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2013 - 5 Month Trip - Would Love Some Advice!!

AmyTravelBugg

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  • Added on: November 9th, 2011
Hello All,

Let me start by saying I'm an amateur traveler. I've been on a few short vacations, but nothing substantial. I've always had the travel bug but lacked the courage.

I've decided to put it all on the table and start planning a trip - I have a great job and realistically, I will be able to save $20-30,000 by May of 2013, if not more.

I've created a rough outline of my plans, and would love some feedback - is my timing realistic? Is my budget realistic? Is there anything I need to seriously consider?

Some background info: I'm looking for a mixture of experiences. I want to get a tan on the beach and experience some amazing architecture. I want to discover cozy hidden cafes and hit some notorious nightspots. I'm fine with staying at hostels but would like to experience the finer things on occasion. I want to explore off the beaten path here and there. Most importantly, I want to experience different cultures and grow as a person.

Late May/Early June: Fly from USA to Madrid

June 2013: Spain (Madrid, Andalucia, Morocco, Barcelona)
End of June: Fly to Athens (This leg of my trip could be eliminated, depending on safety issues etc. tied to the Greek economic collapse)

Beginning of July: Greece
End of July: Turkey (North Aegean, Istanbul, Black Sea)

August: Explore major cities of Eastern Europe - Sofia, Budapest, Vienna, Prague
End of August: Fly to Croatia (Is this the best method of travel here?)

Early September: Croatia (Split, Zagreb) - 1 to 1.5 weeks
Remainder of September: Northern Italy (Incl. Venice)

Beginning of October: Fly to Berlin
October: Germany (Berlin, Dresden, Bavaria, Elbe Region)

Beginning of November: Fly Home to USA

Thanks so much for your feedback!! :D

yanks26dmb

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  • Added on: November 9th, 2011
Is your budget realistic for what? Staying in 5 star hotels and eating at michelin restaurants every night? No. Staying in hostels and preparing some food yourself? Yes, more than enough.

Let us know what kind of traveler you are, what you are looking to do, and people will have a much better answer for you in regards to budget.

To put things in perspective, I plan on doing a full year on 18k. Albeit, I won't be spending 5 months in europe either though.

AmyTravelBugg

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  • Added on: November 9th, 2011
@yanks - Thanks for your input! As noted above, I plan to stay in hostels the majority of the time.
Some background info: I'm looking for a mixture of experiences. I want to get a tan on the beach and experience some amazing architecture. I want to discover cozy hidden cafes and hit some notorious nightspots. I'm fine with staying at hostels but would like to experience the finer things on occasion. I want to explore off the beaten path here and there. Most importantly, I want to experience different cultures and grow as a person.


Feel free to share your perspective - Good luck on your trip!

Ben2Africa

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  • Added on: November 10th, 2011
Hi AmyTravelBugg!
Budget wise you should have plenty for 5 months in Europe! I'm planning on spending $4000 in 2 months this summer (which is really low, but I have friends to stay with some places and plan on couchsurfing often and hostels of course). Your itinerary looks great but I would like to make some suggestions.


Late May/Early June: Fly from USA to Madrid

June 2013: Spain (Madrid, Andalucia, Morocco, Barcelona)
End of June: Fly to Athens (This leg of my trip could be eliminated, depending on safety issues etc. tied to the Greek economic collapse)
We were in Greece in April/May during strikes and it didn't impact our trip at all. Keep checking security info and warnings, but my guess is it'll be fine. :)

Beginning of July: Greece
End of July: Turkey (North Aegean, Istanbul, Black Sea)

August: Explore major cities of Eastern Europe - Sofia, Budapest, Vienna, Prague I don't know if you planned on flying from Turkey or not but I would do this part overland and make your way through Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary then just continue overland into Croatia.
End of August: Fly to Croatia (Is this the best method of travel here?)

Early September: Croatia (Split, Zagreb) - 1 to 1.5 weeks
Remainder of September: Northern Italy (Incl. Venice)

Beginning of October: Fly to Berlin
October: Germany (Berlin, Dresden, Bavaria, Elbe Region)

Beginning of November: Fly Home to USA

Everything else looks great in my opinion. Lots of flying around, but you're getting to see all the places you want in Europe! Sounds fantastic. Should be a great trip.
BEN
"I travel not to escape but to find reality"

Andromeda

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  • Added on: November 10th, 2011
1) On your US passport you are allowed 90/180 days in the "Schenghen" area of Europe. Depending on where you go in Eastern Europe and Turkey and for how long you should probably be ok, but I wouldn't forget this.

2) I don't think you nessecarily need a flight to Croatia depending on what order you do in Eastern Europe- Zagreb is a 6 hour train ride from Vienna, a bit more for Budapest. Only detail I'd recommend is perhaps skip Prague as you work your way up to Croatia and don't go further than Budapest/Vienna and pass through Prague in your Germany part. It's like a 4 hour ride from Berlin on the train, and a good stop between say Munich and Berlin.

