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For those who have backpacked abroad before....

RumRogerz

TRIBE Member
Hey peeps,

I just booked my flights for my 2 month euro trip extravaganza (not that extravagant - just 3 countries)

I'll be backpacking it through the whole trip which means i'll need places to rest my weary and most likely dizzy head everynight.
I don't want hotels, and i'm leaning more towards hostels. I've never done something like this before, so i reach out, to the people of tribe for sage advice.
Right now, it's looking like this - i land in Paris, and have 2 months to fuck around europe. Most of my time will be spent in Italy; as i have lots of family that can accommodate me. As for Spain and France, i'll need to find hostels and i don't know how this shit is done. Do i book before i leave Canada? or just find one along my journeys and take a rest?
Annnnd..
any other advice on how to conduct myself as a backpacker?
 

Taro

TRIBE Member
2 months? you can do a lot in that period of time - you might want to see some more countries...
 

RumRogerz

TRIBE Member
yea, i'd like to, but that would rip a hole in my bank account. If i can, i want to take time to hit amsterdam. Ryanair has super ridiculous cheap flights within europe.
I'm staying a good month in Italy because i plan on seeing tons of relatives and dusting off my shotty Italian language.
 

Michlerish

Well-Known TRIBEr
That sounds great. You'll get to visit tonnes of cities in those 3 countries... some of the less "popular" ones too, which I would find most interesting!
 

milos

TRIBE Member
I booked most of mine through www.hostels.com and yes, before we left Canada.... though we knew exactly what days we wanted to be where. Even if you don't book ahead you'll probably find a bed available (we ran into lots of people like that), but at least scope out where they are and which ones look good to you in the cities you plan to visit.

Don't bring too much stuff, go with the flow, relax, and keep an open mind. You'll meet lots of people and have lots of fun!
 

jus me

TRIBE Member
I suggest booking ahead for hostels in bigger cities.

It really depends on your criteria for accommodation, a central location is key for me. And if you check out some of those hostel booking sites, some of them charge a fee if you book through them. If you can find their number or website, try booking directly with the hostel.

If you're travelling alone, then it's always easier to find a bed, than if booking for a group.
 

RumRogerz

TRIBE Member
My criteria is jsut a place to lay my head for a few hours.
I dont need anything fancy. I plan to spend as much waking hours as i can, absorbing all the richness and alcohol of each country.
Best thing about it is i'm doing this alone, so i go whenever i'm damn well ready to. My only main concern is the language barrier. I'm sure i'll be fine, but i'd rather have some sort of basic French and Spanish.
 

Deus

TRIBE Member
Forget booking ahead. When you're on a trip like this plans change by the hour.

When going to a new city plan to arrive early in the day. Leave your backpack at the train station in a locker, and go exploring for a hostel. Ask around or buy guide book with listings. Then go pay the room and go back and get your back pack.

If you're planning to travel longer distances, take an over-night train on which you can sleep. Eg. if you're going from Paris to southern France/Italy/Spain, that will be an over night trip so take the late train. When you get there in the morning, look for a hostel.

You will always find a place to stay.
 

Deus

TRIBE Member
RumRogerz said:
Best thing about it is i'm doing this alone, so i go whenever i'm damn well ready to. My only main concern is the language barrier. I'm sure i'll be fine, but i'd rather have some sort of basic French and Spanish.
Everyone in Europe speaks English now. Speak with a fake accent if you want faster and courteous service.
 

RumRogerz

TRIBE Member
i thank you all for this valuable information.
im excited yet afraid - this is going to be a very interesting experience and i want to saturate myself in it.

mmmm. saturate..
 

the_fornicator

TRIBE Member
www.hostelworld.com

it's impossible to come to Europe for just three months and only see three countries. There are TONS of trains you can take from Italy -Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, etc. From Italy, you can fly to over Greece, Rome, etc. for less than €60 or 93'ish CND. You'll get bored one weekend so the perfect remedy for that is to pop over to a different country for a weekend.

