After I started reading and following travelers share their journeys on Travel Noire, I was thirsty (for lack of a better word) to start seeing these places myself. I have taken many trips but none were truly solo traveling. At first, I wanted to take my first solo trip to Niagara Falls at the ending of 2013 because it is a place I wanted to experience myself and in all honesty, flights were and still are quite cheap from Chicago. However, that all changed when I scored my $260 round-trip ticket to Europe for late February to early/mid March. The thought of going to Europe, all by myself, not knowing a soul, was beyond scary but I was up for any challenges, from planning to the language barrier, to understanding how life function on the other side of the planet. Speaking of planning, I will be sharing my planning process of my upcoming 2014- 2015 Europe and southeast Asia backpacking trip shortly. In the meantime, here’s my itinerary for my Europe trip:
Largo di Como/ Lake Como
Cinque Terre (Italian Riveria)
Roma- 5 days and 4 nights
Athens- 4 hours layover
Munich- 7 hours layover
Canada- 1 night
When it comes to traveling (and most things you do in life), the most critical step is planning, creating of a solid foundation. I do plan all my trips by myself, with the help of Google, YouTube videos and other travel bloggers, without the help of travel agents. Initially, I wanted to go everywhere (not literally) but four countries in fourteen days seemed a bit much therefore I eliminated London, England (wanted to do some shopping and finally go to Primark– It’s like a Forever 21) and Nice, France. Even with just 2 countries (Canada and Germany were part of my transits), I found my days to be too compact especially because I spent a significant amount of time commuting from one city to another. This is one of my many beginner’s mistakes.
I spent a day and one night at all the cities I visited in Italy, except for Roma, and spent the next morning commuting to my next city. Within Italy, I traveled by train and purchased my tickets ahead of time from Trenitalia for both local and high speed trains (this is both a pro and a con). Also, you may have noticed my itinerary isn’t detailed. This is because I did not want my every hour, minute and second to be planned. I do not like to be on a set schedule just like majority of people (I am assuming). Therefore, I planned each days as they rolled in by using sites like TripAdvisor, Viator and Fodors to book tours and to get ideas of places I should visit and things I should do.
How do you plan your trips? I would love to pick up some helpful tips from you.