A Change of Plans- Back to Europe!

So, I’m not going back to Asia. At least not right now.

Being my usual impulsive and FOMO-prone self, I booked a one-way ticket to Europe last week!

But I have a good reason- although 2014 will be the year I finally settle down, I want to go on one last trip to see friends and family in Europe. Plus, my little brother is studying in London – I’d be crazy not to visit!

Let’s remember these are tentative plans- though a few are set in stone.

The other day I had friends in Chicago rolling their eyes when I innocuously said, “Oh, next month I’m going back to Europe. Just for a few months though.”

When you hang out with as many travellers and travel bloggers as I do, you forget that most people’s vacations do not last multiple months. Oops.

Anyhow, this trip will definitely include England, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and France, but maybe a few more places – honestly I have no idea – remember I booked a one-way ticket!

For the next month I’ll be saving up like a madwoman in Michigan to prepare for the wallet-drain known as Western Europe. (Even just thinking about euros, pounds and francs make me weep for the $4 massages and 50 cent beers of Cambodia.)

Without further ado!

Feb 19- NYC

New York

Source: Wikimedia

My college best friend Alyssa and I will be stopping over in the city that never sleeps! (She’s actually the friend I worked with at New York Fashion Week.) New York is one of my favorite cities on earth so I can’t wait.


Feb 21-23 London


Next stop? London! In London we are probably Couchsurfing, so lord knows it will be an awesome, if out of control, weekend. I also want to catch up with lots of London-based friends, and of course, my little brother!


Feb 24-28 Venice for Carnivale


Source: Wikimedia

My friend Edna and her friends are renting a house on the canal for Venice carnivale! (Have I mentioned recently that my friends are amazing?) I plan on donning a mask, eating lots of risotto and taking about four thousand photos.


Feb 28-March 5 ???

This is a blank spot in my calendar, one that I’m debating how to fill up- if you know of some great towns in Switzerland, Northern Italy or nearby please do let me know!


March 5-8 Skiing in Switzerland


Source: Wikimedia

Remember that one time when I whined about being too poor to go skiing in Switzerland? (Feel free to slap me whenever.) Now I finally am going! I will be staying with a German family friend who owns a chalet there. As I’m a die-hard skim bum, I can’t wait to spend a few days on the slopes. I’m also a huge, huge fan of après-ski and après-ski in Switzerland means lots of raclette and fondue. Yes.


Beyond that I haven’t booked anything, but I’ll be spending March visiting friends in London (including the lovely Amanda of Farsickness!), Paris, and the north of England, as well as heading to Madrid for a blogger girls’ weekend – plans to be announced soon! Because who doesn’t love a Spanish holiday?

While I definitely, absolutely want to settle down this year, I’m still really excited to head back to Europe as one of my resolutions was to spend more time with friends.

So what am I missing? What should I do on my last big trip to Europe? Spill in the comments!

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

51 thoughts on “A Change of Plans- Back to Europe!”

  1. Your travels surpass those of diplomats! Fantastic!!!! Your itinerary right now does sound majestic and amazing, and it will change/evolve and even get better, I am sure! (If that is even possible)! Smiles. Enjoy, enjoy! Your blogs are a treat! Cheers!

  2. Wow, you have some great plans ahead of you! Carnival in Venice and skiing in Switzerland sound amazing! I’ll be spending some time in London in February/March as well – hope you enjoy the city again, it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites in Europe! :) By the way, I also just booked a flight to Asia for the summer – I’ll be going back to your Asia posts to get some inspiration! :)

  3. Booking one-way tickets woohoo! They’re my favorite kind of ticket. I’m really digging the impulsiveness and open itinerary too! Raclette is the best!

  4. A. New york is the greatest :)
    B. Carnivale in Venice is AMAZING. tourist-y, but lots of fun! That being said, be really careful, petty crime is nuts there, as criminals and drunk foreigners seem to be linked. my friend has her ray bans ripped on her face and multiple people I know were pickpocketed or flat out stolen from sooooo keep your stuff close!

  5. Also for your blank spot, highly recommend Lake Como in Italy if you want to see some beauty and if you haven’t done it before, Cinque Terre is a must do at some point in your life!! And on your way over you can stop by Verona which is a fun little city, especially if your a Shakespeare fan!

