How I booked the most spontaneous trip of my life

get to london fastNote: This article goes out to the colleague who made me promise I was going to post something by the end of today. It’s not what he was expecting, but to be honest, I myself didn’t have a clue I was going to write something like this either.

There might be a lot of things you don’t know about me, but if you still haven’t found out about my deep love for London, then you really don’t know me at all. Our story goes back all the way to October 2013, when I visited the city for the first time and felt like it was the perfect place to spend my youth – no obligations, just fun. Ever since then, I’ve landed in 4 of its 6 airports and have taken almost every route to its center, staying both in a hotel as well as in an airbnb and at a friends’ house. So just to be clear: I kinda knew what I was getting myself into this morning.

Since I fell asleep way too early yesterday evening due to the lack of after work activities in Vienna, I woke up very early today, having some spare time before work. A friend of mine had asked me on Facebook how to find the cheapest tickets from Malta to anywhere around the world, so I suggested him to look up Kayak Explore and Google Flights. My problem with Google Flights was that I still hadn’t managed to fully understand what it can do for the user, so I ended up playing with it for a while. One thing led to another: I saw the prices for flights from Malta to London, then changed the dates to today-Sunday, then…changed the location to Vienna. And there it was: Eurowings, 15th of Jan, departure at 6 pm (after work jajaja), return on Sunday evening. 110 Euros (Schnäppchen, as we call it around here). That’s probably all I needed in order to hit the “Book now” button.

Then, after around 5 minutes in the check-out basket, I had the confirmation from Eurowings. Next thing I did was to open up Airbnb, because I knew for sure that wasn’t any chance to find anything less expensive than Airbnb on such short notice. I limited my search to the “direct booking” options with a lighting bolt and basically had two options around City. The reason why I went for City is that one of my best friends now lives there, she didn’t know anything about my arrival, so I at least wanted to make the way towards her area easier and more enjoyable. There were two fitting options and I went for the cheaper one, based in Camden Town (hurray for finally choosing a location for my hipster heart!). No time to do other more complicated decisions.

To finish off the trip organization, I knew that since I’m landing on Stansted I needed a way to get to the city. Having no previous experience on how to get from different drop off points to Camden Town, I decided to go for my favourite bus company – National Express, I love you and your free WiFi on board– as well as my favourite bus stop at London Liverpool Street. That’s the place I arrived to for the very first time in 2013 and it was about time to relive that moment. I scheduled the bus ticket for around 40 minutes after the expected plane arrival, since you have to cross UK borders and show your passport, which takes around 15-30 minutes to complete, depending on how crowded it gets. Note to self: please take your ePassport if you want to drastically reduce the time spent at the border! I forgot mine every single time so far, including now (because it’s easier to just bring along my Romanian ID card).

That being said, the adventure is about to begin! Right now I’m writing to you from the bus on my way to Liverpool Street and I hope that this weekend will be exactly as I imagine the city every time I think about it: magical. Looking forward to meeting friends and acquaintances – really curious about the new places I’m about to check out. Wish me luck and this time I promise you’ll stay updated along the way.

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