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How did we plan our first trip to Europe - in Budget!

Finally, I got some time and sat down to write what I have been procrastinating for long - a mega-post about all you need to know to plan your first vacation in Europe or anywhere abroad, especially when the dream "abroad" destinations are expensive, far and not somewhere you can keep visiting every now and then. We did a lot of research, on some hundred sites/blogs for hotels, trips, and itinerary while planning our first Euro-trip. I want this article (and the Part2 with more budget hacks for Euro Tripsince it was getting too long) to serve as a one-stop DIY guide for backpacking in Europe. But before that a quick background-story as usual. (travel stories, remember? 😊)

Taking up a low-travel desk job and not settling abroad was a conscious decision that my husband and I took so that we could visit our parents (or have them visit us) as often as possible. However, I'd be lying if I say that I never envied the friends working abroad posting #wanderlust photos of Grand…
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A Day at DeHaan- totally off the beaten track in Belgium!

Here comes a post about our lucky goof-up that led us off the beaten track on our well-planned first trip to a distant continent. If you have read my blog about how we planned our first Europe trip, you would know that there was no mention of this place called DeHaan anywhere on our itinerary. So, how did we end up at DeHaan?
Did we miss the train or forget to book a hotel, or was our booking canceled? [Ah, girl's trying to build suspense now👧] We decided that we will lay-over at Antwerp for one night and the next morning we will take off right after breakfast. The station was just 2.5 km away from our hostel and we had already booked out tickets on the previous day, so we were all set to reach a new city by mid-day. By this time I was already under the weather and had my first sleepless night due to an itchy throat. The weather forecast was not too encouraging either, but nothing could bring down my zeal to explore and make the most out of this trip. While we were enjoying the warm…

Trip to Antwerp - The Diamond Capital of Europe

According to legend, a giant was demanding taxes to sail on the river Scheldt, so the local hero Brabo cuts off the giant's hand and throws it away. Throwing away a hand translates to "hand weapon" in Dutch. So there you go, the port city of Belgium gets its name - "Antwerpen", a.k.a., Antwerp.
The city was initially not on our list when we drafted our itinerary, so unlike Paris or Amsterdam, we were pretty clueless about where to go in Antwerp. We took Flix bus from Amsterdam at 10:30 am and reached the Antwerp central station within 12:45 pm. We were to spend just one night at Antwerp before we headed to our next stop planned at Brugges. It was not the perfect weather - the sky was overcast when we reached the station and remained that way for most of the day The Antwerp Centraal, also called "Midden Statie" meaning "middle station" is a must-visit place at Antwerp even if you don't land here by train or bus like we did. Often ranked am…

On our Europe trip - a perfect Spring-break on budget

I shared the story of our planning a Europe trip in my previous article. Now comes the execution part. How can you save money on your Europe trip, that too in a peak season, and in the expensive cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid etc? So this blog is basically structured into 3 parts - review of the hotels/hostels I stayed in, review and technique of using your travel cards to the best of use, and some tips about food that you can have(this last part is curated towards Indians)

Part 1 - Hotel Review Here are some details and my review of the hotels we stayed at, the modes of transport that we used, travel cards we bought and the food we ate while in Europe. Except for Antwerp, where we booked a couple room in a youth hostel at city center, everywhere else we stayed at IBIS hotels at an unbelievable price range of Rs.5000- Rs.6000 including food.

IBIS Budget, Amsterdam City South - We got a fantastic view of quintessential suburban society from our room on the 14th floor, about 13 km…

Roadtrip- Bangalore to Bekal

Bekal is a beautiful fortified town in Kasargod, Kerala. Famous for the Bekal fort and sand beaches this is still among the lesser known jewels in the crown of God's own country. About 380 km from Bangalore, the road trip from Bangalore to Bekal is a journey to remember. On your way, you'll pass through the beautiful hills stations of Madikeri in Karnataka. The road to Bekal is mostly in great condition except for the last stretch along the hills of Kerala.
The Plan This was one of those whimsical trips where we decided on the day, duration and destination just a day before the trip. With the football world cup fever on we didn't want to miss out on the matches, hence chose to set off on Friday morning (29th June) - an off day before the round of 16. My husband longed for the hills and I was craving for some beach time, so I looked up the internet and found this amazing place called Bekal Fort. This is famous for being the location where the popular Hindi song "tu hi r…