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Peek at our most recent trip as well as some travel tips for Europe. There are some easy ways to save as well as make the most of your trip!
Travel Tips for Europe – Make the Most of your Vacation!
NOTE: This was several years ago and well before COVID-19. If you're considering a trip at this time, please check all local regulations so you're prepared ahead of time!
Our family loves to travel.
Several years ago we took a trip to Europe, and after being there for 10 days …. (our first overseas trip as a family – my husband is the only one who's been anywhere outside America, Mexico & Canada before)…..
It was SO good to be home.
We had an amazing time.
Saw a million amazing things.
And loved soaking up a culture so very different from our own.
So many folks messaged me while we're gone asking how we manage to travel on a budget…..
and the truth is that we really do spend all year saving on allllllll the other things so we can see a world outside away from home.
I can't tell you at all that this trip was penny pinched. (My sweet husband did all the planning, and while he's crazy budget conscious almost all of the time, he also knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us!)
But, the truth is . . . we really don't spend all that much most of the time. We don't buy a whole lot of fancy clothes. We eat at home. We spend less than $100 a week on groceries. We really don't shop much (except at our local garden center ~ eek . . . )
We don't go to fancy restaurants and we drive pretty down-to-earth cars.
So we can save big for big-crazy-dreams like this.
For us, crazy abundant trips are where we splurge, and goodness, what a lovely splurge it was.
Here's our itinerary and some Travel Tips for Europe:
Day 1: Friday PM
Flew overnight from Ohio to Washington DC ~ then to Munich, Germany via Lufthansa (I have no idea how we ended up on Lufthansa Airlines but it was a fantastic experience ~ they definitely take amazing care of their passengers and we were totally impressed!)
Day 2 – Saturday
Took train to our hotel in downtown Munich ~ spent the day checking out churches, museums, and shops in downtown Munich and trying to keep awake until 8PM (they're 6 hours ahead of us so we were pretty much exhausted!)
Day 3 – Sunday
Took the Munich Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
My thoughts ~ this was an okay tour because we were exhausted and needed a day to recover, but probably not worth it if you don't have extra time to visit!
- Stopped at the Palace of Nymphenburg and walked around a bit
- Visited the BMW Museum (my husband and kids took the tour and said they could have lived without it ~ if you're a huge car enthusiast this might be worth it, but for us just touring the buildings around the museum was plenty!)
- Visited Olympic Park
- Ate and shopped at Max-Joseph-Platz
Day 4 – Monday
Took a tour bus to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle
My thoughts ~ it is DEFINITELY worth visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle and the walking bridge above it if you're near Munich! But, because we didn't have a car the only way to visit was on a tour bus. The tour of the castle and the grounds was fantastic, but it also took us on through another castle tour and a few smaller city tours ~ I felt like we could have just done the Castle tour and spent more time in that area ~ our tour guides did a great job, but we didn't love having a tight schedule and not being able to slowly meander through the cities we stopped at throughout the day!
Day 5 – Tuesday
Road a train from Munich to Salzburg Austria where we rented a car
- Ate lunch at McDonald's 🙂 (my kids were so ready for a meal from home!) 🙂
- Went to Mondsee, Austria to see the Basilika St. Michael ~ the church in the Sound of Music where the wedding takes place
- Stopped at Aldi (my kids were totally impressed ~ pretzels for 39¢ and amazing chocolate for 49¢? Pure joy!) 🙂
- Shopped and ate our way around Salzburg ~ they have so many chocolate shops in Salzburg ~ we were in heaven 🙂
Day 6 – Wednesday
- Morning – did more sightseeing in Salzburg
- Afternoon – Hallstat Salt Mine tour – I could have skipped this tour but James, Reagan (12) and Caroline 16) really liked it. It was fun to slide down the slide into the mine, and crazy to see what goes on underground in a working mine.
Day 7 – Thursday
Drove from Salzburg to Innsbruck, Austria
- Stopped at Hall in Tirol (we loved this little town – ate at the Der Baker Ruetz for lunch (and had the best caramel coffee ever!)
- Made another quick Aldi stop
- Ate dinner in Innsbruck
Day 8 – Friday
- Road up the Nordkette Tram and hiked to the peek (I didn't make it up to the top because I had terrible tennis shoes on and it was covered in ice. But James and the kids made it all the way up!)
- James and I took Reagan to Sterzing, Italy while the big kids stayed at home and toured the city a bit on their own (meaning ~ they did a load of laundry and found themselves another pretzel at Aldi.) 🙂
Day 9 – Saturday
Drove from Innsburck to Lucerne, Switzerland
- Drove through the country of Liechtenstein on the way ~ it took about 3 minutes to go through the whole country 🙂
- Arrived in Lucerne around 3PM ~ when we found out all the shops in the shopping district would close by 4PM so we window-shopped fast before getting Swiss Fondue for dinner
- Climbed to the top of this clock tower~ we got to the top at 6:55 PM – just in time to watch the clock ring (which was amazing – the workmanship and engineering inside these towers built in the 1400s was incredible!)
Day 10 – Sunday
- Took a boat trip around Lake Lucerne to the neighboring city of Wiggas, Switzerland and hiked up into the mountains. This was probably our favorite day ~ we hiked up into the mountains and saw some amazing sites, had lunch at a small restaurant right on the water, and after walking all day headed back to the hotel. (The hotel looked over the lake as well as a busy city street below ~ I think my kids and husband enjoyed watching fancy cars race up and down the boulevard from our balcony view more than anything else we did on the trip!)
All in all, it was an amazing trip of a lifetime that I never even dreamed we would really do, and I could be more thankful for the things our family saw along the way.
If you're dreaming of making a crazy amazing trip like this, read my favorite tips on how to travel on a budget. I hope these Travel Tips for Europe have been helpful for you!
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