New Year’s: Munich-style!

New Year's 2011 Itinerary!

Image: EF College Break

With Christmas passed, I’ve shifted my focus to the New Year ahead. But before I get too caught up in making it the best and most productive year of my life, I have a bit of traveling to do.

Two years ago, I spent New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam of the Netherlands, and it was a celebration for the history books. This year, in light of my college graduation and my impending entry into graduate school (presumably the beginning of the dreaded “real life”), I’ve chosen to spend New Year’s in Munich, Germany as a part of a tour traveling everywhere you see in the map shown. Major stops include Munich, Frankfurt, and Heidelberg (Germany), Venice (Italy), and Lucerne (Switzerland). There will be day trips and minor stops to Dachau (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria), and Verona (Italy). The trip is slated for 10 days, just long enough for my taste, and hopefully long enough to get a feel for our destinations.

I’m looking forward to the trip, as my last New Year’s abroad was fantastic. It will, however, put a dent into my savings. I am generally not a big spender though, so I enjoy saving for something like a trip to Europe rather than a trip to the mall. I also anticipate this being my last major [expected] expense for a while to come, because I know I will have plenty of student loans to pay back once I begin graduate school. The trip totals around $2,000, including some admissions, all travel expenses (flights and buses), and all accommodations. It covers one dinner, but that is all. I’m am not sure what to expect in terms of how much I will be spending on food, and I am indecisive about whether I should be setting a budget or not. Even without a budget, I won’t be seeking out expensive food (I lean towards a more frugal and economical approach to eating when abroad). So I’m inclined not to set a budget in order to avoid the constant calculations in my head (‘Am I over my budget?’ ‘If I splurge now, should I skip a meal later?’) and also to avoid the constant reminders of the money I am spending. I expect food to be the largest expense, and then any additional admissions and/or experiences, with souvenirs coming third. The trip as a whole, however, it something that I expect to be priceless. I’ve heard enough people suggest traveling after graduation to feel confident that I’ve made the right decision to go, even if it is a major expense. So to all of you out there, “prost neujahr!” (“Happy New Year!”)

Have you traveled before? Do you set specific or general budgets when traveling?

If you’ve been to any of the destinations I’ve listed, please share your experience!



12 responses to “New Year’s: Munich-style!

  • Stephanie

    I’ve only traveled to a few foreign countries. I’ve been meaning to travel more, but I hate planning. When it comes to budgeting, I try to bring snacks to avoid some big meal expenses (when it comes to travel to expensive places like D.C. and Las Vegas). And my big trip out of the country was to Nicaragua, where pretty much everything was inexpensive. But I guess a big part of saving money is getting cheaper flights and places to stay.

    • Eric

      Nicaragua sounds like an awesome experience! I have yet to make it to Central and South America.

      I’ll definitely be bringing out snacks (e.g. the hotel breakfast in a few Ziploc bags). Hopefully this will save me big time so I won’t be sitting down to eat about every 2 or 3 hours (which I do now).

      Lastly, if you hate planning, look into groups that plan tours, like I did. The prices are usually reasonable, though you may pay a bit more for the convenience of having your trip planned out for you. You also usually get plenty of free time to do your own thing (which could require some planning, or not at all depending on your vacation style. =)

  • Robin

    You’re going to LOVE Munich! It’s such a great place! I try to stick to local food that you can ask people for suggestions. I’ve always brought snacks when travelling so if you can only get a street taco or fried dough thing for dinner you’ll have some fruit or trail mix to back it up.


    • Eric

      Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll definitely be looking to locals for ideas.

      Now I can only hope to GET THERE; airports have been a disaster in the northeast because of the blizzard. I’m hoping my flight has no problem!

  • Teacher Girl

    Wow! I am super jealous that you get to spend the New Year abroad. Can you believe I have never been to Europe? It kills me every day. Have a blast and happy new year!

    • Eric

      You’ve got to get there! It’s quite an eye-opening experience to spend time in different cultures. I’ve been over there twice and seen seven countries and it has changed my outlook and attitude in several ways. The only way I got it done though was by saving money specifically for travel!

  • Penny Lane

    Wow. I wish I could travel more.

    I have been to Amsterdam, I loved it!

    I was in Germany this past summer. Mostly in Berlin, its a very interesting place, I liked it because it was very artsy. When I was there I also went to Hamburg but only for two days.

    Out of the places you have mentioned, I have been to Venice.
    It was great! I really loved Venice, it was just such ainteresting place to be, a little confusing to get around because it is kind of like a maze, but very nice. Ever been to Florence? If not you should go, amazing.

    Have fun!

    • Eric

      I’ve never been to Florence but it was my second time in Venice, and it was an awesome experience once again. Though I didn’t go to Hamburg or Berlin in Germany, I did go to Munich, Heidelberg, and Frankfurt, all of which were fantastic. And of course Switzerland was great, though very expensive.

      Glad you’ve been to Amsterdam too! My trip there two years ago was one for the history books- best time of my life!

  • Jet Setting Divas

    Sounds like a great way to celebrate the New Year. I did a Study Abroad while in college, but I really wish that I would have taken more time after graduation to travel. Enjoy yourself!

    Usually while traveling I set a general budget as far as what I am willing to spend on the flight and I lump together souvenirs, experiences, and food.

    • Eric

      It was a wonderful experience! I tried to set a budget, but as I saved most of my shopping for Switzerland (unbeknownst to me that it is super-expensive), I had to go over. Regardless, it was a great time and the difference between budget and expenses was nothing too damaging!

  • Deidre

    Can’t wait to hear about your trip!

    I have a bit of a history of travelling around new years. I’ve spent it in Frankfurt, Calcutta (india), Melbourne (Australia).

    This year I was camping in the Australian bush for new years.

    I LOVE Venice.

    • Eric

      It sounds like you had an amazing new years! I imagine you were pretty isolated out there- did you have any idea when midnight was? I’m assuming you didn’t have a watch or cell phone.
      You can read a (very) brief synopsis of my 10-day trip in my latest post, if you’re interested.

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