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Old 06-15-2010, 08:27 PM   #1
 
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Default First Trip; Too Much?

Two of my friends and myself are backpacking through Europe for the first time. I've only been abroad once and I don't know if perhaps I'm miscalculating the cost/time, but we ended up with this itinerary:

Arrive to London (5 days)
Brussels (3 days)
Amsterdam (2 or 3 days)
Berlin (4 days)
Prague (3 days)
Vienna (3 days)
Budapest (3 Days)
Bucharest (3 days)
Istanbul (3 days)
Athens (3 days)
Rome (5 days)
Venice (4 days)
Bern (2 or 3 days)
Nice, Monaco or Marseille (3 days)
Barcelona (5 days)
Paris (5 days)
Leave from London

Are we in over our heads?
Are we giving each city enough time?
Is the Eurorail worth it?
I know in eastern europe everything is way cheaper, so we could get good deals inside each city, but will it mount up to a lot?

What do you guys think would be an estimate total for this trip in terms of transportation?


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Old 06-16-2010, 01:40 AM   #2
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Have you allowed for travelling between places, i would try and allow a day for travelling between places unless they are really close together, just packing/unpacking can take up the most part of a day.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:39 AM   #3
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Wow you have some big gaps in there. are you going to be flying from athens to rome? From budapest to Istanbul about an 18 hour trip then another 13 hours to athens and I think that the ferry from Greece to italy, someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I think its around 24 hours.

Currently your looking at maybe 12-13 hundred USD that's if you buy a eurail pass and use Easyjet and Ryan air the rest of the time.

My advice: Compress the trip. just use the eurail, with flights you have to book far in advance, Allow yourselves the freedom to change your itinerary on a whim. What happens when you are in Barcelona and some people in your hostel that you have connected with are heading to Valencia next and you say "Oh my god I forgot about Valencia I want to go there" well if you have plane tickets it so sad gotta go, but with the Rail pass you have the freedom to change your plans. What if you love Rome and want to spend a week there instead of 5 days or hate it and only want to spend 2 days. flights your stuck, train you have the freedom.

Don't let this discourage you, I am pretty sure that my first Eurotrip itinerary had twice as many locations in half the time In the end it is best to cut back and let the wind carry you.

You have probably told everyone (including yourself) that this is a once in a lifetime trip and that maybe this will give you your travel bug fix but I'll guarantee that if you are like any other travelPunk than this will leave you craving more, You CAN and you WILL go back. you don't have to see the world in 42 days.

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Old 06-16-2010, 09:07 AM   #4
 
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Wow you have some big gaps in there. are you going to be flying from athens to rome? From budapest to Istanbul about an 18 hour trip then another 13 hours to athens and I think that the ferry from Greece to italy, someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I think its around 24 hours.

Currently your looking at maybe 12-13 hundred USD that's if you buy a eurail pass and use Easyjet and Ryan air the rest of the time.

My advice: Compress the trip. just use the eurail, with flights you have to book far in advance, Allow yourselves the freedom to change your itinerary on a whim. What happens when you are in Barcelona and some people in your hostel that you have connected with are heading to Valencia next and you say "Oh my god I forgot about Valencia I want to go there" well if you have plane tickets it so sad gotta go, but with the Rail pass you have the freedom to change your plans. What if you love Rome and want to spend a week there instead of 5 days or hate it and only want to spend 2 days. flights your stuck, train you have the freedom.

Don't let this discourage you, I am pretty sure that my first Eurotrip itinerary had twice as many locations in half the time In the end it is best to cut back and let the wind carry you.

You have probably told everyone (including yourself) that this is a once in a lifetime trip and that maybe this will give you your travel bug fix but I'll guarantee that if you are like any other travelPunk than this will leave you craving more, You CAN and you WILL go back. you don't have to see the world in 42 days.

Safe Travels
Well, we were planning on using the 5 country Eurail pass for France, Belnux, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The rest we were doing by train and airplane...

We just started making a list on countries we would really like to see and all these places popped up! I could skip Bucharest and Istanbul, but my best friend really wants to see Istanbul and since Bucharest in in the route we though, "what the hell, let's do it."

From Greece to Rome we would take a plane. And we would stop in Bucharest between Budapest and Istanbul, if that makes a time difference.
We did calculate the time we'd spend in trains/planes and added more days to the trip. Since we won't be paying for hostels we thought we weren't losing anything. Now we calculates about two months instead.
If we decided to be young and ignorant and forgo your great advice, would you advice us to buy the global pass and add maybe two or three more weeks?

But seriously? It's too much? I thought it was a pretty well thought out route...haha.
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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adding an extra two weeks to compensate for the travel time is a great idea. also using the rail pass in western Europe will allow you the same freedom to pick and choose where you go on the fly. you don't need to book your hostels now. Two days before you leave rome book your hostel in florence or milan or venice, where ever you decided to go. or just wait until you get there to book your hostel... though as much as I try and not plan anything I have to have some control

I think your plan is good just don't let the itinerary rule your trip. be open to change. if you'll be there for 60 days just tentatively plan for a day of travel for most locations (packing, waiting on train/plane, transit, finding your hostel, get lost, really find your hostel, grab a beer and some food, hit the sack) then decide how many days in each city, then allow for about 5 free days that you can fill in as you go. You will fall in love with a city and want to stay longer.


