S.I.T.E. - Philosophy (T'ain't Ever Too Late)
Senior Independent Travel in Europe is just an acronym we made up to
tell all who will listen that anyone can travel safely, easily and enjoyably
in Europe today!
One is never too old to travel. Ah! But how?
Frequently Heard -
We've never been to Europe and we would be anxious about being on our own.
We always go in groups.
I just can't see looking at Europe from a bus with lots of others.
I don't think I could drive in Europe.
These are typical concerns. However, the same principles apply to visiting Europe that apply to traveling about the U.S.A.
If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. It is much easier if one plans the
trip in detail. No matter where you travel, unexpected things will happen, but
those things can be managed better, cheaper and safer by planning ahead. Besides, part of the
fun is unexpected things like getting a little lost. Everytime we've been lost we got a serendipity of seeing something unique.
It is more a question of "handling" the situation or just making a decision to have fun and not be up tight. Who needs a schedule anyway?
We want to tell you right now that we do not travel "luxury class". Some would say we do not even travel "first class", but it is not class we are concerned
with, it is "value (sleeps, eats and sights)" for the money that we spend. It is not a matter of
not wanting to go that way, but rather a realization that we wanted to maximize
our "seeing (avoiding tourist traps)", "understanding (others in this world)" and
"independence (freedom)". The best "sleeps" were in family homes. The best "eats" were where the locals eat.
The most fun was meeting the "people" of where we were at the time. The rest (scenery) was always "luxury" class.
Here is how we recommend traveling in Europe:
1) Travel in the "shoulder" seasons it is less expensive and a lot less crowded (Mid-April thru May or September thru Mid-October) and the weather is still good.
2) Travel by rental car. We know it may be a little more expensive for two (less for four), but what freedom!
3) Stay off the freeways (autobahns) in order to see and experience more except when time is really of importance in getting to a major destination.
4) Utilize minimal (we mean minimal) baggage. We use an E.T.B.D. bag for each of us, plus a large bag in the trunk. We resupply the carry-in bag out of the large bag.
5) We like to stay in private homes, zimmer frei's, pensions, gasthaus', and farms whenever possible. These are not American B&B's! They are less expensive, always immaculate, and you get to know the natives in their environment.
6) We never compromise cleanliness, safety, sleep or nutrition to save money. Got that from Rick Steves and IT IS IMPORTANT!
7) Take lots of pictures and each person keep a journal of everthing you did and approximately what you have spent. It is not a chore to do this
just before going to sleep each night. The memories will be refreshed forever and you are paying for memories!
We had all the same questions and doubts you would have, so we started off finding out if we
could really afford and enjoy a trip through Europe. This may not be for you
but here is what we did to find out. We started collecting information!
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