backpacking in Europe

Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 05:31 PM
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backpacking in Europe

Hi! My husband and I are planning a 3 wk backpacking trip from Dublin, Ireland to Munich, Germany April 14 - May 5. We will go thru Ireland France Italy Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic andGermany. We're hoping to do one major city or thing in each country. We dont have much money so will be staying at hostels and need help on how to go cheap. What are some essentials we will need? How many sets of clothes, do we need sheets, towels? What should we bring as far as jackets and rain gear? Is the city of Pisa Italy worth going to? Is it better to do Paris on foot or to get some kind of pass for the city?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 05:47 PM
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Why don't you get a copy of Let's Go Europe, it's the bible of backpackers and budget travellers.

http://www.amazon.com/Lets-Go-Europe.../dp/1598803131

They have a website: http://www.letsgo.com
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 06:05 PM
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The amount of clothing you bring depends on how much you can carry in your backpack. I would keep the pack as light as possible and wash clothes in the sink or stop in a laundromat once during the trip. Definitely bring a towel. I think you can rent sheets at the hostels and possibly towels as well but still bring one from home.

For a trip beginning mid April you will definitely need rain-proof jackets with hoods. A plastic pancho will keep both you and your pack dry. Damp or rainy weather can be chilling if you're not used to it. Bring clothes you can layer. Leave the jeans at home as they are very heavy and take ages to dry when you wash them. Bring sturdy walking boots or shoes that are water repellent.

Definitely go to your library and check out the Let's Go guides - they're great and will give you lots of tips on packing and budget accommodations and eating. Another site is the Lonely Planet Thorntree message board that is geared toward the younger, backpacking crowd.

If you are trying to keep expenses down you are planning on traveling too much. You have 7 countries in 3 weeks. That means that you will change countries every 3 days and have about 2.5 days in each country if you account for travel time. Not enough to get a feel for the country or even a major city in that time. I would cut down on your itinerary and enjoy the countries you do see. The Czech Republic will be the least expensive country to visit.

Paris is definitely a walking city. You can buy metro tickets inexpensively (buy a book of 10 tickets called a carnet). Do not buy a transportation pass in Paris as it is too expensive and you won't get your money's worth, especially if you only stay for 2.5 days as you plan.

I would not choose Pisa if I were only going to Italy for a couple of days. Try Rome or Venice.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 06:10 PM
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I completely agree with Lutetia in getting Let's Go Europe, a great guide for not only the backpacking set, but for anyone on a budget, likes adventure, and likes meeting people.

As for your specific questions, first thing is to buy a proper backpack that's not going to kill you in weight, and roomy enough to stash stuff. If you don't bring a small, thin sleeping bag, having a thin blanket would be good and easier than taking sheets. Most hostels have both sheets and blankets, but definitely sheets. So you won't need that. Bring a towel, yes.

Considering you want to visit so many places, you should consider getting a Eurail Saver Pass that will be one pass for both you and your husband. You can use it to sleep on the train if you need to.

Bring jackets and other things to "layer" as clothing. At that time of year, it can be chilly or super warm, just depending. Certainly an umbrella.

Pisa -- a matter of taste. Some say no; we didn't listen and spent half a day there from Florence and loved it. Glad we didn't listen.

Paris: Get a day pass that you can use on the Metro and the buses, especially if you're zipping around from place to place. It also includes taking the Funicular to the top of Montmartre.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 06:38 AM
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Hi TK,

Also, take your question to the Thorntree Forum at www.lonelyplanet.com. Many more backpackers there than here.

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