I’m planning a Summer 2010 backpacking adventure and would love some criticism/advice. I’ve figures out my basic destination list, a rough schedule and a potential budget, but having never backpacked, I’m not sure how close or far off I am. Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated…
[04 May 2010 – 09 May 2010] Dublin, Ireland
[09 May 2010 – 12 May 2010] Liverpool, United Kingdom
[12 May 2010 – 14 May 2010] Manchester, United Kingdom
[14 May 2010 – 16 May 2010] Cardiff, United Kingdom
[16 May 2010 – 23 May 2010] London, United Kingdom
[23 May 2010 – 30 May 2010] Paris, France
[30 May 2010 – 02 Jun 2010] Brussels, Belgium
[02 Jun 2010 – 09 Jun 2010] Amsterdam, Netherlands
[09 Jun 2010 – 14 Jun 2010] Berlin, Germany
[14 Jun 2010 – 20 Jun 2010] Prague, Czech Republic
[20 Jun 2010 – 25 Jun 2010] Vienna, Austria
[25 Jun 2010 – 30 Jun 2010] Budapest, Hungary
[30 Jun 2010 – 02 Jul 2010] Zagreb, Croatia
[02 Jul 2010 – 04 Jul 2010] Ljubljana, Slovenia
[04 Jul 2010 – 09 Jul 2010] Munich, Germany
[09 Jul 2010 – 12 Jul 2010] Venice, Italy
[12 Jul 2010 – 18 Jul 2010] Rome, Italy
[18 Jul 2010 – 22 Jul 2010] Athens, Greece
[22 Jul 2010 – 26 Jul 2010] Mýkonos, Greece
[26 Jul 2010 – 29 Jul 2010] Athens, Greece
[29 Jul 2010 – 01 Aug 2010] Florence, Italy
[01 Aug 2010 – 04 Aug 2010] Milan, Italy
[04 Aug 2010 – 06 Aug 2010] Nice, France
[06 Aug 2010 – 08 Aug 2010] Toulouse, France
[08 Aug 2010 – 12 Aug 2010] Barcelona, Spain
[12 Aug 2010 – 15 Aug 2010] Valencia, Spain
[15 Aug 2010 – 19 Aug 2010] Madrid, Spain
[19 Aug 2010 – 22 Aug 2010] Lisbon, Portugal
Denver to Dublin, Ireland
Lisbon, Portugal to Denver
EuroRail Ticket 1400
3 Months, Unlimited in 21 Countries
110 Days at $25 a day food (2750)
50 Days at $25 a day for drinks (1250)
110 Days at $30 youth hostel (3300)
110 Days at $25 a day exploring (2750)
Other Travel 1950
110 Days at $10 for town travel (1100)
Flight from Rome to Athens (150)
Ferry to UK (100)
Ferries for Mykonos (150)
Ride through Chunnel (100)
Train through England (350)
Total: 14,500 for 110 Days
I would try to find some space for Dubrovnik Croatia and the islands near Split. I loved Croatia and I feel 2 or 3 days is certainly not enough! I would skip Zagreb and go to one or both of the places I mentioned
[ Edit: Edited on 10-Sep-2009, at 16:56 by way2goeh ]
I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't cut a few destinations from my current 27 (Zagreb, Ljubljana, Milan, Toulouse) and replace them with added days in some of the other cities on the list. 110 days is a lot, but I don't want to spend 1/4 of my trip on a train.
I'd advice against planning a trip to such detail. It's very hard to know what kind of experience you're going to have from place to place, so finding that you are booked to stay in a local for 4 days after you've just discovered that it's no fun being there, or worse, having to leave a place that you feel you haven't experienced enough of, can be annoying.
My past trips have been organised on a general route, usually only having the visa dictate the time period. I found it better to miss out of places (Or save them for later if you will), than to over do it and cram in too many.
Your route sounds good, I think you might have a more comfortable ride if you let the fun dictate the pace of it though.
Happy travelling :D
I strongly agree with roskelld.
One more thing: You did not mention where you are from and I haven't taken the time to count the days yet - but are you aware that as a non-EU citizen you are not allowed to stay for longer than 90 days inside the Schengen zone?
