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First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

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  • First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

    I plan on traveling to Europe with my girlfriend in June 2014 until Sept 2014. So for 80-90 days 15 countries and 16 cities so roughly 4 days in each place. How much would it cost to go to each place? I have an estimate on each place and the grand total of it for just traveling. (Not including Airfare and Eurail pass). Also where can I get a good backpack? I'm 5'11" and 180 pounds male and my girlfriend is 5'7" 110 pounds female. I have no problem carrying 55lbs + (Would prefer under 40). What should I pack and bring? Also how much extra money should I bring? We plan on staying in hostels because it is cheaper. But this is the first time we have ever done anything and would like LOTS of help and advice. Here is the budget estimates I've gathered. Couldn't upload the folder so I put images instead. The image aren't that good so I will do it like this.

    Spain - Madrid = $65.28
    Greece - Athens = $64.33
    France - Paris = $82.81
    London - England = $77.18
    Germany - Berlin = $63.65
    Sweden - Stockholm = $98.90
    Netherlands - Amsterdam = $91.41
    Italy - Rome = $79.36
    Italy - Venice = $100.76
    Switzerland - Zurich = $118.59
    Luxembourg - Luxembourg City = $73.96
    Austria - Vienna = $84.65
    Croatia - Zagreb = $40.24
    Finland - Helsinki = $94.26
    Norway - Oslo = $113.07
    Bulgaria - Sofia = $25.25
    This is per day and the grand total is $1273.70 x 4 days so $5094.80

    Does this sound like a good/ semi accurate budget?
    Attached Files
    Last edited by JonathanM-C; 02-05-2013, 11:27 PM.

  • #2
    Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

    Jonathan- well done for planning so far ahead.....I'm questioning whether your daily budget is for each, and does that include the hostel fee? There are some enormously expensive capital cities on your list- Paris, Rome and London, for a start. I'm not sure what you could do in London, for eg, on $77...around 50....unless you know where you're staying and what you're eating. These 3 cities are VAST- you'll need transport links within them also. Venice is very expensive, and Stockholm the same.
    Have you researched your euro rail ticket, and does it cover all the countries you're visiting? Much of the time will be spent on the trains, so at least you'll have some extra snooze time! Also, many places will be full of tourists once the Uni/schools break for the summer- most European children have August as their school holiday, but colleges finish before that.
    Have you thought about staying in less famous cities rather than capitals?....usually prices are much less outside the city boundary.
    Jo. sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

      The budget includes meals, hostels, transportation, entertainment and attractions.This is the site I used to get some of my estimates. http://www.priceoftravel.com/1979/eu...kpacker-index/
      I checked any my Eurail pass seems to cover all of the countries I plan on going to. Are there any countries or cities within the countries that I have chosen and why? I am going to start researching when festivals are so I can optimize the culture intake. I believe that most of these prices are accurate. The pass is around $1600 and round trip ticket is $992. I plan on bringing an extra $1000 - $1500. So I am looking at a total amount of $9200.

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      • #4
        Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

        Wow, Jonathan- following that site, it does look possible.
        Have you checked how to get across the sea ie to Sweden, and the UK etc? I don't think the euro ticket will cover that.
        In much of Europe there's also the Youth Hostelling Association ( though you don't have to be young these days to use it!) You sign up to them, and you can stay in their hostels for a small amount, even buying meals or cooking your own. It's worth looking into.
        Keep telling us your news!
        Jo. sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

          I checked and the train appears to use a bridge according to their map. Do you have any suggestions on other cities in these countries?

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          • #6
            Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

            But you have to cross the Channel for London, and the rail fare is pricey....perhaps a walk on ferry would be cheaper. I presume you're going to Sweden from Finland, then?
            Sorry- it's just about midnight and I'm not thinking straight....there's loads of other cities, but you really need to see the capitals at least once!
            Bye- going to bed now....
            Jo. sigpic

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            • #7
              Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

              That was the plan. Well some cities would be great once you are more energized and have the time to! Also and budget tips would be great! Does my budget seem to be realistic? I make $10.65 an hour and on average i'd say 16-20 hours a week. So I figure around $12000 + or - $1000 by the time we leave. But over all I think we need around $9200 for it.

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              • #8
                Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

                Hi there,

                This trip sounds fun -- lucky you! I did the backpacking thing for a month back in college (10 years ago now, oof!), and I think I spent about $1750 -- which included flights from Scotland to Paris, from Florence to Dublin, and from Dublin back to Scotland. (They were all cheapo one-way flights on EasyJet or Ryanair, as I recall.)

