Travelling Last Minute (to Germany) | How to Plan the Perfect Getaway
Anyone a fan of travelling last minute? Germany was indeed a very last minute decision, as the next trip in mind was still 2 months ahead. Since it’s the high touristic season in Malta, for us Summer = Work. This one felt like too long, and we had to plan a short last-minute escape from the humid 36C heat of the Maltese islands. As this was unplanned, it had to be done on a very strict budget, spending the very minimum. Maybe this was going to be slightly tougher, but travelling last-minute certainly has got its own thrills!
Travelling Last Minute: The Flights & Destination
We chose our destination according to the cheapest flights available. Because we were only booking 9 days in advance, the lowest round-trip fare we managed to find was for €140 per person, which was waaay over our budget. Therefore, we had to switch to the one-way ticket method. The cheapest one-way ticket from Malta was for €25, to 3 destinations in Italy (Pisa), Germany (Baden-Baden) and Bulgaria (Sofia).
Then the new search was for a way to get back (not that we wanted to, but anyway…). A €20 flight from Baden-Baden was available, 4 nights after the departure date. So, that was forming a good match. A quick search on google maps, some bus routes and the trip was created.
Where We Gonna Sleep Then?
The First Night
Our flight was going to land at 23:59hrs in Nuremberg. So, we were looking at 4 nights ahead of us. The first night, we had around six hours until sunrise ahead of us so (since we were travelling last minute AND on a budget) we planned to spend this one at the airport.
Being honest, Nuremberg airport isn’t the most comfortable one to spend the night, but a (not so comfy but warm) carpet in one of the corridors on the second floors did the trick. For anyone planning to do this, we recommend going to Departure 2, up the escalator and settle down in a quiet area. We managed to rank up 4 hours of sleep – not the best, but we were ready for the next day.
The Second Night
The second night was spent in a night coach. This could be a great idea to save up on accommodation, travel some miles, waste no time during the day and still be able to catch some sleep. It’s very important, however, to plan ahead and study the coach itinerary well beforehand, so not to have the same experience as we did in this one. A normal car journey from Nuremberg to Baden-Baden should have taken around 3 hours but what happened was that this night coach that we booked was portrayed as a ‘direct’ bus, with an itinerary of 7 hours.
We thought maybe it will stop for some time in a bus terminus for the coach to switch drivers or honestly, I didn’t know what I was thinking at all. The reality was that the coach that picked us up was heading to Milan and on the way dropping us off in Frankfurt. There, we spent a loooong coooold 4 hours in the middle of the night waiting for the next coach. It was heading to Toulouse and we stopped in Baden-Baden. That was quite a different plan from what we had in mind.
The Third Night
The third night was actually the most comfortable of them all. We had a bed!! We used couchsurfing for the very first time, and we highly encourage every budget traveller to take part in this. The service basically connects the world and bring together a group of travellers to host each other, organise events or else just meet around the city.
As we were travelling last minute, we used this website for the first time in Germany and it was great. We stayed with a local family who were really friendly and welcoming. Honestly, we couldn’t believe the hospitality we received and the will to make our stay as good as possible!
Our flight back home was to depart at 0600am. So, a night at the airport was on the agenda again, this time in Baden-Baden airport. What we didn’t know was that it is a very small airport, and the worse thing was that it closes during the night. The metal chairs are your best option. But then, as soon as you’re able to pass through security, there should be a cafe with some lovely sofas waiting to host you for an hour or so.
Another Mode of Transport – Hitch Hiking
This was also the first time we ever tried this. It was pretty much very successful. We encourage to always hitchhike from a safe place, where cars can stop and communicate with you safely without endangering themselves or anyone else on the road. We initially tried it because we wanted to travel from Baden-Baden to Karlsruhe. Public transport can be very expensive in Germany, and we weren’t really keen on spending much on a 45-minute train ride.
As much as possible, we tried to find activities that we could do for free or at a very low cost. The first thing that came to mind, after noticing the large area of nature parks around Nuremberg and Baden-Baden was picnics beside lakes for lunch, although this could have been more amusing if it wasn’t raining. We bought some bread, snacks and drinks from a discount store in the area, just before we set on a walk to the nearest park beside the Pegnitz River in Nuremberg, a fabulous spot where you can unwind.
One should always keep a look for local festivals, which in our case we were lucky that one was happening during that weekend. It was called the Bruckenfestival in Nuremberg and it’s a FREE annual open-air event that takes place next to the Theodor-Heuss-Bridge. The festival started back in 2001 and nowadays it’s complimented with live music, dozens of food stalls and obviously unlimited amount of beer available!
Local football (or any sports) events can be another alternative without breaking the bank. Okay, I’m not talking Premier League, but a local match can cost anywhere around €15 which can provide great entertainment, and this is all thanks to the massive atmosphere the four Ultras group provide.
Hiking is free, and in towns like Baden-Baden, one is spoilt for choice.
After experiencing couchsurfing, meeting and exploring with locals is indeed your best source of getting to know the coolest spots in a city, the best food for value eateries and the cheapest pints. This is what travelling last minute is all about – meeting people and exploring without much of a plan ahead!
Are you fans yourself of travelling last minute? We’d definitely do it again, in fact, we may end up liking it even more this way!