There are many travel experiences I have hoped to enjoy for a long time. Near the top of the list for several years has been visiting Europe around the Christmas holidays. This year thanks to some good luck, we are finally able to make it a reality.
Earlier this year I attended a travel blogger conference where I was fortunate enough to win a door prize – a $1,000 gift card to HomeAway.com. HomeAway is the best source to find thousands of short-term vacation rentals around the world. When I won they kindly told me I was under no obligation to write about them or the experience, but I want to. Short term vacation rentals is a hot trend in travel and I can’t wait to try it for myself and share the results.
For the Europe trip, we are staying in what looks like a gorgeous apartment in the heart of Brussels, our home base for the trip. In addition to exploring this great European capital and enjoying its massive Winter Festival, we will also be embarking on a series of day trips around Europe to visit new places and taste some of the regional differences as people celebrate the Christmas holidays. For the day trips I have partnered with Eurail, who has provided us with two passes to see and explore as much as we can while vacationing in Europe. Thanks to the easy to use and affordable Eurail pass, we plan to visit Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris and Koln.
Staying in touch can be an issue while traveling, so I am thrilled to once again use the mobile internet services of Xcom Global. I used their MiFi Mobile Hotspot while traveling through Australia to great success, and I can’t wait to experiment with their signature Europe service promising connectivity wherever I travel.
I have a bad habit to overplan my trips, but this time I actually haven’t prepared very much at all. Brussels and Amsterdam will include your standard sightseeing, as it will be my first time to both cities. Bruges and Koln are new as well, but the Christmas festivities in both cities will occupy most of our time. Paris is different. I’ve spent a lot of time in the French capital, and it’s my favorite city in the world. This time we wanted to see a side to the city we’ve never explored, so we are going on a Context Travel tour. I’ve wanted to take one of their tours for a long time, as they’re not your standard walking tour. Using local experts and scholars, the tours explore facets to cities that aren’t covered anywhere else along a variety of themes including history, culinary traditions and literature. We are taking the Baguette to Bistro: Culinary Traditions of Paris tour and I cannot wait to learn about Parisian food history and maybe taste a few French treats.
I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time and will be Tweeting and writing as I travel through the Christmas markets next week. Please be sure to look out for updates on Twitter using the hashtag #EuroLoper and let me know if you have any suggestions or questions!