As you might have heard we are getting ready for 10 days of adventuring in Central Europe thanks to Air Canada and we leave Friday, Aug 30!
We will be flying with Air Canada to Vienna, Austria on their newest year-round service between Toronto, Canada and Vienna in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which kicked off in April. Our itinerary consists of visiting three beautiful countries: Vienna, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic; and Berlin, Germany.
Pre-trip prep list
With this being our third International trip we’ve picked up a few pointers that we highly recommend you to look into. Here is our pre-trip prep list, in order of importance:
- They use a different electrical plug in Europe, so be sure to get yourself plug adapters from Amazon – we recommend this 3 pack for $5.
- Buy train tickets in advance, up to 2-3 months early! We used the site/app, Omio which is great for finding affordable train, plane and bus tickets all around Europe. Use the code chloem4v6h1v to save €10 off your first booking. We bought our tickets 2 months before to score the best prices.
- Good walking shoes are a must, especially if you plan on solely relying on walking or transit. My favorite is the Bearpaw Chukka Boot, which you can find on Amazon.
- Check your passports to make sure they are valid for at least 3-6 months from your departure date to avoid issues at Customs. Also take photos or make photocopies of them in case they get misplaced.
- Once flights are booked, check to see how long your layover is, if you have one. We highly recommend looking into getting Lounge access to relax and unwind, especially if it’s over 2 hours. Air Canada has their amazing Maple Leaf Lounge at most big airports, which offers complimentary food, beverages, reading materials, WiFi and business centers. Be sure to check if you already have Lounge access based on where you’re sitting. If not, you can add it on in your My Bookings section on your Air Canada profile.
- Figure out your data/cellular plans to see if you have any International services for where you’re traveling too. Some plans include this, and others are an additional fee. Don’t get stuck with a surprise bill upon returning.
- Check in with your bank so that they know you’re going abroad for a period of time! No need to get foreign currency before you leave, the exchange rates are worse here than there. Once you get off the plane, the airport has plenty of ATMs to get hard cash from. Just bring a money belt with your debit card, a credit card for emergencies, and maybe $200 US dollars just in case.
- A lockable spinner carry-on bag and travel backpack are handy for any trip. And unless you’re renting a car upon arrival, you’ll need your luggage to be mobile! We love our Chester hard-case bag, which is perfect for short or long getaways. Herschel has great packable backpacks for basic everyday needs.
- No matter how long your trip is, only pack a maximum of 6 shirts, 3 pants/shorts and 5 socks; with the exception to bring an underwear/day. This makes it easier to avoid having to check a bag and easier to lug around your suitcase without it being oversized. For vacations over 2 weeks, a trip to the laundromat may need to be arranged.
- Invest in a Kindle tablet. We found two new Kindle Fire tablets for $40/each on Amazon and opt in for Kindle Unlimited, $9.99/mo to have unlimited access to books, crosswords and games for easy entertainment on your flights and train rides. Just be sure to download your books before you leave!
- A small bag of toiletries may not seem worth the packing space, but it can be a lifesaver when you’re spending hours every day walking in hot summer weather. Soap, deodorant, and sunscreen should be included, and some ibuprofen is handy. You never know when a headache could strike!
What we look forward to
Covering three of Europe’s largest capital cities in less than two weeks may seem like a daunting task. But we’ve picked out the attractions and activities that excite us the most.
- Once the artistic capital of Europe, Vienna’s golden period of the 1800’s was marked with stunning architecture and some of the most famous classical music of all time. The concert halls and homes of these great composers are still there to see!
- Culture and imperial sights are all well and good, but the secret strength of Vienna is its wine taverns, thanks to the numerous vineyard near the city.
- Being an artistic destination for many of the best painters, the city is home to numerous art museums. The Kunsthistorisches Museum houses works by Vermeer and Rembrandt! What a duo! The Osterreichische Belvedere is a historical palace that now is a museum, and houses works by some of Europe’s greatest artists like Gustav Klimt and Vincent Van Gogh.
- Berlin is probably best known for the Berlin Wall, a long standing symbol of the oppression in Soviet controlled East Berlin. Today that pain is only a memory, but the historical significance of the spot is enticing.
- Near the wall is the 17th century Brandenberg Gate, one of the oldest monuments left in the city!
- Germany might be world famous for its beer more than anything, but that won’t let us skip their cuisine! We can’t wait to try popular foods like the doner kebab, and the schweinshaxe.
Prague, Czech Republic
- Germany might be the beer king to most, but Prague stands out with its own tradition of beer and food. Our mouths are already watering when we think of trying some Palačinky, their version of crepes!
- Mostly untouched by the bombs of both world wars, Prague retains much of the beautiful historic architecture it’s well known for. The castle and astronomical clock will be must sees, but we highly anticipate strolling over the 600 year old Charles Bridge at sunset.
Be sure to follow along as we tackle this adventure on Instagram @creativelyclo.