It all started one night, I was thinking of watching Roland Garros, which was my lifetime dream. I am a tennis aficionado and I am a die hard fan of King of Clay 9 time French Open champion The RAFAEL NADAL. I asked my friend Abhishek a travel blogger and owner of onacheaptrip, that how much courage one should need to go to Paris alone? He was flabbergasted, “PARIS” what man? From where it’s coming? I replied that I want to see my ideal Rafa at the red soil in Paris, in my mind from 5-6 years. He then understood my emotions, and responded that “Man going solo is a real adventure and from my previous experience I can assure you that you can explore more at your own pace and freedom gives you an immense feeling”. And at that instant I decided to go Paris solo, I was getting goosebumps by just only thinking of it. And the very next day without even thinking much, I opened goibibo.com and searched flights from Mumbai to Paris. And instantly I booked flight tickets worth 41000 INR return. Then I searched for Roland Garros 2017 tickets on viagogo.com, it cost me a whopping 80000 INR as I booked tickets for prestigious Quarter, Semi and Finals (Men) tickets for a grand slam. After that I booked tickets for 9 days stay at Generator hostels Paris that was around 2000 INR per night.
You can get all the information about visa from vfs.global. Fortunately, Pune has an office for applying visa for France. You can manage all the formalities yourself. For getting a full list of documents required for visa visit Schengen visa docs.
After all this, I told some of the friends that I am going to Paris for 9-10 days. They asked me, man, where all you are going in Europe and I said just Paris because my french open matches were there, then they suggested me to roam around other places between the matches. Then the actual planning began and I started to explore many places on the map in Europe. And after rigorous searching for more than a week I came up with an itinerary which included 6 cities in 5 countries in Europe. Ajay Pal, Vibhor Jajoo(a great photographer), Jayati Singhal( friend of a friend) helped me make this itinerary. It included Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Zurich, Lucerne, Engelberg, Rome and Bordeaux. In Brussels and Bordeaux, I had friends to stay with. I wanted to go solo and didn’t want to concern any tour travel booking.
For getting foreign currency I approached nearest hdfc Bank branch. From there one can get euros at the day rate without any commission involved. I got @75 inr per euro. Don’t go for foreign exchanges at airports that will cost you huge. I took 400 euros from the bank (Although after 4-5 days I spent all of it). So you can think of spending 70 Euros per day if you are spending moderately. One more thing, take sufficient funds in cash if you can because single transaction from an ATM machine will cost you around 150 inr. And lastly, carry one international forex card if you can manage(as I carried credit card which cost me per transaction charge), to pay your major bills at restaurants and tickets.
After getting my visa I canceled my hostel bookings at Paris and re-booked my hostels.
Hostels are the cheapest option for bachelors to stay in Europe, they are kind of shared dormitories. They cost 15-30 euros per night. You can search for various hostels on hostelworld. You can also opt for home stays from Airbnb, which are also relatively cheaper than hotels.
I got to know from GoEuro app and website that buses are the cheapest option to travel one city to another in Europe. It will cost you around 15-30 euros depending on the distance of travel. GoEuro app gives you the cheapest way to travel between buses/trains/flights. In buses, Flixbus is most popular option among travelers. Following images will give you a feel of what all planning was done for setting up the itinerary.