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Europe backpacking trip in dec 09

Travel Forums Europe Europe backpacking trip in dec 09

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1. Posted by Jezebel86 (Budding Member 17 posts) 7y

I'm 22 from Singapore. i'll be graduating end of nov so i plan to fly off straight after my exams. My plan is to visit Greece (Athens, n maybe island hopping), Italy (rome, florence, venice & Milan), France (paris, nice), Spain (Barcelona & Madrid) in a month or so.

As this is my 1st time backpacking in Europe, I\'d like to know more information about the expenses, the transport, the accommodation, food and safety issues.

1) How much can i expect to spend on food, accommodation (hostels) & transport in those countries for a month?
Is Eur 2000 enough for that?
Is it advisable to carry my cash in form of travellers' checks?

2) What is the best mode of transport to get from Greece-Italy, Italy-France, France-Spain?

3) What do i need to look out for in terms of safety in those 4 countries?

4) I don\'t want to be like those average tourists to visit only touristy spots. Any suggestions for some adventurous and interesting off-the-beaten-path sightseeing or things to do in those countries?

Thank You!!

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

1) Take a min. of 50 EUR per day and person, if possible more. 50 EUR are just enough to make sure you do not have to sleep on the sidewalk or beg for food, it won't cover much else. So 2000 EUR for one month is enough, but only if this does not include flights.

Do not take traveller's cheques, instead put all your money in the bank and travel with a visa credit card. Withdraw from ATMs as needed.

2)
Greece-Italy: ferry
Italy-France: train or flight
France-Spain: train or flight

3) Keep your wits about you, pickpocketing is a big problem.

4) I suggest looking around Couchsurfing and Hospitality Exchange, mail a few people to meet for tea or coffee. Travel to places to meet these people, even if they live away from the tourist circuit.

BTW, I really hope you rethink your plan. November is not really the best time to visit these countries. Southern Spain and Sicily will be ok, but island hopping in Greece is going to be a real problem. November is the time of winter storms, many ferries are not running and most owners of small pensions close for a much needed-break after the long summer season (April to October). For a tropical bird November is going to be a frigging cold month to visit Europe, I thus would suggest waiting until April/May. One month is also not enough to see all these countries. Recommended timeframe is 2-4 weeks per country and 4-7 days for a big city, so in 4 weeks you could reasonably see 2 countries or 1 country and 1 big city.

3. Posted by Jerrycrow (Full Member 165 posts) 7y

november in Europe? i think it is a bit cold. but if you like it cool and not freezing, try august and september.....

4. Posted by martylilly (Budding Member 11 posts) 7y

Hi, here are a few answers:
November is a good month for travelling if you don't want to find crowds of people, hoever it gets a bit rainy.
As someone else said, Island hopping in Greece may not be as interesting as it wouls be in warmer months.

1) How much can i expect to spend on food, accommodation (hostels) & transport in those countries for a month?
Is Eur 2000 enough for that?

It all depends on acommodations and ... how hungry you get... i think it is a bit tight though!

Is it advisable to carry my cash in form of travellers' checks?

credit cards and cash cards are very good and you don't pay teh same high commissions as on TC

2) What is the best mode of transport to get from Greece-Italy, Italy-France, France-Spain?

Train is real fun and cheap. Also, you can get rail passes for one or more connecting countries, there is plenty of information on railpass.com

3) What do i need to look out for in terms of safety in those 4 countries?

Just use common sense, you'llbe safe!

4) I don\'t want to be like those average tourists to visit only touristy spots. Any suggestions for some adventurous and interesting off-the-beaten-path sightseeing or things to do in those countries?

too bad i cannot recommend sites here... or i would send you plenty of interesting ones! However, i'd search on local tourist boards sites, they usually have english versions and you can find plenty of informations on thngs to do!

5. Posted by Jezebel86 (Budding Member 17 posts) 7y

Thank peeps for ur replies~

Oh so the winter starts in Nov?? I'd consider the weather but i think its interesting to travel to Europe during winter time. Maybe not for the Island hopping. =) Aug & september i'd still be having classes.

6. Posted by canadiank (Budding Member 29 posts) 7y

Your budget depends on what you want to do.
Food is affordable, depending on your taste & how well you want to eat. Hostels should save a little bit of money - taking overnight trains may save you a night's worth of accommodation here and there but again, depends on your level of tolerance and how easily you sleep.
Also don't forget to factor in the cost of visiting sites & attractions, doing laundry, internet cafes, phone calls, bus/taxi within the cities itself, tipping, etc.

