EUROPE 2011 or 2012 disagreement

Dec 4th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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EUROPE 2011 or 2012 disagreement

My husband and I have planned to backpack through Europe for 3-4 weeks in the summer of 2011 for the last few years. Recently, he decided we should postpone until 2012 because of the Olympics. He thinks "Europe" will be less crowded because everyone will be in London. He also wants to try and get tickets to at least one Olympic event so we can say we went to the Olympics (we are both sports lovers). Althought I would love to go to the Olympics someday this was not the original intention of the trip. I also disagree with his logic and think that everything will be more crowded and more expensive.

Neither of us have ever traveled to Europe before. Please give input and solve this argument for us! Any "getting started" or first time traveler tips would be greatly appreciated. We are both in our mid 20's and just want to see as much of Europe as possible as cheaply as possible.
McGuire18 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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If you want to travel cheaply throughout Europe, get the (railroad)Global Pass for a month - it'll allow you to travel "unlimited" throughout designated countries for that one month period.

If you plan carefully, you could be on overnight trains and not have to paid for a room somewhere.

Otherwise, the hostels are a great bargain.

Also look to the Thorn Tree forum on Lonely Planet which is more geared to younger travellers.

Here's a backpackers website that I ran across the other day:
easytraveler is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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I vote for two trips: backpacking in 2011 and Olympics in 2012.
Nikki is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 11:15 AM
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I agree with you--do not try to mix the two.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 11:40 AM
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The Olympics will have next to no impact on other parts of Europe. Except that flights into or connecting through the UK and Eurostar trains to/from London might be booked up/more expensive.

Adding London just to attend one event would be a very costly add-on.

My suggestions would be either:

To do 2 trips - one backpacking in other parts of Europe next year, and one for the UK/Olympics in 2012 - assuming you start planning now for which event you want to attend. Sign up for the e-mail newsletter/alerts from the London Olympics.

Or - just do the backpacking trip whichever year you want.
janisj is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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Don't wait! Go in 2011! You never know what will come up in 2012. This is the voice of experience speaking.
Sassafrass is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 03:15 AM
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I think this is not really an issue that can be solved by other people's guesses about the future in Europe, or guesses about your future two years out. The real problem is your differences with your husband about what this first time visit to Europe should mean to both of you. If he is talking about snagging tickets to the Olympics so you can say you were there, then he has more ambitions for traveling than wanting "to see as much of Europe as possible as cheaply as possible" -- which is how you are defining the trip.

Objectively, people here can talk about logistics and help you make a good lawyer's case to go now, when you want to, as opposed to waiting.

But I think what really matters is which one of you can most easily give up on your plan if you cannot afford two trips.

In other words, you are going to have to really talk this out between you, not just paper over the differences or let "elders" arbitrate and decide for you. If you don't really resolve it, it could come back in the form of an argument and blaming mid-trip or post-trip or if the trip is postponed, in 2011.

You have a fairly happy and very small problem to solve, as opposed to many others that can unfortunately find their way into a marriage. Just talk it out until you have both found an answer that you are both happy to live with.

Have a great time talking and traveling!
zeppole is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 03:17 AM
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Hey Mc,

Are you sure that you want to remain married to a flighty butterfly who changes a plan that has been in the works for several years because he thinks that he might want to tell people that he attended the Olympics?
ira is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 03:40 AM
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Was London and the UK part of your original list of places you were intending to visit? It's wonderful, but considerably more expensive than most of the rest of Europe. I just came back from ten days each in the UK and Italy and spent about at least a third more for hotels, food, and transportation in the UK. In both cases my time was split between major cities (London and Rome) and smaller towns. On a first trip to Europe I do think London should be included, but not just to see the Olympics. And I do think that time period hotel rates will be sky-high (which they already are, only worse).

So if you can afford it, and were planning on London anyway, and don't mind the extra that 2012 will cost for London then I say go for it. But to see as much of Europe as cheaply as possible I think you'll be better off going in 2011.
isabel is online now  
Dec 5th, 2010, 04:17 AM
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Hey MC,

I've been happily married for many years to a man whose light-bulb ideas about our trips together have been polar opposite of mine -- and we both change our minds a lot along the way about travel plans that were supposedly "set" long before.

