We cannot believe that our 7-month European summer is over. Just like that.
Before we set off to enjoy the beach in Cancun, we spent one last weekend in London where we first began our trip. We sat on the London tube en route to our friend’s house and it felt as if we were just getting ready to begin. It sure as heck didn’t feel like 7 months ago that we were catching that same tube to the airport.
When we began planning this 18-month trip, as exciting as it was, it did feel a little bit insane. How could we quit our jobs and lifestyle in NYC and go living out of a backpack every day, never having a home base, working on the road, spending every waking hour side by side, learning to budget in some of the most expensive cities in the world?
All of these thoughts crossed our mind and some of them we are still figuring out, such as our budgeting, but there are 3 things we’ve definitely nailed and that’s still being married (and happily), working on the road (WiFi is our best friend) & having amazing backpack organization. So regardless of a few minor details, we feel ready to begin a new chapter in an all-new continent and thank goodness the prices of things are going to get a little cheaper than Europe! $4 for 4 tacos coming right up, please!
We know we’ve sent out many posts over our travels but this time around we wanted to give you an insight to some of our most memorable experiences, our favourite or least favourite things, some average costs & how we survived each other side by side, every waking hour.
The most important thing a lot of people ask and I’m sure most people wonder, without asking, is how have we gotten along this whole time? Well, we can safely say, other than a few (drunken) fights we have had each other’s back day in and day out. We understand each other’s moods & needs very well and most of the time can pinpoint when it’s time to back off or come closer. We work together when necessary and generally have the same idea of things we want to do/see so there’s very rarely any conflict.
The biggest piece of advice we could give to anyone wanting to do a long extended trip with the same person, whether it be a partner or even a friend is pure, clear communication. You cannot and will not survive without it.
Top Experience in Each Country
Choosing just one thing that stood out from each country was almost impossible. Obviously, as you all know, we love to eat the all the foodz, so the different food in each country was definitely a continuous highlight but besides that, we did try to pinpoint the second most memorable thing from each country.
- London – VIP seats at the Liverpool vs AC Villa soccer semi-final match
- Scotland – Listening to bagpipes in the Scottish Highlands
- Ireland – Visiting the ever-green Cliffs of Moher
- Morocco – Camping in the Sahara (although we know this isn’t in Europe)
- Spain – Eating all the tapas, drinking the sangria and partying
- Portugal – Exploring the beaches in Lagos and consuming all of the Portuguese tarts in Portugal.
- South of France– Learning/drinking wine at a winery tour in St Paul de Vence
- Monaco – Visiting the Monte Carlo Casino and not being allowed in because we wore flip flops.. whoops!
- Turkey – Paragliding in Southern Turkey and hot air ballooning in Cappadocia – we couldn’t choose between the two!
- Greece – Kayaking to watch the Santorini sunset & seeing both Emily and Jacob’s family members
- Croatia – Sailing between all of the islands, the favourite town being Dubrovnik.
- Albania– Drinking a 2L beer for less than a Euro.
- Montenegro – The awesome water sports (even though Emily lost her swim bottoms)
- Italy – Hiking the villages of Cinque Terre
- Austria – Sampling a wiener schnitzel the size of our heads
- Hungary – Drinking at all the Ruin Bars
- Czech Republic – Exploring the near-perfectly preserved medieval town of Cesky Krumlov
- Germany – Oktoberfest
- Holland – What happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam.
- Paris – Viewing Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Below are a few basic stats of the transport we’ve taken, the accommodation we’ve slept in and the countries/cities we’ve visited so far.
- Cities visited: 55
- Countries visited: 18
- Flights: 17
- Trains: 22
- Bus: 10
- Ferry: 9
- Hostels: 16
- Airbnb: 14
- Hotels: 9
- Camping: 1
- Boats: 2
- Overnight ferry: 2
- Overnight train: 4
- Airport floor: 1 (and hopefully not again)
- Friend’s houses: 4 (Thank you to our awesome friends/family that hosted us!)
