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Old 02-10-2008, 10:13 PM   #1
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Alright, after considering the opinions of several generous posters and some helpful friends, I have begun to narrow my plans down. Planning this trip is a lot like creating something from scratch: a complete carte blanche and overwhelming options - that slowly gets narrower and narrower as you make the small decisions. My only concern is overplanning this trip, or restricting myself in some regard. But I would appreciate further feedback on my plans...(PS: I am a Canadian)

So this was my previous thread: http://travelpunk.com/boards/showthread.php?t=15611

Reasons I am going: Spain, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, and Ireland

Places I would like to see:
Austria, Poland, Denmark, Netherlands, and Belgium

Places I'm not that interested in, but would see if it made sense (aka a portal or I am in the area): France, Switzerland, Slovakia, England, (Portugal removed )

Est departure date: May 15 - June 15 (ish)
Est length of total trip: 2 - 6 months (shorter if i get sick of travelling, or else as far as $10,000-15,000 CAD will get me)

Since it is extremely inexpensive to fly from Calgary/Edmonton to Glascow, I think this will be my first destination (although it is also cheap and easy to get to Germany or Paris from these departure cities, I could be swayed for good reason). However, geographically and experientially (virgin backpacker into English country) I think it makes the most sense to hit Scotland/Ireland first. It costs about $200-550 CAD to get to these places.

After that... things get fuzzy. My friend has warned me that Spain, Italy, Greece, and Morocco are literally packed and congested in July/August (summer vacation for Euro's at large, I suppose). Therefore I would like to avoid these busy times. This means cramming them in (with Ireland/Scotland) before July, or else putting them on the end of the trip (in Fall).

My working plan: Ireland/Scotland -> Nordic Countries -> Core (Germany, Czeck) -> South (with the medium countries thrown in here and there depending on things)

Questions:
1. Is this a good or rationale idea to avoid busy Spain, Italy, Morocco, Greece in July/August?
2. Any other seasonality concerns ??(DO NOT GO TO DENMARK IN SEPTEMBER WHATEVER YOU DO!!!! :D
3. Do you think it is a good plan to hit up Ireland/Scotland first?
4. What is the deal with the Schegen Treaty? Will this effect me?
5. Anything else you see here?

Thanks very much!!
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Old 02-10-2008, 11:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowball1982 View Post
3. Do you think it is a good plan to hit up Ireland/Scotland first?
4. What is the deal with the Schegen Treaty? Will this effect me?
I think because of number 4, number 3 is a good idea. When you fly into the UK you will get 6 months to travel around (compared to 3 in the Schengen countries). From there you can head into Europe (maybe a chunnel train to Brussels, Amsterdam, or Paris) with the possibility of not receiving a stamp.

Anecdotes on this:

Me:
Tampa-London: 6 month stamp
London-Gibraltar: Stamp
Gibraltar to Spain - Handwave

My Sister:
Atlanta-Paris: No Stamp (layover only but still went through customs)
Paris-Malaga: No Stamp

That's right, there is no proof Emily is even in Europe right now :-P

Anyhow, the schengen treaty will affect you but there is a good chance you can avoid some stamps and play the clueless tourist card. I have heard that if you aren't anywhere for more than 90 days you are fine. IE, if you are in Spain for 2 months, France for 2months and Italy for 2 months, they probably won't say anything to you. Going to Morroco for however long will buy a corresponding number of days in another country in the schengen treaty.

--Joey
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Last edited by joe7f; 02-10-2008 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 02-11-2008, 06:01 AM   #3
 
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Europe in general is busy in the summer. Especially in the touristy cities such as Rome. It wouldn't keep me from going there, but realize that wait times and expense can increase tenfold for tourist spots.

As for the itinerary, I like the idea of starting in Scotland/Ireland. However these as well could be good countries to end on. They feel much more like home in terms of the language spoken, so the comfort level is raised, and helps re-energize the will to travel a bit.

Good luck regardless, you'll have a great time!
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:55 AM   #4
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HI Snowball !

Your itinerary looks pretty good. In general, two countries per month is a good pace (fast but not crazy) so you could visit as many as 12 without getting burnt out. For a six month trip, going faster would be too tiring, especially because of transport. It gets hard on the nerve to always jump on a train, plane or bus for hours !

In Western Europe, the daily expenses are around $75, so you can budget ahead how long your wallet will allow you to stay.

The best is too stay flexible. During long trips, we do need to relax once in a while. And we do fall for a country or a city (or a traveller !), so you better have the possibility to stay longer somewhere. Or we hook up with others and head in unplanned directions. That's what make travelling so interesting ! Here's a quote from someone giving advice learned duriign his backpack trip
Quote:
If I was to do it again, I wouldnt plan my cities so much in advance. I ended up not going to some of them because I met people on the road and followed them to where they were going,....and that was a great feeling.. changing plans on a dime..
However, during the busy months of July and August, you will certainly need to book in advance your rooms. If you change plans, you only lose the reservation fees (a few dollars).

What else ? Instead of Slovakia, travel a few hours further to Budapest. The backpackers' scene is much better ! Unless you want to hick in the mountains, then Slovakia and its Hight Tatras would be a good choice.

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Last edited by Esterina; 02-11-2008 at 07:59 AM.
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