It was around this time some 3 years ago that I finally made it official and started planning to travel abroad to Europe. Some thought me silly and others expected it to be yet another of my New Years resolutions that I’d never keep. But it was summer and I’d romanced the idea of exploring Europe over many a beer that to back out would have crushed me.
So if your New Years Resolution involves taking a gap year or just an extended time travelling abroad in Europe I’ve collected together some of my most useful content from the last 3 years to help you get started and make planning to travel Europe a reality.
My first big decisions was should I travel solo, with friends or book a group tour. With the luxury of having been there and done it already I can’t recommend Solo Travel enough. It allowed me to gain confidence, become more outgoing and have the freedom to travel however I wanted. It seems scary but if you’ve got the choice between a tour or going it alone with your friends or solo please pick the later.
Next it’s time to look at budgeting for your grand venture. This was the biggest issue I had when planning to travel. I’d been saving but really had no idea how much was going to be enough, the last thing you want is to run short a LONG way from home. As a guide to others following me I documented how much it cost to travel Europe. I noted down costs on:
- Museums and Attractions
- Entertainment (Beer and Partying)
- And more
Use it as a framework to your own travels, not everyone travels the same after all.
As an Australian with dreams to head abroad I’d decided to migrate to the UK like many had done before me. The VISA for the UK offers the greatest freedom to an aussie (or New Zealander and Canadian) heading to Europe to live, work and travel. Consider it your entry ticket to the biggest show you’ll ever attend. Luckily Australian’s can apply for a 2 Year Visa for the UK. The process is really straight forward so please please please don’t use an agency to do it for you, save the money for a weekend in Europe somewhere.
At some point very early on you’ll begin to plan out where you want to go and what you want to see. I started long before I finally committed to buying a plane ticket. By the time I finally did I’d mapped out places I wanted to go and things I wanted to see all over Europe. But I withheld from actually putting up money for hostels (bar my first one), tours or any other costs. I didn’t want to pre book travel when I wasn’t sure if I’d stick to my orignal plan. I wanted complete freedom to go and do whatever I wanted. I collected tips from other travellers and end up finishing my first tour around Europe along the Amalfi Coast in Italy thanks to a tip from someone I’d met. It was and still is one of my most memorable spots in all of Europe.
Having nailed down all the fun things it was time to being planning the move to London. This involved:
- Finding Accommodation
- Looking into Healthcare
- Learning the Transport System
- Getting a Bank Account
- Working out what a National Insurance number was
- And more
I was lucky in that I’d lined up work through a friend beforehand but it never made any of the above easy. I spent months just finding a place to live and navigating the bank/tax system to make sure I’d have money to pay the rent. In this area I wish I’d reached out to a few people before I left home to make the transition easier but live and learn as they say and I sure enjoyed the experience even with the bad luck.
As you sit down planning to travel abroad for the first time or maybe second and third times remember everything I write was what served me best. The above is from my experience and covers how I got the most out of travelling Europe for the first time. Use it as a guide to make your life easier and if you have questions I urge you to ask them in a comment below. I’ve the luxury of having done all the above already and while I may not be able answer all the questions, I’ve an army of friends who share the same passion for travel that I do and most likely can.