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is it possible to "just wing it" when it comes to Europe?

DaveHz

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  • Added on: March 8th, 2013
A little background for context into my question

I am planning to go to Europe for 8 to 10 weeks, but I've come to find out a lot of planning is in order, i am unemployed at the moment but with what i saved and with the help of my parents i'm even planning to resort to HomeAway instead of hostels (i'm not the most outgoing person you see), specially because I've read somewhat already and I won't make the mistake of packing 20 cities into a frantic itinerary, and I think weekly payments for small studio rentals are cheap enough that 8 to 10 cities giving a week to explore each with day trips would be the way to go (please feel free to tell me otherwise). Anyway, in spite of my flexible schedule, I want to go while it's still off season (hopefully it'll be cheaper and less crowded and such, if i am unemployed there is no reason i shouldn't go on the off season).

I don't know if 2 months would be too little time to plan so before i try to accomplish that i gotta ask:

Is it possible to "just wing it"?
Is it possible to just book my round flight to and from Europe, book accommodations for each major city and then use whatever means sound better on the go between cities?

I've read here that there are discounts on train tickets all the time (reading about the EUrail pass) and that EasyJet and RyanAir are cheap even when reserved 24 hrs prior

I basically want reasons for and against doing this (if it's possible at all) and then depending on the outcome i'll decide one of 3 things:
- winging it
- planning over the next 2 months
- postponing the trip to fall in order to plan more thoroughly. (i don't wanna be unemployed for the rest of the year but i have the option to do that. Otherwise i will start looking for work as soon as i come back from the trip (sorry for the extra background, for all my introvertedness i'm chatty on the web))

Thanks in advance
- Dave
Last edited by DaveHz on March 8th, 2013, edited 2 times in total.

Ddrezner

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  • Added on: March 8th, 2013
Yes. You can wing it. It will cost you more in the long run, and you may miss out on some festivals you might want to attend, but sure, you can definitely take it day by day.

Still, a little planning for each city can't hurt, once you've settled on a city.
Tortuga traveller

DaveHz

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  • Added on: March 8th, 2013
Thanks Ddrezner i'm feeling more confident already, i'll try to research festivals to match my accommodations accordingly. I already know i wanna be in Amsterdam in late May or Belfast in early June for the Game Of Thrones exhibition.

EMH

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  • Added on: March 9th, 2013
Yes you can wing it. But my suggestion would be to plan out two cities at a time. Otherwise it will be hard to enjoy where you're at cause you'll be stressing out about choosing your next destination (yes, I'm basing this on personal experience!). And I think a little advance planning is particularly important if you're using something like HomeAway where you may have few options in your price range. So I would suggest a combination of winging it and a little planning.

BTW, I'm not that familiar with EasyJet or RyanAir but I know that one (or both) charge a LOT for your bags. So the ticket it cheap, but it will cost a lot if you have too much stuff with you.

DaveHz

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  • Added on: March 9th, 2013
cool, thanks.

So, let's say i:
- decide and loosely plan the hub cities over the next month.
- Reserve the round flight in and out of Europe having decided the first city sooner than a month from now.
- i reserve lodgings in the cities according to plan after that. With a month to spare, hopefully sooner for the first couple of cities.
- plan the cities more specifically and see to supplies and the like for the remaining month.
- depart in two months.

does that sound like a doable plan? the thing i don't wanna do is to buy transportation between the cities from home since i wouldn't know where to start looking, so many options and i would have to research extra to go with the best one on each leg, if i skip the research and buy whatever, I might as well do it on the fly. Also, i don't think i would have the time to plan like that, i really wanna leave the first or second week of may at the latest.

EMH

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  • Added on: March 10th, 2013
I don't see any reason why you'd need to have your transportation arranged in advance - just you ticket there and home. If you're planning on hitting 8-10 cities, maybe start with a list of 12-20. When you show up, have reservations for your first few cities and then you can plan out the rest as you go. Something like that.

I'm confused a bit about your timing however. You said you want to go in the off season. But if you leave in early May (which is what it sounds like), then won't you run smack into the high season? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, just want to make sure.

