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Solo Backpacking Europe

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Solo Backpacking Europe

I will be solo backpacking Europe for a month from the middle of August to the middle of September. I will be starting and ending in Dublin. My current loose plan is to be arriving in Dublin in the morning and spending only two days before flying to to London for three days, all though I may want to only spend a day since it will be much more expensive in London due to current currency conversion. I will then take the train from London to Paris. After four days I plan to take a bus to Nice. I plan on Nice for three days before taking the rail to Pisa which I will stay in for two nights. The day I'm in Pisa I will use to see the local sights and then use an additional two days to visit the Cinque Terre. This is where I am a little in the dark because I'm having difficulty finding Hostels to stay in that are near a village. In One instance I found a cheap and well rated hostel, but it was 11 km from the village. Is transportation abundant? I am aware of the train that connects the villages, but the hostel isn't near the stations. When I am done in the villages I will journey to Rome for 4 days before heading back to Dublin for 4 days before flying back.

Any advice given would be greatly appreciated.

I have about $2000 after the flight for a few days short of a month. I will be staying almost entirely in hostels. Is it manageable? Should I spend more or less days in a city? I'm generally pretty fast to get around and for me 2 or 3 days in a city is quite enough to time. Will I be alright without being able to speak French or Italian? Should I see Marseille instead of Nice? How much will meals cost me daily? I'm seeking advice more on types of travel and costs then on things to do and see.

Anyways thanks, and any advice will be helpful!

Italy
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1. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

If you haven't booked flights consider open jaw. Fly into Dublin. Fly out of Rome . For example. You save the time and money that back tracking would cost you.

There used to be a cheap high speed train during the summer between Paris and Nice. I'd look into that.

If you're only spending one day in a major city skip it Between checking in and out you won't see enough to justify the expense

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2. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

Thanks for the advice! I don't have any plans to stay in a city for a single day, but I was contemplating it. As for the advice on the rail, it was very helpful. I use rome2rio as a way to get general info on prices and its rail prices were very expensive which is why I was going to take the bus. After checkin out the rail line I found that it is quite affordable when booking in advance. Thanks for the help!

r c
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3. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

some caveats.

> i dont do hostels, at least the dormitory style rooms, so my costs are more.

> i dont do one night stays in anyplace unless i need to make a connection for transportation.

money saving....

- you can look and try some of the street vendor food around the places you stay. Things like donor kabobs and such can go along way.

- if the lodging comes with breakfast, chow down and make it last for 2 meals.

- while your roaming about look at menus, prices and places to eat that are inexpensive or to your budgetary likings. Make note of them or drop a maker on google maps.

- when in the hostel, ask other travelers where "cheap eats" are. You aren't the ONLY person doing what yorue doing with the budget you have.

- If the town has a college, ask some of the local students where they chow down. you may want to look into if the school has a cafe or someplace to chow too.

- look at buying food in markets. Some of them have pre made sandwiches or things like that, but know the prices.

- If you can look at food that doesnt require chilling so you can keep it in your room or locker and eat when you please.

- ask for tap water if for meals.

- if you want bottled water, either bring your own bottle or buy 1 bottle and refill it for 1,2 or 3 days. But i would clean it every day if possible.

Languages....

I ve only been to Paris and Calais and can only comment on those places. I didnt have any issues with getting by with my limited French. Note, you should try to learn some of the more common words in both France and Italy. I find that the locals appreciate the try. In Italy i was only in Rome, Pompeii and Naples. No problem getting by again, with my limited italian.

logistics.

as mentioned if you can do your flight open jaw.

Don't ever do round trip unless you must or youre just staying in one place. Or maybe if you get some really really really really cheap r/t air fair.

good luck

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4. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

Thanks for the input!

As for the flight, yes I did get it very cheap! It was cheaper to fly in and out of Dublin then in Dublin and out Rome, even with a flight from Rome to Dublin. I have plans to meet up with my college Roomate too on my return to Dublin as well, so it's not much of a problem. Good idea for asking around in hostels, I've done this before and genuinely forgot to take this into consideration so thank you! I do know some French since I took it in high school, although I'm far from fluent, and I'm in the process of learning some travelers Italian

kent
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5. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

Is there a particular reason why you have chosen these destinations? I appreciate your trip has to start and end in Dublin, but you then plan a few 2 to 3 night visits in London, Paris, Nice,Pisa, Cinque Terre and Rome.

None of your destinations, including Dublin, are budget friendly, especially in August which is the peak of the tourist season.

Rome in particular is going to be expensive this year, as the city is celebrating it's Jubilee. You may need to consider staying in any of the surrounding villages and travelling into Rome by local train or bus.

Pisa is mostly an industrial city, with a very compact medieval centre, that can be covered in a day. The main advantage of staying in Pisa, is the cheaper accommodation for visiting Florence, which has far more to see and is stunning .

Cinque Terre... I'd be surprised if you found any hostel accommodation in any of the villages, so you may just have to bite the bullet and pay the going rate for a B & B. Are you hiring a car for this element of your trip, or going on an escorted tour?

Italy is a beautiful country and rich in history, scenery, art, food etc... but you could consider less travelled areas, and still have a fantastic trip, especially as the train system is so comprehensive.

