Excel, project plans, to-do lists, calendar invites..I love them all equally! And this love came in handy for preparing for THE holiday.
First things first, we started speaking to our respective employers about this and they were surprisingly (and thankfully) very supportive. Travel period was decided for July – August (summers but peak tourist season). Leave approvals, planning for timely closure of ongoing projects (we are both in consulting)..all the official requisites – started in parallel.
Next came the big question – where all do we go? We were certain that we want to go back to Rome (yes, that’s how much we loved it) and just stay there for a fortnight. In retrospect, this was a good decision because it took us the first few days to just unwind and disconnect from work. Pinterest, travel blogs, TripAdvisor..we browsed through it all to narrow down the countries/cities. We essentially listened to our gut (and stomach)..so it was decided that we will spend time in Italy (Peroni and fresh pasta), bit of Spain (Sangria and Iberian ham) and then wrap it with a reminiscent week in London (we used to live there..and a place where you lived immediately after you get married, has a special place in memory altogether). We literally pulled out a map of Italy and traced the possible routes to cover the selected cities. We browsed through festivals/ events in these cities to plan our travel around those dates. While we were able to do that for the Malaga fest, we weren’t lucky enough to get tickets for the UEFA Euro (else we would have been in France too!).
Our flight plan
Sources of information:
Transport (go ‘incognito’ to avoid hiked up prices):
Do search for any deals that may be available at that point of time..we got a pretty decent cashback offer via Citibank. Also, figure out if you prefer BnB (gives a more local, homely feel with facilities like kitchen, balcony/terrace etc) or hotels (housekeeping, breakfast). We often didn’t get cost effective BnBs in some cities (such as Amalfi) and hence chose a hotel. When it comes to BnBs, we started our search well in advance (almost 1 year). While it ensured that we are able to confirm a place before it all gets booked out (disadvantages of traveling in peak season), the flip-side was that a lot of BnB owners were unsure of whether they would be listing in that particular month (they were traveling themselves) or had not listed at all (and hence there might be a very good accommodation that you might miss out on).
Bookings done and bags packed…we were ready to go!