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Europe On A Budget


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#1 missmanners

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Posted 21 January 2005 - 03:26 AM

hi all!

was wondering if any of you who've been to europe can share their tips and tricks on how to keep spending to a minimum. it's one of the most expensive continents to visit and i've been curious about trying backpacking or at least budget traveling through there.

the wheres would also be so helpful! like where to stay in which cities, where to go that's off the beaten track.

it'd be great to hear from you guys! thanks in advance!

:)
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#2 fourtyounce48

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Posted 21 January 2005 - 12:34 PM

hey missmanners. sorry dont have any euro tips for you. never been there. best bet would be to watch eurotrip....hehe. just wanted to say yo cute....where you from anyway?

#3 MTBCommuter

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Posted 21 January 2005 - 06:01 PM

My boss went on a european trip two years ago with his family. What he did was plan his trip based on a book he read. Its title sounded like "European trip on a budget" something like that.... Go to power books and research this title.

#4 gadgets

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Posted 22 January 2005 - 05:00 AM

I've never backpacked through out Europe but have travelled extensively using a budget airline called Ryanair. You can check out their fare through their website (www.ryanair.com), sometimes you can score extremely cheap fares.

Another way of getting reasonable hotel rooms is by bidding through Priceline (www.priceline.com), there is a website which can provide you with an idea on what some of the winning bids are through this website http://p070.ezboard....dexpediabidding (just go to the Europe Hotels section). An alternative is staying at hostels or if school is out, some university dormitories can be an option.

Here are some books that I saw in Amazon about travelling in Europe on a shoestring:

Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring (Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring)
http://www.amazon.co...=glance&s=books

Backpacking Round Europe: How to Explore Europe on a Budget (Travel)
http://www.amazon.co...=glance&s=books

If you end up in England, pm me since I live in middle England and I can play tour guide (I have to start practicing before the sisters visit me here).

Good luck.

#5 missmanners

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Posted 22 January 2005 - 09:31 AM

thank you mr. mahabangpasensya, i'll check it out. :cool:

mr. gadgets! can't thank you enough for your tips!! i will indeed visit those sites. i'm planning a trip sometime august, when summer's winding down. figured there'd be less tourists that way. i've been to europe before a few times but never on a shoestring budget because i was always with family and my dad would never ever have opted to stay in a hostel instead of a hotel. anyway england will be a definite stopover (london's a favorite city) and i will definitely contact you once there. i'm still trying to figure out how to strecth my budget so i can stay longer and do more. thanks again!!! :)

what you doing in england, btw?

and mr. fortyounce48, uh.. thanks for the compliment, i guess, and even the attempt at helping. where am i from? uh.. what does my location say? :lol:

#6 fourtyounce48

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Posted 22 January 2005 - 09:42 AM

thank you mr. mahabangpasensya, i'll check it out. :cool:

mr. gadgets! can't thank you enough for your tips!! i will indeed visit those sites. i'm planning a trip sometime august, when summer's winding down. figured there'd be less tourists that way. i've been to europe before a few times but never on a shoestring budget because i was always with family and my dad would never ever have opted to stay in a hostel instead of a hotel. anyway england will be a definite stopover (london's a favorite city) and i will definitely contact you once there. i'm still trying to figure out how to strecth my budget so i can stay longer and do more. thanks again!!! :)

what you doing in england, btw?

and mr. fortyounce48, uh.. thanks for the compliment, i guess, and even the attempt at helping. where am i from? uh.. what does my location say? :lol:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>




well my dreams occur in my sleep on my bed.....so maybe youre there. ill check....hehehe

#7 Lana

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Posted 22 January 2005 - 12:29 PM

Hi missm! Western Europe is really expensive and the "cheap" hotels are pretty bad if you don't know what you're doing and if your travel agent isn't experienced. I think you'll probably need to do a little (probably a lot :lol: ) of research on the various youth hostels, inns, etc. so you can concentrate on enjoying the locale instead of fuming over the lousy accomodations.

