How do most mega trips begin?
Well, this time, our mega trip began because we needed to help my mother (who is not a fan of travelling alone) get from Cyprus to Milan, but by going all the way up through Lithuania.
Sounds straightforward, right?
There was just one thing: our tickets for the Paphos-Kaunas-Vilnius-Milan route cost so much that we decided it would be the best value for our money to add one more week to our trip. We spent a lot of time fantasizing, and ended up rearranging our itinerary a dozen times. From spending a week at a friend’s house in Como, to spending a week on panoramic trains in Switzerland enjoying the beautiful scenery. . . We just couldn’t decide.
We also got lucky right before buying a return flight from Italy to Paphos by finding a WizzAir’s 20% discount promo in our mailbox. We didn’t save too much money, but it was definitely enough to create a near-month long trip. This had me excited about the freedom of being a freelancer (not being tied to a workplace), and the feeling of the world being my oyster.
The end result turned out to be much more interesting than we imagined: 20 days, 4 countries, and a cornucopia of impressions.
- A flight from Paphos to Kaunas
- A transfer from Kaunas to Vilnius
- 2 nights in Vilnius
- A flight from Vilnius to Bergamo
- A transfer from Bergamo to Vercana
- 2 nights in Vercana
- A transfer from Vercana to Lugano
- 3 nights in Lugano
- A transfer from Lugano to Bergamo
- A flight from Bergamo to Prague
- 2 nights in Prague
- A transfer from Prague to Karlovy Vary
- 4 nights in Karlovy Vary
- A transfer from Karlovy Vary to Prague
- 1 night in Prague
- A flight from Prague to Bari
- 3 nights in Bari
- A flight from Bari to Milan
- 3 nights in Milan
- A flight from Bergamo to Athens to Paphos.
The total budget for two people was 1719 EUR, out of which:
- 676 EUR was spent on airplane tickets
- 1043 EUR was spent on accommodation.
The total cost does not include food, taxis, and transfer fares. The transfer fares are not included because on the way from Milan to Lugano, a part of our ride was given to us by our friends for free, so the amount spent on transfers can vary from situation to situation. In any case, the transfers would not add more than 200-300 EUR to the total budget.
The most positive aspect of our trip?
Probably the generosity of WizzAir and Booking.com during the preparatory stages of our trip. In the first case we were provided with a one-year subscription to the Wizz Discount Club, and in the second case, with the status of Genius. And although the claimed privileges of the Genius were not always available (except for the 10% discount), we were pleasantly pleased with the opportunity of enjoying the reduced tariffs of WizzAir for another year.
And how about the negative aspects?
Our biggest downfall was not having enough warm clothes to deal with the anomalous weather in May; which only warmed up a little bit in Milan, just before we left for home. I just packed spring dresses and only two warm jerseys (oops). As well, we had some discomfort with the flights, but this was mainly for us to save money. For instance, the majority of our flights were red-eye ones. Also, in order to save money by not having to pay to park our car at the bigger airport in Cyprus, we had an extra flight to Athens on our way back so that we could fly into the airport that was much closer to our home (only 15 minutes away, and we were able to get a ride to and from there). We chose to fly into Kaunas in Lithuania (instead of straight into Vilnius) for this same reason.
For more about the impressions of every part of our Grand Eurotrip, you can view these separate posts: