Around Europe in 60 days

How to plan a Europe trip, without hurting your wallet? TNIE finds out from globetrotting couple Lentin Joseph and Aleena Johny

author_img Mahima Anna Jacob Published :  04th October 2022 11:00 PM   |   Published :   |  04th October 2022 11:00 PM
Europe travel

Europe travel

Europe is a dream destination for many of us. Being one of the most diverse continents, it has something for everyone. With deep-rooted history, Europe is a melting pot of cultures along with the ease of travelling between countries, makes it an ideal travel destination. 

However, a two-week trip to Europe would be a tricky deal, which would require a huge sum. But imagine exploring Europe for two months.

Lentin Joseph and Aleena Johny who run a robotics startup Qbotics Labs in Kochi recently struck off their most anticipated Europe trip from their bucket list. The couple, who explored 13 countries sat down with TNIE to discuss their dream trip.

A 60-day journey to Europe would come with a lot of challenges, especially while travelling on your own. How was the experience?
We visited Switzerland, France and Venice last year. That one-month-long trip gave us the confidence to take this big leap to cover 13 countries. For a beginner, depending on a Europe package would be safe, but this would also mean sacrificing a lot of other destinations. Many of them include six to eight countries. The amount would be higher as accommodation and food are also added. When we searched, we came across a nine-day package and it covers only three destinations and the cost for two was around Rs 4 lakh, for us that wasn’t ideal. Our travel did come with some fair share of struggles, but with planning, thorough research, and prior bookings we were able to limit the cost without sacrificing on destinations. 

What are the destinations you visited and how much did they cost? 
Before the trip, we took a UK and Schengen visa. Initially, the plan was just to attend our relative’s wedding in Manchester. Around 15 days before the trip we decided to cover most of Europe. We started on July 19 and returned on September 14. Our first destination was England. We covered London, Manchester, and Stockport. Next was Wales, known for its rugged coastline, mountains, and beautiful cafes. From there we travelled to other countries, Scotland is known for gothic architecture, whiskey distilleries, landscapes, and music. Then to Amsterdam, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy etc. 
We spent at least a week in each place. Including travel charges, food and accommodation, we spent around I12-15 lakh. This was a great deal. 

How did you plan your trip to cut costs?
Let’s start with the airline cost. We didn’t choose the off-season, instead, we opted for the summer season — the ideal time to visit Europe. We booked air tickets way before the trip. Booking during a weekend or closer to the date of travel will mostly increase airfare. The same method of prior booking applies to accommodation as well. Using, we booked accommodation closer to areas with intercity transportation. We also have the option of making payment after reaching the property. Public transportation is convenient and costs less. To do long-distance journeys, trains were booked prior to the trip. 

Also, buses in European countries are cheap. Weekly passes too are available. This even covers Tram, Metro, special trains, and some tourist spots as well. In Italy, transportation cost us only 28 Euros in total. We travelled to the Vatican from Rome on the metro. Cabs would only add to the expense.
In many places, breakfast is added along with accommodation. While travelling throughout the day, minimal intake of food is advised. The chances of consuming fast food are high, along with that veggies, and fruits can prevent you from falling sick. Having Nutri bars can satisfy immediate hunger. For food, we set a daily budget of 50 euros. It can go down to even 30 euros. Proper planning helps save a lot of money. 

Since you both run a company of your own, the luxury of taking these many days is possible. But for others, how many days would be ideal to visit most parts of Europe? 
One month is the ideal period. In many companies, 30 days’ leaves are provided. In the IT profession, if you quit, you will get roughly a three months gap before taking up the next job. Above all what you need is the passion to travel. In pictures, it would all look so effortless and pretty. But we put in so much effort to experience and explore this diverse continent. The proximity of places we chose was close. There have been apprehensions about whether one should take many clothes while travelling. Not many people know of laundry facilities. There are self-laundry services and it would cost less than 10 euros. It is not fun to travel with suitcases filled with clothes. 

What are the other areas where one would incur expenditures?
It’s vital to carry medicines from your home country itself. In Europe, medical shops wouldn’t provide antibiotics without consultation. For a consultation, one would have to spend 150 euros just to get the medicines prescribed. 

Using credit cards while spending is highly recommended. Keep only 60 euros in cash. One should also beware of pickpocketing. In case credit cards don’t work, a forex card comes to play. Use a Matrix Sim card to avoid depending on local Sim. In this, you can get a 60-day pack, where calls are unlimited and 25 GB of data per month. 

How did you decide on the locations and which one was your favourite? 
We enjoyed Santorini, an island in Greece. The whitewashed, cubiform houses facing the blue sea are a beautiful sight one should never miss. The mediocre resorts would cost I 5,000 per day, whereas expensive ones can go up to 30 grand. The next one is Switzerland. The picturesque place can be explored if travelled by train. The train journey cost us over I 75,000. It was expensive. However, by adjusting food and shopping less, Switzerland can be experienced on a budget.