I suggest an itinerary that focuses on Central/Eastern Europe, particularly Czech. Although they are not as developed as countries like Germany and England, they are loads cheaper and a lot more developed than the Philippines :rolleyes: Oh, and if art and architecture is your thing, Prague is an absolutely beautiful place to visit. Luckily, (from what I remember) communism only lasted a short 50 years so most of the architecture is preserved. It's absolutely wonderful. Bring your camera!!! Be warned though, tourists from Western Europe abound so it can be crowded during peak tourist seasons (kasi murang mura sa kanila mag travel sa central/eastern Europe).

If you really want to see the big three (France, Germany, England), be prepared to spend because everything is massively expensive.

Try Frommers.com. They have excellent suggestions and are pretty up-to-date. Once you've gotten a good idea of where you'll be heading, you can grab a copy to take with you.

If you're only going to be in Europe for a short time, I suggest staying more than a couple of days in one country. I think you'd get much more for your money if you stayed longer in just one or two countries instead of cramming eight or ten in a one-month span. All you'll remember from the trip is: "f**k. I was tired." :lol:

Oh, and plus, a little tip: France has a lot of these "inn" places (you can google it) that you can stay at. They're pretty much houses that you can board in and they're usually inexpensive, relatively. Other places in Europe have different types of accomodations though so research is key. :)

AND! If you want to travel around, get a eurorail pass. That should save you some money.

Re: London. Shet. I love that place. I love anything English. I love the weather (okay, maybe not all the time... bloody wind), and you see such interesting characters on the underground.

Erk... Marami pa akong gustong sabihin pero di ko pa kasi alam kung ano talaga ang gusto mong makita sa Europe. Hehehe... If it's museums, you must not miss the Louvre :lol: Anyway, I'm getting carried away. Dito na lang muna. Check out the site na lang :)

Edited by Lana, 22 January 2005 - 12:29 PM.


#8 gadgets

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Posted 22 January 2005 - 10:36 PM

Lana's suggestions are all excellent. In the UK bed & breakfasts is an affordable option also. Lana's advice on trying not to cram so many countries at one go is definitely spot on, quality is definitely better than quantity. The euro rail pass can really cut your cost down if you plan to go to a lot of places, the upfront cost may seem to be high but it could really be worth it (if you are under 26yo, you can qualify for the eurailpass youth flexi. Here's the website: http://www.eurail.com/.

Have you decided how long this trip will be? Ano ang gusto mong makita/ma experience?

To be honest, my first priority when I travel is to eat rather than go sightseeing and usually it's weekend trips lang where I fly out on Saturday and come back Sunday. Another confession, I have not taken the opportunity to go sightseeing here in England. Been to London a few times but again primary goal is to eat either over at Earls Court (two pinoy restaurants), Chinatown for dim sum, or Soho for various restaurants. Have not been to Scotland or Wales. Ay naku, I really have to get my butt moving and check these places out :D .

I'm now living in UK for a fresh start in life. Yung trabaho sa US was eliminated, pero yung European division ng company I work for had an opening, so I took it and been here since late 2002. Good thing is that my life is portable, no wife or kids to worry about so making the move was an easy choice.

#9 Lana

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 02:18 AM

Oh damn. Wala na ako sa under 26 limit kaya di na ako qualified sa ganyan :D That's pretty good info there, gadgets. And may I say SOBRANG INGGIT AKO SAYO!!! You're working and living there :( Ay! The Chinatown is really something special there in London! You really should see it. It's quite amazing how everything is so Chinese pero pag lingon mo nasa UK ka pa rin. Hahahaha! Excellent food as well! But then, anything is better than English food, no? :D AY!!! You must go see India town!!! I love north Indian food (the non-spicy kind) and there's a pretty big Indian population living in England. You might need to bring a local with you to help you order and a lot of the food is vegetarian but I love how the food has so many complex flavors, unlike that of the Pinoy kind which usually comes up to just one or two (sweet/sour, spicy/sour) types. But Indian foooood has lots of different flavors from all the spices they use (and they also smell that way, too, so don't eat too much of it :P)

