The trip start after I graduated from my master course.
A typical backpacker are not just being an adventurous, they has a very calculative mind, good in problem solving, expert in planning, managing and organizing schedule and itinerary. As a semi-backpacker, I have shared part from it. When we decided to travel around Europe, all I had was just 1500 pound from my part time job. With all I had, I planned a 42 days trip, traveled to 11 countries in Europe.
A quality trip should allow at least 3 days in each city/town. I was ashamed of my greediness that for a certain places, we were just Touch and Go. As I knew it could be the last time for us to stay in Europe and travel without burden, so we finalized it without regret.
To write this post, I find out the budgeting of 42 days Europe trip I did on excel. Compare to the trip we went recently, it was so much cheaper. Though I was being thrifty enough. I supposed my inherent backpacker ability was hidden when I have better “financial”.
Click on the sheet to enlarge.
I had pre-planned the trip about 6 months before departure, so I had sufficient time on researching for the early bird deal or the cheapest traveling methods. After all, here’s the summary of my experience while planning for each trip.
Most of the time, we were taking flight from one city to another or one country to another.Sometimes, we did travel by train but flight could be much cheaper than train ticket if you able to grab the early bird ticket.
Easy Jet was our best friend. They have lesser hidden cost with an generous check-in luggage allowance of 32kg/pax. We tried to fly with Ryan Air once, and in order to save cost, we purchased only one check-in luggage. Without realizing the allowance was only 15kg we was being block from check-in, we wished to upgrade the luggage allowance but their system didn’t cater for luggage upgrade. At the end we were advised to retrieve some of the stuff from our luggage and check-in as an separate luggage, which mean we have to purchase an extra check-in luggage. Without second choice, we packed our stuff in an rubbish bag and checked in. We were worried if the thin luggage bag might burst but luckily, it still as pretty as it was.
Lesson: Evaluate the cost only after went through the policy and term & condition.
rubbish bag luggage
Things to aware while booking for Flight/Train：
|Luggage allowance（check-in/boarding, they are very strict with boarding luggage, one means one）||Review of the particular train（taken a budget night train which was so dirty that I got infection after one night）|
|Departure time（if the public transport is still operating on your departure time or will not cause any inconvenience for you to arrive on time)||Departure/Arrival train station（Some big city has a few main station, low cost train will stop by the station has lesser train access ）|
|Arrival time （if the public transport is still operating on your arrival time remember to add in the time you might spend in custom clearance)||Types of Train（ICE, IC, CE，etc，different route and most importantly prices）|
|Arrival airport（Low cost flight usually landing on low cost airport which is located far away from city and lesser transport to access to city）||Destination name written in local language（We failed to communicate with the local in Cezk Republic, even with rigorous gesture, sigh）|
Tram in Portugal
Local transport，the only way to save is do research and find out the cheapest ticket，and the type of public transport that is most convenient to your accommodation and itinerary (I will pick only 1-2 types of transport and focus on it) .
To be honest, I did not do a very good research before it, as a result, I was almost faint in Italy due to their spider map transportation map and broke in Germany fro their unbelievable high cost train.
Basically, we had never bought day-ticket/week-ticket or any passes, as most of the hot spot was in walking distance.
I love reading the score and the reviews on booking.com, Trip Advisor and Agoda.com. They will give a clearer picture of the accommodation you going to stay. I used to pick moderate or moderate low cost hotel/hostel with private toilet, which cost about 45-60 Euro, and about 90-110 Euro in high living cost city like Paris and Copenhagen. Believe me it worth to pay a little bit more, unless you wanted to meet new friend in dorm.
What kind of information you need to obtain from reviews:
- Safety (any robbery case, dim walkway and etc)
- The distance to the nearby public transport
- The available public transport (do you need to transit to reach most of your destination)
Note: Don’t expect to find a kettle, glasses/cup or hair dryer in your budget accommodation, most of them do not provide them. If you need it, pack one in your luggage.
Accommodation booking website
Few years ago, Booking.com is much popular with their prompt service, no prepaid on booking and free cancellation. There’s a time I urgently needed to change my booking and they response it within 1 hour and solved it without giving me any trouble.
Recently I have started to book my room via Agoda.com but the down side was they charged your card on your booking and you need to pay more for the free cancellation option. But they have reward point system, you could redeem your 12500 points to USG25 for next room booking, and bear in mind that the points will be expired every new calender year.
**One last thing I would do before confirm my booking was to cross check the price on the official website of the particular hotel/hostel, as they might have better offer on their own website.
We saved a lot by booking a breakfast included room. Just like most of the hotel in Malaysia, they provide breakfast buffet. Every morning I will bring a lunch box with me to pack my leftover for lunch or as a snack during the day.
I know the common price of a meal in the country. I did some research over their food before the trip to find out how much I need to spend for a local meal, this is just to estimated the pocket money for every single day, it was varied among the different country. At the end of the trip, I still managed to buy myself a GUCCI bag from the FOX TOWN.
Did I mention that most of the thing in the rubbish bag was instant noodle, dehydrated vegetables and instant meal? As I mentioned previously, most of the budget hotel/hostel did not provide kettle, so we brought one along, to cook noodles/boil sausage/blanch vegetable or to make hot soup. More than 50% of our dinner was prepared in the room, we had Asian stomach, we need some home cook Asian cuisine to soothe our taste bud.
p/s: You might come to a conclusion that I will be bored of all types of instant noodles already, but the fact was, I am still eating it occasionally.
Travel attraction/Hot Spot
I used to have itinerary with me, but I looked for maps and brochure in Airport/Train Station/Tourist information counter/Hotel and changed my itinerary on the spot. Traveling would then be more adventurous by adding an unexpected itinerary. Although I seldom follow my itinerary, but I will still advise you to plan and print it out, so you will be clear where you are and for the purpose you traveled to there.
I dislike travel to visit ONLY tourist hot spot. I would search for something more interesting/meaningful/unusual by browsing the local’s blog or immigrate. And most of the time I will bring the particular country’s DK Eyewitness series travel book. Not only for their very detail local map, and also for their introduction of attraction and restaurant. The restaurant was rated in term of price. I been to one of the local restaurant recommended in the book, which was rated as moderate in price, the experience was awesome. It every penny you paid.
What to bring with you
- Universal travel adapter
- Food container
- Hair dryer