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Solo travel in Europe - first timer

Travel Forums Europe Solo travel in Europe - first timer

1. Posted by summers01 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 19 Feb '12 11:48

Hi,

I'm looking to travel to Europe by my self and cannot wait. It's all i can think about at the moment, which isn't good when I have exams coming up.

I was looking at a couple of months, with Croatia, Germany, denmark, Latvia, czech republic, france italy, Austria and a few others all looking really good.

I'm am going to be 18 next year and would be starting Uni (if I get in) in september, so could either travel for a few months after my exams, take a year out - half of which I work, or wait till after Uni.

Any advice on budget, best places to go to and when I indeed should go, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much in advance

2. Posted by summers01 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 20 Feb '12 03:04

I'm also a very shy boy, but I've heard that hostels are a good place to meet people as, everyone is in the same boat, is this true?

3. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru, 256 posts) 20 Feb '12 11:04

Hi there!
Yeah, travel is exciting thing and 1st time travel even more. And ur going solo - u have balls, kid! :-) No worries, you will love it!

HOSTELS
Yes, hostels r the great place to meet ppl and it also budget way for solo traveller, like u. Most of European hostels are very friendly and helpful with travel-info.
Still, you'd better plan your travel properly, as it's the 1st one and, if u begin in Uni, it will b the single big trip for next few years.
If you travel around August or holidays - you'd better book few hostels for advance, it can b full. Other times u can take a chance to get something at arriving - it will give you flexibility in the way. It's sometimes incl. breakfast or dont, sometimes you asked for additional fee for lines, it can be with WC in the room or in the corridor, mixed rooms or separated (for boys and girls). In any case it's kind of public place which means shared room and shared facilities and doesn't mean shared vallet or bed. Sometimes hostels are very comfortable, others are cool, and there are also shubby places. If you have enough time for planning - u may try to collect info and read comments, then , after u'll have a general plan of your trip , you could make a list of hostels that answer your expectations, even if u dont book it, but u have "options" at arriving.

BUDGET
Going for couple of months you need to stay tight to your budget - as it planned, and always have any 200-300$ aside for the case if anything gets wrong.
At general difference btw Western & Eastern Europe costs is about 20-30%, East E is relatively cheaper about everything you do, especially for food. But here is a catch - also quality of service and security issues will b less effective then in the West. It's not only about safety, but let's say public transport, prices and other things may become an issue.

THE PLAN
When you planning your trip, pay attention on proportion between time of "the stay" and time "in between" - roads, which are only road for arriving somewhere. The good proportion is 90:10. To spend in the roads up to 20% of your time is still ok. If you are in 50/50 it's no sence. I guess you r not travelling to impress others with a list of names of visited places, but going to see/ to be there for yourself, arent u?
So, dont do marathone through Europe, choose places that seems to you most attractive and give yourself an option for flexibility - make a plan like a "pazzle", then u could play with "pieces" and re-combine it, depends what happen in the way.

COUNTRIES
You named: Croatia, Germany, denmark, Latvia, Czech republic, France, italy, Austria +.
I dont know your reasons (what you like, what u expect to do there), but few of them just "out of your way" - Latvia, for example. It also not "must" country ( I have been there several times), it's nice, ... no more then it. Also they are not very loyal to forigners (just a note). Couple of words about others u named:
Croatia - relatively inexpensive, as i know most ppl going there for nature.
Germany - very big, well developed - excellent public transport and trastful ppl. Comfortable to travel there and very much to see - different things in dif. regions. Dont miss Berlin (need 4-7 days), Munich (2-3 days), Cologne (2-3 days) and some others.
France is very big too and very different in dif regs. Paris - not less then a week there, what about South France? What about French Alps? And what about Normandie?
Denmark - I have not been, sounds interesting, but it may be the 1st stop or the last - look on the map, it's "aside" of everything. Chech: Prague (3 days), and may be Chesky Crumlov - for a day (it small). Except of Prague it's not very interesting country in comparation to others .
Italy- is my personal favorite of all times. It has so much to suggest that you need a month there just for 'taking a glance", but u wanna see more places, so, let's say for doing the minimum of Italy ( 3-5 places to visit), you still need about 2 weeks for a country. There are 3 "musts": Rome, Florence and Venice, but.... you cant imagine WHAT you miss in other places. Italy is endless to discover.
Austria - beautiful, almost like Italy and well-organised (=easy to travel) almost like Germany. Also in Austria you need not less then 10 days (for Vienna, Salzburg, Gratz and something else). Begin to make a brief plan - choose countries and what u wanna see in each and time that u need and then u could make a basic plan. From there go to detailed planning.
!!! Each relocation takes a full day off. Count it when planning.

TIPs
Travel light - take only nesessary stuff. Buy good backpack and few very cheap vallets (to put money in different places). Smile - it helps!

4. Posted by summers01 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 20 Feb '12 14:09

Thanks very much, thats very helpful.

I'm more intrested in I suppose the hidden treasures of Europe. I have been lucky enough to see some of Italy (not Rome) etc. I just like the idea of getting up knowing you can choose what to do.

Nice to know about Latvia, because it looked nice, but obviously its the way, so may skip that.

Croatia sounds amazing! Are there any countries I did not mention, that you would say are musts?

And lastly, if you wouldn't mind, what sort of budget would I be looking at, for lets say 2 months in Europe - mainly in more eastern Europe in hostels.

Thanks again, has been very helpful

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru, 256 posts) 21 Feb '12 08:58

hi!
Italy is really enless variety of impressions, tastes and emotions. I can't get enough.
"hidden treasures of Europe" - oh, they are too many and for "hidden" you just need time and being spontaneous. Because it always comes unexpected.
It's hard to tell what is must and what is not, but there are few (from those that u didnt mentioned) that sound very attractive for me:
UK, Scotland & Ireland
Spain & Portugal
Scandinavian countries - all of them, but Norway is the jem (and the most expensive too)
I really loved Netherlands and .... Romania. I hope to visit Belgium and Luxemburg.
I heared that Montenegro is amazing.
Georgia - very interesting culture, beautiful country.
Couple of days ago I seen photos (landscapes) from North Albania - it "killed" me, i can't stop thinking about it.
Also I absolutely in love with Greek Islands - almost as much as I love Italy.
You see - it's not difficult to "add" to your list, the difficulty is to choose where NOT to go. Like Latvia - it's very nice indeed, but, u know, there are many "nice" places. I have been in all 3 Baltic Countries - they all nice, but if u need compare and choose, they are not same value.

Budget. It will b hard and sometimes impossible to stay under 40-50 EU/day (includes ALL and transportation). Sometimes there r days that you will count for less, others you cant help but spend more (especially if you take train or pay for any event). Buget for Europe if up to 50EU/day, in Eastern Europe it can be up to 35-40EU/day.
So, not incl. overseas flights, for 2 months you need: 50EU x 60days = 3,000 EU + 200 EU aside "for any case".
If you sucsess to do it cheaper - then great, u have some "extra" at the end or change at return home. Think for advance how you manage if you can't stay in this frame of 50/day and need more. Remembering ur only 18yo, I guess that your family should be ready to support if need.
Travel is often unconventional situations.
Wish you good luck with your choices and to have a great trip!
Cheers,
Vanessa

7. Posted by summers01 (Budding Member, 10 posts) 21 Feb '12 09:20

Ooh hadn't even considered Georgia, although may be a touch far out.
I may try and find a job, and then travel in a year off from education.

Thanks for all your help, very much appreciated

8. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru, 256 posts) 21 Feb '12 12:45

:-) my pleasure