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First ever europe trip

Old Jan 23rd, 2015, 09:49 PM
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First ever europe trip

Hi all, just wanting some everyday tips and hints for travelling europe.
Backpacking for two months, and using bus about for my transport for almost half of the trip..
Rough plan is
Start in Spain (Barcelona, madrid, sans sabastion)
France (Paris, and a day trip to Normandy)
Amsterdam (with a day trip to Belgium)
Berlin
Prague
Munich
Vienna
All of which is using bus about Flexi stopper
Than wanting to train or hire a car from Vienna to Venice and spend a week in Italy finishing in Rome.
From Rome a flight to split (Croatia) for a 8 day sail croatia criuse.
And from there a flight to Hungary (Budapest)
And open to other suggestions of place to go and things to see in Hungary.
From there a flight to Belgrade and a train to novi sad for EXIT festival (Serbia)
And finally a flight out of Belgrade onto Athens to explor Greece for 5 days before a flight back to brisbane Australia.

Any and all suggestions would be great
Days in cities are flexible for the first half as we are using busabout, but from Italy onwards is minimum 5 days each country.
Thank you for any help
greeneman90 is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2015, 10:25 PM
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5 days might be about fine for a medium sized city but not for a country! On my opinion you try to cram in far too many destinations, the point is not to check "countries" off a list but to allow time and experience something on each destination. What "a day trip to Belgium" means for example and what's the point?
Furthermore, have you ever take such a long fast pace trip before? Traveling is very rewarding but can get tiring too. I find that after first couple of weeks of traveling, one needs to slow down and allow some "off" days every now and then.
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 04:54 AM
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What you have here is a very comprehensive tour of bus stations, train stations and airports of europe.

I know 2 months seems like a long time - but you have a massive list of places in your itinerary.

Also you don't mention when this trip will be. If soon you will be running into bad winter weather (which may delay travel and make outdoors activities unpleasant) in some places. If in summer you will have very hot weather many places (often with little AC depending on country) and mobs of tourists - esp bad in august when kids are out of school and many businesses close since all employees vacation at the same time.

At a quick glance your 60 days has 19 different stops - which means you need to allow about 15 days just for getting from one place to another. So now you are down to 19 places in 45 days - but removing the 8 day Croatia sail - so down to 18 places in 37 days - or 2 days per place.

This is physically possible - but for many places (any major city) you are giving them very short shrift. IMHO place like Paris and Rome need at least 4 nights (3 full days) to really see much of anything. (I would leave at least 6 nights - 5 days - for such visits but you obviously are looking for quantity rather than quality).

Also you do;t seem to have left any time for doing laundry, shopping even for sundries (not fun shopping) and if you run into a local holiday, festival or any sort of transit strike your whole itinerary can easily fall apart.

I'm not suggesting slow travel - but just leaving a little room for the types of things that can happen on any trip. I would cut at least 5 or 6 destinations - and you would still have a very fast paced trip.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2015, 04:56 AM
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Sorry - this is the classic mistake with many trips to europe - trying to do way too much in too little time and underestimating the time is takes to get from one place to another (and even within cities).
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 05:01 AM
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Since you are backpacking I suggest you do it the way I think most did it in the old days. Get there, have a return ticket, have some guide books and a type of itinerary. Strike out, spend the amount of time you want and move on.
DD took a month with some friends--got into Spain, didn't like it particularly and headed on.
You do have 'way 'way too much. You'll meet someone or some folks and they'll be going to such and such--come on along with us. It will be a memorable trip--moreso than "if it's Tuesday it must be ________".
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 05:02 AM
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It does sound to me as if you are fitting a lot into your trip! But all the destinations you listed are fabulous places to visit - from the places in your list I have visited Madrid and Prague, both of which are amazing cities. Also, anywhere you go in Italy you will fall in love with! Enjoy your travels!! Elis
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 05:55 AM
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The first part of greeneman90's trip is a Busabout itinerary, where he can hop off at any point and stay as long as he wants. See: http://www.busabout.com/hop-on-hop-off-europe/flexitrip

This is a typical young Aussie's backpacking trip to Europe, and looks fine to me. With all that flexibility built in, greeneman90 can fine-tune as he goes along.
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 06:28 AM
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You might also want to check out the thorntree forum on lonelyplanet, which caters to backpackers. Fodors has relatively fewer backpackers on it.

My standard advice is to check commercial bus tour itineraries - not just busabouts, but Globus, even Tauck - not because you want to do one of their tours, but because they have often optimized the efficiency of the routes. You can learn a lot by studying their brochures. Don't simply look for a 'grand tour', study the country-specific itineraries for clues. You will need to go at a slower rate than a bus tour, because you have more 'housekeeping' stuff to do, and you will need some downtime, but studying their order of doing things can help.

Use google maps, which has a built in 'directions' trip planner. It can be an eye opener to see how much time it takes to travel from A to B (there are options for both car and public/bus/train travel directions). Nothing can replace getting that kind of familiarity, yourself, with distances and times, so play around with it.

Avoid the trap of trying to plan specifically (things to do in Hungary) before you get the overall picture down. Figure out how many hours a day you want to spend traveling. However, I note you have some specific events that I presume are 'must dos'. May I suggest you do those first, and get the structured part of your itinerary 'out of the way'? In other words, avoid having to be at place X on day n; one of the joys of being a backpacker is NOT having to follow a fixed schedule.
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 06:40 AM
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A word of warning about Google maps.

