6 countries in 60 days - Europe 2015

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Hi, my name is Ann and I’m 18 years old. Next summer my cousin and I (she’s 17) want to plan a backpacking trip across Europe. Our outline is very simple, 6 countries in 60 days, and it includes 8 cities. However, we know how easily it is for plans to change, and that plans look better on paper. Basically, I’ve outlined what countries/cities we want to visit and I’ve sufficiently researched them too.
• U.S.A → London (flying): spend 10 days in London (staying with my aunt)
• London → Paris (train?): Spend 6 days in Paris (hostel)
• Paris → Nice (train? bus?): Spend 4 days in Nice (hostel)
• Nice → Barcelona (train?): Spend 10 days in Barcelona (hostel)
• Barcelona → Rome (train? plane?): Spend 5 days in Rome (hostel)
• Rome → Venice (train? bus?): Spend 5 days in Venice (hostel)
• Venice → Athens (train? plane?): Spend 10 days in Athens – maybe Santorini? (hostel)
• Athens → Moscow (train? plane?): Spend 10 days in Moscow (hostel)
• Moscow → U.S.A (flying): going home

I have a couple questions:
1. If my cousin and I bring $3000 USD each for a total of $6000, would that be enough to cover the entire trip (in euros) or should we aim for something higher?
2. How should we go from country to country, or travelling between cities in the same country? Is a Eurail pass worth it? What about budget airlines like RyanAir or EasyJet? And how are other bus/train services in these countries? Preferably the cheapest, yet still safe/reliable. Any tips you have regarding low-cost transportation are very helpful!
3. The only country that we mentioned that requires a Visa is Russia right? Would it be easy for me (a Canadian citizen) and my cousin (an American citizen) to get visas?
4. Can she travel with me if she’s under 18? Like does she need specific notes from her parents? How about flying, can she fly with me as a minor?

If you can answer any of these questions, including giving us any tips/hints/attractions in these cities, I would be very grateful! :)

Ann 06/07/14    Budget travelEurope Link Report

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Hi Ann, hopefully I can answer some of your questions. You shouldn’t have trouble travelling as an 18 and 17 year old I don’t think. I travelled around Italy by train when I was 17 too and there were no problems. She may even get discounted entry into some sites. Just check the rules of the airline maybe as I know the US can be a little stricter sometimes. That should definitely be enough money as long as you don’t eat out in restaurants too much or spend ridiculous amounts of money drinking. Have a look on Hostelworld and Hostelbookers on the internet to find the cheapest accommodation. A rail pass is probably worth it as you are mostly travelling in Western Europe and the trains can be quite expensive. If you do bye one it is best to try and find the trains without reservation as some will charge you extra on top of your ticket. Have a look at megabus.co.uk for getting from London to Paris (or possibly even flights with Ryanair or easyjet as they can sometimes be very cheap). It might be a good idea to look at some of the other stops between your main cities as it can be quite tiring to spend all your time in the capitals- they are also usually a bit more expensive than elsewhere. The islands off Greece are very nice and you can get ferries there. I’ve been to Milos, which is lovely and a little less touristy than Santorini if you would prefer that. I think that 10 days is possibly too long for Barcelona or Athens. It’s good to see the sights and get a feel of the cities, but that can easily be done in half the time, leaving you some spare to explore other nice smaller places. You should also be careful with your valuables in the big cities- don’t let it put you off, but just look after your things and don’t wander around alone at night. Bring a couple of small padlocks as you will need them for hostel lockers. I’m sorry I don’t know how easy it is to get a Russian visa, but make sure you organise this in advance as it can take a long time. If you are going to Rome and Venice also give Florence a try, it’s an amazing city and a little less hectic than Rome. As young girls you may get a lot of attention in some places (Italy particularly)- don’t let this worry you, but also be prepared to be quite firm in telling men that you A. Have boyfriends who you are just going to meet now or B. Are not interested and would like to be left alone. If they aren’t too pushy you can do this in a friendly way, but if you feel intimidated, don’t worry about being a little rude. I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time, meet lots of great people and will hopefully catch the travel bug too! Sorry this is such an essay, I hope it makes sense, but please contact me if you have any more questions. Good luck!

