We made arrangements to travel around Europe in May, so I need to make lots of lists, of things I need to take with me, of things I need to do before leaving, things I need to do while traveling. It will be a lot, especially when you travel with a toddler. Eric is 19 months old and he will be 22 months old. So no much difference, really.
He first needed a passport, which we made, and he is mostly set. Our plans for the trip needed to secure that Eric stays happy as much as possible. He needs to eat, to sleep comfortably, to nap when he’s tired, and to basically have whatever he has at home, and that is me and his father, a few toys, clothes and his schedule. So first we planned our way of traveling:
We chose to travel by train, mostly because of the liberty of moving that it gives us. Eric needs to explore the views, he needs space and needs to move around. He is already used to it, as we often go visit his grandma (my mom) to my home town. Plus, a train is cheaper than a plane, and more comfortable than a bus. It has a toilet, you can walk around, and no restrains. Of course a plane would be faster, but getting a toddler to sit still for the take off and landing could be challenging, or let me rephrase that, getting MY toddler to sit still, specially when his ears will feel weird and with all those strangers looking bothered by his complains, would be stressing. We also have two bus rides along the way, but no more than 2.5 hours and hopefully on acceptable hours. The train rides are no more than 6-7 hours at a time, and if more than that and we find night trains we’ll get the ones with bunk beds. Another thing we made sure of is to have traveling options without changing trains or buses, that would be too stressful.
Now that we chose the best way to travel, we thought to check out places we could possibly stay in. We really needed something that at least had a mini fridge, but having a microwave oven or a stove would’ve been awesome. We checked the cheapest hotels rooms with fridge and compared the prices to places on AirBnb, and we realized that clearly studios or 1 bedroom apartments on AirBnb are our best option.
Why? Because we can save some money not needing to eat out that much, we can cook for the baby as we will know exactly what he eats. We can heat his meals, store his breakfast, store milk and yogurt, and be in better locations than the cheapest hotels. And needing a good location was key to our trip plan, because you need fresh water to drink, vegetables and bread daily, yogurt and milk, fruits and maybe a pharmacy. We also needed to be as close to the places we wanted to visit, the cities are big and a toddler can’t handle walking too much or being on the road too much without taking his nap.
So in case you are wondering why so much trouble for a trip, you need to know that we will be on the road for almost a month. This is our schedule:
We will leave town on May 2nd and head to Arad (still Romania) by train and stay there for a night, until May 3rd. The ride is 4 or so hours, so we figured seeing as our next stop is Budapest (Hungary) and that is not too close by either, we will need our rest.
We will most likely stay 3 nights in Budapest (Hungary) also from May 3rd to May 6th, on our way to Vienna (Austria), where we need to arrive on May 6th and we booked 3 days there, until May 9th, planning to visit AT LEAST the zoo there and meet up with a friend. Our next stop is Munich (Germany), from May 9th to May 12th. Next we’ll visit Verona (Italy) for a few days, from May 12th to May 15th, and we have a direct train ride from Munich. After Verona we booked 4 days in Trieste (Italy), from May 15th to May 19th, hopefully we’ll get nice weather as it’s close to the Adriatic Sea
Our fastest and the most direct route from Trieste to Pula (Croatia) is by bus, it’s a 2.5 hours ride so hopefully we will be fine. We”ll stay there from May 19th to May 23rd because we are still near the sea, and we love beaches and the sea smell. We’ll take the bus again from here to Rijeka (Croatia) for almost the same hours and again stay 4 days on the Adriatic Sea beaches, from May 23rd to May 27th. We take the train for our next stop in Zagreb (Croatia) and stay from May 27th to May 29th. We hope Croatia will be our meeting point with another good friend.
Then we leave by train for Belgrade (Serbia), and we hope we’ll meet some friends there and stay from May 29th to June 1st, then head home by train thru Timisoara (Romania), not sure if we need a night here or not, but at least we are close to home.
This is how our map looks like:
So all that planning doesn’t sound too crazy now, is it? Only the routes and cities we chose, but hopefully we’ll have fun and see as much of the places we visit as possible.