It has always been my dream to go on European Adventure with my better half. I have been having this dream since 5 years ago. At that time, I could only dream, I know we can never afford it. Financially and the fact that who will take care of the kids...Yes, at that time, I was convinced, it will be just another dream, just like the dream I will get back to my weight before I get married. Huh? Off tangent, never mind...
Then, 2 years ago, some how the dream became more possible. That is when I started my planning. Knowing 2012 will be the only year none of the kids will be sitting for major exams, that will be the best year for me to realised my dream to go for this tour. I don't plan to take the kids along, I wanted it to be a cheap tour. No particular about the hotel we stay in, B&B or even 2 star hotels are ok for this trip. Also, to use just public transport either bus, train or Metro. Minising cab usage and NO NO NO on car rental.
Next, to convince my better half. One, to convince him to take more than 2 weeks leave and also to convince him to leave the kids behind. Something we have not done, not for too long. The longest was 3 days when we sent the kids to my parents' home for school break, nothing longer than that. Finally, he agreed.
Then, I started to look at the overall costing. That include lodging, transport including air fare and all connecting transports, projected food expenses and other costs which may incur like taxes, shopping and other miscellaneous stuff. Considering it's a budget travel, I was not into anything lavish. I started surfing booking.com, agoda, expedia and many other related websites. It's also important to read reviews from TripAdvisor to ensure I don't book some dodgy hotels. The hotels must also within the cities areas so that we don't spend too much on transportation. We would rather walk around and enjoy the views. Reviews from real people who have stayed in the hotels are also very important.
10 months before the planned trip, I started the booking process. All bookings. Yes, it's much cheaper to book in advance especially for 2012 there are many things going on in Europe like Olympics and Euro2012. Things will get expensive if we don't book early. It is also cheaper to book the trains, buses and connecting flights online. Much much cheaper! And we decided to go early May and will be back before the kids school holiday starts.
So, the routes have been decided...tentatively it will be....
Flight tickets were finally bought at Matta Fair. We started surveying our options whether to do this via tour or on our own. That's when we know, it's cheaper to do it ourselves.
Yes, it was a well careful planned trip. I applied for leaves nearly a year in advance. And made the necessary arrangements on kids well being as well. We managed to get my parents to take care of the kids for 10 days and my inlaws the subsequent 10 days.
We are lucky, before we left, the exchange rates we extremely low. More money can be spent then!
Look out for next entry, when we arrived in London!