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Travelling through Europe

about 5 years ago about Europe

I have never been out of Australia and am planning my first trip, solo. I am in my early 40s.

How much money (can be in Euro or USD) do you think I would need to travel to London (flying cattle class), then onto France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Greece for, say, 3 months? I was thinking that I could hire a van (so that I could sleep in it), especially getting one from the UK as they drive on the same side as us here... Or I could rent a little car and stay in cheap-decent places (not too cheap but not too fancy either!).

I don't want to do the whole 20-year-old backpacker thing, living on noodles and acid, but I also don't want to do the 40-year-old high income thing, staying at luxury hotels and eating caviar. Somewhere middle of the road would be great.

What advice would you give someone like me? I'm a complete travel virgin and am determined to do this yet petrified at the same time!

And do you think 3 months is long enough to see 6 countries? 2 weeks each approximately? Am planning to leave in April/May either this year or next.

All advice appreciated! I am booking in to learn some basics in each language.

Asked by Belinda via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

6 Answers

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    Belinda, good on you! What a great adventure, you'll have a ball, even without the noodles and acid (bad combination - they look like worms!).
    The money thing is tough, because it depends on how you like to live, but a good friend of WorldNomads.com is Nomadic Matt, and he has a book about travelling the world on $50 a day (http://bit.ly/wgq7Ft) It'll have some good tips for you, and some you'll ignore.
    The van thing is a good idea for mainland Europe, but in Greece you'll want to island hop and leave it behind. Can I recommend getting a European left hand drive version - it's not that difficult to make the change (the first half a day is scary) and it'll be safer on the roads (visibility for overtaking etc). A right hand drive van also screams "tourist - rob me!".
    If you choose the 'cheap but decent places' option think about AirBnB (rent a place as a base for operations), or www.couchsurfing.org. With couchsurfing you'll meet locals which will break up the 'solo' thing, plus they'll give you great tips on things to do.
    3 months - it depends if you want to do 'sight seeing' or spend some time doing things. I'm a do-er, love getting the feel for a place like a local, so I'd do 6 cities in that time instead of 6 entire countries. I think if you spend the entire 3 months travelling from tourist attraction to tourist attraction you'll find it expensive (they're designed to fleece you) and not always 'real'. Think about having some purpose to the trip, like enrolling in some cooking classes in Tuscany or a walking tour of Cinque Terra... you'll have goals to reach and deadlines to meet to focus your trip. Don't be afraid to talk to the locals and ask them what they like to do for fun, and give that a go.
    You can get some language help with the WorldNomads.com language guides which you can download (http://journals.worldnomads.com/language-guides/), but especially in the big cities and major tourist centres English is widely spoken.
    We also have our safety guides for your destinations on the safetyhub (safety.worldnomads.com), check them out for great tips.
    And please start a journal, I think we'd all love to be able to follow your trip and share the experience. about 5 years ago

    Answered by Ask Phil via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Thanks Phil! I like the idea of couch surfing quite a bit because meeting people from different cultures is something high up on my list of priorities. :)

    I might indeed do 6 cities in that time, and the drive between will encourage me to stop along the way at unplanned destinations.

    It's all very exciting and scary. I will check out the $50 a day guide. about 5 years ago

    Answered by Belinda via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Oh and another thing. My parents came out to Oz in 1965. I am told that I can apply for something like dual citizenship from the British government which will allow me to go through Europe with fewer issues. Is this correct?

    Belinda about 5 years ago

    Answered by Belinda via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Hey Belinda,

    I think Phil had some good points. I'm also a big advocate of couchsurfing and by going to the city groups, you'll be able to see what activities are going on in that city/region, which will provide lots of ample opportunities to meet good people.

    My friend bought a van last year to travel around for an extended period of time. I think you could probably get one for 2-5k euro and then sell it again. As you likely know, petrol is a bit expensive, (currently 1.30 a liter in Belgium, 1.80 in Netherlands) and so that's something to factor into your expenses. You could train it from city to city and as Phil said, rent a space on Airbnb for a week or longer at each region you go to.

    Another option I have recently made use of is Carpooling.co.uk , Whether you have the car or you are catching a ride, it can make expenses less and also provide yet another opportunity to meet some locals.

    I think to budget 50 euros a day would be sufficient if you decide to travel. That's 1500 euro a month. If I were you, I would look into a van in France, then drive through the country, down to Spain, do a route there, drive back through southern France to Italy, drive south, then sell the van, hop a ferry to Greece, buy a sailboat and start sailing back to OZ!!

    Good luck! about 5 years ago

    Answered by Shawn Saleme via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Hi, the car/van seems like a good idea but you will have to factor in the insurance and I'm not sure how that would work being as you wouldn't have a permanent address. Train travel in the UK is pretty expensive but you could hire a car fairly cheaply for long distance travel in the uk - europcar.co.uk. You also need to know that petrol in the UK is extortionate, diesel is dearer and within Europe it's not quite as expensive except Switzerland and Italy but its still an expense you need to consider, also, when you're driving you don't see anything. You DON'T need a car for London, the public transport is excellent with buses and tube travel and trains/buses from the airports and theres nowhere to park it. National express is the long distance bus company so have a look a their web site. The trains run from st pancras station to Europe and as I've looked at prices recently, they don't seem too bad. Decide where you want to go and what you want to see before you start travelling so that you can make an itinerary. Train travel in Italy is also inexpensive just take care of your purse. When we travelled last year across Europe (we took our car), we decided how far we wanted to go daily and used hotels.com to source inexpensive hotels/hostels.
    Anyway, good luck with your travels, and don't forget to keep a diary daily. You're bound to forget something so keep a record. about 5 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconAsk a Nomad iPad app
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    At the moment, in Australia petrol is around the $1.50 per litre mark... and we travel looooooong distances!

    I keep hearing stories about tourists being robbed. What is the best way to avoid this possibility? How do I store my passport and money securely?

    I plan to go to the UK specifically to look up the history of my family, which will mean travelling to Lancashire.

    I will look into the options of hiring a car, a van, carpooling, and vanning it across Europe.

    Thanks everyone for giving me lots to think about! :) about 5 years ago

    Answered by Belinda via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

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