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europe first time

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1. Posted by jereminho (Budding Member, 28 posts) 6 Feb '07 20:07

greetings

I am planning on taking a semester off university this year and travelling to europe. I just wanted some opinions. i am just 19. australian

Firstly we have the option of stopping over on the way to london, basically anywhere in the world, for a few days. The cheaper options being los angeles and northern thailand. Anyone have opinions on what is a good country to spend about five days in?

Secondly, has anyone done a contiki trip? we are looking at a 25 day tour around maainly western europe. Do you think this would be a good way to start a three month trip so you could find out what places you would like to spend more time in at a later date? Are these contiki tours usually older people, like mid twenties? And are they good value for money, or are there cheaper options available that are just as good?

Also, if we were to backpack europe mainly staying in hostels, eating as cheaply as we can, a mix of countries like france, spain, sweden, netherlands, czech republic, turkey etc - what kind of budget would we be looking at per day?

sorry about the length of this post, any ffeedback greatly appreciated.

2. Posted by ikey (Full Member, 172 posts) 6 Feb '07 20:18

there is a post made recently that has a bit of a discussion on contiki:

http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=20238

As far as the budget goes, if you want to do it as economically as possible, you could probably survive on around A$100 a day. Actually now that I do a few sums in my head I think maybe a little more. (Rough budget would be $40 accomodation, $30 food, $30 for entry into sights then probably an average of $20 a day travel)???

Have a look at the busabout website also. It's similar to Contiki but you can get off the bus and stay for as long as you want. It's 90% made up of young Australians and Kiwis but not sure if that turns you on or off.

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru, 4567 posts) 7 Feb '07 03:37

Hello Jereminho

If u are choosing between Thailand and Los Angles, I would choose Thailand. I would say India, but I think u would need to buy a visa, for that. I think Australians can have a 30 day visa free of charge, for Thailand. And u get the visa at Bangkok airport. No need to get it, in advance.

There is no need for a tour. Just get a good travel guide book, and travel independently around Europe. Good guides are the following. They cost around 25 euros each and cover most countries in the world. U can also get one, which covers all countries of europe, in one book. They are available in most book shops, around the world.

Lonely Planet
On a Shoestring
Rough Guide
Lets Go

Your budget for West Europe would be around 30 to 50 euros, not including intercity transport. It would include, hostel bed, city transport, food from supermarkets, a couple of coffees, and a beer or 2. 30 euros is a tight budget. 50 is better.

Mel

4. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru, 1281 posts) 7 Feb '07 22:12

Like Mel says, don't bother doing a contiki tour, you are just spending a lot more money than you would if you got the itinerary and did it yourself by budget airlines or trains.

During my time in Europe I budgeted 40 Euros a day and the majority of the time I was able to stick to that budget whilst living it really cheap. That would be a very bare minimum I'd suggest if you want to see any tourist attractions at all which require an entrance fee.

In Scandinavian part of Europe you'll most likely struggle to get by on 40 Euro a day especially if you make it to Norway. If Russia was to be on your list, then you'd need to budget on at least 50 Euro a day living it cheap but most likely a bit more. If Iceland was on your list 70-80Euro a day as a minimum to enjoy your time.

5. Posted by daisy12885 (Budding Member, 3 posts) 10 Feb '07 07:28

Hello-

I think you should stay in LA for the 5 days. I think its an easier option, since you would not need VISAs I don't think. Also, I have been on a Contiki and would highly recommend it. Usually kids in college go on them, and they're very affordable..around $100 US dollars per day. I do not have enough good things to say about Contiki and it def. showed me where I would like to go back and spend more time! Good luck!:)

6. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru, 2026 posts) 11 Feb '07 01:35

Probably obvious but if you want an interesting cultural experience then Thailand would be a better bet than LA. I would go for Thailand for culture, food, cost.

Only reason for doing something like Contiki would be to be in the same place as lots of other young people going in the same direction as you. It is somewhere along the same lines as Oz Experience I think.

7. Posted by inthemerde (Budding Member, 26 posts) 15 Feb '07 15:09

If you ll be close to Turkey in may, don't miss the Anzac day. It s definititely a unique experience.

If you come to Paris, in a regular bar you will pay at least 6 euros for a pint. So make your budget accordingly.

8. Posted by clarife (Respected Member, 294 posts) 16 Feb '07 08:49

If you go to paris, eat in hippopotamus. Myself and my boyfriend thought we were goint to spend a fortune in paris, but i actually came back with money -Hippopotamus (particularly the one off the champs elysee) is incredibly cheap for example two main courses,(the best steak they have) + two incredible deserts + 1 bottle of champagne (€30) came to €73. If you go to montemart there is a steakhouse across the road which is also gorgeous and 2 mains + 2 deserts + a bottle of rose wine came to €38!

Also, if you stay near grands beulavard, there are two irish pubs - corcorans & O Sullivans which have great music, both are relatively cheap - €12 for a litre bottle of wine!

9. Posted by RaeTravels (Budding Member, 4 posts) 19 Feb '07 09:25

Hi there!
I have advice for two of your questions.

First, for your layover question. In choosing between LA and Thailand definitely choose Thailand. I'm from the US but Thailand is so much different than anything you could experience in LA. It's a gorgeous country and you'll definitely find an adventure there. (I suggest finding a night market and try your hand at bartering.) It's also A LOT less expensive. I'm not sure how this translates into Australian currency but 1 US dollar = 40 Thai bhat.

Second, should you take a Contiki trip? I actually went on my first Contiki this summer through western Europe, right before I turned 21. It was fantastic! I was a little scared at first because I was traveling alone, but I met a lot of people my age who I still keep contact with. It pretty much cost about $100 per day, which included our hotel room (with breakfast), transportation, and about half our dinners. We were on our own for lunch and some dinners and paid a bit extra for some optional excursions like mountain biking, white water rafting and gondola rides. An added plus was that I didn't have to waste time figuring out the Eurorail (which I know has set some of my backbacker friends back a few days in their travels.) I thought Contiki was a great way to experience Europe for the first time, and now I know where I'd like to go back and spend a bit more time.

I know you will be traveling through eastern Europe, which is a little different, but if you want to get an idea about what a Contiki is like check out my blog: http://rae-does-contiki.blogspot.com/. I went to London, Paris, Switzerland, Austria, Venice, Florence and Rome.

Good luck planning your trip. It sounds like a lot of fun ... I wish I had time to take time off school!

10. Posted by jereminho (Budding Member, 28 posts) 23 Feb '07 06:02

hey i just wanted to thank everyone for replies. really helped and i do have a better idea of what i want to do now.

cheers