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[Planning our Holiday]

Firstly, here, some stuff you may find useful ...

Now, onto some more reading ...

Being our first 'big' holiday, we really weren't too sure about anything overseas - we didn't know if any communication would be in English, let alone have any idea of how to get around. So, we knew we had to spend quite a lot time researching and planning every aspect of our trip, so we knew exactly where would be on any given day.

First task was to find out the most basic details about flight dates and costs so we could plot everything against the flight times that naturally could not be changed. We happened to stumble on Lisa from Escape Travel Marion who was really helpful with our initial enquiries. Lisa also told that from Australia, our best bet was to land in Frankfurt (Germany) which is one of the biggest transport hubs in Europe. So Frankfurt it was.

Before we could buy our flight tickets, we had to arrange our passport. So we completed the application form, went to get some photos taken, and then took the lot to the post office to lodge the paperwork. A week or two later and the passports arrived. Immediately afterwards we purchased our flight tickets from Adelaide to Frankfurt, then Rome to Cairo and back, and from Rome back to Australia. At the same time, Lisa from Escape Travel also helped us arrange our visa documents for entry to Egypt, basically we filled out a form and she did the rest.

Once we had some idea of flights, we started looking around the Internet, we came up with a wish list of places we wanted to see. The next task was to work out the best route to get around to all our destinations without back tracking.
Some of the Internet resources we used include:

We used these, and various others Internet resources to find more details about our wishlist of destinations. I also enlisted the help of my brother Oowan, plus also big thanks to my Internet friends - Sophie from Austria, and Mel from Germany. All these people were invaluable as far as providing general advice that might gave otherwise taken hours to find online!

We finally came up with a map that looked like this:

We already knew that getting around Europe was best done by train. Oowan had been working in Germany for the past couple of years and he told us that the trains went from anywhere to everywhere, they were clean, frequent and reliable. We worked out that a "Eurail Pass" was the best choice as far as train travel went, as for about A$700 each we were able to travel unlimited national rail on 20 days within our holiday period. This worked really well for us, as it meant that all our rail travel within Germany, Austria and Italy was covered. The only extras we paid for were the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia travel. We grabbed our Eurail Pass at the Adelaide Travel Expo which saved us about A$100 off the regular price.

The next step was to work out specific details for each place we were visiting - how are we getting there, where are we staying, what are we doing, how do we get around, is there anything we need to know (places to avoid at night etc). Pretty much this whole process was done using online resources, mainly the ones listed earlier on this page.

We used all the information gathered to create a "guide" document for each destination, summarising all these details in a common format. We wrote basic details of the sights to see, we included maps and entry fees etc, aswell as a rough schedule as for what activities we could fit in one day. We included such details as Hotel name and phone number, flight/train details to/from the destination. We made a copy of all guides available online so our friends/family knew how to contact us if required, and also we had a way to gain access and print another copy if required.

As time went on, we had pretty much everything sorted out, at the last minute of course, and we printed a copy of all city guides and put them in a folder. We scanned our passports and identification documents, and put a copy of these online too.

We visited a local medical practice called The Travel Bug, which specialises in providing immunisation for travellers. Basically you tell them where and when you are going and they will tell you exactly which injections you'll need. We ended up needing a few which was no problem, and we grabbed a travel medical kit too which once again contained the essentials based on where we were going.

Finally after months of planning, it was time to start packing our bags! So we gathered a list of things to take, and began to pack the lovely new bags that we had bought at half price from the Kathmandu store in Melbourne.

We packed all the gear we thought we would need, which in hindsight was way too much! We took a hair dryer, we took way too many clothes, but this is all part of the experience I guess. Of course, I also took a jar of Vegemite for Sophie in Austria, as the plan was to meet up with her for dinner.

Finally the day had come, and we were off to Europe and Egypt, hoping that we had not forgotten anything!

First Stop : Changi Airport, Singapore
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