My best mate and I are planning to backpack around europe for ten months in 2012. We have flights booked to fly into London in late feb, and plan to travel until the end of the European summer/start of autumn.
I have talked to lots of people and trying to work out a budget has proven very difficult. People have given me very varying reports as to how much they spent. Obviously it varies depending on how luxurious the lifestyle is, but I'd love for people to advise me on my budget. For the ten months we are hoping to have between $30,000-$35,000 australian dollars each, which is roughly €20000 - €230000 or £16000 or $33000 US. You get the point.
We are traveling as a pair (two 21 year old males)
We are expecting to slum it, eat bugger all and buy very little souveniers
We are hoping to travel around all western and southern Europe, parts of eastern Europe, no northern Europe, and some of north Africa (then maybe to south America depending on how much we have left)
We enjoy a few beers
That's probably about bored everyone to tears but really want some accurate advice!
To the very kind people who reply, thanks times a billion
Sounds like you have a decent amount - I don't think you will necessarily have to 'slum it'. I'd go with basic accomodation, but you should be able to eat reasonably!
For me I find the standard in Europe is about $100AU a day, which should include accomodation, food, and a bit for entertainment and travelling around (although if you move from place to place very often it can get expensive).
As an Aussie you should find the beers relatively cheap in most countries (especially Spain and perhaps Eastern Europe). Your expenses will also depend on how long you spend in expensive/cheaper countries. Ie. in Switzerland $100 a day would be a very tight budget, but in Eastern Europe it will get you a lot further.
Also, keep in mind that with Schengen countries you will only be able to stay there 90 days out of a 180-day period - so you'll have to spend much of your trip outside of these countries. So keeping this in mind, and in the interest of mixing things up- I'd definately suggest some of North Africa/Middle East/South America.
On a rough average you could spend about 66 euro a day, over the 10 month period. This would be tight for countries like Denmark, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, but would be more than enough for countries like Slovakia, Czech republic, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia (also other eastern European countries, Turkey, Morocco etc. So if you get a good mix of the countries, you'll make it on that budget
I could definitely recommend also paying a visit to Morocco, as it's really not that far from Spain . Typical case of 'so close, but yet so far', in terms of culture etc. Travelling there is quite cheap and you could survive perfectly on a 12-15 euro/day budget with quite decent accomodation. Turkey is probably also a good ('cheap') country to go to.
Thank you all very much! This is awesome advice. I've had to reconsider how long Ill be staying in certain countries. The Schengen country visa is a bit upsetting as I'd planned to spend most of my time in those countries. Is there any alternative Visas to the basic 90 day one?
There are certain things you could look out for to save money. Stay in hostels, the more bunks per dorm, the cheaper the dorm. Also, try and find hostels that include breakfast and dinner. There aren't that many, but they do exist. You should at least expect breakfast to be served at hostels.
I think a budget of between $75 and $100AUD is spot on. You will barely spend $75 on some days and you might spend more than $100 on others but it all evens out in the end. Buses are cheaper than trains and sometimes it is cheaper to fly than take the train. Buy eurail passes to also save money. You have to buy them before you leave Australia though.
Regarding the visa thing, I plan to head to Europe next year (for about 12 months). I had the same dilemma as you. I think I might end up getting a working holiday visa. You can get these from various European countries including Germany, Denmark, Finland, France. The visas cost less than 100 euro and are almost guaranteed for Australian citizens just as long as you are under 30. The visas last for 12 months. There is no requirement to work (even though it is a working holiday visa). You have to prove you have enough cash and a return ticket (or enough cash for a return ticket). Each country is different but they usually require proof of about 7000AUD or so.
Hope that helps.
This is awesome advice! I did look into the working holiday visa for Germany but I didn't feel like I would qualify. I will give it another look though and look into the other countries as well. Hopefully I can jump through the necessary hoops because I really want to spend a month each in France, Italy, Spain and Germany and another couple in Eastern Europe so it would be amazing if I could get a working visa!
I take it you have travelled the continent before? Is there any chance you have advice of the best departure point to travel to South America? I can't quite work out easiest/cheapest route for the second leg of my trip.
Check this website out http://www.workingholidayinfo.com/australians/germany.php
According to that website, you need a return ticket for Germany. Just scroll down the list of European countries and choose which ever one you are comfortable with. The Finnish one looks good but it is $350 and so does the one for The Netherlands which is only 28 euros. You won't have a problem getting a working holiday visa. They say character and health checks but unless you have an extensive criminal record or a chronic illness, I don't see an issue.
I am not sure if you have to visit that country to validate the visa. You probably should I think.
I spent five months in Europe last year, actually, I was going in and out of Europe so I ended up staying 92 days which was in breach of my visa but I got out fine. They don't even check but I wouldn't try staying 10 months. I am not sure about the best departure point bu I would guess either London, Paris or Madrid. Check out skyscanner.com and see what works out cheapest. I think you should probably aim to arrive in Rio or Buenas Aires.
Morro you are my hero!
The Netherlands visa looks very promising - Im guessing this entitles the holder to travel around the Schengen countries for longer than the 90 days regardless of where the visa is granted?
Did you by any chance travel to North Africa? Im really keen to fine a coastal town which is quiet and scenic to bunker down and relax for a few weeks in Morocco - wondering if you have any tips?
I am not 100% certain but I am pretty sure you have to go to The Netherlands to validate the visa otherwise you will be issued with a 90 day visa. Try to choose a country which you are definitely going to and make sure you get to it within 90 days of arriving. Once the visa is validated, you are entitled to travel around the Schengen area freely. A visa for The Netherlands is basically a visa for Europe. The only time your passport will be checked is when you are leaving / entering the Schengen area.
I'm sorry, I can't help you with North Africa. I have only been to Egypt and I wouldn't say there are any scenic towns there.
That's a fair budget and I don't think so you'll have any problems...