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Old 11-10-2011, 01:10 AM
 
Location: San Diego
2,888 posts, read 6,441,709 times
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I'm pretty much at the final point of my life where I'll be about to travel for a long period of time,Vagabonding. I'm a 26 year old male in pretty good shape. I'm just starting to do some research and whatnot. If I do this, it's going to be around March. I need to wrap some things up and if I wait til March, I get my work bonus before I quit!

I'm an American and its been about 6 years since I went out of North America. I went to Australia for 17 days and it was the most memorable trip of my life.

Planning on doing hostels and the backpacking route. I can walk and rough it for a good while. I can also "handle" myself if anything did get physical. I wanna travel throughout Europe and see as much as I can. I don't care if I have to sleep on the streets for a night or two if I'm stranded or about getting lonely. The early idea I have is starting / landing in Spain and heading eastward until I go insane or use more money than I want. My cap is going to be $5,000. I'd like to be gone for 30 - 75 days.

I've never been to Europe so any advice is greatly appreciated. Sorry if what I plan or if I sound smug but this is something I've been thinking about faintly in the back of mind for months and now I think its something I NEED to do. I need to make serious changes in my life regardless of these plans so this would be the perfect time for me to be able to do it.
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:23 AM
 
Location: Brisbane
3,517 posts, read 5,458,888 times
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Pack light, use a money belt (petty theft is a big problem in Southern Europe unfrotunatley), get yourself a phrase book and a good travel guide as a starting point, at least it will list the good hostels in it for you, maybe also book you first nights accomidation. Its found it much easier when landing in a non english speaking city, if know where you need to go from the airport. Thier will normally be many accomidation options around the central train station of a city.

Im sure you will know that in the good hostels you will meet many people doing exactly the same thing as you, you could end up anywhere with any body, which is exactly what you seem to want to do.

Does your 5k Include the flight to and from the states?

Last edited by danielsa1775; 11-10-2011 at 02:13 AM..
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:30 AM
 
35 posts, read 133,448 times
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Be careful, europe however is a great place for backpacking, perhaps the best in the world!

I would recommend to you starting on Lisbon portugal and then go to madrid, barcelona, lyon france, go up to paris and eventually go from there to either london and se the uk up to scotland..... or go to amsterdam from paris not skipping brussels or maybe head berlin..... I did the lisbon berlin route before.... Berlin is amazing!!!

Do not skip eastern europe... Budapest and prague are great! but that is if u have enough cash to go around.

don't spend a lot of time in italy, very overrated!!!
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:02 AM
 
Location: Brisbane
3,517 posts, read 5,458,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xutka View Post
Be careful, europe however is a great place for backpacking, perhaps the best in the world!

I would recommend to you starting on Lisbon portugal and then go to madrid, barcelona, lyon france, go up to paris and eventually go from there to either london and se the uk up to scotland..... or go to amsterdam from paris not skipping brussels or maybe head berlin..... I did the lisbon berlin route before.... Berlin is amazing!!!

Do not skip eastern europe... Budapest and prague are great! but that is if u have enough cash to go around.

don't spend a lot of time in italy, very overrated!!!
I agree, id go to rome for a couple of days, and spend a couple of days in Florence if you want to and that would be it. If you really want to see venice do it as day trip from somewhere else.

Go to Turkey Greece and Croatia insted they are fun and beutiful and your $ will go further, or at least they did when i was their.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Germany
857 posts, read 1,423,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xutka View Post

don't spend a lot of time in italy, very overrated!!!
I have been to Italy many times (as well as to most other countries in Europe) and will return there without hesitation. I agree that other countries are nice too, such as Croatia, but is Italy really overrated? Maybe this depends on where you come from and what your expectations were.
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:37 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 6,971,255 times
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Have you looked into couchsurfing at all? It's a fantastic way to save money, meet friendly and knowledgeable people, and get a far more authentic travel experience than just staying in hostels or hotels with other travelers. I've never had a negative experience with couchsurfing (although I've always chosen hosts with at least several references). The only caveat is that you'd probably need a way to keep in contact with your hosts (i.e. a prepaid European cell phone). Also bear in mind that while some hosts are generous and trusting enough to give a spare set of keys to their guests, often you will have to work your schedule around your host's.

Of course, some places don't have couchsurfers or you've gotten to the point where you need a break from it. So I do use hostels from time to time.

You should definitely get a Eurail pass, especially if you're planning on making long journeys between cities and several different countries. It will almost certainly save you some money. Just remember that most high-speed, long distance trains require reservations, so you'll still need to go to the train station, show your Eurail pass and pay a small reservation fee before getting a ticket with your seat number. The fees depend on the country but are usually just a couple of Euros (except in Italy, where they are ridiculously expensive).

What are your interests? Are you more interested in large cities, or would you rather experience the European countryside? Mountains, beaches, or both? Do you speak any European languages, and, if not, is it important for you to be in places where most people understand some English? Are there any places that you really want to see?

Spain is a good place to begin in March because the weather in the rest of Europe will likely be colder. Although Lisbon is cool too, especially Sintra and some of the nearby small towns along the coast. A Lisbon-Madrid-Barcelona journey would be a good way to begin your expedition.

From here, you could take several different routes. Continue east along the Mediterranean, visiting the French Riviera, Italy, and on to Slovenia, Croatia, and beyond (Greece?). Head north to Paris and then on to the UK or the Netherlands & Scandinavia. Or head northeast towards Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and on to the Czech Republic and Poland. It really depends on your interests and to some extent your budget (primarily for food). Honestly, though, $5,000 is more than enough, even if you stay in hostels instead of couchsurfing.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:07 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,800 posts, read 11,770,558 times
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1) Try to live in hostels: Hostels Worldwide - Online Hostel Bookings, Ratings and Reviews if you don't mind sharing a room with other people. They tend to be located near train stations and are easy to reach when you get to a new city.

