I figured that a decent amount to save before going on the trip is $1500-$2000 USD to spend per month, minus my airfare. What exactly would veteran travelers recommend that I need to bring so I can start budgeting for the things I can purchase here in the States? Minus the cost of my passport what supplies should I purchase? I plan on staying in hostels so scratch the sleeping bag. I plan on seeing a good chunk of Europe during this trip. Off the top of my head I'd really like to check out the UK, the Mediterranean countries, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, possibly Russia. I'm not against taking less stuff to carry if I can purchase what I need overseas along the way. Just not sure what I should be bringing with me initially.
First, youll need a visa for Russia. Apply in the states - about 100 dollars.
REALLY depends on where you go as well. 2000USD is good for Eastern Europe. Not for the West.
I budget heavily for drinking and travelling around by train as i hate buses tho.
I budget 600 dollars a week in West Europe, half that for East (Balkans, Baltics....)
$2000 is a lot for a month west or east, just learn where to shop, food, clothes etc etc, rail passes, hostel cards...
Costs to take into account before you leave:
1) Luggage - a good backpack sets you back from 100 USD on, similar for a rolling upright capable of withstanding cobblestone streets. One of the best solutions on the market is the Eagle Creek Max 22, a rolling upright with backpack straps. Seeing the price will make you gulp.
2) Transport to the airport. If you live in North Carolina chances are high you'll fly from New York City or Washington DC to Europe. Add the cost of a return Greyhound ticket to one of these places to your expenses.
3) Decent shoes. Bring the most comfortable shoes you own. If these are white sneakers strongly consider buying more stylish shoes, but buy them months in advance and break them in before you go. 100 USD is not too much for quality shoes.
4) Cost of a fitness studio. If you are a total couch potato and drive with your car everywhere, start working out. Get used to walking 10 miles each day because this is what you'll be doing in Europe.
Otherwise you don't need anything special. If you think of buying clothing for your trip - don't. Most Europeans can spot an American simply by his or her clothing, it makes more sense to buy things like jacket, pants, shirts, etc in Europe. IMO clothing makes a great souvenier, everytime you wear it it reminds you of the place and time you bought it.
One more thing: if you plan to use the Eurail pass you need to order and pay for it in advance. Have it in your pocket before you leave the USA.
EDIT: If you are a gear freak and cannot resist, here are a few things I have found useful for travels (not limited to Europe):
- silverware (I like the sets made for the German army, but durable plastic will do, sporks are popular)
- cutting knife for bread, cheese, apples,... (I like Opinel 10 cm.)
- cup (for tea, muesli, joghurt, ...)
- plastic plate (I recommend Orikaso folding plate http://www.rei.com/product/739246 or the set http://www.rei.com/product/739247 )
- small flashlight
- roll of small plastic bags for packing sandwiches or prepared rolls, big plastic bags for trash, dirty clothing, etc
- duct tape
- clothes line
- laundry detergent, my favourite brand being "Rei in der Tube" bc it is specifically made for travelling and for washing things with cold water in the sink, it is sold in Germany in drugstores and sometimes online on ebay
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 7, 2009, at 11:47 AM by t_maia ]