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One woman, $10,000, and about 6 months of freedom. Where should I start (and end)?

One woman, $10,000, and about 6 months of freedom. Where should I start (and end)?

Mar 19th, 2001, 11:58 AM
  #1  
Jenelle
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One woman, $10,000, and about 6 months of freedom. Where should I start (and end)?

Fello Fodorites,

I am a woman who is not affraid of much- but I haven't seen much either. I guess what I mean is that I want more from this than a world wide shopping spree. I want those experiences that last a life time- without risking my life to get them. I love learning about a country's history, customs, and culture. Most of the time I will be traveling alone. I need ideas about how to tackle this adventure- pick a theme of countries, visit places I have read books about, find specific events? All advice will be appriciated.

Jenelle
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:20 PM
  #2  
sandi
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I don't think anyone can help without knowing what really interests you. Where have you been? Do you have a climate preference, or scenery preference? etc...
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:23 PM
  #3  
Bob Brown
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Are you saying that $10,000 is your total budget for a period of 6 months?
What expenses are you facing?
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:24 PM
  #4  
sandy
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Jenelle,

1st of all, I'm jealous that you're brave enough and have the resources to to travel on your own for an extended period. Hopefully you will get some helpful, serious answers here. Are you set on going for that long a time? If you figure it's going to cost $1000 round trip for your airfare, you're down to $9000 already. That means you'll be living on $50 a day. It's definitely doable if you're planning on staying at hostels, hooking up with other "backpackers" and traveling in "cheaper" countries, but if you cut your time shorter you'll be able to travel a lot more comfortably. I know you're looking for suggestions on what kind of trip to plan, but I'd start by going to a good bookstore or library that has a lot of travel books to get an idea of what kind of places or things you want to see. That said, if I could take 6 months off right now (with the money), I'd take a route around the Mediterranean to Turkey, Italy, Greece and Greek Isles, Morocco, Spain, then up into France. Good luck with your planning and on your adventure.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:27 PM
  #5  
Jenelle
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Sandi,

I have live in the US and have only traveled to Mexico and Canada. For traveling, I love exotic culture, water, and great food. Need more?

thanks.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:38 PM
  #6  
Jenelle
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Bob,
The finances could go up to $12,000 but that is max- as is the time period. I could easily back it off to 4 months. As for expenses... I will leave with no attachments (no rent, car payment, insurance). Nada!
Please be gentle went you burst my inexperienced bubble!
Jenelle
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:39 PM
  #7  
elvira
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On your budget, I'd suggest (within reason, some places are safer than others) northern Africa, the Middle East and Turkey - Greece, if you have the time.

Alternately, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, China/Indonesia

If you want to do western Europe, you're going to have to do it on the cheap-cheap, and you'll get very tired of that very quickly; plus, it will keep you from seeing and doing things you'd like - the fees for many museums are pretty hefty; rail travel can be expensive ($50 train fare to see a festival for one day - you'll have to skip it); you won't have much flexibility - if you don't make accommodation reservations before you leave, you won't have enough money to pay $100 for a room because nothing is left, nor do you want to sleep in a park.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:46 PM
  #8  
Julie
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How about staying in a convent, university dorm, renting a room for a month, or hostel? These are cheaper ways to stay in a country.

What about hiring yourself out as a live-in Nanny or English tutor?

Is it possible to go to college and stay in dorm that cheaply in Prague? Then you could just take a class or two in the language, art or culture.

Wish I had that freedom, but honestly, its not much money for 6 months unless you get really cheap accomodations and food.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:46 PM
  #9  
guy
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Being as you are a fearless woman as you say..you can not make a bad choice..however..frankly, to see the world for 6 months on $10-$12,000 will be a challenge...and take a some planning and discipline..I would suggest that you cut back on the length of the trip..say 4 months...and have a bit more to spend along the way.......then save up again.......and go back again......
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:48 PM
  #10  
Art
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Hi Jenelle, other alternatives in Europe would be central Europe ie. Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovikia, Poland, Romania. These places are all less expensive than the western countries. Both the Czech Republic and Hungary have hot minural baths. There is a spa(lake) in so Hungary where the entire lake is fed by hot springs and maintains a constent 107 F all year around. There is also a beautiful lake and resort area nearby.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:49 PM
  #11  
jhm
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If I were you, I would take that time and money and go to Southeast Asia (blasphemy on this board?) -- Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia in particular, then, if so inclined, going up to China. Your money will go farther, the beaches are beautiful, the cultural experience you will have will be unforgettable.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 12:53 PM
  #12  
Lesli
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Jenelle -

You're in for a great adventure! Since you are talking about Europe here, I'm not sure why you mention "risking [your] life" to have the experiences you seek - most of Europe is far safer than the U.S., in my opinion.

You say that you love learning about a country's customs and culture; are there any places that "speak" to you? Given that you have 6 months, you have time to cover quite a bit of ground, should you wish to do so.

