Western Europe in summer - Q & A

Feb 13th, 2013, 05:53 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 17
Western Europe in summer - Q & A

Hello fellow travellers!

This summer I will be visiting Western Europe.
I'm a guy, 29 years old. Coming from Novi Sad, Serbia.

I am starting planning now,
so I made a list of some important questions - so that your answers can lead me to having a clue on how to construct my plans in the best way!

Yes, I do know about searching the forums, I will do that a lot. But this topic will give me a great start to get the big picture and to know better what to search for, and what to expect.

My goal:
1) Visiting the major cities for 3or4or5 days - Rome, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisabon, Berlin, Prague, Vienna.
YES: just walking around all day, sometimes using public transportation, seeing the prettiest parts of the city, experiencing the city spirit, chill out & rest here and there, meet some cool people/girls, and go out at night a few times when not too tired.
NO: museums & inside of important buildings. NO caffees and restaurants.
2) Days that remain - visiting a few beautiful places in terms of nature. Something like...Alpes, Atlantic coast(France/Portugal), Azure coast, some beautiful village, lake, river or a national park.

When: half of July + whole August.
Money: ~4000e
Eating: basic. (no cooking) Just water, chocolate, bacon, bread, a little protein, sometimes raw fruit/vegetables.
Sleeping: in hostels ~20-30e?
Travelling: cheapest transportation options, but trying to connect goals 1) & 2)

Number of days/per state - maybe something like this!
8 Italy
8 France
9 Spain
7 Portugal
2 Belgium
6 Germany
6 Czech rep
2 Austria(Vienna)


Q Any suggestion where to start, which way to go, where to end? In terms of the cheapest logical travell route but somehow connecting 1) & 2) along the way ?

Q HOW BIG is the difference in numbers if I buy tickets for intercity transportation in advance VS buying them along the way ?
(I would really like to avoid being in tension and pressure to get to the station on time all summer...kind of ruins the vacation concept, and spontaneity.)

Q HOW BIG is the difference in numbers if I bookmark the hostels in advance VS finding them on the way ?

Q Should I leave my 6kg backpack in a hostel or just walk with it? (say in a huge city like Paris or Berlin is it more easy to just go to another hostel or is it easier to return to the previous one)
Which is more practical? (I'm good at hiking)

Q Since I will be alone most of the time, things I should avoid in terms of safety ?

Q Is 15e/day for basic eating - enough for this countries/cities? (chocolate, bacon, bread, a little protein food, sometimes raw fruit/vegetables) (without cooking)
Where will it be the most expensive?

Q Can I drink and GET tap water in these places ? Any problems with that ?

Q What is the cheapest intercity transportation in which country ?

Q What is the best public transportation in which city ?

Q Something special/exciting but "under the radar" for tourism...to see/experience in some of these places...from your own experience?
(I know everyone's tastes are different - but please give it a shot - I'm NOT into glamour. I'm looking for underground fun - event/place, cool relaxed young friendly people and girls...)

Q Any random tips about any of this places I'll be visiting ?

Q Should I always use a map - where is it easy to get lost, where not ... ?

Q How far in advance should I bookmark a hostel and buy tickets for transportation ?

Q Some basic cultural behaviour that I should be aware of about some particular place?
Or when interracting with people from specific region/culture ?

Q Where do people speak english well VS where should I know a bit of local language ?

Q Cash VS credit card ?

Q Where can I do my laundry? How much does it cost?

Q Best night life among all of this cities ?

I hope you will answer some of my questions, it would really help me and other newbie travellers a lot.

BIG Thanks!

Danila84 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2013, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,622
Danilo, welcome to Fodors and great English. I'd have a look at the Thorntree website as well as that may be more helpful especially for a young guy traveling on his own.

Of all these questions I feel comfortable that you can drink the local water and you can also fill up a bottle at fountains called "potable" though this word changes in different languages.

Laundry machines tend to be in the poorer part of towns and need to be hunted out but hostels will have cards up advertising them.

Good hostels will have lockers for leaving backpacks and generally you will enjoy it more if you don't have to take it everywhere.

Languages, before you go I'd join busuu.com they have free courses and you can chat to people in different languages. There are other websites to get the top 40 phrases Hello etc.

Getting lost can be an issue, normally city tourist information (often at main train stations or sign posted with an "i") give cheap ones away for free.

Hope this helps
bilboburgler is online now  
Feb 15th, 2013, 02:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 17
Thank you very much Bilbo!

I will look into those web sites. I was hoping that hostels have laundry as well..

I am quite surprised there's just you who answered to help.
Danila84 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
<< HOW BIG is the difference in numbers if I bookmark the hostels in advance VS finding them on the way ? >>

It's not about paying more for hostels if you don't book ahead but perhaps of not finding a place to stay without spending a lot of time walking around looking for vacancies. You should book ahead in summer but you can change your booking if you make changes in your itinerary.

<< Should I always use a map - where is it easy to get lost, where not . >>

I would have get maps. They are free from tourist offices and hotels.

<< Should I leave my 6kg backpack in a hostel >> Yes - book multiple days in each city hostel and leave your pack. See my first response - you might not find another bed.

<< Where do people speak english well >>

People speak English in every major city, especially people who interact with tourists.

<< Cash VS credit card >>

Use an ATM/Debit card to get cash from the machines. You can use a credit card for the hostels but since you're not spending money on much else then you'll need to use cash.

<< Is 15e/day for basic eating - enough >>

I supposed it's enough if you don't eat too much chocolate.

I realize you're an adult but I have concerns about your diet - fruit and vegetables sometimes? This is not healthy. Better to give up chocolate and bacon than fruit and vegetables.

You want to meet people, especially girls. What will you do if it rains? Hang with a girl in the rain on the street corner? Even if it doesn't rain I never met any girls/women who just wanted to hang on the street all the time. People in hostels do go to cafes and drink beer. I can't imagine a trip to Europe where you never enter a cafe. Or never go into any sights. It seems a strange trip to me but it's your trip.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 04:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,709
I think you will find that the investment in a good guidebook or two will serve you extremely well and will provide answers to many of your questions - or good ways to find those answers. You might consider books by The Lonely Planet or Let's Go or the Rough Guide.

Like adrienne, I can't imagine visiting Europe without stopping at cafes or actually entering the sites, but it's your trip. If the issue is cost (rather than lack of interest), you might plan on a few "splurges" to go into a site or two or stop for a beverage now and again. And if you visit fewer places, you may save enough on transportation to do that.

Whatever you decide, you'll see some amazing things!
kja is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I think a lot of people haven;t answered because this is not typically how we travel. You should look at some Let's Go Student guides and the Thorn Tree section of the Lonely Planet web site to get info on young super budget travelers.

Obviously that is not my group but our 19 year old daughter went with 2 friends in the summer of 2011 and in about 6 weeks spend almost 8000 $ (5700 euros - plus transatlantic airfare). She did practically no shopping and their nightlife was limited pretty well to student cafes and pubs. However, they did share a triple room in a modest hotel (to get the AC we require) and pay to enter the major sights (those costs can really add up).

I am most concerned about your eating budget. It seems like you will be drinking water, having a roll for breakfast, a slice of pizza for lunch and something from a street or supermarket for dinner. Not healthy - and certainly not enough to keep a young man going for a long day or walking.

I don't get just walking and not seeing or learning anything - but if that's you goal - so be it. Most cities have a number of major sights that are free and I encourage you to visit them and not simply ignore all of the cultures you will be visiting.
nytraveler is offline  

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