Personally, I'd also factor a bit more money into your trip, since expenses most often do not in my experiences stay where I expect them to - since you're going to some of the cheaper countries it should even out, but it's still better to have a bit of a security blanket in there budget wise.
But I fully agree with not planning things in so much detail, you're going to find countries you love and countries that you just want to get out of quickly!
This sounds like a wonderful trip. I'm in full agreement with what others have said though, don't plan your destinations so tightly. Arrive in the country and look around at bus and railway stations as to what's leaving shortly within your budget and after a quick look in your guide book, jump on board and onward. Trips that have been planned in fine detail, ie: Paris today for 3 days, on the train to Lyon, then Barcelona for 3 days with this hotel and that hotel already booked, down to Morocco etc. etc. tend to dictate exactly what you must, rather than want to, do. Plus there are such things as train cancellations, flight delays, buses breaking down and accommodation not being what it appeared to be in the glossy brochure or on-line photo's.
I've done so many backpacking trips and realised after the very first one that a bit of planning is needed, but not so precisely.
To edit your list a little.. Not 6 days in Dublin. 3 will be ample. In between get a train or bus and explore a little bit of the surrounding area. 4 days in Liverpool and 3 in Manchester? Again, far too long. There are some incredibly cheap train fares on Northern Rail which operate out of Piccadilly, Victoria (Manchester) and Lime Street (Liverpool) to some breathtakingly beautiful areas. The trips will take barely an hour. I'm still with you on visiting the cities though. They are two of the most cultural and interesting in Europe. Not for a week though. 2 days in Cardiff.. Perfect.
A week in London? Again - no. Four days will do it unless you're doing a weekend of shows, and gigs etc. Same goes for Paris and Brussels. You can halve both times you planned there.
There is no mention of any countryside visits in your itinery, just cities. I'm wondering do you just love clogged up fumey conurbations and hate fresh air and waterfalls? Maybe that's your thing. There is so much more to all the countries you mention than just cities. Some sort of rail ticket that allows you hop on and off trains away from the smog would be so rewarding on a trip like this. While in Budapest for your planned 6 days, take the short ride down to Lake Balaton. It's huge, nearly 600kms2, very pleasant for a night out and only takes a couple of hours or so to get to by train. Or maybe take the train from Budapest to Oradea (Romania). Again, just a few hours and once in Oradea, get another short distance train to Transylvania or up to Satu Mare near the Romania/Ukraine border. 9 days in Athens is just not needed unless you've got a planned dig for a few days or other arrangements. There is so much you could shave off and add on to other destinations. 6 days in Munich? Make that 3 maximum. A couple of days or 3 at the most, in Venice is enough too.
Take overnight trains to save on a bed too. It's been mentioned here in Travellerspoint by so many people since I joined and I totally endorse it. It saves a fortune on accommodation and will give you more cash to spend on more trips.
Looking at your budget, you've thought it through very well but there are some adjustments that can be made to save you a bit here and there. As you rightly say, you need extra for trains in the UK as Eurorail isn't valid there. However, if you book tickets on-line in advance you will find that contrary to belief, the UK has some of the cheapest long distance fares in Western Europe. It's possible to travel from London to Scotland for €30. The Channel Tunnel and ferry tickets can both be bought for under €60 too, that's for two single trips in either direction.
You might want to consider looking on various internal train websites at individual prices - v - a Eurorail pass. Also, if you are thinking of doing just cities, then there are several budget airlines that will get you from city to city for around €15 one way including tax etc. If you've got a lot of luggage to lag around then there will be an extra charge for that in the hold unless you are doing a return and can leave it somewhere convenient to pick up later on.
Can you tell me how you've calculated $1,100 for your airfares and I'll try and beat it for you. No promises as it looks like a pretty reasonable quote, but I'll give it a go.
If you are going to Zagreb, don't miss out on either Dubrovnik, Split (both in Croatia), Sarajevo (Bosnia) and Belgrade (Serbia)---they are all worth seeing. Its fairly easy to get to and from Dubrovnik and/or Sarajevo. These two offer much history and architecture that you are probably looking to see. Having said that, Zagreb I am not sure about its appeal to backpackers. Its really just a regular city. Dubrovnik is ten times better in Croatia or some of the islands if you are there in summer months.