Sometimes the public transit options are by local bus, not city-to-city bus or train. So for europe, Bahn.de can help with intercity train schedules (they have an English version.)

Also, it can help to relate a foreign country to a place you presumably know, Australia.

For example, by car, Amsterdam to Ghent, Belgium, is 2.5 hours. By train, according to bahn.de, it is about 3.0.

Sydney to Canberra is about 3.0 hours by car, according to Google maps. Personally, knowing that information, I would not expect to do Canberra as a day trip from Sydney. Nor would I attempt a day trip to Belgium from Amsterdam, for the same reason. You get the idea.
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 07:22 AM
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Be aware that, if you rent a car in one country and leave it in another country, you will likely attract steep drop-off charges.
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 08:49 AM
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I toured Europe for two months twice in my youth but that was a long time ago and I think the suggestion for Thorntree is a good one. Having said that I do have a few thoughts. First are you going alone or with a companion? Going by yourself has the positives of complete freedom plus I have found that it is much easier to meet other people. Europe is full of young people traveling about in the summer and I found it interesting and fun to hook up however briefly with others to go and do things I had not planned. The downside of traveling alone is that sometimes it can get lonely and decent accommodations can be much less expensive if you can share a room. Hostels are typically priced by the person but hostel experience can vary from nice to awful. Security is also better if you have your own room. airbnb?
I might also suggest a Rail pass instead of a bus pass. A two month 2nd class rail pass is less than $1000 US and covers 28 countries and just about all public rail travel for two months. It is also faster for long distance travel and more comfortable than a bus. The bus pass is not that much cheaper and only covers major cities in 9 countries. A train pass covers a gazillion possible destinations.
Renting of a car might be an issue for you for multiple reasons. First if you pick up and drop off in different countries you generally have a hefty surcharge. Second your age may be a factor in ability to rent or need to pay extra if you are below some age. 25 and older is fine.
I think it is good to have a general itinerary but allow yourself to be flexible because this should be an adventure. A rail pass again gives you more flexibility and less costs and more freedom.
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Old Jan 24th, 2015, 02:50 PM
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Thank you all for your feed back,
I do realise this is a lot packed I to a short amount of time.
I am traveling with a friend so, two under 30 mails. So the fast pace shouldn't be to much of an issue.
After calculating how much town we want to be in each place from the day we land until we have to be in croatia, we have an extra 11 days up our sleeve which can be used for down time, rest, washing and shopping, and also for random adventure we might encounter.

The comfort of the bus isn't desierable but it from what I have found was the cheapest and easiest option.. Only $520 AUD and have the flexibility to stay in one place as long as we like, and the piece of mind knowing a bus will be there every two days.

Also another question for you guys, keeping in mind, all flights, and bus about ticket purchased before leaving as a well as sail Croatian not being included in our every day budget.
Is a budget of €70 - 100 per day a sustainable amount of money to accommodate and feed ourselves?
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Old Jan 26th, 2015, 10:05 AM
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Unless you are a devoted beach person, I'd skip San Sebastian.
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Old Jan 26th, 2015, 11:27 AM
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Is that 70 to 100 euros each or for both of you? If you look at the budget student guides they show 50 euros per day per person as an absolute minimum - with very basic hostels, lots of picnics/eating meals with food from markets, no shopping at all and very limited night life (wine and beer in student places are usually cheap, but hard liquor or mixed drinks tend to be very expensive). Also some major sights might not be affordable at that budget.
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Old Jan 26th, 2015, 11:35 AM
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Hello again.

I'm going to post the link to the Thorn tree forum for you. You'll find lots of under thirties people there to answer your questions on budget.

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntr...western-europe

Here, in particular, is a thread you might find useful.

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntr...before-posting

Scan down the post, it will mention budget. They do indeed recommend a minimum of € 50 per day.

But truly, it is best to confer with people of like age and travel style. Check out those links, and have a good trip!
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 06:12 AM
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Ok, this is a packed trip but nothing wrong with that if you have lots of energy and don't need to rest too much


A budget of 70-100 EUR for both is tight, but I think it's doable. Stay in hostels or try couchsurfing and don't eat in restaurants. Staying far from alcohol is also good, beer would do just fine in Europe! (I assume you're not counting train tickets in it)

I'd say leave out the car rental. It's fairly easy to get around Europe using trains. I found one site especially useful for how to get from point A to point B: www.rome2rio.com

Good luck with your European adventure! You'll have a blast
mytravelove is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2015, 06:52 AM
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I don't know why people are encouraging you to use rail passes, rental cars, etc if your transport is already paid for with Busabout Flexitrip.

Will you book your rooms through Busabout? Busabout has the option of booking accommodation through them, and suggests you budget "about €15 - €30 per night for a dorm bed". If that is an accurate figure, then your "€70 - 100 per day" (if for both of you) doesn't leave much left for meals, local transport, admissions, etc, but can be done if you are frugal. If you mean €70 - 100 per day for each person, then that's a different matter.
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 09:49 PM
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I tried to click on OP's username and all I get is "Page no found" . So possibly he has removed his account and does not read any of this, while people spend in vain their valuable time to help.
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Old Jul 19th, 2015, 05:57 AM
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I think it is too packed list for this kind of travel. Try to cut your list to cities you really, really want to visit. I guess this post is late now, giving that Exit Festival already passed, and you probably visited Belgrade already, but if you kept your original plan and you still "visit this post", let us know how it went. I'd appreciate that, cause I wanted to do similar trip myself. Thanks.
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