My husband and I are planning to travel through Europe from the beginning of March to the end of April starting in Dresden Germany as we have friends there.
At first we were planning to hire a Wicked Campervan and stay at campsites, but a further look into campsites reveals that most are closed for the winter season and dont open again until April/May. I know there are various free places to camp in France, Germany, Italy, Spain but have read ALOT of comments about these areas being unsafe.
I have also looked at train travel on www.raileurope.com.au and also hiring a car (my husband would prefer to drive) and then we would stay in hostels.
Please let me know how you did your travelling through europe and what you would recommend as we are still undecided!!
You can look at Busabout as one way, another way would be trains or also thier is a great European bus system that is fairly cheap and goes all over the place with 15 day and 30 day options. Im leaning towards either busabout or the Bus system. Have a fun trip
Busabout is not an option for you, as their season for 2010 operates only between 4th May and 28th October.
Rail travel is very convenient as the rail network is extensively linked. Depending on how much planning you're willing to undertake, or how much you're going to be travelling, there are different options to consider. Buy tickets from national rail websites for the best prices, instead of using Rail Europe. E.g. for travel in/from Italy, use Trenitalia; for travel in/to/fro Germany, check Bahn.de website; for travel in/to/fro France, using Voyage-SNCF. Buying ahead means you're likely to find cheapest discounted tickets, but know the terms as some of them are strictly non-refundable nor exchangeable. If you will be travelling a lot, then consider getting Eurail rail pass. As there are two of your travelling, look for saver Eurail pass which would be cheaper than 2 individual Eurail pass.
Bus travel would be cheaper, check Eurolines for more information. However the travelling time would also likely to be longer and you'll be less comfortable particularly when the distance of the journey is considerable. In some places (France comes to mind) rail travel is so extensive and preferred that internal bus travel from one place to another that's not within the same administrative area is difficult or nearly non-existant.
Driving would be the most flexible way of travelling, since you can choose where to go and to stop at your convenience, not dictated by any kind of timetable. I can't say if this is going to be a reasonably priced option for you. I supposed it's pending on you getting a good deal (with a company that actually allows you to use the hired car elsewhere outside of Germany - assuming if you pick one up, it'll be from Dresden - otherwise you could run into insurance problem), the fuel price at the time of your travel, the use of tolled roads or not, and parking rates in the different cities you go to. These could be extra headaches that you don't need.
At first we were planning to hire a Wicked Campervan and stay at campsites, but a further look into campsites reveals that most are closed for the winter season and dont open again until April/May.
With a campervan you are not limited to campsites - just park your camper roadside. Plus it won't be a big problem to drive one hour more to the next campsite that is already open in March.
I know there are various free places to camp in France, Germany, Italy, Spain but have read ALOT of comments about these areas being unsafe.
Who told you that? I live in Germany and I am an avid camper. I travel with bicycle and tent around Europe and I usually pitch my tent whereever I end up at the end of the day. I am a single woman and I never had any problems. And you are worried about trboule when you travel 1) together 2) in a campervan which is a lot safer than just a tent and 3) intend to stay on camping sites instead of camping wild.
also hiring a car (my husband would prefer to drive) and then we would stay in hostels.
Hiring a car and staying in hostels doesn't mix that well.
Hostels are usually conveniently located for two types of travellers: the backpackers who travel by train to the big cities and hikers in small villages.
If you rent a car I would recommend going a bit later in the year (April/May) and instead of staying in hostels taking a tent and camping gear and pitching the tent on camping sites. This will be cheaper than renting a campervan and or than taking the train and staying at hostels.
If you are set on staying in hostels I would recommend taking the train.
Thanks for your advice!! After further discussions, we have decided to go with a campervan as we will have the flexibility to stop wherever we want whenever we want and stay in campsites and roadside along the way. We have chosen to hire a Wicked Campervan in Munich as we can enter several Eastern European countries that car hire agencies do not allow entry to.
If you are travelling with a campervan in early March I strongly recommend that you bring some good sleeping bags. The sleeping bags should be warm enough for temps that are around freezing point. Last year we had fresh snow in the lmiddle of March, so be prepared for some cold nights if you don't have thick blankets and warm sleeping bags.
Thanks, we got some really good sleeping bags that will prevent us from freezing solid!
Sounds like a fun trip just stay warm,