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Backpacking Europe after graduation

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Backpacking Europe after graduation

I'm graduating in May, and I want to backpack Europe for at least 2 months before I have to go into the real world. I have a general idea of where I want to go, but I kinda looking to just meander as the wind blows. what are some recommendations for cities/sites that I can't miss. Any places I should try to meet up with friends? About how much should I expect to have to save up? Any tips or tricks of the traveling trade? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!!!


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1. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

What you need to do is load yourself up with a ton of guidebooks for Europe and read them all, to see what appeals to YOU and YOU ONLY!!

You also need to go to the 'backpacker' forum that is the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum see here:


Then you need to post back here and give us a clue as to your 'home base' as there is nothing in your profile to tell us of that.

Then you need to give us your list and 'general idea' of where you want to go, so that we also have something to 'go on' as it were!!

Good for you coming to TA and welcome, but we are not here to organise your trip for you. We are here, however, to help you achieve YOUR travel dreams, if we can!!

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2. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

Hello Pmac91

Indeed welcome to Tripadvisor and the Solo Travel forum.

The Thorntree forum mentioned above is a good place to start. Lonely Planet is the best source for backpacker 'catch-all' information. However, Tripadvisor isn't too bad a place to have a look around for information as well.

An additional thought is for you to just have a browse around the past discussions on this and other TA forums on the subject of backpacking, round the world travel and long-haul travel. You can do this by using the Search Box at the top of this forum page as well as on the Tripadvisor home page. This will allow you access to many similar questions and discussions on topics like this and other things that you might find useful for planning the beginning stages of your backpacking journey.

Then, as suggested above, come back to us with a bit more of formulated idea of what you want to do with your backpacking trip and we can better assist.

Best of luck in your research and putting together a backpack travel plan. Believe it or not, this really is one of the fun parts of your overall travel experience.

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3. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

That's awesome! Thank you so much. I will certainly get on the guidebooks, profile building and the lonely planet forum here shortly. I'm stateside at this point, but with the little research I've done and word of mouth from friends, I want to start by seeing family in Ireland and launch from there. England, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, and Italy (big Roman history buff) are the ones I wish to highlight. I hear incredible things about Budapest and Switzerland as well. While I wish to experience it all.. Culture, art, history, food, etc.. I do have a soft spot for history so museums and the like are a must!

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4. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

Travelling by train in Europe is easy. Here is the best website for route research as links can also get you to the country rail websites.


Starting in English speaking countries is an excellent idea. However, in terms of weather, it might be best to start in your southern destinations and work your way north. Rome in high summer can be pretty miserable,

When you are allocating time, don't forget to allow travel time between destinations and try not to be too frenetic in your travels (unless of course, you really like frenetic). More than two destinations in a week, IMHO, will give you barely a taste of the places you want to go. Two months may sound like a long time, but you want to go to lots of places, so read and refine your choices.

Remember, too, that summer is peak tourist season in Europe and, above all, August, especially in France, can empty places of locals.

An open jaw ticket may be useful so you do not have to back track.

Have a wonderful time and remember, you almost certainly will be able to return to favourite places, so don't feel you have to see everything this time.

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5. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

I agree completely with Leagle above. Don't try to do too much or you'll be in the 'If this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium' syndrome.

I too am a great fan of Roman history. Here are some suggestions on that.

Obviously, Rome is on your list. When there, don't miss the Baths of Caracalla. Not only are they in better shape than the sites on the Palatine and the Forum, but they are fairly empty of the hordes in the Forum and Colloseum.

I've found southern France to be a gold mine. If you stay in Nimes, it's a great base for Roman things. Nimes itself has a lot of things, including the Maison Carre and a still in use amphitheatre. From Nimes, you can easily make a day trip to Arles, and another to Pont du Gard.

In Spain, Tarragona is excellent. The walls are particularly interesting, as is the aqueduct,

I've only fairly recently (since 2004) been able to visit Hungary. While Budapest is indeed great, it's also more expensive than the reat of the country by rather a lot. The Roman outpost there (Aquincum) is still being excaavated, but is rather large. The best museum for seeing what has been found from that era is in the basement of the Nemzeti (National Museum of Hungary).

OTOH, there are more Roman Empire 'remains' to be seen in what was the Roman province of Pannonia than I expected. For history, I seriously suggest Pecs. The Christian cemetary (2--3 C) there should not be missed. Pecs is also interesting because of its medieval connection and the Ottoman occupation. While Sopron doesn't have a lot, it does have one of the best preserved set of the'main' triumverate of Roman gods (Jupiter, Minerva, and Juno) tthat I've encountered, as well as parts of the old Roman forum there. Unnfortunately, the main Roman stuff at Szombathely is currently closed.

I don't know about hostels in Hungary, but I do know that Hungary is likely to be far cheaper than any of the other countries you are thinking about visiting. Also that once one is out of Budapest costs go way down. (Except in Eger, where eating is a lot cheaper, but accommodation isn't.) Nonetheless,Hungary is likely to be far cheaper than some of your other thoughts.

