Thursday, 20 July 2017

Gap Year Guide Part 3: Route, Transport & Accommodation

Hello and welcome to my 3rd post in my "Gap Year Guide" which will be focusing on where I actually went, and how I actually got around Europe for a month. 

Feel free to check out my Insta for more travel photos ;)

Route:


Me and Georgie wanted to cover as many cities and countries as possible in a month, so we decided to go pretty much straight across Europe and hit as many countries as we could. Our route was as follows:
  • Sofia, Bulgaria: 2nd-5th May
  • Plovdiv, Bulgaria: 5th-6th May
  • Bucharest, Romania: 6th- 9th May
  • Brasov, Romania: 9th- 11th May
  • Budapest, Hungary: 12th- 14th May
  • Zagreb, Croatia: 15th-17th May
  • Split, Croatia: 17th- 19th May
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia: 19th-22nd May
  • Bled, Slovenia: 22nd-24th May
  • Vienna, Austria: 24th- 26th May
  • Berlin, Germany: 26th-28th May
  • Brussels, Belgium: 28th- 30th May
  • Paris, France: 30th-31st May
  • Dover, England: 31st May

Transport:


We only wanted to fly once on our travels, so we decided to fly out from Birmingham Airport to Sofia Airport. The company we flew with was EasyJet.

We then wanted to find the easiest way to travel between countries, and concluded that Interrail tickets were the cheapest way to do that. The ticket I brought was a youth ticket where you could travel for 15 days within the period of a month. We found that most countries where we used our ticket understood what it was. The only trouble we had was in Bulgaria, where we found that the language barrier was the strongest. However, the ticket was accepted in every country we went to. On their website you can fill in your route, but I would recommend checking if you have to reserve a train seat because on most trains you do. There is a hidden cost of reserving train tickets though, so watch out for that!

Then for the journey home we decided to get the ferry from Calais to Dover and we booked this using Directferries.com for £30 each. Then using National Express, we booked our coaches from Dover Ferry Port to Birmingham Airport. 

And for transport around the actual cities we used either tram, or underground lines. Or, if it was available in that country, we used Uber. 

Accommodation:


For our first night, we wanted to stop somewhere close to the airport since we arrived in the middle of the night. So we booked a room in the Ibis hotel which was opposite the airport.

The only other time we booked a hotel was in Budapest where we booked the Hotel Griff. We needed somewhere that was close to the train station, since we had a very early morning train. To be honest, the reviews of this 3 star hotel kinda put us off stopping there, but it wasn't a terrible place to stop and it did the job.

The rest of our accommodation we booked on AirBnB. In case you didn't know, this is a way to book different types of accommodation, rented out by different people from all over the world. A lot of people are scared at the thought of this, but from my experience I can definitely say it's a reliable way to book apartments. All the hosts we had were lovely and helpful, and we were very comfortable in every place we stayed. 

We booked the first week of accommodation before we left England so we certainly had places to stop when we got there. Then we'd always make sure we'd have the week ahead's accommodation booked in advance. But the reason we didn't book it all at once was because we didn't want to have a last minute change, and have to cancel or change all our accommodation. So once we knew for sure where we were going, we'd book the most reasonably priced AirBnB we could find.

So there you are, that's how me and Georgie traveled around Europe for a month. The song of the day is Beat Again by JLS. As always, I tried to go into as much detail as I could for this post, but if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask in the comments. Thank you for reading,

Izzy K xxx