2) Get a CapitalOne Visa card (no extra charge for foreign transactions.) Also call your bank and tell them you'll be traveling in Europe and have them set up your ATM card. Chances are, no extra steps are required and you can withdraw cash at overseas ATMs. The CapitalOne card should be your first choice but ATMs are still cheaper than exchanging your US dollars at banks with their rip-off spreads.

3) Go to urbanrail.net > metro - subway - light rail and learn the public transportation systems in the cities you'll be visiting. Purchase a pass to cover the time you'll be in each city when you get there (day/week passes.) You don't want to be taking a taxi unless you're completely lost.

4) Get one of those Amazon Kindle devices with free 3G.. I wish I had one when I was in Europe a few years ago.. it's helpful if you're totally lost and need to, say, look up a map.

5) Don't forget a Eurail pass (Eurail - Travel Europe by Train with your Eurail Pass | Eurail.com). Pick the one that fits your needs. I think it's still worth it even if purchasing the train tickets locally is a little cheaper since you don't need to worry about purchasing new tickets whenever you transfer (and risk missing the transfer.)

The pass should be under $1000.

If you live in hostels and take public transportation, eat cheaply, don't buy on impulse, figure about $50/day in expenses.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:17 AM
 
12,692 posts, read 14,074,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geggo View Post
I have been to Italy many times (as well as to most other countries in Europe) and will return there without hesitation. I agree that other countries are nice too, such as Croatia, but is Italy really overrated? Maybe this depends on where you come from and what your expectations were.
I think your point is excellent, and one that is often overlooked.

First, IMO, you have to know yourself....what are you like, and what do you like before asking for a lot of advice and then running with it. It's impossible to know what the quirks and goals of strangers were when they travelled. Just as an example, someone has said Italy is overrated, whereas I would say forget Athens and head for Rome, Siena, Florence....and, certainly Venice.

And, second, pay attention to your personal "I've-always-wanted-to-see" list. Maybe you'll be disappointed, maybe not, but I like the idea of finding out for myself.....objections like: there's cat poop in the Colisseum do not weigh heavily with me.
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:22 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,327 posts, read 11,047,644 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dub D View Post
Planning on doing hostels and the backpacking route. I can walk and rough it for a good while.
I am just thinking back ...
In my teens, I bicycled all over three countries.
Then, in my early 20's, I started to *hitchhike* all over Europe.
Keep in mind that was the late 50's and early 60's.

Yes, I was from Europe, and then I left for the USA.
Came back to work years later,
but never did the *hitchhiking* anymore (Family).
What I noticed then (early 80's), that I was thinking back when I was hitchhiking,
but in the 80's, I would look at some of the hitchhikers, and thought:
*Like hell, am I going to stop for him !!*.
Why do some of them have to look so grimey ??
When the *poor* guy, looked decently dressed and *clean*,
I stopped, and even treated him to a meal ...
Only because I *remembered* being treated to a meal,
when I was hitchhiking umpteen years ago !

Which brings me to the question:
Has anybody here on this forum done the hitchhiking stint
*all over Europe?* just recently ?
Like maybe up to 5 years back ???
If yes, what was your experience.
Not only nice to know for me, but also nice to know for the OP.

I remember in the early 60's, sitting around truck stops,
and seeing quite a few *of us hitchhikers*.
In the 80's, I did not see that many,
maybe one or two, but that was it.

The OP, says, he can walk ...
OK, I get that, but Europe is a big country !!!
Just walking, you do not get that far !

I would at least plan *some route*, and figure out what the transportation costs would be.
How many miles/km are you willing to walk in one day ?
No use to get somewhere and then *run out of money* ...

I am not so sure, today, you can sleep anywhere (in the wild),
where you think you can sleep.
Today's Europe is different.
5k US is not much any more in Euros today ...
30 - 75 days ? I would agree. 30 days would pass rather fast.
Around 75, you probably are close to running out of funds.

I still have a lot of nieces and nephews in Europe, and they,
in their 20's have cars now !!!
Dang, all I had was a nice lightweight bicycle ...

Just some advice to the OP.
Do not put any *flags* on your backpack !!!
You can buy sew-on patches and put those on a special jacket you may have, but that is all.
I had one that was literally plastered all over with those patches ...

LBNL, do plan, and do go !!
You will not regret it.
Do you have ancestry in Europe ?
Maybe a good time to look where they came form ?
Are you an active *church-goer* ?
Sounds far-fetched, but if you are, you can try visiting members of the same religion in Europe !
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,251,141 times
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There are a couple of up-sides to traveling with a companion. Generally, a simple hotel room for two will cost no more than two separate accommodations in a hostel, you can hang out in the room all day, and you'd even get to sleep together, depending on your choice of companion. When traveling with my wife, we never even considered hostels, and we're really tight with our money. They were just never cheaper than available hotels, and certainly lack the local color.

You can also, quite often, rent a car and pay for gas to transport two people just as cheap as two train tickets. Certainly cheaper than three or four train tickets, if you can find another couple to double up with.

I think when I traveled for a year in Europe, I was alone about half the time, but often found amenable fellow-travelers to travel with for a few days or even weeks, or met locals I could crash with. So there is no need to assume that you will be perpetually stuck with your lonesome, unless that is your preference.
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