Summer Eurotrip Breakdown

Posted:

09.17.2014

Filed in:

travel

Last time I went to Europe, I did a post on my basic travel itinierary. I’ve gotten some messages and emails from people asking if I’d do the same thing this time around- so here it is! This trip was very different from my first one with Kasey. Rather than flying everywhere, I trained to pretty much every city this time around and I LOVED it. The train from Zurich to Lake Como was so incredibly beautiful and I’m so glad I was on the ground seeing the sites and not up in the air. I definitely recommend training yourself between Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, and all of those central countries, as the views are actually perfect.

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Things to First Note:

I have never trained around Europe before, so when I was buying tickets, I didn’t take into consideration which country I was buying from. With that being said- make sure you buy tickets through the country’s site in which you’ll be departing from so you can print them off at the station!

For example, when I was in Zurich and needed to get to Lake Como, I had purchased my ticket through Trenitalia- an Italian train ticket company. While it’s the same train leaving from Zurich, I wasn’t able to print the ticket off in Switzerland, so I had to BUY a new train ticket for the same train for the sole purpose of having a ticket to hold and get checked. Also, when in Germany, I had purchased my ticket through the Austrian site, OBB, as I was heading to Vienna. Problem was that I couldn’t print my OBB ticket off at the Germany train station! Yikes! Luckily the ticket man took pity on me and let me just print the ticket off at the Salzburg station when we arrived. Here’s a list of the countries I visited and their online ticket shops for future reference!:

Switzerland: SBB
Italy: Trenitalia
Germany: Bahn
Austria: OBB
Belgium: B-Rail

Also note that I didn’t get a Eurail pass. While these are great if you’re traveling for a long time and not sure where you’ll end up- it didn’t make sense for me to get one as I planned this trip to a T. I ended up saving well over $300 in comparison to buying a Eurail pass just by booking the tickets individually ahead of time.

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Zurich

Flight:
Route– Washington DC to Zurich
Booking Site– Student Universe
AirlineAir France
Travel Time– 7 hours to Paris, 1 hour layover, 1.5 hours to Zurich- Total time:
Cost– ~$450 with travel insurance

Hostel:
None, did an Air BnB trade- couples portraits for a 2 night stay! I stayed here with Anna + Christopher!

Extras:
Day pass for the tram, food + drink (it’s quite an expensive city- a chai tea latte at Starbucks was $8!)

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Lake Como

Train:
Route– Zurich –> Lugano –> Como
Booking Site– Trenitalia
Travel Time– Approximately 5 hours
Cost– $22

Note: Could not print the ticket at the Swiss station, so I had to buy a NEW ticket for $99! Still have to contact the station and get a refund, boo.

Hostel:
Lake Como Youth Hostel,  €22 per night

Extras:
 €3 bus ticket up to Menaggio,  €7 ferry ride to Varenna, LOTS of pizza + pasta + wine. (Wine was cheaper than water, by the way!  €3 for a half a liter!)

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Venice

Train:
Route– Varenna –> Milan –> Venice
Booking Site– Purchased day-of ticket at Milan station
Travel Time– Approximately 4 hours
Cost– €35

Hostel:
Generator Venice,  €34 per night

Extras:
 €7 ferry ride from train station, day pass for the ferry, food + drink!

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Munich

Train:
Route– Venice –> Verona –> Munich
Booking Site– Bahn
Travel Time– Approximately 8 hours
Cost– €69

Hostel:
Euro Youth Hostel,  €20 per night

Extras:
BEER. BRATS. PRETZELS. Did I say beer?

Note: I had this train ticket mailed to me, so I already had it printed when I was in Venice.

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Vienna

Train:
Route– Munich –> Salzburg –> Vienna
Booking Site– OBB
Travel Time– Approximately 4 hours
Cost– €30

Hostel:
Hostel Ruthensteiner,  €18 per night

Extras:
€7 all day metro pass, food + drink

Note: This ticket should have been previously printed or purchased through Bahn, as I was leaving from Germany.

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Bruges + Brussels

Overnight Sleeper Train:
Route– Vienna –> Frankfurt –> Brussels –> Bruges
Booking Site– OBB
Travel Time– Approximately 12 hours
Cost– €70

Bruges –> Brussels Train:
Cost- €6

Hostel:
St. Christopher’s Inn Bruges, €20 per night
Brxxl 5 City Center Hostel, €25 per night

Extras:
€5 day bus pass, food + drink

Note: Do not stay in Brussels, spend more time in Bruges.

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London + The Cotswolds

Flight:
Route– Brussels –> London Gatwick
Booking Site– Easy Jet
Airline- Easy Jet
Travel Time– Approximately 1.5 hours
Cost– £55

London Victoria –> Kemble (Cotswolds) Roundtrip Train:
Cost- approximately £50

Hostel:
None, stayed with a great friend in the city!

Extras:
£30 Taxi to Bibury (styled shoot location), Oyster card (so convenient!! only £5 and it’s refundable if you turn the card back in!), food + drink

Note: More reason to not enjoy Brussels- they wouldn’t check me into my flight even though I still had 45 minutes until departure! No one was at security and I could have easily made my flight. Had to rebook for $80 and wait 10 hours for the next flight- such a pain. Out of the dozens and dozens of flights I’ve taken in my life, this was the first time I’ve “missed” one!

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Return Home

Flight:
Route– London Heathrow –> Washington, DC (Dulles)
Booking Site– Student Universe
Airline– Virgin Airlines
Travel Time– 8 hours
Cost– ~$500 with travel insurance

I hope this might help anyone looking to train around Europe this fall, next spring, or even summer! Go book that ticket- it’s worth it!!

  1. Natalie

    September 17th, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I never would have thought about the train ticket location! That’s an amazing tip! Ah! You are such an awesome traveler!

  2. Lindsay

    September 17th, 2014 at 8:07 am

    LOVE this!!! Ahh this fuels my wanderlust soooo bad!

  3. Dani

    September 17th, 2014 at 8:36 am

    This is seriously awesome, Caitlin!! I am so excited about the way you get to see the world!

  4. Anna

    September 17th, 2014 at 8:58 am

    oh trains…my husband was supposed to take the train to new york yesterday and a pole fell onto the track wires, so all trains were cancelled into the afternoon! when travel plans don’t go right it can be such a headache…and you were on your own! i’m so proud of you for making travel such a priority and just taking things as they come when you are on the road. and i love these breakdown posts! it does make it seem so very accessible. you give me wanderlust!!

  5. Erin Wheeler

    September 17th, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Wow these are some amazing tips! So jealous of all the amazing traveling you get to do! Beautiful images!

  6. Emilia Jane

    September 17th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    You are so organized! Love this

  7. Brea

    September 17th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    You are such an impressive traveler!

  8. Renee

    September 17th, 2014 at 10:27 am

    You should be a part time travel agent!

  9. Sarah Beth Tapanes

    September 17th, 2014 at 10:32 am

    This is SO helpful!!!! And you’re travel photos? To DIE for. We would have LOVED to have hit all those places while in Europe! So so so awesome!

  10. Jackie Phillips

    September 17th, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I love the photos and your travels looked amazing!

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