Base on my experience there are always unforeseen costs which come up. Plan some extra "in case of emergency" money.
It's good to have a budget but you should also have flexibility in the budget for attractions and optional interesting activities - what is the point of travelling if you aren't able to participate? Greece, Italy and France are expensive countries (not sure about Spain - should be slightly cheaper, right?) so be prepared for extra expenses or prices to be more than you expected.

Don't carry all your money in cash. Some banks may exchange traveller's cheques but they are becoming harder and harder to come by. The easiest way is to have prepaid debit/credit card which allows you access anywhere in the world - you may have to pay a small fee each time you withdraw money but it will be the most convenient.

Lastly, the weather will be cold in Nov/Dec, especially if you are used to the warmth of Singapore. I live in a country with brutal winters and still found northern Italy extremely cold (just my bad luck to go during the coldest week of the season). You will need to carry more luggage than you anticipate if you need to pack for warmer (Spain, Greece) and colder (Italy, France) temperatures.

7. Posted by Jezebel86 (Budding Member 17 posts) 7y

Thank you all very much for your insights n advice!

After reading all your replies, I'm re-considering my plans to backpack in Dec though i'd love to experience the winter (maybe another time). I really want to visit the Greek Isles so i think its better to go next year.

Still i'd like to go ahead with my backpacking plans during a low season next year. Which months do you all suggest I should head out for backpacking? Is April/May a good time to backpack and still not incur high expenses? I still want to avoid the crowds as much as i can and keep to my budget.

Is 2000Euros for expenses still realistic during April - May? For the same period of time (1 month) and the countries i have stated.

8. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 7y

Quoting Jezebel86

Thank you all very much for your insights n advice!

After reading all your replies, I'm re-considering my plans to backpack in Dec though i'd love to experience the winter (maybe another time). I really want to visit the Greek Isles so i think its better to go next year.

Still i'd like to go ahead with my backpacking plans during a low season next year. Which months do you all suggest I should head out for backpacking? Is April/May a good time to backpack and still not incur high expenses? I still want to avoid the crowds as much as i can and keep to my budget.

Is 2000Euros for expenses still realistic during April - May? For the same period of time (1 month) and the countries i have stated.

Hey Jezebel86,

April/May is a good time to go backpacking in Europe. So is September/October, though those months are a bit colder. . . . and I'm not sure if the ferries in Greece will be running in October. What I would avoid, if I were you, is backpacking during the peak summer season (July/August) as it is really busy and hot, and around the Christmas season, which is really busy and cold!

Please refer to what t_maia said about the time you are travelling for. It is good advice. Stick to one country, if you are going to be travelling for only one month, or expand your travel time if you really have your heart set on seeing these countries. Otherwise your trip will be a blur of train cabins and zipping scenery and navigational woes! You won't get to see much that way.

Steph

9. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

I'm re-considering my plans to backpack in Dec though i'd love to experience the winter (maybe another time).

If you want to experience the winter late December/January/February is a good time to go to Europe. But then I would not go to Greece, I would go to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy or France. Germany and Austria just before Christmas to see the Christmas markets. Or alternatively go in February and see and experience the Mardi Gras festivities in various cities in Germany and in Venice, flights will be a lot cheaper then. Combine that with a visit to the mountains (Alps, Dolomites, Tatra) for some fun in the snow. It is easy to do snowshoe hikes and toboggan runs, no need for expensive skiing lessons. You'll need skiing clothes for doing snowshoe hikes and toboggan runs, but you can usually rent those.

If all you want to do is see some snow: There are a few glaciers and mountains in the Alps that have snow year-round. It is possible to go there in April/May.

10. Posted by Jezebel86 (Budding Member 17 posts) 7y

t_maia, thank you for your valuable advice!!

So if i go backpacking in these 4 countries (Italy, Greece, France & Spain) in Feb/March, i don't have to bring heavy clothings made for winter right??

By your judgment, i'll need 2 months to visit 4 countries?? However I only plan to explore 2 cities in Spain, Paris in France, Athens & Greek islands and Italy (Rome, Milan, Florence). How much time do i need then?