The Europe Itinerary Part 6

This post will be the last part of my Europe Itinerary blog series. A quick recap on my previous post, if you have noticed the way I planned the time in Paris, it’s different than in Switzerland. It was planned to be more flexible, allowing each planned item to move earlier or later, depending on the actual day itself. In fact, the frequency of metro service is quite high, I do not need to specifically plan the departure/arrival time of each metro service.

Proceeding from my arrival to London St. Pancras, I have arranged with my¬†friend to pick me up from the train station. That should be the end of my Day 6 plan. Next morning (Day 7) I’ve planned to revisit a few usual attractions in Central London. I listed down where I want to go, then I plotted the route to these destinations.

First of all, you need a London Underground Map or a London Tourist Map. Alternately, you can try Google Map online. A sample of my plotted map below.

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On Day 8 (last day) early morning, I will be heading to Waterloo Station, crossing over to visit London Eye. I’ve also arranged to meet up with some of my friends in London for lunch. After lunch, I should be heading to London Stansted Airport for check in. Tips: Allow at least 2 hours check in time for international flight. If at London Heathrow Airport, allow at least 3 hours instead!

That’s basically my whole Europe itinerary. However, when there’s vacation plan, there’s budget! Budget is about money. We need to estimate how much money we need to bring along for spending. Of course you can use credit card, but it’s always safer to keep some cash in hand. Below is my Europe Trip budget for 2 persons, excluding return airfares and travel insurance.

I will cover my next blog series of The Europe Excursion pretty soon. Do check back.

The Europe Itinerary Part 1

It was a quick decision made to visit Europe during autumn 2009. The AirAsia promotional airfare (during Oct 08) from KUL – STN¬†was so attractive that I’ve made the booking immediately! That leave me roughly 11 months to plan and prepare for the trip. It was just a¬†8 days trip, and I have decided to go to 3 specific places (and countries) on backpack! The first thing to plan your itinerary: (1) Lock down your destination(s).

I’ve been studying and working in London for 3 years, hence staying longer in the UK was not my plan. I would just estimate my stay in London for 2 days (6 days left). My next preferred destination was Interlaken, and of course Jungfraujoch (pronounced as Yong-Frau-York)¬†in¬†Switzerland. This was the place I have missed out¬†from my last visit to Switzerland 5 years ago, and I’m definitely heading to the Alps this time! Last but not least, Paris is a romantic destination you cannot miss if you are travelling with your partner.

Once you have picked your destinations, (2) draft your travel route in a map, it’s as easy as joining the dots! Google Map offer a good way to start. Plotting your travel route in a map will let you have a general idea of where you will be going, and it also let your friends and family know your whereabouts during the trip. Below is my travel map.

If you have noticed, Interlaken is not plotted in the map. Sometimes, the place you wanted to go may not have airport for you to reach there. The nearest airport is either Berne, Zurich or Geneva; and perfectly, Interlaken was situated in between these Swiss city! I have decided to fly to Zurich and head south towards Interlaken and Geneva.

Interlaken is the entry point for most visitors to Jungfraujoch Рthe top of Europe, I did some homework to find out the local attractions and tour packages. Most tour suggested that Jungfraujoch is a full day excursion, that would make my stay for at least 2 nights in Interlaken (3 days left).

My next focused destination is Paris, France. From Interlaken to Paris, I found out we have 2 possible routes: Berne-Paris via train or Geneva-Paris via flight (or train). Travel via rail is obviously cheaper than flight, but it takes longer time, often 1-2 hours more. Besides that, I have to check the timetable for the best possible schedule according to my itinerary.

My initial plan does not include Berne as a travel point. Now I have to find out what I can do in Berne versus Geneva, and then decide where I should depart from Switzerland to France.¬†¬†I have been to Berne in my previous trip,¬†it’s¬†the capital of Switzerland, a¬†beautiful medieval¬†town with cobblestone streets. Geneva on the other hand, has a diverse history dating back to the Protestant Reformation. Situated along the banks of Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps, Geneva is a paradise for landscape photographers!

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While I have no decision yet whether to depart from Berne or Geneva, let’s continue my planning on Paris. I would like to know what attractions we have in Paris, google search result returns with tons of places to visit in Paris. Estimate stay for 2 nights in Paris (0 days left).

Below is my drafted itinerary so far. Continue with Part 2.

Travel to Europe via AirAsia

This post is meant to provide a guide to Malaysian travelers to Europe via AirAsia. Take note that at the time of this writing, AirAsia do not have direct flights to other European countries yet. You have to transit via London. Let’s take a look on the flight schedules* to London Stansted (STN) from Kuala Lumpur (KUL).

Outgoing Flights Schedule *As of 1st Feb 2010
D7 2008 1230 (KUL) – 1930 (STN)
  1510 (KUL) Р2210 (STN)
  0900 (KUL) Р1600 (STN)
D7 2006 2200 (KUL) – 0500 (STN)

At a glance, we knew that all 3 flights on D7 2008 will arrive at London in the evening, and it would be too late to transit to another European countries. Even if you can make it, your arrival to your destination will be midnight already. Trust me, you don’t want to ruin your holiday catching a late night train or knocking at a guest house/hostel.

On the other hand, I will recommend you to take the D7 2006 flight, which will arrive at London in the morning (next day). At this time, you would have plenty of options to transit to your destination (earlier too). Need help finding transit flights? I used eBookers to search, book and pay for my transit Europe airfares, particularly for London outbound.

When searching for transit flight, take note that London outbound flights will have several options, it might either from London Stansted, London Luton, London Gatwick, London City Airport, or London Heathrow. You must allocate time for your travel between airports, check-in, immigration and custom, etc.

Approximate Distance of London Airports to London City Center

My advise for airfare, book earlier to get cheaper price and avoid disappointment. If you can’t find any available, probably the fare has not been publish yet. This is common to budget airlines in Europe. I usually booked mine 1-2 months ahead of schedule. For non-budget airlines like British Airways, you can usually book and pay for the airfare¬†2-3 months ahead, if you have confirmed your itinerary.