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One Month Trip to Europe

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Mar 30th, 2013, 10:56 AM
  #1
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One Month Trip to Europe

Hey all. It's been a while since ive been on Fodor's. I used this site like crazy when I studied in Florence for a semester and was experiencing my first opportunity to travel (independently and in a new continent). Well I seemed to have gotten bit by the travel bug because I can't wait to go back. I'm graduating college in a few weeks and have a lot of things up in the air but I deep down want to live in Europe for a year. Ideally, I'd get a not too terrible job and make enough to pay rent and travell on the cheap most weekends. I know Europe's economy isn't great and being an American ex-pat isn't helpful. However I'm graduating with a degree in International Affairs from a decent school with honors.

Anyway, living in Europe is my ultimate goal but if I can't I am trying to plan a month (or possibly longer) trip. I started making model trip plans and wanted some feedback on itinerary and costs. Note I am just a 22 year old inrexperienced traveler but did most of my own planning when I was in Florence managing to stretch $6,000 over a little more than four months while studying and seeing: Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano, Pisa, Grieve, Pistoia, Rome x2, Cinque Terre, Sorrento, Capri, Split, Stockholm, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Valencia.

Anyway my model month plan would be:

Depart from Boston Sept 1
London (4 Days)
Bath (1)
Dublin (2)
Madrid (4 or 3 and day trip to Toledo)
Sevilla (3)
Granada (2)
Palermo (3)
Bari (2)
Venezia (2)
Trieste (2)
Budapest (3)

Return to Boston Oct 1 (With 3 days leftover for rest, emergencies, extra travel)

I feel like I have a thorough mix of different size places and towns. I'm into a lot of stuff: art, history, food, beer & wine, culture, meeting people, outdoors activities (hiking, skiing, climbing, biking), nightlife. Keeping in mind where I've been so far in my short traveling career, what do you guys think? I respect and value all of your opinions.

Also, rough budget? I don't mind hostels or couch surfing or even camping. I travel cheap but will spend $300-400 euros on souvenirs separately and will absolutely splurge on a meal every four days or so.
Thank you all!
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Mar 30th, 2013, 11:17 AM
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Is there something particular you want to see in Trieste? I can't think of why you'd want to spend two nights there.

If your thought process is traveling from Venice to Budapest, why not consider a couple of nights in Zagreb, Croatia instead? Much more to see there than in Trieste.

So glad you are 22- because this is a really busy schedule. I would be concerned that you will have no memories of any of these places once you're home.. just a blur and photos. If it were me, I'd cut down the number of places and choose to stay 5-6 days minimum in just 4 places. It allows you to actually get a feeling for the culture/people/history, etc. But, to each his own! We all travel differently.

Since you're going to so many places, you might spend a bit of time at either your library or big box book store. Browse through the travel guides for each city you have listed, and make notes on what you'd really like to see in each place. (You don't have to buy any guidebooks, but a notebook would come in handy.) You could also note hotel and restaurant recommendations from the guides- then double-check their reviews at TripAdvisor.com.

Congratulations on your graduation! Good luck in your job hunt! And have a fun trip!!
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Mar 30th, 2013, 11:18 AM
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You haven't factored in the time needed to get from place to place. For example, Bari to Venice is about 8 hours by train, so you'll have only 1 day in Venice, not 2. How are you getting from Palermo to Bari, from Trieste to Budapest? I suggest you plot this itinerary out in real time, noting total travel time between points and only then deciding how many of these cities you want to visit in this trip.

Your list is, as you mentioned, a mix of cities of varying size but have you no interest in small towns? Cities are great. I love cities. But after a fast visit to 4-5 cities, one after another, you begin to forget what you saw and did where.

And, I don't want to sound like your mommy, but when do you plan to do laundry?
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Mar 30th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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PS, another alternative to Trieste would be Ljubljana, Slovenia. Or Lake Bled/Bled Castle in Slovenia. If you do a search here you can find some wonderful trip reports that include that area of Slovenia.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 11:39 AM
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thanks sarge, I put 2 in for Trieste just because I feel like its better to overshoot to be on the safe side. I haven't thought about Trieste intensely but I am trying to see very different regions of Italy and I read a nice article on someone's 3 day stay in Trieste. Even if I do one day there I can account for travel/rest in there. Zagreb might be a better bet since I loved Split.

About it being rushed, I thought I was modest in how long each city takes? Any particular one seem too short? I got to see a lot of Tuscany and a bit of the Western coast of Italy so I thought 4 2-day trips in VERY different cities would be cool.

Thank you Jean! Well I thought the three extra days was enough but maybe I'll bump that to six and make it a 33 day trip?
As far as towns, I thought Toledo, Bath and even Trieste are small enough. I'll consider some more small towns but would love advice. I've thought about Toledo, Ronda, and L'Aquila
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Mar 30th, 2013, 11:42 AM
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You traveled around quite a bit so you may have a handle on how much rushing about you can manage.

But just to make sure deduct 1/2 to 1 FULL day from every city on your list to account for travel time. Does that leave you enough time in each place? It wouldn't me . . .
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Mar 30th, 2013, 12:05 PM
  #7
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Well janis, the 6 days free was to accomodate travel, maybe I need to up it to a 5 week trip to account for all this and take out a 2-day city (probably Trieste)
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Mar 30th, 2013, 12:15 PM
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Congratulations on your graduation. You do know about the Schengen limits on how long you can stay in Europe, right? (See this thread for a recent discussion: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...mping-trip.cfm )

I would strongly recommend against your three days in Palermo. Sicily is a wonderful destination that requires a couple of weeks on its own. It is not worth the time and expense to get there for just three days in Palermo. And I thought the only reason to go to Bari was to catch the ferry to Greece.