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6. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

Pmac that sounds like a great start to your plan. From Ireland hop across to Bath,Somerset - lots of history including Roman. You can walk the small city and see most of it for free. The costume museum, inside unrestored Georgian houses as well as the Roman Baths that are working. Train/coach from there to London - for obvious reasons if you like history.

Spain- Barcelona not only has the art/architecture/history it has a beach. & interesting food & wine There's a start.

You must do Italy of course with the food, countryside & history. Florence, Rome, Venice, down to sorrento and the Amalfi coast to Pompei. Put in Oddones unique places.

Most of these have cheap public transport, I found everything about how to use it and how much it costs on TA by going to the individual forums and reading the FAQ's, Travel Articles, other peoples threads etc. Get the bits sorted/planned you know you want to do - then fill in the middle. Quite honestly this would fill 2 months easily.

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7. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

Pmac91. The posters here have given you excellent advice, so I'll only add some practical information.

If you are under 26 years of age, you can get discounted rail fares throught Europe, by getting an young persosn rail card. You buy it for whatever duration you want, and Leagle has provided you with the link to TA's train travel forum, so do have a good rummage there for train information.

Air travel within Europe is cheaper by LCC ( low cost carriers), but their luggage allowances are less generous than the main scheduled airlines, and if you have more bags, or heavier luggage than they allow, the fee's can come as a bit of a shock. So, if using LCC's, read the terms and conditions, and book well in advance for the lowest fares.

Coach travel within Europe is well developed and cheap, but is not available in all European destinations. You will need to do your research here. Ireland in particular has an excellent coach/bus service

Hostels are a great way to meet other travellers, keep costs down, are usually in city centre's and sometimes are in wonderful old historic buildings. Also, some European universities let out their student accommodation during the non academic year, and again, a bargain for costs. If you know what cities you will be visiting, you could google student accommodation for those cities, and then check the individual uni to see if they let out rooms. They can be very popular, so you may need to advance book.

Travel insurance: Most travel insurance is for trips of up to 30 days. You may need to do some research to get cover for a longer period.

Visa's.... you should be OK, but still worth checking if you need a visa for all your destinations, and you may be asked to provide evidence of a home return air ticket, and funds to support you while abroad.

Food: Ahhh, you are in for a treat! Hostels generally have cooking facilities, so you can make good use of the excellent ( and sometimes unusual!) produce from local markets and shops.They are more fun than supermarket shops, and generally cheaper too. Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner.Evening meals may also be later than you may be used to... so tapas in Spain or afternoon tea in Ireland/ UK is a good stop gap between meals. Please be aware that the tipping culture of your destinations may be very different to what you are used to.

Museums, concerts,festivals......... loads of information about cultural attractions is available on the web, so you can look in advance for any major exhibitions that are being hosted. Local tourists boards can also provide details about guided city walks, and if they are conducted in English.

As with others here, I'd also caution about trying to pack in too much. An afternoon sipping a leisurely drink and watching the world go by is a "must do". Good luck.

Edited: 15 November 2012, 20:30
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8. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation


First of all I am sure you will have a great time.

Some thoughts on your trip:

- When doing a longer trip, there are many cheap airlines such as Ryan Air, Easy Jet, Vueling and others. Just be careful because they charge extra for the luggage. Try to travel light.

- Southern and Eastern Europe are cheaper than the north, so if budget is an issue it is better to focus more in these areas. I think they can also be more relaxing since you can combine beach and monuments.

- Some of cities in Europe I would visit would be:

London, England - Without a doubt one of the most fantastic cities in Europe.

Barcelona, Spain - Wonderful city, with interesting architecture and the beach. You can visit the nearby Tarragona with Roman remains.

Lisbon, Portugal - Next to the sea there are many things to visit including the fairy tale city of Sintra.

Porto, Portugal - From wine to magnificent views over the river in a medieval city.

Nice, France - Lovely city.

Avignon, France - Great palace in a nice small city.

Carcassone, France - beautiful castle

Lyon, France - It looks a lot like Paris but with much less tourists.

Venice, Italy - You have to see it.

Rome, Italy - From the Vatican to the endless churches is a beautiful city to see.

Pompeei, Italy

Budapest, Hungary - The thermal centres give it a special flair.

Munich, Germany - Beautiful city in Germany with a fairy tale palace nearby.

Have a nice trip!

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9. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

My US health insurance covers me overseas as out of network, so check your coverage before you go.

I met a young woman (I'm guessing about your age, although you don't actually say what you're graduating from) who was traveling through Europe with Bus About. She really liked it, although she said she checked their recommended hostels as some of them were not great or had too many partiers. She said she had met quite a few people and would do things with them for a few days before they each went off on their own. IIRC, she said you could change your destination as you went, so I'd check it out if I were still a backpacking around Europe sort of traveller.

I agree with those who said to allow enough time for each place. For London, Rome, Paris, and Berlin at least, I would want a minimum of a week in each place. I allow a day for travel between places and then whatever I get to see that day is a bonus. All 4 of the cities I mentioned have a lot of day trips you can do which cuts down on checking in and out of places, which I prefer.

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10. Re: Backpacking Europe after graduation

Guidebooks is the best and don't trust anything that you shouldn't know. enjoy! godbless