Ay, for the site I suggested, they have walking tours for each country. You don't have to spend a single cent on them (well, except for actually getting there). They actually have ready-made itineraries that you can just print out and follow (or modify). All you gotta worry about it getting to where the walking tour starts and just follow the directions. They're really easy. Just be sure to bring a map along and maybe an umbrella for when the weather suddenly turns on you :P Anyhoo, get off your BUTT and move it, bub! Not everyone gets to live there *sobrang inggit ako talaga*

Erk. I got carried away again. I shall stop now :P Anyhoo, I hope all the rambling's been helpful! :D


Lana's suggestions are all excellent.  In the UK bed & breakfasts is an affordable option also.  Lana's advice on trying not to cram so many countries at one go is definitely spot on, quality is definitely better than quantity.  The euro rail pass can really cut your cost down if you plan to go to a lot of places, the upfront cost may seem to be high but it could really be worth it (if you are under 26yo, you can qualify for the eurailpass youth flexi.  Here's the website: http://www.eurail.com/.

To be honest, my first priority when I travel is to eat rather than go sightseeing and usually it's weekend trips lang where I fly out on Saturday and come back Sunday.  Another confession, I have not taken the opportunity to go sightseeing here in England.  Been to London a few times but again primary goal is to eat either over at Earls Court (two pinoy restaurants), Chinatown for dim sum, or Soho for various restaurants.  Have not been to Scotland or Wales.  Ay naku, I really have to get my butt moving and check these places out  :D .

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#10 anika

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 10:18 AM

To save on transpo, you may get a eurail pass or try eurolines (much cheaper). The europass have to be bought here but the eurolines could be bought there. I have tried eurolines when I went backpacking alone a few years back and it was ok. Started at Amsterdam then Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg then back. From Amsterdam took the plane to Milan then train to Venice, Florence and Rome. Plane ticket is also cheap. I used the Virgin Express.

For your accommodation, you could try the youth hostels. It's fun to stay there. You could meet backpackers from all over the world. Don't miss the happy hour.

I've tried na rin renting a car to go to Paris from Amsterdam, it's cheap kung mga lima kayo.

http://eurail.lwb-on...php?view=cms_92

http://www.eurolines.com/

http://www.virgin-express.com/

#11 anika

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 10:29 AM

Dagdag... Scandinavian countries are awesome, pero sobrang taas ng bilihin. I left my charger when I went to Norway last year, emergency yon! I'm the kind of person who couldn't live without the cellphone. Imagine, I bought a charger equivalent to 3k pesos eh tig 150 pesos lany yon dito sa tin.

#12 anika

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 10:33 AM

Parang off topic ano? Pero hindi, hehe! What I mean is to avoid countries with high cost of living para makatipid.

#13 missmanners

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 05:12 PM

hey guys, you've all been so helpful!

i'm just going to backread again ok.. just to go through all the details of everything you suggested.

:)

#14 Podweed

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 08:22 PM

We go on yearly trips, and cruises every other year. 2004's was in the Mediterranean. Awesome, but not really helpful for this thread's purpose. Parents pay for it. Thing is, the sidetrips we take (my siblings and I) are 'kkb'. That's where I can help. Our last stop together was Rome and after the folks flew home, we (the kids) opted to see Munich and London. Not our first time in Europe, but t'was our first together.

In places where you've friends, it's always best to stay with them. If you're quite an accomplished tourist, you can tell him that you can show yourself around. Bring a good guide book. Your bud will feel better, too, that he doesn't have to take too much time off. We stayed with an Italian family in Rome. Sorta like a bed-and-breakfast arrangement and you get to make friends. Beats a hotel anytime (where members of the staff are paid to be nice to you).

From England (boys and I went home from there), my sister proceeded to Scotland, Ireland, France, the Benelux countries, and Scandinavia all on her own a la Lonely Planet. She's 25. Brave girl. I think she did it under $2,000. Not bad.