Nice... gorgeous, and with cheap fast local trains, it's very easy to visit the many coastal towns, including Cannes, Antibes or up to Menton. During the summer months, the train company had a " Carte Isabelle", which was a discount card for local rail travel. The Nice destination forum can advise if this is still the case.

Nice has a good range of accommodation options, including self catering. I've used www.venere.com in the past, and had no problems, but there are other booking websites.

Food.... carts selling street food are not common in Europe. But the strong tradition for eating well and cheaply does provide a range of options, in cafes, trattoria's, markets, and small family run restaurants. Lunch is cheaper than dinner, and there's no obligation to have 3 courses for every meal. You won't need bottled water in Dublin, London or Rome. The local forums can advise about service charges and tipping, which is not the same as in the USA.

Languages.... English is widely spoken or understood in all your destinations. ATM's, museums, train stations and airports have signage in English. However, it really does help to be able to read and speak some key phrases in Italian and French, and you may well find the languages you learnt at school come flooding back to you. If in doubt...ask another tourist!

Costs..... as you are visiting the most popular cities in Europe, at peak season, costs will be higher, & the availability of cheaper accommodation, including hostels, will be strained. I'd suggest you try to advance book if at all possible.

If you can't find a hostel you could consider renting a room from any of the major universities (which will be self contained & may have some catering facilities).... but book early as these are very popular options due to city centre locations.

Resources.... Lonely Planet has a guide book called " Europe on a Shoe String", which is very comprehensive for a multi destination trip within Europe. The individual destination forums here in trip advisor are more up to date with current prices, plus additional info on local festivals, and high season events, plus the essential reviews on accommodation/things to do etc.

The non destination forums are also useful too, in particular the Budget Forum, which has a range of " Know How To" info items, including accommodation, things to do, eating & drinking etc. This forum also has an info item called Top 100 Tips for Planning a Solo Trip. All this additional info is too vast to be seen via the trip advisor phone app, so you'll need a PC/laptop to read the full forum contents.

For train info.....the best website for all train info (which is not only a good read, but also links into individual national rail companies) is at www.seat61.com

Alternatives....... I appreciate this is your trip, not mine, but I'd suggest either

a) stay outside of the cities and travel in by public transport, or

b) consider cheaper destinations within Europe, like Spain ( including the Balearic Islands), Portugal, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, the Baltic States, or Poland.

Wales, United...
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6. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

There's no Budget Forum, mcpinder, so I assume you're referring to Bargain Travel?

Budget and Bargain are not the same thing at all, really, although they can and do overlap. We've had a few discussions on this in the forum, and the consensus is that bargain doesn't mean cheap, it means excellent value for what you pay, even in a luxury hotel or first class flight!

Anyway, I also think that your budget is on the low side, Nolan, especially for the places you want to go to during peak season. The advice to look at cheaper destinations is well worth considering in my view.

kent
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7. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

Roj..... many apologies. Yes I meant the Bargain Forum ( I still have my holiday head on!).

Whether a bargain or a budget... I find the "Know How To" series of info items an outstanding resource, so I hope Nolan reads them.

Wales, United...
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8. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

No worries at all, and no need to apologise. No criticism was intended, I just wanted to clarify it for the OP, though I see now that they had already posted in the right place :-)

Edited: 09 June 2016, 17:18
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9. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

mcpinder, your feedback is very helpful!

Yes I am aware that these are the most popular and some of the most expensive cities and I know they wont be cheap. That being said, I often times surprise people with how little I can spend in major cities. I am not overly picky in where I stay or what I eat as long as I get to experience the destination. Your suggestion to stay outside of the city is something I have since been pondering. Could you suggest any convenient destinations that match my itinerary ? I understand your urge to suggest cheaper destinations. I often see itineraries on the forums that I cant make any sense of, and I'm fast to suggest and alternative, but for whatever reason these are the cities I would enjoy to visit. Since this will be my first trip to Europe, I have opted for some more popular destinations because they tend to have more information and resources than others, and that is something I find very important when I'm taking a trip to a place I have never ventured. The website you provide is already far superior to the ones I have bee using so good work on that. I appreciate your insight on getting by with English. It has helped put my mind at ease. Thanks for the response!

RojBlake,

You said that you thought my budget is on the low side. I have wondered this a few times so I appreciate the input.I landed on this estimation because I have a friend who did a 3 month Europe backpacking trip with no more then $5,500 US. So I just figured I would go with $2,000. I would like to restate that I often travel very cheap and sometimes I am very surprised by what people spend on vacation, or say needs to be spent on vacation. I'm not a luxury traveler, and for me getting by on a tight budget is part of the experience. I will pay to do certain things like maybe the Colosseum, a museum, or something like the London eye, but I rarely stay in hotels, take guided tours, or eat in expensive places. With that said do you still think I should increase my budget? How much would you suggest?

If either of you would advise me to skip a destination in between please let me know. The only must see cities are Dublin and Rome.

Thank you both for all the help!

Edited: 10 June 2016, 00:30
kent
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10. Re: Solo Backpacking Europe

AtlasQuest....I have replied on your other thread.