Monday, September 28, 2015

Post Grad Travel: Logistics

Hi friends! Another Monday is here, sigh. Thank you all so much for your kind words on Friday about my first "real" day at work today! Your encouragement is such a comfort. 

A couple weeks ago I mentioned my big trip coming up in just a few short weeks. If you haven't read it you should really check it out! Today I thought I'd share a little more about the logistics of my trip., Airbnb, and train rides.

So up first, flights. I wanted to keep flights at around $1500 or less. It is still a lot of money but considering I'll be flying for 3 legs of my trip it is a pretty reasonable budget. My first step is to find bundle flight deals. My favorite websites to use to find cheap flights are Kayak and Google Flights. You can add multi city flights, which I had to do, and they search airlines you wouldn't even think to use. For instance, the majority of my flights are using Air Canada. Who would've thought? Things to consider while booking on bundle flight sites...

1. They add cookies to your browsers, which causes prices to rise. Google how to clear cookies from your particular browser and do so periodically.

2. Make sure you have sufficient layovers. Often with bundle sites you use several different airlines so if one flight is running late the other airline doesn't care. Having layovers can help with this. 

3. Check baggage regulations. Often flights appear cheap till you go to book them and you realize that they don't include checked baggage. 

I also had to book a flight from Brussels to Bilbao, Spain where I'm meeting up with my family. I used Google flights then booked it directly with Brussels Airlines. They have a really user friendly website and they put prices in dollars!

For my stay in Brussels I decided that I wanted to stay in a flat versus a hotel because of prices and because I wanted to have some space. I'll be staying there for awhile so I want to have a place to unpack and cook some. It's good for the budget and for the experience to go to a local grocery store and try to make something for yourself. Just a small travel tip :) Some of my favorite memories in Russia was us going to the grocery store on the corner and trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast.

I digress. I found a really nice flat in a great location on Airbnb. If you've never heard of it, you should check it out! Shoot me an email and I can give you a travel credit for your first stay in Airbnb. Keep in mind that Airbnb is pretty much everywhere! Full disclosure, I paid under $450 for 6 days including fees and taxes. Again, it's still a lot of money but way less than I would've spent at a hotel and I have more space. A couple tips for Airbnb...

1. Only stay with hosts that have a lot of reviews. I read thoroughly through all reviews and I'm glad I did. I saw comments that weren't necessarily bad but things I wouldn't want in a flat. For instance, I saw several where the apartment was over a bar so the guests couldn't sleep. A selling point for the flat I chose is that it is in a central location.

2. Look out for security deposits and cleaning fees. I don't think they do the best job of advertising them, especially security deposits. I saw several hosts with absurd security deposits. Think...over $1000!

3. Utilize the filters when searching. You can filter for price and space, which is nice but they also have search filters for host language. This is especially important when traveling abroad. It would be pretty challenging to schedule a key pickup if the host doesn't speak English!

I'll be in Brussels, Belgium for 6 days before heading to Spain. During that time I've planned day trips to visit Bruges and Ghent. One of the most magical parts of traveling in Europe is that you can travel to so many different locations quickly. I got 2 day trip train tickets (roundtrip!) for under $100 using Rail Europe. The train rides are very quick and inexpensive. It's a great way to go see more of a country without having the commitment of changing your accommodations. 

Well, I hope y'all found some of these tips helpful! I plan on sharing packing tips, budget tips, and more soon! I would love to hear any tips that you have or if you want to know any details of my trip that I haven't shared. Y'all are my people. Have a good one! Xoxo

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  1. OH, this is getting me all kinds of excited and i'm not even going! You're going to have fun. So much fun.

  2. So jealous you don't even know! Like I haven't even been on a plane in my life..#sosad! ha and Airbnb is on my wish list!
    Linds @ Not A Mom

    1. You've never been on a plane!?!?!? You must fix this immediately! Come visit!? :)

  3. Great tips! I like this type of post♥

  4. Lauren, I want to leave like right now. I'm pinning this post to come back to when I finally start planning a trip! <3

  5. love these travel quotes! SO beyond excited for you Lauren!! it's going to be truly amazing. thanks so much for sharing these tips they're great! can't wait to get over to europe one of these days!!! cant wait to see your pics and hear your stories! ahhh

    1. You definitely need to get there! It seems like we're've traveled the states more than I ever have and I've traveled abroad. We should swap notes :)