Visitors & Hosts
We’ve been very lucky to have had so many visitors, both friends and family plus a few old friends whose travel plans have overlapped with ours, and of course the friends/family who have hosted us at their house. We’ve made many new friends along our travels but nothing beats seeing a familiar face in a foreign country!
Average daily spend on food – 30€. This was our daily budget to spend on food. For breakfast, we always ate at our respective accommodation which made a big difference to the day’s spending however for the rest of the meals we tried hard to stick to the budget because otherwise there’s no point in having one.
Average spend on alcohol/partying – Way too much! If you don’t drink alcohol, you can travel the world for 2-5x the length of us. It really eats into your budget. The plus side of this was Emily finally started to drink wine which cut the alcohol costs in half – vodka can be expensive! For each city we visited we usually had one night out on the booze, to experience the nightlife and to see another side of the city.
Average spend on accommodation per night – €50 ($25 each) but keep in mind some were as cheap as €15 and our most expensive was for Oktoberfest in Munich at a whopping €85 per bed. #ripoff!
Most expensive meal – A 6-course dinner at a very highly rated restaurant in San Sebastian. The culinary capital of the world. I mean we had too!
Cheapest meals – Albania & Greece.
Most expensive cities – Paris, London, Munich (Munich purely during Oktoberfest)
Cheapest cities – Albania, Budapest
Best value cities – Berlin, Prague
Below are a few our favourite experiences, countries, cities, foods & transport.
Favourite experiences – Camping in the Sahara (not Europe but we’re including it anyway), hot air ballooning and paragliding in Turkey, renting a boat to drive around the Island of Capri and Oktoberfest.
Favourite country – Greece. We absolutely loved Greece as the people were so friendly and fun, the food is amazingly delicious, the beaches are beautiful and all of the Greek islands have something different about them, a unique personality.
Favourite all round cities – Barcelona, Budapest and Berlin.
Favourite foods – Tapas in San Sebastian, cheese & meat platters in Nice
Most eaten food – Ice cream/gelato, cheese and meat plates, sandwiches, yoghurt.
Favourite form of accommodation – Airbnb. Nothing beats having your own space. Space where we could work, cook & most importantly sleep without being woken by outrageous snorers. We couldn’t recommend Airbnb more if we tried. It’s always cheaper as a couple unless you opt for a 6+ dorm room in a hostel.
Favourite form of transport – Train. Travel by train is by far our favourite way to get around, especially being so convenient in Europe. The stations are always located in the centre of the city which makes it a lot cheaper to get to your accommodation. You don’t have to be there 2 hours before, it’s 95% on time, they have power outlets and sometimes Wi-Fi & you can see parts of a country just by staring out the window.
We used the Euro Rail Global Pass for 2 months of our trip for travel through Italy, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands and Paris.
The EuroRail Pass seems like a walk in the park but there are so many different options, you really need to study it before you choose which one will suit your travel needs. Note; that even when you buy the pass, the trains still have reservation fees that you must pay on top of the bulk cost.
The most disliked form of transport – Flying. Too much drama/time wasted goes into flying especially when you have checked baggage. A 1-hour flight can easily turn into 5-6 hours of transport door-to-door and it’s much more expensive getting to and from an airport on the outskirts of a city than it is a train station.
Lost items – Fortunately, we have been very lucky to keep all of our belongings with us, however, in saying that we’ve still lost a couple of small insignificant things such as a pair of shorts (Emily), Jacob’s toiletries and a couple of brain cells.
Lessons learnt – Life goes on if things don’t go according to schedule, plans can change very easily, things work out even if it means changing your route or losing money.
We do wish we looked up required visas properly which unfortunately meant we had to spend extra time in some countries while missing out on others such as Poland & Belgium. I guess it’s not THAT bad considering the amount we did still see but hey lesson learnt, check important documents before leaving!
Although our adventure isn’t over, our European chapter has and the things we can look back on already is beyond amazing. Every day we talk about how lucky we feel to be doing what we’re doing and we thank you for following us!
It’s now time to explore Central America… Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama!
Married days survived: 233