planning to travel europe and am just wondering how long to allocate to each city i visit. i was thinking of between 2 and 3 days thats including traveling time between cities, but how do u book hostels while still leaving it flexible??
Any help would be much appreciated!
Well, it depends on which cities, and the distances between them, but given the mention of "travel europe", I now have the image of a mad rush from capital to capital to 'do' Europe in two weeks: "If this is tuesday, then we must be in Berlin."
In which case my advice is: slow down. Take a breather. You do not want to be on the road that much. Most big cities in Europe deserve at least four to five days to see just the highlights, and in many you could easily linger for a further week or two to sniff up atmosphere and start to get to know the place, and there's undoubtedly several days' worth of very worthwhile daytrips in the immediate surroundings which you could take.
Travel is exhausting. If you just sat in the train for five hours all morning long, you're not going to have the energy to see two museums and a palace in the afternoon. (And that's not even mentioning that the train might work up a two hour delay while at it, completely throwing off your plans.)
So, don't count travel days as days actually spent in either city. If you have some time and energy around it, use it to languidly start exploring a city, but definitely don't plan any activities. And, then, really, four whole days is the absolute minimum if you want to be able to have experienced a place, but if you already know that some cities will really appeal to you atmosphere-wise, don't be afraid to double that time. The rest of Europe is right at your doorstep, and it won't be going anywhere anytime soon, so you can always continue your exploration of it next year.
Booking hostels flexibly is easy: you can call them up up to 24 hours in advance (sometimes 48) to cancel or change a booking without extra costs, so book hostels along a best guess itinerary and tweak as needed. Now, finding alternative accommodation is hard in most European cities during summer time, so do be certain you have some other place to stay before doing that.
Excellent post, Sander! Should be made part of the FAQ.