Today a friend of mine that I’m traveling with this summer (Jocelyn) and I spent almost the entire day planning and booking everything for our summer adventure. It took us about 9 hours to decide where exactly we wanted to travel, how we were going to do so, what days we wanted to go everywhere etc. We finally agreed on Greece and Barcelona. We originally were also going to go to Italy but we decided that was going to be to much crammed into 11 days.
After we agreed on where we were going to travel to, we researched! We both got on our computers and Googled everywhere we wanted to go, the quickest/cheapest way to get there and how to go about booking everything. It’s amazing what you can find on Google! They have the answers to everything, including peoples reviews and questions/answers other travelers and locals have posted online, which made it super easy to get our questions answered.
We then started to book! We wanted to book as much as possible so we didn’t have to worry about finding an internet cafe while we were in Europe and having to book things last minute while were over there.
We first booked our flight from Madrid to Barcelona.. after searching buses and trains we discovered a flight was going to be cheaper and take up less of our time. (A bus is about 6 hours and a flight is about 1 hour) We managed to get a flight for about 60 euros through www.edreams.com (a site that searches all low budget airlines to find the best prices). We are going to only spend one night in Barcelona as Jocelyn has already been there and I’d rather spend more time in Greece. We booked our hostel using www.hostelworld.com (an amazing site with hostels all over the world). I LOVE this site, it includes customer reviews and ratings so it helps you find the best possible option for you and your budget. We settled for a hostel called Equity Point Sea.. which is right on the ocean and close to the main attractions. It was also super cheap (25 euros per person/per night).
Our next flight we needed to book was our flight from Barcelona to Athens. This took us a long time to figure out the cheapest flight. Traveling to Greece is one of the most expensive places to travel to in Europe. We searched about 6 different airlines and the cheapest flights we could come up with that departed not in the middle of the night came to about just under $300 (Canadian). We also booked this flight through www.edreams.com. We decided we are going to spend 2 nights in Athens, Greece as after talking to several people we know who have traveled there they said that is all we will need. We booked a hostel through the same website as Barcelona (HostelWorld). They had several different options for Athens, Greece. So many neat sounding hostels!! We originally wanted a hostel called Athenstyle but after continuing to look at the other hostels we found one for about 10 euros cheaper a night that is connected to Athenstyle and has access to Athenstyle and everything it has to offer. Our hostel is called Soph & Chris Northern Backpackers. It offers free internet, 24 hour reception etc. but what appealed to us most is the roof terrace bar that overlooks the Acropolis. We have the rest of the day we arrive in Athens & the night and then the following day we have booked a half day tour through www.viator.com which brings us to the major sightseeing places in Athens and the Acropolis Museum. The tour was about $80.00 (Cdn) each but includes hotel pickup, a full tour to all major sites & entry to all museums.
The Greek Islands
Our next big part of our trip is visiting the Greek islands. We allowed about 6 days for us to do so. We decided to only travel 2 islands because we didn’t want to be rushed and have to be on transit/ferries more then being on the islands themselves. We choose Santorini & Rhodes. We booked our ferries online at www.greekferries.gr and managed to book all our tickets together in a round trip which was cheaper then buying tickets separately for each island. Our tickets came to about 276 euros all together for the both of us and that includes a ferry from Athens to Santorini to Rhodes to Athens. First stop Santorini, we depart Athens bright and early in the morning at about 7:00am. And arrive in Santorini mid afternoon. We booked a hostel called Youth Hostel Anna which is located walking distance from the black sand beach and also offers all the necessary services as well as a lot of help with planning day trips and renting scooters, cars etc. This hostel worked out to be about $65 (cdn) all together, for both of us, for 2 nights. We are contemplating booking a tour of Santorini going to the volcano, Oias etc. using Viator again.
We then have a 5:00am ferry that brings us from Santorini to Rhodes. We are in Rhodes for about 3 days and had a big issue trying to find a hostel in our budget. We didn’t realize that this was an expensive island until after we booked it but in the end we ended up finding a hotel called the Parthenon Hotel which is located near the beach and medieval city as well as has a pool, balconies, private rooms etc.
I have yet to book my flight back from Athens to Madrid but from what I’ve researched it will be around $300 (cdn) again. I’m excited that everything is booked, it took a long time but it will be worth it in the end since I won’t have to worry about it!