Looking Ahead – The Scenic Route to Budapest

The most common question I get about our travels is “Where’s your first stop?”. There’s a short answer and a long answer, but my most common reply is “Budapest.”

However, it’s complicated. It will take us a full week to reach Budapest from the time we leave the United States on May 24. The reason for that is our choice to fly WOW Air, the budget airline, into Frankfurt. This was not necessarily a cost-saving decision, because by the time we pay for a rental car during our 19-hour layover in Iceland and bus tickets from Frankfurt to Vienna, the Vienna to Budapest, we’ll break even or even pay more versus flying a traditional carrier into Budapest via a couple of connections. But, I think our “scenic route” will be a lot more fun.

For one thing, we are really excited to try out WOW, because if we like it, it creates more cheap flight opportunities for future trip. Also, with my travel agency, I want to know whether I can recommend WOW to clients. After all, the less you spend on a flight, the more you have to spend on actually enjoying your vacation.

Once we arrive in Frankfurt, we figured it’d be a shame not to at least check out the city a little. Plus, we’ll want time to get over any jet lag so we’re planning to spend two nights there. And, in case our bags don’t make it with us, we have that couple days of buffer for them to catch up. We haven’t done a lot of planning for our time in Frankfurt, but one place we hope to visit is the German Film Museum.

We’ll take a night bus from Frankfurt to Vienna. It was a city we wanted to visit during our 2008 Europe trip but couldn’t fit in. We’ve done nothing to prepare for Vienna other than reserve two nights in a budget hotel, but I know several people who have been and there are tons of tourist resources that will make it easy to ensure we see the top spots in the little time we have.

From Vienna it is just a 3.5-hour bus ride to Budapest, which we’ll take on May 31. That gets us into Budapest the day before Chad’s conference starts for our official “first stop” of our trip. We know from past experience that taking the scenic route is usually worth it, so we’ll see if that holds true in this case. I suspect it will be a great week.

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