Sometimes spontaneity pays off and the best laid plans are no plans at all; when you leave the agenda open to chance and you find yourself being rewarded in the best ways possible.
A little background on this slightly impulsive trip: up until a week before our trip, we were going to Australia – in our heads the trip was planned. It was a Sunday afternoon and we were set to fly out Friday morning. We had a hotel picked out (thankfully not yet booked), excursions were researched, and the map had been studied. However, at the last minute the weather forecast wasn’t looking so great: highs in the low 70s and chance of rain every day aka typical March weather for pretty much everywhere. Certainly this isn’t the end of the world, but if I am going to fly halfway around the world to one of the most expensive countries to visit, I want it to be quintessential Australia surf-culture weather.
So there we were, five days out from our trip faced with a million dollar question… “Where could we go where we wouldn’t mind if it’s chilly and/or rainy?”
We started spouting out ideas (Iceland! Canada! Copenhagen!) In no time at all a backup plan fell into place, something we had been wanting to do for a while but hadn’t found the right time: a roadtrip through Europe. A Eu(road)trip if you will!
The skeleton of the trip was sketched out: Fly into Frankfurt, Germany, rent a car and drive south to Interlaken, Switzerland by way of the Romantic Road. From there, drive west to Annecy, France and then loop back to Frankfurt, driving through the Black Forest and the Rhine River Valley.
It was sure to be a whirlwind but we were pumped beyond belief. The idea of knowing the general route but leaving hotels and definitive plans up to the last minute was exhilarating. Our families thought we were crazy but we were confident it would all work out. Plus, the not knowing was half the fun!
Roadtripping through a foreign country was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I urge you to make it happen for yourself! Sure, the major towns or cities are fantastic, but the in-between is where the magic lies. Driving through “nothing” towns and seeing old German women watering their lawns, and children walking home from school, and people going about their lives unsuspecting any tourists – those were my favorite parts. We both agreed that all the hours logged in the car, observing and experiencing people’s normal life and having the freedom to stop and poke around whenever we wanted – that was the dream.
Moral of the story: Take the last-minute trip. Rent the car. Leave some of the agenda up to chance. Be willing to stop at your heart’s content. You just might discover the best chocolate croissant of your life at a Coop gas station on the side of the road in the countryside of Switzerland.
Where we went:
Germany, Switzerland, and France
When we went:
March 25 – March 29 | 4 days (1 day in Germany, 1.5 days in Switzerland, .5 day in France, 1 more day in Germany)
65-70 and sunny most days | 45-50 with low cloud cover day one in Switzerland
Where we stayed:
Hotel Interlaken – rooms are nothing special but the location and the buffet breakfast with a view of the alps was divine
Moxy Frankfurt Airport – brand new hotel owned by Marriott (we stayed on their opening night), location is fantastic for early flights
Some hotel in outside of Zurich that I can’t remember the name of that was annoyingly expensive but it was almost midnight and we needed somewhere to sleep
Purchase a Skyroam | After the initial payment for the device itself, just $8 a day gets you 24 hours of wifi that you can use in the car or anywhere you wouldn’t otherwise have access to wifi. We used this to play Spotify in the car, to post to social media, and to book hotels once we figured out where we would be each night. Bonus: it connects up to five devices!
Get a car with GPS | We hadn’t planned to because we were going to use our Skyroam for wifi and simply use Google Maps on our phones, however we got upgraded and the car came with GPS – blessing in disguise! The Skyroam was a great device, but it uses cell towers so it is very spotty while driving as it bounces from tower to tower. It is excellent when stopped to research or use social media, but on the road, not so much. The GPS was invaluable.
Pack light but right | We each packed for 5 days in a carry-on and it was more than enough. Check the weather, pack layers, and limit yourself to no more than three pairs of shoes. You may have to get creative like I did with wool socks over the pants because I didn’t have boots for our first chilly day in Switzerland, but the saved space was worth it.
Shower at the Frankfurt airport | Yes, you read that right, there are showers at the Frankfurt Airport. Life-saving if your flight arrives in the morning and you want to hit the ground running. The cost is just $8 and includes toiletries, a towel and a hair dryer. See locations throughout the airport here.
The Autobahn isn’t just one road | The word “autobahn” always conjured an image of a long stretch of road with cars racing Fast and Furious style so I was shocked to find out that it is essentially the word for Germany’s whole highway system and yes, cars drive fast, but it’s all very orderly. Most of the time we were on the road in Germany, we were on “the autobahn”.
Songs of the trip:
Good Girls – LANY
September Song – JP Cooper
Got Me Gone – David Nail
Any roadtrip routes you’ve done and loved? After this trip, we’ve agreed there need to be more in our future!