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10 replies
Where to start?
dreamer14
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Hi There,

So this is my first entry, and I’m a little unsure of where to start. I’ve been on this sight a lot and I love everything on here! Great job and set up!
I’m planning on traveling in either late summer/fall or January. My plan is for at least 3 months. My budget is approx 9000-10000.00 CAD, flights not included. I have a list of countries I’d love to travel to, but I’m not sure if it’s too much.
I’m not one to travel to see as much as I can, but rather explore and submerse myself in the culture. I’d be fine staying in a place for a while. That being said I don’t know if this is a good idea?

Here’s a list of countries I’d love to visit:

-Ireland
-Scotland (lower on the list if my list is too much)
-England
-France
-Belgium
-Germany
-Italy
-Croatia
-Greece
-Spain
-Switzerland?

I’m also not sure of where some interesting places are in each country. I have ideas for Ireland and Italy. I love the outdoors and love taking photos. I will be traveling by myself and I’m a female. Is it too early to start all of this? I have the money to go now, but I’m in a wedding in the middle of August or I’d be going now. Any feedback would be great at this point.
Thanks!

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Cil
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Just some stuff to think about:

It’s not too early to plan.

Hopefully you will get a good deal on airfare, but your ticket could take up close to $1000 of your savings. And you might want to do open jaw (fly into one country, and home from another.)

Traveling in winter might be less crowded and cheaper, but I advise you to go for late summer/fall.
The weather will be more pleasant and most places will be open and/or not have reduced hours.

A broad general rule is to spend at least one week per country. (This does not mean that there are not exceptions.) Three months gives you the time to see all of those places, but you might spend less time in, say, Scotland, and you might just dip into Switzerland on your way to Italy from Germany.

oldlady
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Trips of over 90 days can be tricky from a visa standpoint. Plan your trip for less than 90 days or spend some time figuring out how the Schengren agreement impacts your trip before you buy your plane ticket/

Cil
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Yikes—very good point from Oldlady, who always brings me down to earth. Wink

clevelandbrown
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My advice to a first-time traveler is to make your first trip short.

The reality is that most people do not like to travel. That you are here indicates that you enjoy about it and dreaming about it, but until you have actually done it, you don’t know if you actually like it. If you get there and don’t like it, or get tired of it, changing the return date of a discounted airline ticket is pretty expensive. I don’t want to discourage you, but I think a shorter first trip will help you find out what you like about traveling, and give you the skills to plan and enjoy a subsequent trip.

I like spending a lot of time in one place to get to really know it, and to take side trips to other places that are nearby. We don’t hostel, and I have found that renting an apartment for a week or two is fairly economical.

I also like to limit a trip to places that speak one language, since I don’t pick them up easily (most people in tourist areas speak English, but I think they appreciate it if you can speak a few words in their language).

I would limit your trip to 3 or 4 weeks, and pick places that have something you want to see. You could easily spend two weeks in Paris, for example, and still not see everything. Much the same could be said of some of the major cities on your list. You might want to balance some of the large cities with some villages, for a taste of the countryside.

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Chelsea1013
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I think that its just a matter of opinion but I would say if you have 90 days…DO IT!! That is awesome and I think that if you are the type of person whole has the guts to go for that long, than you are the type of person who will probably love traveling.

That being said, I think that its nice to keep your itinerary open so that if you fall in love with a city (like I did with Galway, Ireland) you can alter your plans and stay in that place longer. As a base itinerary I say go to only a few cities in each of the places you wanna go to so you can stay several days in each.

Also if you are going to Ireland and England, don’t miss Scotland. Its beautiful (especially for photographers) and can be a lot of fun. Where else can you eat fried Mars bars lol. Also you will be so close if you are in England.

Hope these things help a bit!!

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luv_the_beach
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Chelsea1013 wrote:

Also if you are going to Ireland and England, don’t miss Scotland. Its beautiful (especially for photographers)

I agree, Scotland is gorgeous. And may I emphasize, that I usually suggest to people to see as much of a single country as they can, in order to get a more “balanced” feel for that country…rather than just seeing one place in that country, especially rather than only seeing that country’s capital city or largest city. There’s much more.

Scotland and England, often treated separately by newbies, are actually a single country (at least until the SNP have their way) called Britain (officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which, as the name suggests, includes a the northeast corner of the island of Ireland). I would definitely recommend, time permitting, a lite north-to-south British itinerary. It can include both Scotland and London, with a 3rd destination somewhere in between..could be somewhere in northern England, could be somewhere in the southwest…there’s much to see. If coming from the island of Ireland, you can just take a ferry or fly to Scotland, then work your way southwards toward London, then cross the Channel over the the continent.

Great point brought up by oldlady. I’ll add that: of all the countries mentioned by the OP, 3 of them are actually not Schengen members:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Republic of Ireland
  3. Croatia

For all the other countries mentioned (France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Switzerland), your total time spent in these countries combined cannot exceed 90 days. Think of it this way: these 7 countries, plus about 20 others (like Sweden, Portugal, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, and many more), signed an agreement, and sort of have a combined immigration policy, and are treated as a single country as far as outsiders coming in. I’m simplifying it big time, but for your purposes, just think of the Schengen countries in this way. So, if you’re flying to, say, Rome from Dallas with a layover in Amsterdam…you will go through passport control in Amsterdam, because that’s where you entered the Schengen zone. Then, your flight from Amsterdam to Rome will be treated like a domestic flight…no passport control when you arrive in Rome. However, sometimes there’s spot checks for passports (or European ID card for the locals) when you cross intra-Schengen borders by land.