featherytravels 08/07/14    Link Report

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Thank you so much! I really appreciate the fact that you’ve given me such a detailed answer. About the 10 days in each city, do you think we should cut it down a bit? Because we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves with too many destinations, but we also don’t want to miss out on anything. I’ll be checking out your website and I’ll email you if I have any other questions :)

Ann 13/07/14    Link Report

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you can find cheap flights from Barcellona to Rome , but also to Venice, I would suggest you go first to Venice by plane and than take a train to Rome and fly from Rome to Athens. You will find more options to fly from Rome than to venice and also better prices. Check Ryanair

paololatronico 08/07/14    Link Report

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Hi Ann,

Sounds like a fantastic trip! You should have a great time. In answer to your questions:

1. I think you might need a little over $4,000 or €3,000 each for your trip. This works out at €50 a day, which won’t go very far in larger European cities: count on around €30 a night for a dorm bed, then you’ll have meals, attractions and travel to think about. Perhaps you could cut down your time in some of the cities: ten days in Barcelona and Athens is quite a long time. That said, you’ll save some money on accommodation in London.

2. Eurail passes are really worthwhile, give you flexibility and there are lots of options available. Train connections are generally speedy, and certainly the quickest way to get around within a country. The only thing to remember is that in countries like France, you might also need to make a seat reservation on some trains. Easyjet and RyanAir flights can be good value for longer hops: book at least several months in advance for the cheap fares, but remember additional baggage charges/fees for transport to the airport may make them less economic. Eurolines buses are the cheapest option – safe but slow!

3. I believe Russia is the only country you’ll need a visa for, but double check with your embassies. You’ll need to arrange this in advance, and your hostel should be able to provide you an “invitation letter” for free. There’s some red tape to get through, so leave ample time.

4. It shouldn’t be a problem for your cousin to travel with you, although I’d double check specific airline regs, especially for the transatlantic leg. You’ll meet lots of people your age travelling alone along the way!

As for hints and tips, the planning stage can sometimes be daunting, but you’ll find other travellers in hostels will be really helpful – so leave a little flexibility in your schedule for a great event/festival/sight you hadn’t heard about. Personally, I loved visiting the Boqueria market and taking a cooking class in Barcelona. In Paris the view from the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre were two of my highlights when I was around 17: these days I like the atmosphere by the Canal St Martin and out east (but be a little more careful at night). In London you could go on a street art tour to see a different side to the city.

Have fun!

Ellie

ps. I’m one of the authors of the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, which will help with lots more tips of what to see, where to stay, how to get around and more.

Eleanor Aldridge 11/07/14    Link Report

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Hi, thanks for the advice! :) So if we both have a combined $8000 USD, we should be fine? We’re not going to go to extravagant restaurants, but we will eat out sometimes. How much money do you think we would save from staying with my aunt in London? About the Eurail passes, are they unlimited or do we only get a specific amount of train rides? Also, instead of spending 10 days in Barcelona, where else could we go that’s not too far? And for Athens we’ll probably explore some of the smaller islands too.

Ann 13/07/14    Link Report

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Hi Ann,

Hope that was some help!

I think you should be fine with $8,000 combined, but it might help to think a bit more about what you’d like to do each day, how much you’ll spend on accommodation and food, and work out your own daily budget.

As for London, you mention that you won’t be paying for accommodation, so that’s around £25×10 (£250) saved each.

For starters, have a look here for possible trips from Barcelona: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/spain/catalunya/. You could also get the train to Madrid (3hrs-ish), or just decide when you get there!

The Eurail options are all online here: http://www.eurail.com/eurail-passes. The select pass would probably be a good bet for covering France–Spain–Italy–Greece (with other flights and trains bought separately); it allows you to pick how many travel days you’ll need.

Eleanor Aldridge 15/07/14    Link Report

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Thanks everyone for their tips! :)

Ann 13/07/14    Link Report

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I love your itinerary and I hope you’ll be able to go with your plans. However, you need intensive preparations in all the things that you will need on the travel. I think you should prepare for $5000 each for this tour. You might be needing more things along the way such as foods, souvenir items and activities that you might want to engage with.

rosanyl 25/11/14    Link Report

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