Don't believe the hype. Western Europe is expensive in terms of accomodations, but Eastern Europe is pretty darn cheap.

If you're booking hostels, you can always find the place. If you always want the center of a city, best to book at LEAST one week in advance. Don't bother booking months in advance. Tons of people do it on the fly. The difference between booking a few days in advance compared to a week is the choice between an 18-person bunk room vs your own private room (18 person sleeper usually runs about €5 a head/night whereas the private rooms can run from €30-€50).

Depending where you are, I've had a lot of friends stay at 1 star hotels which were astronomically nicer than a private room at any hostel. Shop around.
 

the_fornicator

TRIBE Member
p.s/ there's a Eurotribers thread in the Montreal forum... though most of the people who post in there have already posted here lol
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
I like that you're focusing on just three countries. I did a 2 month trip, but visited like 85 countries and it was too whirl-wind, too touristy. The little cities are where you'll find the best food and the most interesting people.

Keep a decoy wallet with 5-10 Euros in case you get mugged. The rest keep distributed in shorts with mad rave pockets. MEC has some good stuff for that.
 

the_fornicator

TRIBE Member
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Paris and Italy are horrible for pick pockets/gipsies.

My friend hosteled with a bunch of people who had their backpacks slashed in Italy and Paris.

There are also a lot of scams to pick pocket people:
1) Fake baby. Lady will be carrying around a plastic baby all wrapped up in blankets and she'll throw it at you. If you drop your bags, someone ganks it and runs. Obviously doesn't work if you have a 50lbs backpack.
2) Random street fights -two blokes will look like they're gonna fight. While people spectate, accomplices will go around and pick pocket ya.
3) My friend had this happen to him: dude will drop something in your bag and make this huge commotion that you stole something from him and describe it. He'll call for the police, etc., etc, until you give him money.

Doesn't happen to most tourists, but if it does happen to you, it blows nads.
 

JESuX

TRIBE Member
check out the lonely planet guides if you're really only planning to visit those handful of places. i backpacked around england and scotland with my best friend for 3 weeks, and we relied almost solely on the lonely planet book whenever our plans changed (which was frequently) and we needed to investigate places to stay.

also, i don't know if they've got something similar for europe, but in the UK we got this retarded deal on a railpass. i think it was something like $600 (mind you this was ten years ago now) and we were able to take the train ANYWHERE at ANY TIME all around the UK, which is how we were able to go from London, north to Edinburgh and everywhere in between. We hit 13 places in the UK in 3 weeks, from ultra-urban to ultra-remote.

wish i could do it again, good luck and have fun!!
 

Gfunkdiva

TRIBE Member
Deus said:
Forget booking ahead. When you're on a trip like this plans change by the hour.

When going to a new city plan to arrive early in the day. Leave your backpack at the train station in a locker, and go exploring for a hostel. Ask around or buy guide book with listings. Then go pay the room and go back and get your back pack.

If you're planning to travel longer distances, take an over-night train on which you can sleep. Eg. if you're going from Paris to southern France/Italy/Spain, that will be an over night trip so take the late train. When you get there in the morning, look for a hostel.

You will always find a place to stay.
I came in here to basically post this. Also - for the big cities (Barcelona, Paris etc) try to arrive in the morning and book your spot in the hostel first thing. A lot of them will put you on a waiting list at 8am if they're full... I made the mistake of arriving late in Barcelona in August and had to sleep on the street.

Also arm yourself with a Lonely Planet, pick out the hostels and sites you want to visit on the train, and when you arrive just call them from the train station - they'll usually give you directions on how to get there and reserve your spot.

And don't plan too much - the best adventures are those that happen when you make spontaneous decisions with new people you meet.

*the month in Italy with family is a great idea... I did the same thing and they treated me like a queen, taking me to all the good tourist and non-tourist destinations, the best food, beaches, etc... a side of Italy I'd never have seen just as a tourist
 
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