                My top budget tip would be to get as many meals as you can from grocery stores. Buy a package of croissants and a bag of fruit to eat for a few days' breakfast. If you'll be in one place for a few days, buy a gallon size or larger water and refill your bottles rather than buying new bottles every day. Make your own picnic with a package of lunch meat and a baguette. Etc.
                "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

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                • #9
                  Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

                  I really don't know what to suggest when it comes to other cities, because the Capitals will have so much to offer....it's no use suggesting something because it's beautiful, or has one major site, when there's a choice in the big places.....I will say that outside any capital is always much cheaper. Once you're in your hostels, listen to the other back packers, who will be full of advice on where to go, eat etc....they might suggest a ferry out of Athens (Piraeus port is a bus ride away) for a cheap night or two in backpacker's digs on a Greek island, which will be relaxing and good for swimming; they may mention there's a special offer at an exhibition, or food in a supermarket. In London, lots of backpackers hang out near Earl's Court, and they'll know all the tips for travelling. Good luck, and do keep us updated!
                  Jo. sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

                    I just gone done quickly skimming through "The rough guide to Europe on a budget". I was looking a the trains so I have a question. Do trains go from like Netherlands - Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Paris or even Spain - Italy, Italy - Croatia. Or am I going to have to jump like 3 trains? I re did my expenses and total cost. It seems to be around $8000 - $8500. ($1500- $2000) extra cash. I will post it up some other time. But I am really interested in learning about the trains and how they work.

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                    • #11
                      Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

                      Oh, Jonathan, I really don't know.....I have taken a morning train from Amsterdam which crossed Germany and ended up in Vienna; I've taken one from Vienna to Munich. Trains go from Paris to Venice, and down to Barcelona. Other than that- I don't know, as we've usually flown or drivn on the Continent.
                      You'll have to Google European trains, and look at timetables. I don't know much about Croatian lines, as I've only ever been to the seaside there by ship.
                      I'm sure there will be a train from the Netherlands into France. You can go by train from London to Paris, Lille or belgium, so there will be connections.
                      Jo. sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

                        The site I usually use to check train routes is RailEurope.com -- might help answer your question.
                        "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

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                        • #13
                          Re: First time planning a trip and backpacking. Need tips, advice + help?!

                          The rail system throughout Europe is pretty amazing and gets you just about anywhere you want to go. It's just a matter of how your itinerary is structured as to the efficiency of your trips so that you're not backtracking too much, going in circles etc.

                          Generally, going from country to country (on the Continent) you'll travel InterCity Express trains into the larger stations and from there, change trains to branch out in other directions within any given country or, even when leaving a country and heading into another. As soliteyah and Jo have mentioned, it's all pretty efficient, practical and do-able. It's also SO MUCH FUN!

                          As for crossing over into Scandinavia by boat, I believe I checked on this a few times before and the pass did cover that trip....I believe it is the Sitka line that leaves both Denmark and Germany and cross over into cities like Stockholm and Helsinki but do confirm this trip. As Jo indicated, the Chunnel/Eurostar carries a separate charge which is fairly expensive but quite worth it and a cool ride. The rail passes *usually* cover regional rail lines and sometimes even more.....read through thoroughly!! I don't see any place on your itinerary where you'd be on a postal bus, which would be extra....but not expensive.

                          Also as to your daily expenses....keep in mind, some days you might spend a lot less, some days a bit more but working on your average daily cost is a great way to price it out and plan. Just keep an eye on currency fluctuations; hopefully the next year won't throw either the US or European economies into any further challenges than we are presently faced with. One item to keep in mind when it comes to money is minimizing costs related to charges for foreign transactions on credit cards, ATM withdrawals etc. It wasn't always the case, but financial institutions have been increasingly adding charges to foreign transactions beyond what used to be ordinary.

                          One last thing; from what you write you sound fairly flexible although I saw your approx. 4 day per city plan; if you're having a really great time (or conversely, not so great) in one place, stay an extra day! I wish I had done this on my first rail trip and while I had an awesome time, I wished I'd held back for one more day in one country before proceeding on to another country but it was my first trip, I was traveling solo and figured I'd better stick to my plan. I guess you'd only be restricted to the extent that an accommodation reservation could not be adjusted, but most cities have more than one hostel....just be sure to note if that hostel is open 24 hours a day or has a curfew. My sister got locked out in Italy! They did alright You will too.
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