I haven't been to Trieste but I have been to Zagreb, and after reading Jan Morris on Trieste I would vote for Trieste. You might stop off in Austria on the way to Budapest, as you'll be going through it anyway unless you go via Zagreb which means a long train ride on to Budapest. (You may want to get a copy of Thomas Cook's "Rail Map of Europe".)

For budget travel in Europe you might read Steves' "Europe through the Back Door", and for budget travel worldwide try Hasbrouck's "Practical Nomad".
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Mar 30th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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Just remember that besides taking time - getting from one place to another can be expensive - even if you buy all the super discount tickets in advance (which will lock you into specific trains or flights).

And definitely check out the times of trains and flights now.
I would make some different choices and probably stay longer at some places - but you must know how much stamina you have. Just be sure that you don;t scheduled yourself so tightly that one problem (bad weather delaying flights for a while or a 1-day train strike) will end up costing you a huge amount more because you miss other connections.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 12:33 PM
  #10
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Okay, this is the first modification (of many) I've made to the list

36 Days
Depart from Boston Sept 1
London (4 Days)
Bath (1)
Dublin (2)
Madrid (4)
Toledo (1)
Sevilla (3)
Ronda (1)
Granada (2)
Palermo (3)
L'Aquila + Norcia (3 Total)
Venezia (2)
Budapest (3)
Back to Boston

7 days for travel in between/emeregencies/laundry
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Mar 30th, 2013, 01:01 PM
  #11
 
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L'Aguila and Norcia, but no Rome or Florence? Do you have reason to go to those cities? Out of the way places can take much longer to reach so if you don't have specific reasons for going, I would look at more convenient options.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 01:13 PM
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Trieste, by all means yes. I only spent one day/night there but look forward to going back for more.

From the Amazon review of Triete and the Meaning of Nowhere:
Located on a narrow, mountainous finger of Italy hard by Croatia and Slovenia, the port city of Trieste is something of a backwater, little visited and seldom in the news. As Jan Morris, who first came to Trieste as the English soldier James Morris in 1945, writes, "It offers no unforgettable landmark, no universally familiar melody, no unmistakable cuisine, hardly a single native name that anyone knows."

I liked the book and recommend a read before you visit. Unfortunately I hadn't heard of the book until after I visited.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 05:54 PM
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It feels like you're randomly assigning days to a place. You need to figure out what you want to see and do before you know how much time you'll need there.

I still wonder how much research you've done in the logistics and time involved in getting from place to place.

Like Palermo.

And Norcia. Have you found bus service between L'Aquila and Norcia? Unless you're renting a car, I think you'll find it a difficult, time-consuming journey using a combination of public transportation and, later, onward to Venice.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 05:58 PM
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Looks great on paper, and you seem to have a fine grasp on various aspects of travel in general, but is it executable? Not so much.

I wonder how much time you've spent figuring out how to get between some of the out-of-the-way places you've chosen, what kind of connections there are, etc. It's not that I'm against out-of-the-way places - I've been traveling all over Europe for 35 years to lots of places most people don't even know about, never mind dream of getting to...but I had a CAR!!!

Makes a big difference in the planning.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 08:43 PM
  #15
 
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A big chuck of your trip will be spent on trains and in airports. The Venice-Budapest leg involves a very long train ride (11 to 17 hours) or a $200 flight. Palermo to L'Aquila is another longish and expensive train ride. Granada to Palermo is $200.
Spanish trains are not very cheap either. You need to factor in these costs.

On an another note, 400 Euros on souvenirs? O_o I'd rather spend this money on decent accommodation than on souvenirs. Hostels aren't a very good experience. (for me at least)

I would stay a few more nights in Ronda. You'll need some rest in the mid of your trip.

I think the first part of your itinerary works well. But I would leave Italy and Budapest for another trip.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 10:13 PM
  #16
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Very good points about travel cost. It will be hard to do these out of the way places. I don't think I was arbitrarily assigning days to cities. For example 4 in London is enough to scratch the surface as well as Madrid. I've heard Sevilla is decently fit in 3 days. A lot of my estimates for time spent is based on friends experience or reviews I've read.

Hmm taking off Budapest. I feel like if I'm making such a big trip out of this I have to do at least one Eastern European destination.

Ok maybe 400 on gifts for people and myself is steep. cut this to 100 and put money towards better food/trains/planes

Also, no Rome or Florence because I studied for four months there and as much as I'd like to go back, I'm saving it for a "fiancee" type trip. I spent 6 days in Rome that semester. I want ti see new places first before I repeat
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Mar 30th, 2013, 10:14 PM
  #17
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Also, I picked L'Aquila bc a friend studied there and loved it. I want to see Umbria real bad. I read an awesome article about Norcia and seemed like a nice day/day half diversion
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Mar 31st, 2013, 02:41 PM
  #18
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Bump

I'm looking into taking out Budapest to focus more on Italy. I am so enchanted with Italy and feel it is necessary to see it from different locations than I have (heavy Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi) I really want to see Sicily but don't know about particular destinations but I know Palermo has cheap flight access
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Mar 31st, 2013, 02:45 PM
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There are several Sicily TRs here to give you some idea of what to see in Sicily (click on my name for mine), but it needs at least two weeks.
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