Anyways, you can leave the Schengen zone and come back if you don’t exceed those 90 days, and you may want to do so…because it may make sense to place Croatia in your itinerary between, say, Greece and Italy or between Greece and Switzerland (if you fly), etc.


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dreamer14
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Hello Again…. I’m back on here.. but this time I have a buddy to go with and a trip that is actually going to happen..
My brother and myself.. we’re the ones going on this trip most likely mid-April to mid-May..( 2014 ).approx 5 weeks. I’ve added a eurotrip planner.. it’s called.. YES!!! FINALLY!!!.. it’s very rough.. we’d like to go to Belgium, Germany, Croatia, Italy (and Austria if you think there’s time).
We’re trying to determine if 5000.00 is enough for 5 weeks, and if you think these places are doable. I’ve left 8 days unplanned… I don’t know if I should keep those free for travel days? or if you recommend filling those up. We definitely want to do more exploration/feeling the countries that we’re in.. so Austria can be taken out if you think we’re stretched too thin… we would like to bike part of the Rhineland in Germany.. and visit a few friends there as well. We’d also like to do some hiking in Croatia (Plitvice Lake, Croatia).. and visit the Cinque Terre and walk those 5 cities in Italy.. other than that we want to spend more “quality” time seeing/meeting people.. rather than seeing as many places as we can..
FYI.. we’re wanting to either hostel it or couch surf it… any thoughts on these?

So…enough of the babbling.. couple of questions..
1. Is this feasible and is the time of year right?
2. Enough Mula$$$??
3. How much are we going to spend on travel (time wise) and what is the best way of traveling?
4. Where would you recommend traveling into initially.. we’d be coming from Vancouver, Canada.
5. Any questions you think I missed… but have you have the answers…spill it!!… I love information… and recommendations.. anything you think we should see in the near the places we’re thinking of going to? We’re totally open to lots of ideas…
……..ok I’ll stop now……..
THANKS sooo much in advance for reading this mumbo-jumbo..
Danielle

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Ryfela
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Hello, I haven’t been on these forums for a while, I did a 3.5 month trip through europe last summer and then went straight into grad school. Here’s a few answers and suggestions:

1) Mid april to mid may is great, it shouldn’t be cold and you won’t have to fight to get a hostel, therefore you can “play it by ear” a lot more. Also, you’re amount of money is a wee bit tight but you should be ok if you guys eat in every once in a while. Also, 8 unbooked days is sufficient. I would recommed hostelling but that’s personal. I imagine it’s a bit easier than if you’re with two people, not sure though.
2) Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy to be safe will need 100 bucks a day including accomodation. Croatia you can get by on far less.
3) Depends on wether you prefer bus or train. Try the RailPass Planner on this site for some insight.
4) I would try round trip from brussels, and take a short, cheap flight from wherever you end up last back to brussels to fly home. However I fly from Toronto, so I can’t say for sure.
5) I found brussels rather slow, I would stay two days tops and suggest going to Bruges instead, if you can, stay at St. Christopher’s bauhaus. I have never been to Frankfurt but I heard it’s also slow, I loved Berlin but it might be out of the way for you, consider looking at Cologne instead. Salzberg is kinda small to spend 4 days in. I would spend two and then (since you seem to like hiking) go hiking in the Alps with Bad Gastein as your base. It’s a resort town that has a lot of hiking trains, easily one of my favorite experiences, but then again, I’m not from BC. Since you’re going right through it, I would consider taking a day off of Hallstatt and consider a day in Ljubiana (the capital of Solvenia), which is charming and cheap.

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TooSlick2k
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I don’t think I comprehended this correctly, but from what ‘Old Lady” said, I am understanding it as: I can enter and leave the Schengen zone so long as I don’t spend more than 90 days in a 180 day period.

So, If you are to go to Croatia in the middle of you trip does that put a pause on your 90 days until you reenter the zone?

For example if I fly into the UK and spend 10 days there I know the Schengen agreement wont start to apply until I go to Belgium. If I spend 45 days going from Belgium to Croatia and spend 10 days in Croatia when I come back into the Schengen zone do I still have another 45 days I can stay? 45+45 = 90

Thanks to anybody that can clear this up for me.

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clevelandbrown
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I think you have it. When you enter the Shengen zone, you start a six month period, during which you can spend 90 days in the zone. You concurrently start your 90 day usage. If you leave the Shengen zone, your 90 day usage stops, so you can reenter later and use the rest of your 90 days. We sometimes make 4 or 5 trips a year, usually for two or three weeks each. When we pass through the immigration line, I watch what they do, and I have never seen an officer adding up the number of days we have already used; I suspect it only becomes an issue if you get in trouble, or in some very rigid countries, like Russia.

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