3) I'd be astounded if Greece got into such a bad situation that backpackers and tourists didn't head there anymore a year from now. They do general strikes, sure, but that happens with warning and is just a few day at most inconvenience... plus hey at the rate they're going perhaps it'll just be cheaper if they switch currencies (and the Euro will be cheaper as well for your exchange rate).

#3 is of course my speculation with a grain of salt etc, but I guess my point is I'd plan your trip as if you were able to go instead of like you wouldn't.

Dustin Brett

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  • Added on: November 14th, 2011
Almost nobody I meet knows what the "Schenghen" area is which amazes me. I followed the rules to the letter even though they forgot to stamp my passport on the way in, but I know many who haven't, I personally think you should follow it and that people have just been lucky who got away with it. Most people I tell don't even believe it exists which is just annoying but if they want to go somewhere and not educate themselves on something basic like there right to be in the countries then I guess that is there problem.

I also agree with not needing a flight, I would even suggest a bus to save a few bucks if your not gonna get a rail pass anyway. But that's preference as I prefer buses to train almost always. As for safety in Greece I don't think it will be a problem, I went in August and it was fine. Check before you go but take the news lightly as you only hear the bad news typically.
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Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: November 15th, 2011
Late May/Early June: Fly from USA to Madrid

June 2013: Spain (Madrid, Andalucia, Morocco, Barcelona)
End of June: Fly to Athens (This leg of my trip could be eliminated, depending on safety issues etc. tied to the Greek economic collapse)
Spain is great, though how you plan on seeing Morocco and spain thoroughly in one month is beyond me. Spain by itself takes a month to see much of it. I guess some people like rushing about.

Beginning of July: Greece
End of July: Turkey (North Aegean, Istanbul, Black Sea)--

No problems foreseen for Greece, unless they all turn homicidal from possible poverty. This isn't likely. MOre likely is that they'll be more grateful for the tourist dollar.

Great! The train from Athens to Istanbul is only about a long day, and the views are worth it.

Lots to see in Turkey.... If you work your way to Sofia, Bulgaria from Istanbul, you'll be just fine.

Buses work very well, so do trains.



August: Explore major cities of Eastern Europe - Sofia, Budapest, Vienna, Prague
End of August: Fly to Croatia (Is this the best method of travel here?)

Vienna, prague, Budapest-- all great places, and I hear Sofia is pretty cool too.

See below about a train routing through Romania, which ends at Budapest, also great.

Another really cool option, if you have the cash, is the Orient Express, which goes through Eastern Europe to Vienna from Istanbul. I believe it goes to Prague, but not sure.. Hop on, hop off, and be on one of the historic train lines at the same time. It's not cheap, by the way. Cheaper are trains from Istanbul to one point, then take train or bus to the next stop. I believe the Orient Express runs through Croatia and Serbia.

Here is the routing,. one of many through many of your choices. I would not miss Romania in any account. Its times of being a great tourist destination fades as EU membership grows older.

The recommended route runs through Romania, and really, sighisoara and the smaller Romanian towns are pretty impressive, though Bucharest is missable, except maybe for a train connection.

http://www.seat61.com/Turkey.htm#via%20Bucharest

Another suggestion is to fit Bosnia herzngovia into the picture, and skip croatia completely...

Mostar is not to be missed.

Neither is Sarajevo.

Just my opinion, of course.

Now, about flying to Croatia? Why? It seems like a jog backwards, unless you plan on flying OUT of Croatia.

--

yours,

Tortuga....

Enjoy!!












Early September: Croatia (Split, Zagreb) - 1 to 1.5 weeks
Remainder of September: Northern Italy (Incl. Venice)

Beginning of October: Fly to Berlin
October: Germany (Berlin, Dresden, Bavaria, Elbe Region)

Beginning of November: Fly Home to USA

Thanks so much for your feedback!! :D
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow

worldinhabiter

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  • Added on: December 23rd, 2011
Seems like a pretty good plan to me, although you might want to give yourself some 'slack time' added on in case you want to stay somewhere a little longer.
Check out World Inhabit.com - the free online travel guide.

Daphne Roseque

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  • Added on: April 2nd, 2013
Hi Amy,

Wow great plans for an adventure trip. I wanted to be just like you. I don't know how to organized my travels and that's a bit off for me. By the way, Madrid is a beautiful place to visit. I can assure you that. It is located in the center of Spain and sits at an elevation 1900’ above sea level. Although there are many wonderful things to see in Madrid, the majority of tourists visit the Spanish capital to view the outstanding art collections of its world famous museums. Don't miss all the fun, culture, music, food and everything else that the city has to offer. Have a good trip 8-)
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step, Your Travel Guide "Simply Madrid"



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