balance between budget-friendly and comfortable.
There will be a day (hopefully!) when we have a considerable amount of time off work, and at that time we’ll look at ways we can be flexible and save as much money as possible along the way. And at that time, I’d like to think we can go wherever we fancy that day. But for now, I’m a planner and that’s ok!
Do you like to plan a trip or just turn up and see what happens?