A few days ago, I booked my ticket for October 1st to December 1st which costed me roughly 882 dollars. The airline that I will be flying on is American Airlines which will make one brief stop in Chicago before continuing on its way again.
Today, I bought a phrase book for Western Europe, a guide book, as well as a travel backpack. For the travel backpack, I looked for something not too big as to not attract thieves as well as something that did not have a lot of zippers on the front. More importantly, I avoided the backpacks that had zippers on the sides that allowed access into the main sack. In the end, I chose a model from Low Alpine with a carrying capacity of 50L.
As for the traveling book, it took me a little longer to decide which one to get because I wanted a book with detailed maps as well as a lot of suggestions on where to go in each country. In the end, I chose Europe 2012 written by Rick Steves because his suggestions seemed more personal than the other books.