In your shoes, I'd browse through a few guidebooks that cover Europe as a whole in order to get some suggested itineraries, both in terms of geography and time frames. (Rick Steves' books are good for these, as are Frommer's and others.) You can also read through these guuidebooks to get an overview of what might interest you in each country. Then you can begin narrowing down your choices and determining approximate lengths of stay in each, keeping in mind the exchange rates and your total budget. Once you get to that point, people here will be able to help you fine-tune your intinery.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 01:00 PM
  #13  
Cindy
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This is a tough question. I couldn't travel for six months at a stretch. It's just too long. I was ready to pull my hair out at the end of my longest trip, which was only 5 weeks.

So is there anyway to break this thing up into 4-week chunks? Maybe Europe for 4 weeks; then home to live with a family member in the U.S. This might save expenses, too. Then off again to someplace else totally different, and so forth.

Just an idea. I'm looking forward to seeing what the knowledgeable Fodorites say to this one.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 01:22 PM
  #14  
Santa Chiara
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You could get an apartment in a "border" area (Northern Italy, Southern France for instance, but there are all sorts of other options, depending on what you like). That way you are paying, conceivably, $20 or $30 a day for lodging, plus you would have a kitchen to save on meals. If you found an apartment, or room, in a medium-to-small town for $500 or $600 a month, then you could save a lot of money. From your new "home," you could take day or even overnight trips to a variety of places, or even split the difference, staying three months in one place and three in another. This option would meet one of your objects: getting to know a country's history, customs and culture.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 01:24 PM
  #15  
Bill
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I'm of two minds here (both of them intensely jealous).
Option 1: Establish a home-base in a cool Western European city (Paris, Munich, or Amsterdam come immediately to mind), sign up for some intensive language classes, and get a cheap room near a university... either a shared flat with students or a boarding house type of situation. (Stay in a hostel or cheap/decent hotel while you're checking possible longer-term living options.) I'm assuming you are fairly young, but that need not make too much difference if you feel and act young. Use your spare time during the week to explore the city and its environs, and use your weekends to explore farther afield. Use your nights to socialize with the locals and practice your language skills. Hey - who knows; you'll probably fall in love. <grin> When you finish up with the language studies... or just get bored... take a grand tour based on how much time and money you have left, and base your itinerary on conversations you've had over late-night bottles of wine or pitchers of beer.

Option 2: Travel til you drop - in the third world to keep down costs - staying as long as you want in any given place. Stay longer (like a week) if the place is cool and you want to absorb more of the culture. Get out quick if you realize the place is a mistake. As mentioned above, Asia is the best place for this time honored "hippy" style of travel. Turkey, India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, and the Phillipines all sound like they have potential. Latch on to like-minded other travelers for safety and companionship.
How about this one: a month or so on a smallish inter-island freighter (Indonesia or the South Pacific have the best potential, I think). See a HELL of a lot of variety of "real life" with the safety of a ship's cabin to come back to. Pick one that has some other travelers doing the same thing. (I read about this a number of years ago.) You don't get catered to like on a cruise ship, but they feed you better than they do the sailors <grin>
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 01:39 PM
  #16  
pam
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You might check out a book entitled _Europe the European Way_ by Gollattscheck & Murray, ISBN: 0933469276, available thru amazon.com. It was published in '96 and includes sections about several European cities, plus details about the authors' experiences living on about $2000/month. That's just for budgeting ideas. The question of where is another post.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 03:04 PM
  #17  
wendy
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I spent three months in England, Scotland, France and Italy with $5000, including airfare, rail passes and accomodation. I didn't cut back on anything, I saw all the museums and castles I had planned to see, so I think $10K is fine for 6 months. The key is to stay in hostels - which is probably the best for someone travelling alone - you won't get lonely and you'll meet lots of people.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 04:28 PM
  #18  
Joanna
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Agree that you'll need to budget carefully. My last few trips to Europe in '98, '96 and '94 (6 weeks, 7.5 weeks, 2 months respectively) I spent on average AU$20,000 all up each trip. This included absolutely everything : airfares, ground transport, hotels, meals, spending money.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 05:20 PM
  #19  
Bob Brown
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You are getting better answers than I could give you. Having spent 7 weeks tramping around Europe, I got tired of the no permanent residence routine.
I think you will need to avoid hotels, and opt for rooms. I stayed in quite a few rooms when I was traveling. Sometimes I went to the tourist office in the train station, sometimes there were people meeting trains looking for young travelers and trying to book them into a room in their house. A time or two I had a lead from a fellow traveler.
I ate a few meals in restaurants, but most of the time I bought bread and something to go with it.
The big cities present a problem because they are expensive and spread out.
For Paris, perhaps someone can tell you of a specific way to find a low cost place to sleep.
 
Mar 19th, 2001, 07:10 PM
  #20  
fearless
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If you seek thrill and adventure on your trip...I would cut short to only 3 months and save some $$ to ski/snowboard on the swiss alps. Take a few days of clinic course with personal trainer, then ski leisurely for a 5 days....then do the heli-ski trip! But it will probably cost you $1500+ for less than 2 wks of fun in the swiss alps with rental, clinics, acommodation, heli-ski...and I still havent add in meals!!
 

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