Last December, after spending 3 and a half weeks traveling through central Europe, I wanted more! Although I felt homesick during my last few days in Prague, there was a yearning to continue this journey. Here lies the continuation of it, to be more specific, the planning of this journey which you can use as a guide for your own travels.
I recently left my role with a market research company to go backpacking in Europe for a couple of weeks. The decision was simple and although I’ll miss my coworkers and the bond we’ve developed over the past few months, leaving was essential. It wasn’t exactly the role I envisioned in college while writing lit reviews and chugging my third cup of coffee at 2 in the morning; or while I was balancing a full-time grad school schedule and two part-time jobs!
My, my, what a long way and yet, it hasn’t quite panned out. I haven’t secured the career that I’ve worked for, yet I remain hopeful. Hopeful but eager to wander and to rethink things, hence Bonjour. It’s not just about traveling for the heck of it, it’s also my journey to find myself.
I told a friend about what I’d done, that I’d quit a job that I wasn’t really in love with to go backpacking through Europe again and this time, solo. She thought that it was a bold move. “Really?” I responded. I hadn’t realized that it was. It was something that I wanted and I went for it!
As much as I love spontaneity, I also love a super awesome plan. It all began with a Pinterest board where I compiled articles on everything from the Cheapest European Cities to Visit to Backpacker’s Checklist! I’ve also sourced comfy (and of course fashionable) clothes and shoes for traveling.
I then created several sheets in an excel document including:
This checklist was based on items recommended by travel bloggers, as well as items that I found useful during my last visit. My checklist is sectioned according to 1. Necessities which includes everything from a backpack to a universal power adaptor, 2. Utilities such as bug spray to Ziploc bags, 3. Organizational materials such as a Planner and copies of important documents, and 4. Additional which includes things like energy bars, earplugs, and a water bottle.
I listed each country that I planned to visit with headers: location, dates, activities, hostels, hostel addresses, costs, and notes. This is also the perfect document to leave behind with family and friends for safety purposes.
I created a list which included budget estimates for the following categories: entertainment, food, medical, hostels, plane tickets, other travels such as trains, buses, cabs. Each category breakdown detailed budget, actual funds, and the difference.
In addition to my Pinterest board, I kept track of my sources in excel so that I can always look back on them.
I have the awesome support of my friends and family. Further, one of the most amazing things about planning this trip is finding all of the information that’s readily available to help me!