Happy summer, friends! After almost a 2 month hiatus from writing blog posts, I’m back! 🙂 Life gets busy and unfortunately blogging is one of the first things to go when that happens to me. I’m sure many of you can relate. Anyways, quite a lot has happened since the last time I wrote a post. More specifically, I went to Europe and back! About two years ago, my good friends Rachel & Jared up and moved their lives to the UK. I asked Rachel before she left, “If I come visit you in London, can we take a trip to Greece too?” Her answer was yes, of course. How do you say no to Greece!? Well yes, it is expensive, and yes, I did use up almost all my vacation time for this trip…but it was worth it! When else will I have good friends living abroad? I kept telling myself this and decided that yes, I needed to go and it needed to happen this summer. With that being said, I wanted to share my trip itinerary with you, as well as a few planning tips.
In upcoming posts, I’ll share more specifics (and pictures!) about each city we visited.
Europe Trip Itinerary & Planning Tips
6-9 months before: Decide when and where you are going. What works for everyone’s schedules? Where do you want to go? Budget? Expectations? Goals? We used Google Chat to organize and plan “face to face” since we were all in various locations. P.S. Make sure you have your passport! If you’re interested, here’s an article with some other trip-planning tips.
4-6 months before: Buy overseas tickets. After tracking a few different airport locations, we ended up flying out of the Toronto Airport (YYZ). It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from CLE but the savings was worth it! We got a direct flight from YYZ to Gatwick (LGW) and a direct flight from Athens (ATH) to YYZ for under $500 total. Yes! You read that right! It was through AirTransat which is a budget airline but was still very nice. Yay Canada!
2-4 months before: Buy tickets for other modes of transportation. We needed to buy a flight from London to ATH, as well as two other short flights between islands. We also had to buy ferry tickets. Rachel and Jared took a very similar trip to Greece in October 2016, so they were LIFESAVERS and so knowledgeable about all of the inter-country modes of transportation. (Try to figure out the bus systems on the various Greek islands and you’ll soon appreciate your friends who are transportation masters!)
1-2 month before: Make sure you have all your packing essentials. I bought and borrowed quite a few things to make sure my trip went smoothly. I’ll share more in an upcoming post about what I brought with me, as well as what I wished I would’ve and wouldn’t have packed. Spoiler alert: You don’t need much. Bring comfy shoes and sunscreen!
- Saturday (Day 1): Drive to Toronto; Depart YYZ at 10 PM; Arrive LGW at 10 AM…hello, jet lag!
- Sunday (Day 2): Explore Reading, England & catch up with Rachel and Jared.
- Monday (Day 3): Train to London & see the sights…go to afternoon tea!
- Tuesday (Day 4): Visit Windsor (& the queen!) and tour the city of Oxford.
- Wednesday (Day 5): Fly to Greece…check in at AirBnB and then stroll the streets of Athens. Eat copious amounts of Greek salad. Check, check, and check!
- Thursday (Day 6): Immerse in a bit of Greek history by visiting the Acropolis!
- Friday (Day 7): Fly to Santorini and cry because it’s just so dang beautiful there. Get lost in Fira and Oia, the two main cities on this island.
- Saturday (Day 8): Beach day (Perivolos Beach) finally! Relax and enjoy the views…feel like you’re famous and in a movie! Drink wine at Santos Winery while watching the sunset.
- Sunday (Day 9): Say goodbye to Santorini and ferry to Paros. Take a deep breath because you’ll lose it soon when you realize you’ve arrived in paradise. Walk around and be grateful (while eating honey-soaked Greek pastries).
- Monday (Day 10): Rent ATVs or something similar and discover some of the most beautiful beaches and coves you’ve ever laid eyes on. Pretend you’re a mermaid…because you kinda are! Flirt with Greek men.
- Tuesday (Day 11): Leave Paros but promise you’ll return. Ferry to Mykonos and get ready to party! It’s not Mykonos, it’s MykonOSSSSSSSS! Browse the cute shops and sip on pricey drinks in “Little Venice” overlooking the infamous windmills.
- Wednesday (Day 12): Another beach day…yay! Sadness will creep up because you know you leave tomorrow, but be happy because you’re still in Greece. Also, perhaps wear no sunscreen because you want to come home tan and make friends jealous. 😉
- Thursday (Day 13): Fly from Mykonos to ATH…and brace yourself for a 10 hour flight back home…errr to Toronto. Say goodbye but see you soon to ex-pat Rachel (and the Greek islands). Return home with bittersweet feelings but lean in towards the sweetness.
That’s it for now, folks! Like I promised, I’ll be posting more details shortly.