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College Graduate Backpacking in Europe for 4-6 weeks

College Graduate Backpacking in Europe for 4-6 weeks

Jan 1st, 2012, 08:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 21
College Graduate Backpacking in Europe for 4-6 weeks

Hello all,

I am about to be a college graduate this upcoming summer and I am planning a trip leaving early July and returning 4-6 weeks later. I am planning on going with a friend and we would like to hit 4 countries primarily: Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

We are planning on staying in hostels to save some money so I was wondering about any hostels that anyone could recommend? Also, any recommendations on transportation throughout Europe? I'd like to choose the least expensive ways as possible, but we are both going to be 22 years old if that helps.

So any suggestions on things to do, see, or hints on backpacking would be greatly appreciated!

slammin_sammy180 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2012, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Another good forum with lots of people your age is throntree:
BikerScott is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 12:15 AM
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'We are planning on staying in hostels to save some money so I was wondering about any hostels that anyone could recommend?' -
WomBatt is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I've had good luck with the Hostels on Hostelling International.
cferrb is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 01:09 AM
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Hey congrat on your trip

backpackeurope.com eurocheapo.com eurolines.com pass
generally the cheapest way to go. watch out fortrain pass
and money changers 2 biggest rip offs in europe.
bootsnall.com better site than thorntree currently sold out to BBC like tripadvertizer too commercial for me.

hostelbookers.com for top hostels
I will give you a few of my favs.

3ducks.fr or mije.com
the-beehive or The Yellow Roma

Good luck!
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 01:13 AM
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Not a fan of the HIs usually poorly located more expensive.
Avoid check reviews rating carefully. skyscanner.com
for econo flights long legs booked in advance work best for me.hop regional trains like a local for short tips.
seat61.com. Route fly to Athens first and work my way back
do a round robin uoutof LON or PAR. usually fine best prices on aa.com NYC LON booked on a Tuesin Late Jan.
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 01:35 AM
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One of the rail passes may be a good deal for you. For information see http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/. Also see http://tinyurl.com/eym5b for an illustrated introduction to the trains of Europe.

I recommend Hosteling International. Learn more at http://www.hihostels.com/. There are also many other hostels which are not member of HI.
spaarne is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 05:44 AM
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Hopefully you can take 6 weeks, not 4 if you're planning to visit 4 countries! Otherwise you'll feel too rushed and won't have a chance to see very much, let alone relax and enjoy your surroundings. Also, buy an open-jaw ticket so you can arrive in one country and depart from home from your last stop. This will make for the very best use of your short time. www.booking.com is another good source for budget accomodations if you use the filter system. www.tripadvisor.com is an excellent source for information as well as accomodation reviews and recommendations.
brotherleelove2004 is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 06:49 AM
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Some affordable hostal tips in great Spanish cities such as Madrid, Sevilla, Málaga and San Sebastián. A hostal in Spain is usually a small and family-owned establishment with all the amenities of a hotel, but it's generally much cheaper. All are centrally located in the middle of everything.

Madrid, Plaza D'ort. From 44€ for a double: http://www.plazadort.com/

Sevilla, Hostal Museo. From 35€ for a double:

Málaga, Hostal Victoria. 55€ for a double in July/August: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/victoria.en.html

San Sebastián, Pension Urkia. 60€ in July/August for a double.
Pensión Larrea is cheaper and with shared bathroom in the center of the Parte vieja/Old town: http://www.pensionlarrea.com/presentacion_i.htm

In general you can have bargain three course lunch menus in most local restaurants. Most Spanish have their main meal at lunch from about 1.30 pm. A three course meal - starter, main, dessert - with drinks included for some 8-12€.

You can live really cheap in small beach town Nerja. Traditional and great value Hostal Mena with balcony and sea view will only be 45€ in July/August (40€ without balcony): http://www.hostalmena.es/hostal/eng/

Free tapas (small portions of all kinds of local specialities) to choose with each glass of whatever in the bare area in most restaurants and tapas bars in Nerja. A glass and a tapa would normally be some 1,50€. In other words, you could have some 5 glasses of wine/beer and five portions of grilled meat/fish, seafood, stews, ham, cheese, salads etc. etc for some 7.50€ both at lunchtime and from 7pm on. http://www.nerjatoday.com/barsandrestaurants/

9 beaches in town among the cliffs, both small and large. Some good vibe late-night clubs/bars along Calle Antonio Millon and several all-night discos at close by Plaza Tutti Frutti.
kimhe is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:04 AM
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Also, any recommendations on transportation throughout Europe? I'd like to choose the least expensive ways as possible, but we are both going to be 22 years old if that helps.>

Well with that wide-ranging travel I'd take the fantastic rail system and also get the basement-bargain IMO Eurail Youthpass of some kind - for folks under age 25 - complete flexibility to hop any train anytime in most countries - not much good in Greece so maybe look at a one-month Eurail Youthpass and in Greece use buses and boats as rail travel is very limited there - yet the railpass will get you to Greece as well as it ocvers in full many overnight ferries between Italy and Greece.

