The last few weeks have been really incredible for me. I’ve settled into the flow of spontaneous travel, and never have anything planed more than a day or two ahead of time. In some cases, I don’t even plan one day ahead…
When I left Svendborg, Denmark, I got on the next train to the main station in nearby Odense. I bought a ticket to Hamburg for that day. Within 2 hours of arriving in Hamburg, I had a place to stay, a new SIM card in my phone, and 100 euros in my pocket.
When I left the hostel in Hamburg, I just walked to the bus station across the street. I bought a seat on the next bus to Berlin and I didn’t even book a hostel prior to arrival. It was kind of surreal arriving in a foreign city where I didn’t speak the language or have a place to stay, or even the ability to make a phone call. I managed to find a hostel and meet several people for drinks that night, and it turned out to be a great stay.
When I left Berlin. I just took the S-Baun back to the bus station. I bought a ticket to Prague for that day. By the end of that evening, I found myself staying in a hostel near Wenceslas Square enjoying some food and hot wine at a Prague street food festival.
When I was in Prague, people kept telling me I should see Krakow. Then I found out a friend who I met while traveling in the US was in Krakow. So that was that. I booked a train to Krakow and found myself in Poland. I did book my hostel in Krakow the night before I arrived because I wanted to stay in this really tiny hostel that had great reviews. Waiting another day probably would have cost me a spot.
Normally, buying tickets for anything last minute is ridiculously expensive. But I’ve found buses to be a lot cheaper and require little to no planning. Train tickets can be really expensive in Europe, and I didn’t buy a Eurail Pass since it didn’t seem to make sense cost-wise. After talking with several other travelers who bought rail passes, I’m glad I didn’t buy it. In most cases, you still need to make a reservation and pay a fee in order to guarantee a seat. In a lot of countries, the pass doesn’t work for regional trains. I’ve even heard a couple horror stories of people getting their rail passes torn up by conductors. For me, I’ve found the buses in Western Europe to cost between 15 and 25 euros. The Central European trains have been cheap too. I got to Krakow for 45 euros.
Up until those moments when I bought my tickets, I really could have gone to a dozen different places. I would have been terrified to travel like this in the beginning, especially as a foreigner. Now it feels natural and gives a sense that anything could happen. So I’m now exploring more of Central Europe than I thought I would which is fun. I never seriously thought I had a chance of ending up in Poland, and yet, here I am writing this post.