Europe is one destination, of which I can never seem to get enough of.
Which is why as soon as one of my closest friend suggested that a vacation together was long due, I tried my best to convince her that Europe should be our go-to destination. Thankfully, I didn’t have much convincing to do, as my friend was equally in love with the prospect of going there. Then came the bigger task of deciding- where in Europe?
We had a lot of factors to keep in mind, considering we would be having just around 10 days to vacay, and plus we were going to be accompanied by our respective husbands, one couple friend and another guy friend of ours. All in all, we had to make a slow paced, relaxed trip plan as our boys fall in the ‘lazy’ category. Lol.
After a lot of research on Tripdavisor, Quora, Lonely planet, nomadic matt’s blog, The Blondeabroad blogs etc and asking around, we finally narrowed down our summer 2018 vacation destination. Ready to know what we chose?….it was…drums rolling………GREECE…. Tadaaa….
I had been wanting to go to Greece for a long time and it was perfect for the mix of people who were to go on this trip. Greece islands are all meant for lazying around and relaxing with the nightlife super rocking and fun. This way we could chill by the beach all day long, and party away in the evenings. Sounded just perfect.
We still had almost 3 months to plan everything, and so the first thing we did was get our flights booked as that is usually where the maximum moolah gets spent. We actually managed to get very good deals and saved a decent amount of money by doing a proper search on skyscanner,kayak, makemytrip and cleartrip websites. Skyscanner and kayak are perfect for the lowest prices, while the other two offer great offers at times. So my recommendation is that do go through all these websites before you finally book your tickets. Our to and fro flight from India to Greece was going to be from Delhi to Athens and I booked the return flight for under INR 35K i.e. appx USD 500.
Athens is the cheapest destination to fly into and out of Greece. Also the connectivity is brilliant and there are flights from almost all major countries that fly to Athens on a daily basis.
Now that we had the big tick of tickets done, our next task was to break the 10 days into the various islands that we wanted to cover while in Greece.
Our google skills came to our rescue and after a lot of whatsapp group chats with the ‘Summer 2018- Greece vacationers’; our itinerary was finalised.
Day 0- Arrival in Athens
Day 1, 2 – Mykonos
Day 3, 4- Paros
Day 5, 6, 7- Santorini
Day 8- Athens
Day 9- Flight back home
This by my standards was a slow paced trip, but I didn’t mind. After all the fast track trips where I see so much more than a normal person did, I was okay to do this holiday in a different way. Plus Greece is all about the beaches, the food and the party; and not so much about the art, culture and monuments/museums. So I wouldn’t be missing much anyways.
By the time we were just 1 month short of our trip, we had almost finished with all our flight tickets (including internal flight from Santorini to Athens on Day 8), ferry tickets (Athens to Mykonos only; the rest we were going to book on spot), accommodations(we ONLY booked Airbnb Villas, as we wanted to have our own space and luxury at the same time) and car rentals. We are quite planned, aren’t we??
The accommodation in my opinion plays a key part in ensuring that your vacation is one that you can remember fondly over the years. I believe I can rough it out the whole day if needed on a vacation(by roughing it out I mean, travelling by buses, walking, cycling, climbing etc. etc.), but when it comes to sleeping at night, or relaxing to recharge- the place needs to be PERFECT.
Airbnb was literally our saviour for our complete Greece trip. With a wide range of options on the Airbnb website, it is very unlikely that you will not find a place in the budget that you are looking for.
Since we were 5 people who were going to be splitting the stay (the third couple preferred hotels and so were making seperate bookings), we decided to go big. We managed to get huge villas, with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, 3 Bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fully loaded kitchen and amazing locations in each of the 4 places we were going to visit. By the time we had done all the bookings, my excitement level was reaching its limits and I had to try my best to keep myself distracted from the anticipation.
Now only the most important thing remained. That one dreaded thing, which if not done, would let to all our plans and other bookings getting cancelled. This thing that I am talking about was- our Schengen Visa approval. Frankly, I was not worried as we were all well-travelled and our passports were proof of this fact; however Murphy’s Law is a true bit*h. And it usually had a special quota reserved for me. Which is why the hesitation you see.
Thankfully this time I was spared and so were the other 6.
This trip was now right at the corner. Our bags were packed and our official work was said goodbye to. For the next 10 days I was going to be a free bird soaking the strong sun on the Greek beaches, while sipping my ouzo(will tell you all about my experience of it in my subsequent blogs) and munching on the yummy salads.
Greece…here we come…..
Keep reading for more details on what we did and how we made this vacation the best we had had till date.