Planning my first trip to Europe

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Feb 14th, 2008, 08:02 AM
  #1
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Planning my first trip to Europe

Hi everybody! I'm 24 and planning my first trip to Europe (first time out of the country). If your in the same boat as me I found a cool story that helped me start organizing my thoughts. I swear I'm not advertising, I jsut think it would help. If there is somewhere else to post it let me know please.
http://www.vagabondish.com/save-mone...l-tips-budget/
If anyone has other tips let me know. I want to see spain, Italy and at least Paris in France with about 25-30 days. I plan on going with my friend (she is also 23) in August and have around 4000 to spend. Do-able?
pinkyfin is offline  
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Feb 14th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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Does the $4000 include airfare? If not that leaves you $133-$160 per day. If so assume at least $800-$1000 for air in August. Then you would be down to $100-$120 per day.

There are a bunch of questions to ask yourself. Are you interested in hotels or hostels? How do you plan to get from place to place? Are you ok with "eating on the cheap"? Are you talking about the big attraction in Italy (Rome,Venice, Florence) or small towns?

The expoenses break down to Air, Hotels, Food, In-country transport, fun.
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Feb 14th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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The article you referenced had some useful and/or interesting planning suggestions. However, the author lost me when he said he could get by on $15 a day for food. There might be a day here or there when you could achieve that, but 30 days on that budget would be unrealistic. The other budget numbers could also be off if you'd like to see lots of museums, want to rent a car somewhere for a few days, etc.

As AisleSeat pointed out, you need to decide first where you're going to go with more precision than "I want to see Spain, Italy and at least Paris." Generally speaking, large cities and the usual tourist destinations are more expensive overall than small towns.

Others may disagree, but I wouldn't plan this trip for August when the majority of Europeans will also be on vacation, taking up those cheaper lodging options, etc. Could you go in September?
Jean is offline  
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Feb 14th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Just a few remarks (also with regard to that website you mentioned):

As AisleSeat pointed out, airfare will be higher in summer than in April.

Even budget hostels may be more expensive (and less available!) in summer.
Those hostel prices are "for real", but usually are for beds in dorms, not double rooms.
If you plan to stay longer in one place, check hostel prices against 1- or 2-week rentals of cheap apartments. Those won't probably be in a fancy or fashionable neighborhood.
Hostels are good for meeting people your age (and budget), so they will always have tips for low cost entertainment and travel, e.g. inexpensive clubs, best way to get from A to B, and so on.

Total travel time may also be an issue. It can actually be fun to travel on a shoestring for a week, or two weeks. But if you are abroad for a month, it can happen that you finally want ONE *nice* hotel, one decent meal, only one cappucino in a nice bar, and so on. And that's when your budget is likely to go overboard.

The rest is more up to your personal level of discipline. If you can obstain from buying just one shirt in Rome, or one bag in Paris.
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Feb 15th, 2008, 06:01 AM
  #5
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Thanks for the advice. Do you think it would be signifigantly cheaper to go earlier in the summer. Sept is when school starts again
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Feb 15th, 2008, 06:22 AM
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You can check airfare for various dates and compare all your alternatives at www.kayak.com. However, rates in the summer are generally the highest of the year, whether it is July or August.
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Feb 15th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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August may be a bad time for a 1st visit to Paris, since a significant number of Parisians will be on vacations, though anything from stores to clubs will operate on a less busy schedule (or be closed).

Try to google "paris apartment", and you will find many website for short-term rentals (1 week to a few months). Most rents for week I've seen start in the 300s range (in Euros). So if you and your friend rented a place for 350, your daily costs for accomodation would go down to 25 pP, i.e. appr $37 pP per night. This may be more than the cheapest hostel, but you will also have your own fridge, oven, microwave - thus have to rely less on restaurants to eat, but do your own grocery shopping in supermarkets or on markets and some cooking. Get your croissants or petit pains au chocolat in the morning from the bakery next door, eat at home in the evening, and spend that saved money on clubs or sights.

Yet, you'd have to be cool with that kind of travel, which - by the way - let's you get more in touch with the local lifestyle than hours in a sidewalk café ;-)
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Feb 15th, 2008, 06:47 AM
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Sorry for typos and bad grammar... "though" in 1st para should read "so".
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Feb 15th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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We are huge, huge fans of the website www.hostelworld.com - they have tons of hostels, but also super budget hotels/guesthouse kinds of places. The reviews are typically spot on. I'm also curious about the budget - does it include airfare?

We've been trying to travel as much as possible while living in Europe for a few years and have been able to make great trips with very little money so as long as you're willing to compromise and eat from grocery stores and such I think you should be alright. Good luck!

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