On May 6th, I will be walking, more like strutting, my way down the stage at Alico Arena and saying “Sayonara” to my life as a college student! What an adventure it has been, but nothing like the adventure I’ve got coming up on May 11th. I’ll be backpacking through Europe with my best friend, Pheobe. We’ll be traveling to England, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Ireland– all in two weeks! With this many countries on our itinerary, you can’t imagine how much planning has gone into this trip. Since we’re both broke college students, we’ve had to do a lot of research to figure out which options would work best for us.
A little back story: Pheobe is like a sister to me. We met at FGCU two years ago, and we moved in shortly after. We have the same passion for music and travel, and I really wanted to do something special for her Christmas/Birthday present. I reached out to her family and asked them if they would like to split a ticket to England for her with . They were on board, so I got to planning. I spent months figuring out when the cheapest time to go would be, when we would be out of school and could take time off of work, etc. Eventually, I found two tickets for a great price, and we were able to surprise Pheobe!
(Pheobe, minutes after being surprised, trying to regain her composure)
Fast forward a few weeks, we start planning the actual trip. The first thing we did was decide where we wanted to travel to once we were in England, because flights within Europe are pretty cheap. To do this, we had to figure out what the best things to do were in different countries. We did some research, and narrowed it down to the countries we chose. (We were going to go to Paris after Amsterdam, but decided we’d rather skip that and go to Italy.) To make sure that the countries we chose were the best options for us, we decided to estimate the costs for accommodation and flights. SkyScanner is my go-to, and it found me some flights, which we booked over time, for awesome prices! Our tickets from Ireland back to England were only $19 per ticket, which is mindbogglingly cheap.
Fast forward to our next paychecks, it was time to figure out our accommodation situation and book some rooms. Airbnb is a crowd favorite, so that’s where we found most of the places we’ll be staying in. When looking for a place, I like to include filters: entire home, under $70, WiFi, etc. We found a bunch of places that fit that criteria, including an awesome castle that we will be staying at in Rome for $39 a night. However, some homes aren’t in the right location for what we wanted. So, for Amsterdam, we’ve been looking into staying in hostels. Hostels are cool because they’re close to the city centre, you can meet a bunch of people who are young and traveling, and it’s pretty cheap to stay there. We’ll be deciding this week where we’ll stay in Amsterdam, so I’ll keep you guys posted.
Fast forward to this weekend, where we will be deciding what we are doing in each of these beautiful countries. In London, we are obviously planning on visiting the London Eye, the Tower of London, and other landmarks, all of which can be bought on-site. We’re also planning on buying tickets for hop on/hop off bus tours so we can get around the city easily. We did decide we were going to visit the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio, so we made those reservations about two months ago. For stuff like restaurants and clubs, we looked through Pinterest for suggestions. For night life, we’ve found a bunch of cool clubs and pubs to visit, including a club with a ball pit for adult-children like us.
Next stop is Amsterdam, and we’re excited for some good ol’ culture. We’re definitely going to the Van Gogh museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House. For some moments of relaxation, which I’m sure we’ll have in Amsterdam, you’ll definitely catch us on a gondola. We’re going to explore the scandalous Red Light District and rent some bikes and cruise all over the city. We’re still in the planning stages of Spain, Italy, and Ireland, but you can definitely expect that we will be visiting all of the locations I talked about on my most recent blog post.
Now, you may ask, how do we go about paying for all of this stuff? Like I said, we are both broke college students. However, that doesn’t mean trips like this are impossible. The most important thing that we did is plan and prioritize. We’ve known from the beginning how much we need to save for most of the stuff we want to do, so we worked hard for it. I took half of each paycheck and put it aside for this trip. Any money that my grandma would give me when I would go home would go straight into the fund, and Pheobe would pick up extra shifts at her second job specifically for costs and spending money. Anything is possible for broke college students, you just have to work for it!