Living out of a backpack for about 3 weeks

Old Feb 6th, 2008, 02:36 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Living out of a backpack for about 3 weeks

I'm going to find myself in Paris around the beginning of August and will have a couple weeks to explore Europe. I'm a complete noob at world travel and have never attempted anything like this before.

How hard is it to travel between countries? I'd like to check out Spain, Italy and Greece while I'm there and if time permits, the UK.

I'm hoping to live out of a backpack for the time that I'm there as I want to remain mobile so I can see and do as much as possible in the time allotted. Any recommendations on packing, a particular backpack, etc. etc.

I guess I'm looking for almost an idiot's guide to backpacking across Europe. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,

Joe
bigpanda76 is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2008, 03:44 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,234
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
I recommend starting with guidebooks by: Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, Let's Go, and/or Rick Steves.

Rick Steves in particular can get you packed up and ready to go traveling light (whether in a backpack, duffle bag, or small rolling suitcase).

Steves and LP also have websites.

Some countries are easier to get to then others! You can travel by train or by the budget European airlines, sometimes even bus works best. 4 countries in 3 weeks is a little ambitious, I think, but doable.

suze is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2008, 03:52 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,617
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I've traveled for as long as ten months living out of a convertible Eagle Creek backpack. My packing list is at www.wilhelms.words.com/faq. I second the Rick Steves' recommendation, and would add Hasbrouck's "Practical Nomad".

If you are traveling on a U.S. passport you will not need visas for West European countries. However, if you only have two weeks, you need to limit your itinerary. You could do Greece on its own, but not really in combination with Spain. I would suggest picking one country besides France. If you take a look at the Europe board you'll find lots of info on how to come up with a reasonable itinerary.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:03 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,234
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Steves' "Europe Thru the Backdoor" is a good book for first timers. Very accessible information. He's not necessarily a backpacker, but it would be the "idiot's guide" you're seeking to get started.

I don't particularly like him so much for overall trip planning (I wouldn't necessary use the hotels or restaurants recommendations) but to get comfortable with how things work... trains, train tickets, local transportation, packing advice, getting by without speaking the language, that kind of practical stuff.
suze is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2008, 08:00 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the pointers guys. I talked with a friend that's agreed to make the trip too. It's looking now like we'll end up in France and Greece. I'm going to try and push to make a stop in Italy, but we'll see if it works out. He's wanting to fly out of the UK and spend a day or two in London. I wouldn't mind as there are at least two stores I'd like to make some purchases from there.

I'll take a look at Steves' book and start from there. I'm hoping to do the free roaming backpack option but he's looking to stay at hotels. At least we'd be splitting the room cost so it might work out. If I was going on my own, I'd just stay at hostels.
bigpanda76 is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2008, 06:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,234
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
With two people together, sometimes a double room in 1/2-star hotels can be similar priced as two beds in a hostel.

As far as packing, don't think of it as "packing for 3 weeks" rather pack for 1 week and do laundry along the way.
suze is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2008, 06:24 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,617
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
bigpanda - no, no!!! I see disaster looming... Before you sign up to travel with someone else, PLEASE go over to the Europe board and read some of the trip reports about the "tour mate from hell", and the advice on how to make a trip like this work. Too many good friendships have been destroyed by joint travel.

At the very least you need to get the ground rules straight. Hotels - what are your respective budgets? It's worrying that he wants hotels and you're happy with hostels. What kind of hotel? En-suite? Room service? Concierge? How many stars? And is one of you up at dawn and the other a night owl?

Meals - does one of you eat to live and the other live to eat? Will he picnic? Are you going for two sit down meals a day? How will you handle splitting the check?

Sightseeing - is he OK with you going off alone some of the time? Is one of you going for a rest and the other to see as much as possible? Does one of you love museums and the other run for the shops instead?

Transport - is he happy to walk and take public transport, or does he expect to take taxis all the time?

Again, it's worrying that he wants to add London, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world, never mind Europe. And about your itinerary - it was already tight without adding London and/or Italy! Have you asked for help on the Europe board? How are you getting to Greece?

Sorry about all the questions, but this really could ruin a good trip! I had someone volunteer to join one of my trips once, and after I explained how I travel (public transport, B&Bs and pensions, very little luggage) she opted for a just a few days in London, and as it turned out even that didn't work out all that well.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2008, 01:21 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,076
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i have to agree - taking on a travel partner adds a whole new dimension to your planning. my 17-day backpacking trip through Italy wound up being 4 days of hell in Rome before I gave up and flew home - before one of us got charged with bodily harm. you'll see this mentioned in guidebooks as well (along with ways to cope). but don't let that stop you - just go forth well-informed and have fun!!
txgirlinbda is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2008, 03:00 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,234
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
I think finding a compatible travel companion is great. BUT already you are changing where you are going, possibly missing some places you want to see, changing the cost and type of lodging, changing from a trip which develops naturally to one with a set itinerary.

Basically most everything you said you were going to do in your 1st post, you've now changed because of this person joining you!!
suze is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
koreansteve
Europe
10
Aug 16th, 2006 04:30 PM
taysmum
Europe
16
Dec 1st, 2005 02:03 PM
sagaboy
Europe
7
Aug 28th, 2005 12:28 PM
llolsen
Europe
29
Nov 9th, 2003 01:09 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -