Hostels, Camping, or Couchsurfing Western Europe? - TravelPUNK Backpacker College Student Budget Travel Message Boards!



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Old 10-13-2009, 10:28 AM   #1
 
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Default Hostels, Camping, or Couchsurfing Western Europe?

Ok so I'am planning a trip to Western Europe summer 2010, and as a rookie to the backpacking world was wondering what you guys would recommend for sleeping arrangments?

I figure there are three choices:

Staying at hostels
Camp grounds
Couchsurfing

would I save that much carring around a tent?
Can you meet as many people couchsurfing?

Just a few questions rolling around in my head.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:11 PM   #2
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Why not do a bit of all three?

I'm not sure how much you could save with a tent though, would be best to weight up weather or not the savings are worth lugging the tent around or not. Remember that campsites are often just out of major cities so you may end up paying extra transport costs so it may outweight the benefits.

I've never done it so can't comment - let me know your findings as I reckon camping europe would be pretty awesome if its justifiable compared to hostels!
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:23 PM   #3
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I've camped in Amsterdam, and the campsite was just on the outskirts of the city but still accessible by public transport. Given that you can get a ticket that lasts a few days no matter where you go it wasn't an added expensive getting there but the trams don't run all night so you've basically got a curfew which isn't nice in a city like Amsterdam.

Overall it's like mooloo says campsites tend to be out in the middle of nowhere, it's all right in countries like the Netherlands and Germany where they like camping and make it easy for people to get to campsites but in the other country's you really have to have a thing for camping to put the effort into getting to the campsites. You also have to lug around camping gear and that really is a pain in the hole. I used my tent a grand total of once on my trip but had to lug the thing around for 2 months.

Unless you really enjoy camping and want to spend prolonged times out in the country then the camping option is not for you. However European campsites are well established and have everything you'd want including the ability to rent everything you'd need on site. It's not cheap though unless you had two or three people to spread the cost, then it would work out very cheap. It would be worth doing once or twice just to see and be in real countryside I very much doubt you'd regret it.

You also have to take into account the type of people that go to campsites in Europe. The vast majority are families and retired folks that do nothing but sit in a fold out chair drinking tea watching the world roll by.

Do couchsurf though. It may be something you wouldn't do full time as your freedom is slightly restricted by being in someone else's house and working to their schedule but again once in a while would be a very rewarding experience.
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:45 PM   #4
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Unless you're trying to do this trip on a super tight budget, I would go with hostels.

Camping in Europe is pretty good. Some of the bigger campsites have bars, dining areas, and dorm rooms, so they're very fun and social. But, quite a lot of the campsites attract only local travellers = tough to meet other backpackers. Plus, having to carry and set up a tent everywhere you go gets old fast.

Hostels are full of enthusiastic international travellers. They are going to be the most social and accessible option in my opinion.
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:36 PM   #5
 
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I would say do all three, I have never couch surfed so I can't really talk about it but camping you don't necessarily have to bring a tent. I stayed in a camp ground in Paris and Rome that you could rent everything. Also if you don't feel like a tent both of those campsites rented "Bungalows" which was essentially a little hut with a bathroom and a bunkbed that only cost like $12 or so. Plus both of these were within the city limits and attracted mostly backpackers so I actually liked the camp grounds more than most hostels. Otherwise hostels are usually a bit more expensive but they are also some of the most social places you will ever stay.
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:42 AM   #6
 
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Well sounds like Iam not going to lug around a tent, Plus i dont really want to sit with retired folks and sip tea all day, but if I camp Ill just rent what I need. I plan on being in The Netherlands and Germany for a while so maybe ill camp there a few times. Then hostel for the majority of the time with a couple couchsurfing escapades.

Hey thanks for the input everyone!
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:37 PM   #7
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One thing you can do that I did lots and lots of and would reccomend is you could always pass out in Airports or trainstations. Sometimes I would hit a town like A-dam or something and if I wasnt gonn be there very long like 24 hours or so I would toss my shit into a locker and go out get hammered or do whatever, try to meet ppl or girls and have them offer me a place to crash
And if that didnt wrk I just stumbled back to the airport or train and found a nice bench or peice of floor to pass out on...
Its kinda grubby but its cheap and you meet some intresting folks in the night
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:22 AM   #8
 
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Ahh good call on that one Wills, I didnt even think about that. Find a nice lady to bed down with. Airports and train stations to huh, do you ever get messed with at these places? Like haha theres a wasted backpacker lets mess with him.
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