DaveHz

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  • Added on: March 10th, 2013
i thought the high season was only summer, when people had summer vacation i mean. I kinda got that impression from browsing through homeaway, where reserving a studio for weeks/nights in April and July was more expensive than reserving for May and June. So i'm not actually sure if that impression is wrong or right :S

Also, i'm thinking of making another topic to try and narrow down cities with the help of the forum as the next step :D. Do you think i should, or is it pretty much the same if i stick with this thread in spite of the title.

EMH

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  • Added on: March 11th, 2013
I'm no expert on the topic re: high season but take a look at this. Basically it depends on country and sometimes city.

http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/ ... d-july.cfm

I would suggest starting a new thread for your cities question.

DaveHz

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  • Added on: March 11th, 2013
thank you, that post is very informative, i will take the the fluctuation in crowds in consideration, not so much the heat, i am from a very hot place and i don't believe it'll bother me much.

Okay so on to the cities, i will start the topic now :D

Jeanie99

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  • Added on: March 14th, 2013
Europe is easy to travel in.
Not sure where you are traveling from but I always pre book accommodation after a long haul flight. It's a pain trying to find accommodation when you are tired. After that you can book on line as you go along. Don't forget though that the best places are booked in advance so take this into account.
Best to book the rail or coach in advance also or you might not get the day you want unless that's not a problem.
It's best not to try and cram too much in to the travel enjoy your days in a city and don't try and do everything in one day.
I also check weather/climate in advance to the trip, and certainly check if you need a visa for any of the countries you are traveling too.
ATM are all over but if you are doing any banking online don't use Internet cafes, some libraries allow use for a fee and certainly the better hotel will have secure systems. Use a body purse for carrying money and documents not in use, use a safe if one is available in your accommodation. It's always best to be cautious where your money is concerned. Take a couple of debit and credit cards just in case and drip feed money into your accounts by standing order. This is what I've done in our years of traveling and it's paid off. We had a couple of times when cards stopped working and it would have been a real problem had we not got a couple of cards.
Check out the cost of taking money out of your account, use the cheapest bank and change banks if need be because withdrawing money can cost a lot if you are traveling for months.

DaveHz

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  • Added on: March 16th, 2013
thank you, this is great, i'm feeling much more confident.

Wanderled

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  • Added on: March 25th, 2013
It's very possible to wing it, but from everything you've described in your original post, I'd suggest you plan this one out a little more than you want to. Planning can be overwhelming, but it can be fun too. It should be fun. The fact that you mention you're introverted a few times seems like that could be a problem if you are winging it because you need to talk to a lot of strangers for help along the way when you are winging it.

Good luck with your trip. Don't make a rigid schedule but do a bit of planning for this one.

Herb4372

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  • Added on: March 31st, 2013
DaveHz

Thanks for asking this question. I found BnA looking to answer the exact same question. My Girlfriend and i are planning a trip to Europe as soon as i get home from Singapore May 1st. I dont have anywhere near the ammount of time you have. Only about 14 days. But our tenative plan is to Fly into London on the 1st and out of Rome on the 14th.

I dont have anyhting to offer you, just thyanks for asking the question, i'll be looking over the responses you already received

B
... as long as I am alive, I intend to live. - Everett Ruess

Happy Journey

DaveHz

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  • Added on: March 31st, 2013
No problem, and be sure to ask about your own specifics as well, the answers here may focus a bit on my lengthy first post, i've found members are eager to help, and do so quickly. I hope i can help as well with my experiences when i come back from my trip (it's my first),

2wanderers

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  • Added on: April 1st, 2013
DaveHZ may have some extra trouble because of his aversion to hostels, but for most backpackers, Europe is the ultimate in easy travel destinations where you really don't have to plan in advance. There's accommodation everywhere. Grocery stores everywhere. Good transportation to enough places that you can't possibly get bored.

I have traveled in Europe extensively with minimal planning. Some of the places I've stayed probably wouldn't have topped the list if I had booked in advance, but I've never been left out in the cold. And more than a few of the places I've stayed were absolutely fantastic and not listed in any guidebook. I routinely call ahead the morning before I want to arrive somewhere to make sure I have somewhere to stay, but that's usually the limit to my planning.


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