Backpacking: 3 countries, 1 month

Oct 8th, 2012, 09:15 AM
  #1  
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Backpacking: 3 countries, 1 month

Travel dates: Around May 28- June 4th (Sometime around the end of May is when we would leave from the US)

Destination countries: Spain, France, Italy

Destination cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Paris, Milan, Florence, Venice, Rome

We are hoping to travel mainly by train, eat at local stops, stay in hostels in all cities except one or two (not sure which cities yet), and just suck in the culture.

I have never went backpacking and am looking to this site for opinions on whether this is a good choice for an itinerary. Our budget would be $3,000 a piece including airfare. Is that sufficient? Would this trip maybe be possible on a budget of $1,500 a piece not including airfare?

All opinions welcomed. Thanks!!
nomadness is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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"Our budget would be $3,000 a piece including airfare. Is that sufficient? Would this trip maybe be possible on a budget of $1,500 a piece not including airfare?"

Not even close to enough money. Your airfare alone will likely be $1000 or more.
janisj is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:22 AM
  #3  
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Sorry, the dates are incorrect.. It would be around May 28th until June 24-28th.

Thanks. I've checked out flights and have found some that are no more than $730. So I'm guessing $3,000 is sufficient NOT including airfare?
nomadness is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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Meant to add: Re the $1500 pp excluding airfare - that is only about $50/approx €35 per day. 3 times that would be a reasonable low-ish budget. Transport will cost more than you may think, entrance fees will run from €0 to €25 every day. Probably averaging €15 because some days you won't pay to go inside any for-pay sites.
janisj is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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$50 a day not including air fare could be possible if you went camping - and that is not such an impractical idea as every European city has camps in or near them - I camped/trained thru Europe for years when I was your age. And you'd have to eat from supermarkets, picnics, etc.

Traveling around can be expensive but if you are under 26 you can get the bargain IME Eurail Youthpass - if not look into the Eurail Select Saverpass valid in France, Spain and Italy and then you know exactly what your transportation costs will be for your intended itinerary - or do the online discount ticketing that locks yourself into usually non-changeable non-refundable trains weeks in advance to get those limited in number tickets.

Anyways for loads of great stuff on planning a European rail trip I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com - the latter being a font of great info on online discounted tickets - but if traveling extensively on trains take a look at the Eurail Youthpass, if under 26 or some kind of pass
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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oh - didn't see your second post (were posting at the same time)

$3000/€2300wouldbe barely enough - you are looking at about €75 per day per person. W/ hostels, lots of picnic meals and few major museums you could make it work.
janisj is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Nope, even staying in hostels and eating street food, that's not going to be enough. Just do a sampling of all the train fares you'll need to pay, even if you do the smart thing and get the discount fares in advance, and you've already eaten up your budget.

Also curious why you include Bordeaux.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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Street food in Italy is out of it:
http://www.jaunted.com/story/2012/10...+Street+Eaters
ribeirasacra is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 09:57 AM
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IMHO that is NOT enough money unless you camp for free, eat food you pick up at street markets (as in raw food for sandwiches or fruit) you walk everywhere in the cities, take low cost bus or slowest trains between cities, avoid many major sights and never go into a pub or cafe in the evening for a beer or a glass of wine. Even so, you may run out of money.

My DD and two freinds went for 5/6 weeks the summer of '11 - staying in modest hotels, no fancy dining (but they did eat sitting down), no shopping and nightlife was very modest student places - wine or beer only - no hard liquor which is much more expensive. But they did use metro or buses in the cities, pay to enter all the major sights, etc. She spend almost $8000 including trains and air.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 11:27 AM
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That could certainly be enough if you couchsurf and picnic.

Suggest you head over to Lonely Planet's thorntree board, where you will find a lot more backpackers than you will here.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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I think you could probably do it for $3,000 excluding airfare. Whether you'd still enjoy yourself is a question totally up to you. Some people are fine with hostel dorms, cheap meals and no guided tours or anything like that, but if you have visions of gondola rides, lots of museums, or really good French food, no, that won't be enough.

Some possible suggestions, depending on what's on your priority list:

1) Shorten the trip - if you went for two or three weeks rather than four, you could make it work more easily. I could do three weeks in Italy comfortably on $3000, myself, once I bought the plane ticket.

2) Tweak your destinations - getting from Barcelona to Paris and then to Venice or Rome are relatively long trips that, most likely, will be some of your biggest costs. If France or Spain isn't a must, think about leaving it off. Whatever cities you end up going to, look at budget flights and point-to-point rail tickets before committing to a rail pass. Some of those train trips would be LONG.

3) You're going to all cities, and some pricy ones at that (Paris, Milan, Venice). If you're interested in any smaller towns, you might save some money by going there instead.

You may know this already, but make sure and book open-jaw (also called multi-city) flights - say, into Paris and out of Rome. That will save you time and money backtracking, and usually is the same price as a round trip.
jent103 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 12:23 PM
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Cut out Bordeaux. Look at discount airlines, perhaps from Barcelona or Madrid to Paris. I flew from Paris to Milan two years ago for 49€.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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The first thing that jumps out at me with such a low budget, is why go to so many places? The train fares will eat up your daily money.

Instead of 8 cities in 3 countries... if you pick instead only 2-3 cities in 1 country, that right off the batt will save you a load of $ by not moving around so much.

As far as "backpacking" get yourself over to www.lonelyplanet.com and their forum called The Thorn Tree. Also read guidebooks like Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and Let's Go.
suze is offline  
Oct 8th, 2012, 02:25 PM
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Someone mentioned couchsurfing earlier and here is the website:

http://www.couchsurfing.org/

You could fly EasyJet from Madrid to Paris for as low as 35€ (check the fees for checked baggage).
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Oct 10th, 2012, 09:35 AM
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You could also take the train from Madrid to Paris overnight - save on the cost of a hotel and travel at night - could be the cheapest option of all.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 10th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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. Just do a sampling of all the train fares you'll need to pay, even if you do the smart thing and get the discount fares in advance>

well with all those train trips some kind of pass would be cheaper perhaps even than a series of discounted tickets and you may not be able to get discounted tickets at all on some segments - so the pass is an option as well to research and again if under 26 the Eurail Youthpass is hard to beat.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 10th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Note that the Eurail Select Pass I mention above after 2012 will no longer include France as an option so scratch that idea - just remembered that!
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 10th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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France is still in the Eurail Global Pass however and youth pass rates of that are pretty spectacular and probably can beat the combo on online discounts and give you the ability to chose trains once there not have to book often non-changeable non-refundable trains weeks in advance to secure the limited in number of discounted tickets - there may not even be some on that itinerary - like going between France and Italy perhaps.
PalenQ is offline  
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