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Help with planning my first Europe tour

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1. Posted by msinbox (Budding Member 10 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Hello fellow adventurers,

Could do with some advice on y first trip of Europe.

When: Around mid-March 2017
Budget: £500 & under
Destination: As many European countries as possible in 15-30 days
Starting point: London

Any advice on routes, itinerary & budget will be great.

Thanks!

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5028 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Quoting msinbox

Budget: £500 & under
Destination: As many European countries as possible in 15-30 days

Could you explain your thinking with visiting as many countries as possible? What are you looking for that that is the goal?

On the face of it, it clashes massively with your budget, since it adds otherwise unnecessary transport costs on top of accommodation and food costs.

Also, personally, I vastly prefer spending my time experiencing places a bit more in depth, and not wasting too high a percentage of my time on the boring "getting from place to place" bit. So, given 15-30 days, I'd pick one or two countries, and plan to visit a total of 3-6 destinations in those countries, trying for a mix of interesting cities and nearby nature areas.

I'm not saying that this is the way you must do it. Everyone travels differently. But if we understand the experience you're trying to have, we can offer advice which could allow you to actually achieve that. (Particularly as many first time travellers have an overly romanticized vision of what travelling is like. e.g. reality is nothing like "Eurotrip".)

Finally, £500 is not a lot of money. You'd be pretty hard pressed to last 10 days on that in most of western Europe, let alone 15-30 days. So my first advice would be to look into a cheap flight to eastern europe (wherever appeals), and then figure out some roundtrip itinerary there via bus or train. You'll still have to live pretty frugally, but that's definitely more realistic.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2017, at 05:40 by Sander ]

3. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 756 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

I agree with Sander. To travel in Europe at such a low daily rate, I'd take a cheap flight to eastern Europe and explore from there.

Hungary, Poland, and the Balkans tend to be cheap. I have a friend who recently stayed in a Budapest hostel for £4/night. Eat slices of pizza from a window for under a pound, or all-you-can eat places for locals at about £3. Travel between cities on buses or trains.

Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, are cheap. From London you have an unparalleled choice of budget flights. Czech Republic and Slovakia are not expensive. Croatia is starting to get dearer, Slovenia has become quite expensive.

But these don't have the exciting sights of Europe - no eiffel tower or Vatican, you can't do Venice or the Alps on the very cheap. Forget Scandinavia, or anywhere westwards from Germany down through Austria and Italy.

4. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 402 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

I agree with the above that 'as many as possible' makes no sense whatsoever.

Received wisdom says that a backpacker staying in hostels, eating supermarket food and spending on the odd museum entry fee or odd beer (and I do mean odd as in a couple a week), needs around 50-60 Euros per day in W. Europe (including the UK) and that does not include transportation costs. In Eastern Europe you can lower that by around 10 Euros per day. That is a basic survival budget.

Personally, I would rather enjoy one day than just survive for 2 days. I see no point to simply surviving. So as your 500 pounds at present is worth around 587 Euros, you can see that it is only enough to survive on for around 10 days and that is if you go to only one place and do not move. It allows nothing for transportation costs to move anywhere.

Received wisdom also says that every day you actually move will cost you double what staying in a place will cost. So figure it out. Your 500 pounds would only pay for around 5 days of moving. By now, you should be getting the picture that your budget is simply not enough to travel on for much more than a weekend.

Here is my advice. Either pick one place to go to and stay in a hostel for a week or wait until you can save up more money. You need to get your thinking in line with reality.

5. Posted by msinbox (Budding Member 10 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Andyf

I agree with Sander. To travel in Europe at such a low daily rate, I'd take a cheap flight to eastern Europe and explore from there.

Hungary, Poland, and the Balkans tend to be cheap. I have a friend who recently stayed in a Budapest hostel for £4/night. Eat slices of pizza from a window for under a pound, or all-you-can eat places for locals at about £3. Travel between cities on buses or trains.

Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, are cheap. From London you have an unparalleled choice of budget flights. Czech Republic and Slovakia are not expensive. Croatia is starting to get dearer, Slovenia has become quite expensive.

But these don't have the exciting sights of Europe - no eiffel tower or Vatican, you can't do Venice or the Alps on the very cheap. Forget Scandinavia, or anywhere westwards from Germany down through Austria and Italy.

Thanks for that idea Andyf :)

6. Posted by msinbox (Budding Member 10 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Thanks everyone for your comments & suggestions. You all make a good point about the budget. I'll have a think about that.

7. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 721 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Look South. Since you're in London, look at routes by RyanAir and EasyJet. They can get you to places on the cheap, like several cities in Portugal and Spain; and even to some of their islands, either in the Mediterranean or in the Atlantic.

Because of disturbances, Turkey is particularly inexpensive at this time. Fares are reasonable; and prices for accommodations have dropped substantially. Deals can be had.

What about Greece?

Where do some people in eastern Europe go on vacation? To places like Georgia and Armenia, where prices are even less expensive than in their own countries, such as Poland.

Look around and you can find something to fit your budget. But it might take a bit of work. Best of luck!

8. Posted by OldPro (Inactive 402 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

I am not usually an advocate of package holidays but the reality is that the market is so competitive in the UK at the bottom end of the market, that package holidays actually cannot be beat or even matched by the independent traveller in terms of cost, to the more popular sun and sand destinations.

When I was living in the UK, I actually found it cheaper sometimes to book a 1 week package air and hotel deal rather than just booking flights to the same place. I've done that and thrown away the hotel portion entirely or just used it for the first and/or last night's accommodation.

The problem with a package is your timing msinbox. Mid March is not ideal for a cheap package to anywhere on mainland Europe I can think of. You could look at the Canary Islands though. The other problem with a package is that most charge a 'single supplement'. I had a look and saw a hotel in Lanzarote for 209 Pounds/per person with 2 sharing, for hotel and air but that changed to 370 pounds for a single person. Your 500 pounds wouldn't even be enough for that week. But not all have a single supplement, so you might find one at the 200 pound mark without the supplement and then your 500 pounds total budget might just be doable for a week.

Just because someone uses a cheap package holiday as a means of saving money, does not mean they have to do what most package holiday tourists do with their time. ;)

9. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 756 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

OldPro, your Canary Islands idea doesn't seem to at all address the OP's wish to see many different countries. I nominate you for the worst reply award.

10. Posted by msinbox (Budding Member 10 posts) 10w Star this if you like it!

Quoting berner256

Look South. Since you're in London, look at routes by RyanAir and EasyJet. They can get you to places on the cheap, like several cities in Portugal and Spain; and even to some of their islands, either in the Mediterranean or in the Atlantic.

Because of disturbances, Turkey is particularly inexpensive at this time. Fares are reasonable; and prices for accommodations have dropped substantially. Deals can be had.

What about Greece?

Where do some people in eastern Europe go on vacation? To places like Georgia and Armenia, where prices are even less expensive than in their own countries, such as Poland.

Look around and you can find something to fit your budget. But it might take a bit of work. Best of luck!

Interesting point you make berner256, about the Georgia & Armenia thing. That's definitely something to think about :)