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Winter 2019 Here I Come

Well I’ve been kind of quiet over here at Still en route for awhile,  but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking and making plans!

The truth is, I’ve been very busy with a few other online projects.

But guess what?

It’s September and this is the month that the planning for winter 2019 gets kicked into high gear.

I’ve had a lot of questions about exactly how I go about planning out such a long trip.  What is my process?

Well, today I’m going to share just a snapshot of what that process is, but I promise to get a full “Planning Process Guide” done soon and posted on this blog.

The Short Story

Here is the simplified version of my planning process.

  • Decide the length of trip
  • Choose countries
  • Choose dates in each country/area
  • Find accommodations
  • Book air
  • Book other necessary stuff, like travel insurance, transfers, etc.

The truth is, there is nothing simple about trip planning, especially a trip of this length, so it gets very tricky in certain of the categories I’ve mentioned above.  The best advice I can offer is to use a trip planning checklist.  And while I would normally do trip planning in some sort of chronological date order, sometimes it’s necessary to do things out of order.  And that is in fact what’s happening for me this year.

For the last number of years, we have been spending at least 2 months in Spain with one of those months in the Catalonia region.

Last year we skipped Spain for the most part and did Portugal and Italy because there was some questionable political stuff going on in Catalonia and we just felt it was best to steer clear of that area for the time being.  But all seems well now and we’ve decided to return to Spain, and specifically the Catalonia region and all that it has to offer for at least part of our stay.

A Town Called Gerona or Girona?

Girona, Catalonia, Spain

A favorite spot of ours in Catalonia is a town called Girona, where we’ve spent quite a bit of time and feels a little like a home away from home now.  For the longest time, we couldn’t figure out why we kept seeing 2 different spellings of this city name.  Gerona and Girona.  We assumed it was just misspelled in some places.  The truth is, one of the spellings is the Spanish version and the other is the Catalan version.   And yes, it took a while to even realize that Catalonia had its own language called Catalan.

We’ve decided to spend March 2019 in Girona again and are really looking forward to returning.  But accommodations in Girona can be difficult to secure not only because of its popularity for tourists but also because it has become a rather well-known training center for professional cyclists.  Think Lance Armstrong here!  The cyclists move to Girona for the winter season and they train around the Catalonia region.  Very cool to see them all there!

Anyway, because of the difficulty of finding the right apartment in Girona, I decided to solidify this stop first, before any other part of our trip.  So this is a bit backward in terms of chronological order but allows complete flexibility over our dates which is helpful.

The key here is flexibility.  Important to keep that in mind as you’re planning a long trip.  You’ll need it.

We’re close to contracting for an apartment in Girona now, so I’ll share the how, where and why details of that shortly as soon as we’ve signed on the dotted line!


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Mary Emmer
Mary Emmer

About the Author

Mary is an online entrepreneur here at Still en Route where she uses her knowledge from a travel industry career beginning in 1984 to write about everything travel-related, sometimes with a baby boomer twist!  Read more.

2 thoughts on “How To Plan Out a 3-Month Trip To Europe”

  1. Can’t wait to do more trip planning like the one you talk about above. Have you planned out your next adventure? I tend to follow the same steps you take when planning and booking trips. When you book your flights and accommodations, do you usually book directly with the airlines and hotels or do you use a third party service like Expedia or, for example?

    • We haven’t planned out our next adventure yet. We’re waiting just a bit to see if it’s feasible to travel internationally this coming winter. If not, then we’ll most likely do something in the U.S. But in answer to your other question, as I am also a travel agency owner, we use our own agency for the airline tickets or book directly with the airline if we’re using rewards miles for the tickets. As for accommodations, it depends. I use many different resources for that depending on the type of accommodation I’m looking for, including Airbnb,, and going to the hotels directly.


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