    But those are just my humble suggestions ;)

  6. so glad you are returning to Europe, and of course having a visit with Andrew–How fun is that going to be! Venice, oh Venice, so romantic , and no other place like it in the world, You have a pleasurable palate waiting …Love, Gamma

  7. Whooop whoop! So glad you’ve decided on this…which you already know.

    Getting used to the euro is STILL a process for me. I’m starting to think I’ll never get used to these prices.

    I’m totally jealous about carnival but I must save up in March myself. In April I’ve decided on Barcelona and Rome and I can’t wait!

  8. Exciting news! I was back in Europe for the holidays and am just returning to Asia now (in transit in Moscow now, ha) and I’m having all sorts of mixed feelings about it. Being home really was so nice, especially visiting family in Norway, and it physically hurt to leave. I think I need to shift things a little west soon! Good luck with your travels!

  9. Ashley, your travel plans sound amazing – versatile and exciting, especially NYC and Venice. Even though I am European and have been to the latter twice, I have never made it there for Carnival. Great that you are taking a few months off to explore Europe in depth. Have a fabulous time and happy travels.

  10. For your gap between Venice and Switzerland, you should definitely check out Lake Como, about an hour north of Milan. It’s one of my favorite towns in Italy! I’ve also heard GREAT things about Bolzano, which is in the north east part of Italy. It has a lot of German influence which makes for a unique Italian experience!

  11. Your itinerary sounds like a whirlwind, but if you know this will be your only shot at a big European tour for a long time, then go for it!

    I went to Bolzano/Bozen last March and had a nice few days. It’s relatively close to Venice and has some interesting museums and Italian/Austrian charm. After, if I may so humbly suggest, Salzburg, my former host city, is worth a visit, especially if you’re a fan of classical music, The Sound of Music, or schnitzel. :-) The train to Munich is only a little over an hour from Salzburg too and toward Switzerland!

    I would give you the specific posts from my blog, but then I’d get too nostalgic. :-)

  12. So glad you booked that ticket! Can’t wait to see you in Madrid! And if you happen to miss German beer, you’re obviously invited to come visit me ;)

  13. Your plans sound awesome! I always prefer hearing about Europe over South East Asia. I just moved to Madrid (and I’m sure you’ve been here before) so if you need ideas of places to go let me know :)

  14. Hi Ashley,
    Great post as ever which I will get back to later on in the day!

    I nevertheless, just wanted to give you a head’s up that I’ve nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. I’ve also written a few words about you and your blog.Feel free to take a look. Thanks!

  15. I’m from Sweden, so of course I’ll recommend Sweden! Have you ever been here?
    I live in Trollhättan, close to Gothenburg. I’m originally from Leksand, in Dalarna, and that’s where you should go! Lovely houses and great nature.
    I guess Stockholm is good, but I’ve only been there for a day or two and mostly for concerts so haven’t seen too much!
    Gothenburg is awesome too, I’d love to meet you there if you come.

    • Hi Amanda, I actually have been to Sweden but only once and just to Stockholm! (I loved it by the way!) And I have a friend who lives in Gothenburg so it would be great to visit that part of Sweden, especially in the summer. And I will definitely let you know if I head that way!

  16. I agree with Jen who suggested going to Bolzano. It is a gorgeous town with an Austrian feel. I also like Renon, just a short drive away from Bolzano. I’m glad you’re visiting the north of England. So many people miss out on it because they stay around London, and it is a beautiful part of the country. I might be biased, though, because I live near Manchester. Make sure you visit Manchester while you’re up here, too. :)

  17. This sounds like such an exciting trip! Color me jealous! I’m learning how to use my new DSLR at home primarily so I can take better photos of my travels — hopefully they’ll turn out as nice as yours are. I went hiking in Murren in the Swiss Alps several years ago, and it was an absolutely beautiful area! Geneva and Lausanne were fun to visit too, but insanely expensive, at least in 2009. Can’t wait to see where you end up!

  18. I absolutely love your blog! I just stumbled across it and the travel bug has struck. I am hopefully planning a Euro-trip for sometime this year (perhaps post-FT job and pre-grad school), and your blog is providing me some serious momentum to make it happen!

  19. zurich, bern(see my twitter reply to you) northern England? Go on up to Scotland and visit edinburgh. or York in England if you don’t cross the boarder. Zurich had great shopping. Skied grindelwald loved the village too. Bern I think was a very charming christmas type village–was there in feb.

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