Although we did not do the tradition sleep in a hostel type of backpacking, I wouldn’t change what we did in any way, We still made it very affordable for two people to travel for 2 months and see all the sites we wanted to see. A lot of people who backpack Europe told us to go for 6 months, but when we sat down and talked with those people we realised, that yes they were gone for a long time, but they were on such a tight budget that the didn’t actually see all that much, they cut costs on things like going into the Colosseum or up into the Eiffel tower, which are things we were not willing to forgo.
We truly believe less is more, and more is less. Stay for a shorter amount of time, and really see the countries vs. see so many countries, but don’t actually see anything in them. That is how we decided on where we were going, and for how long…
Where We Travelled to…
Trip 1 – 3 weeks – UK – London, Brighton FRANCE – Paris, Versailles ITALY – Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome
Trip 2 – 7 weeks – SPAIN – Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Barcelona FRANCE – Nice, Saint Paul De Vence GERMANY – Munich, Berlin SWITZERLAND – Zurich CZECH – Prague AUSTRIA – Vienna NETHERLANDS – Amsterdam UK – Bath, Stonehenge GREECE – Rhodes, Santorini, Ios, Paros, Naxos, Mykonos, Athens.
How we Travelled …
I highly recommend purchasing a VIA Rail pass, we jumped all over the country from one city to the next, we pre booked some tickets, and others just booked at the station day of, You can be flexible or planned, it really can work for any budget or distance of travel.
Another awesome thing was that in some cities you could use local Rail systems for free with the pass, so it worked for more than “International” travel.
We did also get to use the Overnight Train from Berlin to Amsterdam, and it worked out great, saved us a night on a hotel room, and you were able to sleep in lay down beds on the trains. Fall asleep in one Country and wake up in the next
Where we spent our nights…
Like I said before we opted out of the hostel scene while we were in Europe, and could have saved money if we did the hostels, but I loved everything about staying in the AirBNB’s we chose. I always did research to make sure we were in the best area of town ( you can look up where most of the hostels are situated and choose a place close to there for the most part ). We were not overly picky on what the place looked like, we wanted clean, and something with good reviews, we never had a place that we were not happy with.
One of my favourite things about having our own AirBNB was that we would take the time to go shopping at the local markets, pick up fresh meat and veg every night, buy a bottle of wine and sit on our little patio’s and watch people on the streets while we ate our meals. You truly get the experience of living in a different country, and get a feel for the people and the place.
The best markets were in Barcelona and Athens, I could spend hours just
grocery shopping there!
An AirBNB averages $100 CAD a night for a comfortable, clean place for 2 people with relatively low standards, you can spend as much as $500 a night if your budget allows though.
How to cut some costs…
1. Shop at local grocery stores and markets for your meals, and prep yourself, eating out in Europe can be expensive, except for in Greece… in Greece just sit down at a little restaurant on the pier and order fresh seafood, a bottle of wine and a greek salad, for 2 people you’ll only be out 10 Euros for a delicious meal!
2. take local transportation ( bus’s and subways ) or just walk. Taxi’s and rental cars can be expensive, and navigating the roads can be challenging and nerve wracking. Sometimes the language barrier in the
subway area can be tricky, but that should be expected when travelling to other countries, and you can
normally find someone who speaks some English.
3. Buy a VIA Rail pass for travel between Countries, purchasing individual tickets can get expensive
4. Buy “See[City]” Cards in some of the big cities such as London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, ect. They give you discounts on a lot of the attractions, and if you’re going to be spending time hitting up the sites in some cities they are a good way to cut some costs.
We could spend months on end in Europe, but it can be an expensive area to visit, therefor we are going back to visit bit by bit, Summer 2017 we will be visiting Ireland for 2 weeks, Doing a self drive tour, Check back for updates in June