Travel

i’m back!!

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For those of you who have not been following me on social media (@jen_brunetteanthem), to get you up to speed I took a little hiatus from work and have been traveling parts of Europe for the last three and a half weeks.  A long vacation I know, but it was much needed.

After a grueling winter in Minnesota this last year and not taking any vacation time for more than a couple days in almost a year, I was in need of a little R&R.  So when my colleague/friend decided to quit her job and travel the world I asked if I could tag along for a few weeks.

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When she agreed to my attendance we got to planning right away.  I started saving money where I could by limiting my personal spending (AKA clothing and food), putting my gym membership on hold, carpooling to work, etc. With these small changes I was able to save up a bit of money.  However, initially I was budgeting based on starting my travels at the end of September.  That all changed when she told me that the first leg of her trip would begin in early July and would be a month in Paris. (Just an FYI…it is cheaper to book an Airbnb stay for a month rather than a few days or weeks).

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It is of course every girls dream to someday visit Paris, so I did what any rational girl would do and opened a new credit card!  I killed two birds with one stone.  I got a credit card with the security chip that is necessary to have in many parts of Europe, and I came up with money for my trip.  (I of course will be continuing my strict budget when I return to the states to pay off the debt I built up, so don’t expect too many posts anytime soon about clothing purchases sadly).

Anyways…knowing that my first destination would be Paris, I started researching new flight routes to get into Europe as quickly and cheaply as possible.  Delta actually had a few flights to Europe that they offered for only 60,000 points!  I sadly didn’t have enough points saved up at the time, so I had to go a different route and just search for the cheapest destination out of Minneapolis.

After a few weeks of looking on multiple websites such as Kayak.com, and all of the flight research I had done prior to knowing that I would be moving up my trip by a couple of months, I landed on flying in and out of Copenhagen, Denmark.  It was only $1k and offered the shortest length of time flying + layovers.

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The funny thing is though, my layover from Minneapolis to Denmark was in none other than Paris.  After doing some research and calling Delta to see what would happen if I didn’t get on the second leg of my flight, I was informed that they would cancel the remaining flights.  AKA no return flight for little old me.  (Being stuck in Europe wouldn’t be such a bad thing would it?)

With that being said, because I didn’t want to waste 9 additional hours of flying to Denmark from Paris and then back, as well as paying for a flight from Denmark to Paris (which was my original plan to help save on expenses), I decided to take the hit of a change fee and pay an extra $334 to have my flight be direct to Paris.  In the long run I’m happy I did it because it saved me a bunch of time and I still ended up saving about $300 for a direct flight to Paris in the middle of July! (Originally when I was looking a flight to Paris was around $1600!!!)

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From there, my friend and I started researching cheap travel options for our trip after our time would be up in Paris (4 weeks for her and 2 weeks for me), and we landed on Venice as our next destination.  Seeing that trains were not always necessarily the cheapest or fastest we used Skyscanner as a means to book a cheap flight through EasyJet to Venice at the cheap rate of just under $70.

After Venice we then decided to go outside the norm and venture towards Slovenia.  Rick Steves, who my friend loves and I learned to love, talked about the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, being like a small Prague.  With that recommendation we knew we wanted to end in Ljubljana and decided to make a couple pit stops along the way, first in Trieste, Italy and then in Piran, Slovenia.  We were able to find cheap bus and rail transportation that was regionally focused in these areas.  (If/when you look, try to steer clear of global Euro trains and go for more regional offerings because they are more reasonably priced).

After finalizing all of our transportation and lodging, it was just a waiting game while my excitement built up!

Over the next couple of weeks I will share with you more details of the trip, tips and tricks when traveling, and my ideas for what’s next.  I’m so glad that I was able to make this trip happen and know that it won’t be the last.  There is a whole world out there that you should see and experience.  Start making your bucket list of places to visit and get to budgeting both your money and paid time off so that you can experience what so many want to experience but never do!

Au revoir! Ciao! Poslovite!

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