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backpacking vs. guided tour?

Travel Forums Europe backpacking vs. guided tour?

1. Posted by kpckgurl (Budding Member 6 posts) 13y

kpckgurl has indicated that this thread is about Spain

hi guys!

i'm the typical scrimping college student who has the awesome opportunity to go study abroad from january until june at the university of barcelona. i definitely want to go travel around europe after my program ends, but i'm not sure if i should try backpacking or to just schedule a guided tour. i'll be traveling with, hopefully, 3 other people. i only have about 3-4 weeks...and very limited does anyone have any ideas about what i can do to experience the most out of europe?



2. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 13y

hi Christine,

I just wrote you an answer, but it all vanished into thin air, because stupid me pressed a wrong button

Well, I'll try again: my recommendation is to go backpacking, definitely, guided tours are expensive, in my opinion. When you've stayed some time in Barcelona, you'll get an idea of what you want to see. Check out the lowcost airlines that fly all over Europe (let me know if you need any details), get an idea of their destinations, maybe sign up for their newsletters and get all their promotional offers. This way you'll be able to travel around Europe for very little money, you could go from Barcelona to London to Glasgow to Stockholm to etc. etc. etc. etc. for very little money.

Hope you'll enjoy your stay in Barcelona and your travel around Europe.



3. Posted by kpckgurl (Budding Member 6 posts) 13y

dear sole,

thanx so much for replying! i'll definitely look into some of the airlines around europe. i was searching online and found something called busabout in which u can go around most of the major cities in western europe on a bus. it seems like it takes a long time, and i'm not sure how much money it will be.

this is a general question.

i've heard from a girl who went backpacking in europe for a month sometime during the winter and she said that it was really expensive. she used the eurail system to get around. does anyone have any ideas about which mode of transportation is best if you want to see the major cities of europe? this is my first time being in europe.

also, which cities do you recommend visiting?


christine ;)

4. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 13y

hi again Christine,

I've heard about busabout ( and Eurail (, and travelling by bus or train will be quite slow compared to flights. You'll probably meet lots of other people on the buses, more so than on flights of course. My best guess still is that if you're flexible on when and where to go, the flights are still the best option. For the major cities, I can't think of anything cheaper and faster than flights... but check out for yourself. If you need more info on the lowcost airlines, let me know and I'll send you the links. (Sam/Peter, hope the links I've been posting today are OK??).

Personally I love Paris and London. Not to mention Berlin which is a very special city. Barcelona you'll get to know very well, and maybe after some months then nothing will be able to compare to Barcelona (been there twice many years ago and loved it). If you decide to fly, try and get to Scotland and maybe Ireland as well, it's cheap if you fly Ryanair, Easyjet or Air Scotland and similar. If you're into Scandinavia of course I'd recommend Copenhagen, where I live, I love that place. Don't actually know any of the other Scandinavian capitals, but Stockholm in Sweden should be absolutely wonderful.

If you need more info, let me know and I'll do my very best to help you out!!!!



5. Posted by IMonaghan (Respected Member 431 posts) 13y

Without a doubt, unless that's not your thing.. but if you're open to it try it over a guided sanitized tour.

I know you used to be able to get a monthly or weekly Eurail pass, I am actually looking into getting one at this very moment as I am headed to the UK in a week or two.

6. Posted by ebrandt (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y

I thought I might pop in this quick question since it seems to be related. I am also going abroad in a few months. My term will only be a few months then after that I am going to travel as long as possible. I will be studying in England, but I really want to see as much as the UK and Europe before I run out of money. Whats the best way to get around with only about $3500 to last me as long as possible? I have no problem with travelling by any means and most of the time I will be by myself, or at least that is what it looks like at this point.

7. Posted by sole (Full Member 208 posts) 12y

For getting around I can recommend flying.. It's cheap when you take advantage of the offers from the lowcost airlines and even without those very frequent offers the airlines can still compete with travelling by bus. BUT it all depends on your preferences, if you want to meet a lot of people during the travels I suppose buses will be lot better but they take longer time and are of course less comfortable.

Let me know if you need any details of lowcost airlines, otherwise check the links section above.


8. Posted by ebrandt (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y

I was thinking about the Eurorail pass for unlimited travel for a couple of months. If I can afford that is their any arguement for travelling any other way? And also as far as finding where to travel and what to see what would be a good number 1 resource (as far as books and the like)?

9. Posted by Kristo (Full Member 58 posts) 12y

After trying both....I would strongly reccomend backpacking!
Guided tours are expensive, and not only that you don't really get to go where you want to go, or spend very much time in places.
I travelled independantly for 2 months then did a Tour of Euope for 2 weeks and hated it!
We only stopped for a very short time in each place, and I feel like I barely saw a thing. Backpacking was a lot more fun!
Have a great time in which ever option you chose!

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