Also I was not trying to talk you out of eastern Europe. I wish I would have spent more time there, I went to Budapest and it was one of my favorite cities (after San Sebastian) and I would LOVE to go to Istanbul.
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"Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once."
-Anthony Bourdain

“If you can imagine a man having a vasectomy without anesthetic to the sound of frantic sitar-playing, you will have some idea what popular Turkish music is like.”
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:18 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agriadam View Post
adding an extra two weeks to compensate for the travel time is a great idea. also using the rail pass in western Europe will allow you the same freedom to pick and choose where you go on the fly. you don't need to book your hostels now. Two days before you leave rome book your hostel in florence or milan or venice, where ever you decided to go. or just wait until you get there to book your hostel... though as much as I try and not plan anything I have to have some control

I think your plan is good just don't let the itinerary rule your trip. be open to change. if you'll be there for 60 days just tentatively plan for a day of travel for most locations (packing, waiting on train/plane, transit, finding your hostel, get lost, really find your hostel, grab a beer and some food, hit the sack) then decide how many days in each city, then allow for about 5 free days that you can fill in as you go. You will fall in love with a city and want to stay longer.


Also I was not trying to talk you out of eastern Europe. I wish I would have spent more time there, I went to Budapest and it was one of my favorite cities (after San Sebastian) and I would LOVE to go to Istanbul.
We decided that it will all come down to how much money we have saved by December. If we can afford buying the Global Pass, we'll make it two and a half or three months and do the long route. If we can't, we'll forgo Eastern Europe... So I'm gonna be working my ass off.
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Old 06-20-2010, 12:13 PM   #7
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Sounds like an amazing trip!

I would spend 3 days, not 2, in Amsterdam. That city is like Disneyland for adults.

I really like Adam's advice about keeping your schedule open. Some of the best times that I have had traveling were due to changing my plans. It might also make more sense to keep yourself more centralized and focused on either western or eastern europe because this is your first backpacking trip... then again.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:38 PM   #8
 
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Up Topic for you
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:15 PM   #9
 
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Just want to say that this is a great forum...on other travel forums I've been to, when faced with an itinerary like this most of the replies would say: "that is waaay too many places, how can you possibly expect to see so much in that time frame, you can't possibly expect to spend less than a full month per country if you want to truly EXPERIENCE the country..." And so on. Really, really busts my bubble. Here, we say "More power to ya! Looks like a great trip!" Love it.

p.s. I suspect that there were a lot of, er, older travellers in the other forums...
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:31 AM   #10
 
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It would be way, way too much and too fast for me.

Of course, that's a highly subjective opinion. Everyone has a different idea of how long they like to spend in various places and the pace at which they prefer to travel. Still, you say that it's your first big trip and second(?) time abroad, and for that reason I would suggest slowing it down; you may well be among the group that prefers a high-paced go-everywhere-fast type trip, but your itinerary is pretty extreme in that regard and if it turns out you aren't in that faction, you could well end up with regrets about the trip. In my opinion, it's better to give yourself MORE time than you think you'll need or want rather than less. If you plan for what ends up being too much, it's easy to feel bad about no matter what you decide to do (stick to the original plan and think "damn, I can't believe I only got three days in Greece!"; slow it down and think "I was so excited for Italy and after all that research, I didn't even make it there").

It looks like you have about two months to work with here. Although I could happily spend two months in a single country, this is your first big trip and of course you'll want to fit in way more than that! Still, I'd consider focusing on a region rather than all of Europe in that timeframe. Maybe Mediterranean (Turkey, Balkans, Greece, Italy) or eastern Europe (say, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria) or northern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland) or the "classic European highlights" (UK, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany) or... there are endless combinations.

The biggest element to "slowing it down" in your itinerary is travel time, not the number of cities you're planning to cover. Are you planning on flying everywhere? It looks small on the map, but it really isn't. Istanbul to Athens is (IIRC) 24 hours give or take by bus, and trains are even slower over here. I bussed it from Prague to Istanbul this spring and it was the most uncomfortable, miserable 40 hours of my life. You couldn't pay me to do that every three days for two months. Travel time is a major consideration when you're on a tight itinerary- and you can't just count the actual time on the road or railway or whatever, but factor in ticket purchasing, arriving early at the station so you don't miss your ride, getting to the city center after arriving, and all that. You don't want to look back on your trip and realize that you spent more time cramped into a bus seat than you did exploring the highlights of Europe.

Just my two cents.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:48 PM   #11
 
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Reading all these itineraries from last year or five years ago, all these then-virgin travelers asking the questions we've had to ask a hundred times and gotten 99 different answers on... I wonder how these trips turned out, and if they're still traveling.

just a thought.
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