Although I bet there are some people on Fodor's who actually would divorce a spouse who suggested a new travel plan after the Fodorite had polished and polished and polished some itinerary to a perfect imaginary shine -- but spontaneity and flexibility can be part of the fun of a trip, and I suspect both of you will be coming up with new ideas between now and whenever you get on the plane, and even while you're in the midst of the trip.

Sooner or later you and your husband will have to learn how to resolve and blend your inevitably different travel ideas. No two people are alike when it comes to travel. If you only want a travel companion who doesn't contribute their own ideas to the direction of the trip, buy a dog!
zeppole is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 07:04 AM
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Thanks everyone. Good points were made by all. Especially Zeppole who points out what a great problem this is to have. Thanks for all of the added input and keep it coming. We are reading each post and adding to our discussion as you all make points.

An added note on our trip... we plan to fly into whichever country is cheapest when we book flights. From there we are just going. We will be sketching out a loose outline but once we are there anything goes (within the budget)! We are planning a lot of hostels. We both are ready to be flexible and just go wherever the trip takes us. The only issue right now is what year this event is taking place!
McGuire18 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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One more point then. You keep mentioning budget. I have found that planning tends to save money over "just going". Especially in the summer if you just show up in a city the really good value lodging will be booked. You will be left with either crappy places or more expensive places. To lots of people this type of travel is worth it so I'm not saying don't do it. Just that I've found, over many trips, that if you are willing to book ahead you'll get better lodging at much better prices. You can probably even find 1 or 2 star hotels/pensiones/guest houses/B&Bs for less than a hostel for two people. The really good hostels also book up.
isabel is online now  
Dec 5th, 2010, 08:46 AM
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What do you mean as 'backpacking'? Does it mean camping? Does it mean carrying your clothes in a backpack? staying in hostels?

If you go in 2011, then you can also go in 2012 if you want.

Check out the trip reports on (especially those by Ben) for some good ideas on inexpensive travel in southern Germany.
bigtyke is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 08:57 AM
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McGuire-You received some lovely answers.

I think you should go to the Olympics! I also firmly think you should take your backtripping trip in 2011.

My thoughts (many of which duplicate the above):

1. Many of us on this board took our first "adult" trip to Europe with the idea that we would never get there again. Now we know that we'll sell our houses if that's what it takes to return--and we return often. And I'm sure everyone that posts here regularly will tell you the same thing: people think we're rich because we travel. We just know they've been spending stupid money on stupid things; we've stopped buying things so we can spend money on experiences.

2. A lot of prices have fallen this year because of the world economy. Go while prices are not atmospheric. Bet you they will be by 2012.

3. London is a very expensive and rather spread out city. It takes a lot of time (even with their good transportation) to see "the essentials". Paris, in contrast, is a snap. So if London was on your original itinerary for 2011, remove it or spend less time there with the idea you shall return (consider it a scouting trip for your Olympic return).

4. You will never have this day again. Life has a way of interrupting your best laid plans. If you've gathered the money to go in 2011, and no parent or sibling is sick/dying this year, then get your butts over there. The next year may not be so providential.

4. Flexibility, go-with-the-flow, is fine, but... Isabel hits on a good point--there's a very thin line between "flexible" and "why in the heck didn't I plan this better?" because your time is also money. Spending hours trying to find a bed sort of ruins the point of the trip (and makes the back/shoulders/feet complain).
AlessandraZoe is online now  
Dec 11th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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Thanks everyone. Your support has been invaluable! It is official... the McGuire's are going in 2011. We are both very excited and will have many questions in the coming months!
McGuire18 is offline  
Dec 11th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Congrats on making a decision!

Sounds like a great trip is in the making!
easytraveler is offline  
Dec 12th, 2010, 03:23 AM
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AlessandraZoe is online now  

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