Great sources of info on European trains (and passes) - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. Use www.bahn.de - the German rail web site for schedules of trains all over Europe. Hop the zillions of overnight trains between cities and save on the night's cost of a hotel and join many other traveling youths from all over the world in a party atmosphere (if you want it on trains)!
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 11:22 AM
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People here are mostly not backpackers. You will get good info in the Let's Go student guides as well as the thorn tree. I believe those belonging to Hosteling International are usually well-regarded - but there are a lot (some very good and some downright dreadful - drugs, theft, etc).

Just be sure you have enough money in your checking account (to pull via ATMs) - and research costs thoroughly to be sure you hae allocated enough. My younger daughter went last summer with a couple of friends and ran into a couple of girls who had underestimated costs (especially how much they would spend in bars I think) and ran out of credit and emptied their checking accounts. They found themselves out of money and still a week until their flight home. My daughter sprang for time on a computer in an internet cafe so they could contact parents to confess and ask for help. (Also a good idea to make sure at least one of you has a phone that will work to the US - even if it is expensive.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 12:38 PM
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Fodor's isn't really a backpacking travel forum. Definitely take the tip in the first post and get yourself over to Lonely Planet and their forum, The Thorn Tree. Loads of expertise and experienced backpacking, hostel-staying travelers there. suze
suze is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 02:09 PM
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and yes Let's Go Europe is in many ways the Bible of backpackers and young travelers - a wealth of info - get a copy and take along with you. Invaluable info on budget hotels, hostels, youth hotels, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 02:46 PM
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Congratulations on both your graduation and your trip. I think it is great!! I wish more young people could take the time to do exactly what you are doing. It will be something you will cherish for the rest of your life.

Look at the Thorntree site and Lonely Planet for things to do. Check out Couch Surfing for free places to stay. My daughter had a friend that did the agritourismos in Italy for about a month, swapping a little bit of work for a free place to stay.

Most important, have fun, be safe and enjoy.
daveesl is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 03:04 PM
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Lonely Planet, Let's Go, and Rough Guides are all excellent. Plus various hostel websites for checking out specific places to stay and making reservations (doesn't have to be done in advance, can be done from one place, to the next).
suze is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 09:43 PM
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Do you have any draft itenerary? I guess you need to concetrate in specific areas/towns on each country, so it would be helpfull to know which are those in oder to advice accordingly. Note that hostels are more common in some countires than on others, and on my experience mostly to be found on cities rather than smaller towns/villages. In Greece depending on where you are going, you may want to look into "rooms to let", small family owned B&B hotels, and maybe some cambings, depending on location. When exactly you'll be found where is crucial too. If you start your trip on Greece, early July, you'll be visiting on the edge of shoulder to high summer season, so you'll be able to find some decent rates both on islands and on mainland. Reversing your itenerary and visiting start to middle August, you'll be going at the middle of the very high season, so rates and availiability vary accordingly.
In order to get some reccomendations, it would help to give us an approximate budget in euros to work on!
Furthermore, tell us your priorities and what is your main focus. Not all 22 y.o. have same interests. I know of people focising on nighlife on this age, other people like to be active and do lots of sports, other people like sighseen, other people are more interested on large cities, other people are not......
mariha2912 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 02:56 AM
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Backpacking is OK if you are trekking over the Alps. Most city travelers use a 21" wheeled soft side case. Besides hostels, dorms and B&Bs are good cheap places to stay. I suggest that you get the Lonely Planet guide *Europe on a Shoestring*. For budget travel it beats everything else available.
spaarne is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:05 AM
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Great choices, awesome countries with Greece being my favorite. As you're travelling in European summer I strongly advise you to book the hostels in advance. In Greece, don't miss the unique Santorini. We rented a quad bike there but we found it can be very dangerous as summer is really busy and there are lots of scooters and mopeds on the road. Here is the hostel we stayed http://www.travelaholics.com/hostels...veland/a70679/ . In France, Provence is a beautiful region. Good luck with your planning!
FionaRose is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Wow thanks so much everyone for your helpful advice!

And to answer mariha2912's question, I currently do not have a draft itinerary made up yet. I have an idea of certain cities we would like to visit whilst there, but not much set in stone.

Also, we are probably looking at having about a $3000USD budget I believe? But I am all for doing it cheap in as many areas as possible.

We are pretty adventurous people. Don't mind doing hikes and crazy stuff. But we also appreciate a good museum when there is one, so we are pretty much open to whatever someone suggests is great to do in those 4 countries.

I hope this helps give a little more insight into what we are looking for. Cheers!
slammin_sammy180 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 12:28 PM
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My college-aged kids did a 3-week backpacking tour of Germany, Italy and Greece this past summer. My daughter booked all of the hostels for herself and her brother ahead of time through HostelWorld.com. She said she learned of this site when she did her study abroad year in Ireland and said it was invaluable when she traveled that year. She said it's a great site because you can read reviews and ratings of various hostels to see what other backpackers thought of these places. You can see what amenities each hostel offers as well.

She also booked all of their train travel in advance because they had a firm itinerary. She was able to get exactly the train times that she wanted and she reserved a seat for herself and her brother so they would not have to stand. They traveled in June and I think this would be even more of a concern with your travel in July.

She did a lot a research (and I helped some) and had a printed plan of what they wanted to see; how to get there; hours, costs, etc. She said that this "bible" turned out to be invaluable!
longhorn55 is offline  

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