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3-4wk european backpacking trek....

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3-4wk european backpacking trek....

ok- so this is going to be a lengthy post...

(please excuse any typos).

ok, well my name is katy, i live in the US, and i plan on saving about $4000 to go on a trip to europe during the summer of 2009. i will be staying on hostels and most likely riding trains and the 4000 needs to cover every expense. i would like to go for 3-4 weeks, not sure exactly how long yet...i will probably decide that based on the advice i get from this forum. i am not sure if i will be going alone or with friends, ill probably just figure that out closer to the date. i have never been to europe and am kind of going into this blindly. i need advice on everything from where to buy plane tickets to what i should see and do. any ideas? :)

a little about me (to help guide the wise advice)-

on a scale of 1-10, i like hiking and backpacking and outdoors stuff about a 8...i enjoy it but im not necessarily passionate about it. i am not a huge fan of tourist traps, id rather experience the "real deal" of a city...but at the same time, id like to see things like the colliseum, eiffel tower, big ben,...etc...

about my travel interests-

so far, i know that id like to go to spain (i speak decent spanish and would like to practice a bit), ireland has always seemed beautiful with all the castles and such, and probably amsterdam would be on my "want to see" list....

ok, thats it. thank you SO much for reading! and please please please help me out with any and all advice and words of wisdom that you can spare.

New York City, New...
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1. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

Hey Katy,

Ok i have alittle advice for airline tickets check out www.kayak.com or www.airfarewatchdog.com, both great sites, now as for money 4000 for everything is not alot , since your airfare is going to cost anywhere from 400-700 us dollars, depending on the exchange rate i would think 80-100 x 30 days for food and room, now thats not eating out or sight seeing. there is lots of research to be done you have pleanty of time. look into railpasses (www.raileurope.com). there is tones of site out there just for what you want to do .

have fun and enjoy

Peace Matt

P.S. ask plenty of questions here too.

London, United...
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2. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

To help with your planning stage.........

http://www.seat61.com/Railpass.htm - will help you to work out if a pass is the best deal for you, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. And www.seat61.com is great for information about trains in Europe in general and if you flick through the different countries you'll see some ticket prices listed which might be of help.

www.bahn.de - this is the German train website which has a search engine with every timetable imaginable for Europe.

www.eurolines.com - I know it's a bus company! But they're generally cheaper than trains and really not so bad.

Also if you end up flying into the UK/Ireland there are plenty of cheap flights from there to kick start your trip into all corners of Europe. Ryan Air and EasyJet are two of the most well known.

Europe has wildly different costs across the various different countries, the UK being the dollars worst enemy at the moment, maybe that will have changed by the time of your trip. If you want to head east a couple of countries where your money will go further, are covered by Railpass and have good hiking opportunities are Slovenia and the Transylvania region of Romania. In Spain the Picos mountains up in the north are beautiful. And even though Switzerland has a reputation for being really really expensive they have good deals on train fares and great hostels and of course some of the best hiking in the world!

I'm not sure which countries you need visas for now but remember to add that into your costs.

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3. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

how much are visas? i dk anything about them...where would i get that kind of info?

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4. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

Being an American passport holder, I doubt you'd need visas for any European country (excluding Russia). To make sure, check the State Department's website: …state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html

New York City, New...
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5. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

also check Ryan Air. Low cost European airline. In many cases their flights are cheaper than train.

Compared with France, England and Italy, Spain is pretty economical. Amsterdam is a dont miss! You'll probably meet a lot of people if you stay in hostels - there's a whole circuit of backpackers you'll run into over and over again - if you cant find the right friends to travel with - definitely dont let that stop you.

If I were you, I'd do a lot of lurking on Lonely Planet and/or Bootsnall - lot more backpacker types there.

While I'm not suggesting a tour, I often look at the way tours to places I've never been are structured, so I can get an idea of the highpoints. For example - I'm thinking of India for 2009 - have no idea where to start, so would look at tours to get ideas of what not to miss then book my own way.

Since this is your first trip to Europe, accept that you will be going to some tourist must see places but you can definitely avoid that tourist feeling by eating locally instead of the places with pictures and English menus - and touts dragging you in off the street. Visiting markets and grocery stores always a great way to see the real local culture.

Bergen, Norway
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6. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

How do feel about visiting Norway? Great hiking and beautiful scenery :)

Aubrey, Texas
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7. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

I suggest getting a guidebook or two that focuses on low budget travel in Europe. From it you can get info on travel document requirements as well as location and cost of hostels, cafes, attractions, etc. and start planning a trip to suit your budget. That's what a buddy and I did a long time ago for our first trip. I know the internet is very handy for research, but a guidebook brings it all together, plus you can take it with you on your trip.

Let's Go Europe and Europe on a Shoestring are two that good reviews on Amazon. After you get your trip narrowed down a bit, you might consider getting guidebooks that focus on the countries you'll visit.

Generally speaking the southern countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece) are less expensive than the northern ones, so it's good for your budget that you want to spend time in Spain. It's a beautiful country with friendly people so you'll enjoy it.

Cedarville, Michigan
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8. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

Definitely spend several days in Salzburg, Austria. Stay at the International Youth Hotel. Rooms are cheap and the meals and beer is also cheap (although I haven't been since 1998 but I have been there 3 times). The place is usually pretty rowdy at night. Salzburg has everything -- huge outdoor beer garden at the monastery, Sound of Music tour, huge fortress, quaint old streets, castles, Hitler's Eagle's Nest nearby, You can hike the Untersburg Mountain (we hiked down and accidentally wound up in Germany with no German Marks (pre-Euro)). Salzburg is the best small city in Europe and Austria is a bit cheaper than Germany.

9. Re: 3-4wk european backpacking trek....

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