We are fitting in as much travel as possible with a teeny tiny budget :). We want to make the most of our time here but don't want to break ourselves doing it.
Our ways of travel might not work for everyone but we choose to pick out a couple sights we want to see in each place and move right along to the next. Of course we would love to stay for a week or more in each place but we don't have the means to do that. The longer you stay, the higher the hotels costs....the more money you need for food, etc. So we say at least we have been there and walked around and enjoyed it rather than not seeing it at all.
On the training holiday (4 day weekend) in March we decided to go to Brussels while on the way stopping in Luxembourg and trying to make it to The Netherlands if we had time. Here's how it went down. We stayed at Air Force Lodging on Ramstein Air Base. Its like 45 minutes from Trier (a beautiful must see city in Germany) The kids had testing at school that week so we couldn't leave as early as we had planned but we took them out at about 11:00 drove to Ramstein, checked in and everything. Drove to Trier...unfortunately it started getting dark but we got to see the Roman baths and a few other sites but the pictures didn't turn out great. We went back to the hotel after the short trip and went to bed because we had to get up early.
So on to day 2......
I believe we were out the door at 6:00am and on our way to Luxembourg city. We walked the streets and strolled through the city market and saw the outside of the Grand Ducal Palace. Stopped for pastries and hopped right back in the car and set out to Brussels. Now just to be clear we had planned on just Luxembourg and Brussels this day but plans changed.
So its about 2 hours from Luxembourg city to Brussels. Our first stop was the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. We thought the kids would love the Dionosaur exhibit and honestly we did too. We had never really seen that kind of stuff. Here is the link..... http://www.naturalsciences.be/museum/dinosaurs
We made our way through the museum quickly and then had a heck of a time trying to find parking to to the Grote Markt (The Grand Place) in the center of Brussels. I almost gave up honestly. We walked and walked but really we got to see a lot more of the city and enjoyed it once we knew we were in the right direction. The traffic looked crazy so we were kind of glad we ended up walking. We stopped for Belgian waffles (amazing by the way) and of course picked up some Belgian chocolates. We finally reached the beautiful Grote Markt and honestly pictures just don't do it justice. To see it all in person was incredible. I could of stood there all day staring at everything.
We had to move on though. We decided on our walk that we should just try to shoot up to Amsterdam while we were closer. We would have been back tracking if we went back to the hotel since we opted to stay at the same hotel both nights. We were making good time so we hopped in the car and made our way to the Netherlands. The drive was nice and easy and the kids enjoyed the different windmills along the way. We found parking pretty quickly and realized we parked right by some kind of boat museum with really old ships and boats out on display....it was beautiful and the kids loved it. Then we started walking in hopes to finding the Anne Frank house. Even though we knew we wouldn't make it inside we at least wanted to see the outside. We enjoyed strolling the streets, the canals were so cool and the city itself is just beautiful. It was starting to get dark and a little cold out so after strolling around for maybe 1.5-2 hours we got back in the car and drove 4 hours back to our hotel.
Needless to say we slept in a little. We got back to the hotel around midnight and then we just explored post and went out to lunch before heading home to Grafenwoehr. The hotel was very inexpensive and we mostly spent money on gas. I always pack a lot of food so we don't eat out as much.
So the best way to save money when traveling.......
- planning ahead as much as you can....
- Packing water and food
- Budgeting your spending/souv. money and sticking to it (we pulled out 100 euro)
- Realizing you aren't going to get to see everything
- Not going in every museum/attraction
As cool as it might be it gets expensive with a family of four so we have been in so many castles/palaces/ etc in our time here that they all start to look the same on the inside. The outside of each one is unique and beautiful but I don't feel the need to go into every place. So that really saves a lot too.
If you are stationed in Europe or just coming to travel just keep that in mind. Its beautiful here and we feel so blessed just to see all that we have seen but it does get very expensive, even if you do live here. So make the most of it but try not to go crazy. Honestly every little city it beautiful to me so we try to just enjoy it all and take it all in. I hope someday we can be stationed in Europe again because there really is so much to see and do and experience.
I hope this post helps a few people travel to a few places they want to see or helps them save money. If you have any questions please let me know :)
Have a great day.