Anway, these are what I got from her:

Plan your trip and purchase any ticket at least a month before.
Book everything online. You'll save as much as 30% doing away with agents' commissions and the like.
Have a travel agent you trust arrange everything.
Buy your Euros at the blackmarket here.
Stay at a hostel. They're on the cheap, but who cares? Stay with a family if possible. Ask to do your laundry there.
Take public transportation - trains (Eurorail), buses, and ferries. Fly regional airlines (no-frills).
Forget taxis. Hmm, well, except maybe for private tours.
As much as possible, join a group. They're given discounts.
Walk, walk, walk.
Use the computers at public libraries to e-mail home. They're free. When you have to call home, do so collect. You can pay later.
Use plastic when you can. Save your cash.
When tipping, try to give the exact amount, no more, no less.
Eat at fastfoods or foodcarts. Not saying you should avoid restaurants, but don't scrimp on meals either.

Hope these help. Have a good time. When are you leaving? I'll be going to Mexico (I'd appreciate tips, too, from those who've been there. Gracias) this summer (April or May) and then the US. If I've time (and money), I'll go home via Europe. See you there?

#15 Lana

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 10:22 AM

It's true that Europe is a lot safer than places here in Asia (or Manila for that matter) but you should still exercise caution. Most people are friendly when you ask for help, but you should still be careful and try not to go out alone at night (ok possible exception are the Scandinavian countries as they are labeled the safest places in the world -- also Singapore).

And I totally agree on buying your Euros here. It's way cheaper and far less hassle. Also on the credit card thing, if you can charge it, do it. You never know when you'll need cash (like when you're taking the subway or bus). Oh, and don't put all your money in one place. Just in case :)

Tip. To save on food expenses, try scouting around for the nearest grocery store and buy basics like bread/milk/water/fruit so you don't spend needlessly when you're out and about, especially when you're in a touristy area where prices tend to be exorbitant. You can probably drink tap water from most places in Europe (make sure of this first, though) so you can probably buy a couple of bottles of water and just refill wherever. That way, you can save a bit of money to buy more stuff! Hehehehe...

Podweed. OK ba ang mga cruises? It seems like it's a little restricting since you're on a ship most of the time. I really prefer being on the ground and exploring. :)

#16 Lana

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 10:26 AM

Oh! And not all countries in Europe use the Euro. And those countries that don't, won't give you too favorable a rate if you pay in Euros so do your research well :)

#17 Podweed

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 09:01 PM

Podweed. OK ba ang mga cruises? It seems like it's a little restricting since you're on a ship most of the time. I really prefer being on the ground and exploring. :)

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Oh, no, you wouldn't feel restricted at all. An airplane would be, but not a luxury liner. It's a floating hotel. Food is absolutely free. You may even bug room service all you want. There are parties, programs, restaurants, a movie theater, a library, three swimming pools, sports venues, gift shops, a casino, a gym, etc. A daily program is delivered to your cabin and you can have your pick of what to do. You're issued a magnetic card which serves as your credit tile. Strictly no cash transactions. You pay what you owe at the end of the cruise. Your cabin attendant will most probably be Indonesian or Malaysian. Expect to see lotsa Filipinos. Believe you me, they will fall over each other in making sure you have everything you need. It's not often they see a 'kabayan' on board.

Cruises last from seven to ten days. Depending on the ship's ports of call, you may spend half of the time on land, usually on eight hour excursions. You'll have no problems arranging tours. The guides will approach you. One day though is reserved exclusively at sea. Our Mediterranean Cruise stops included Venice, Bari (Italy), Katakolon (gateway to ancient Olympia), Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes (Greece), and Dubrovnik (Croatia).

All in all, I'd say the ten days I spent aboard the Costa Victoria was more enjoyable than the equivalent time on the Continent itself. To each his own.

Oh, one more thing, tap water is clean in Europe. I hate their 'mineral'. Too saturated.

#18 Podweed

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 10:02 PM

Oh! And not all countries in Europe use the Euro. And those countries that don't, won't give you too favorable a rate if you pay in Euros so do your research well :)

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Thing is, if you exchange Euros for the local currency, you really wouldn't know how much you'll be spending anyway (unless you plan on being a tightwad for the day). Approximating is useless, trust me. We tried it and always overshot our budgets. So, when you finally exchange the remaining monies back into Euros, you'll be shelling out just a little bit more, too. In effect, you save nothing. Stick to Euros.

#19 gadgets

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 06:11 AM

I don't know kung applicable ba to the ATM cards of the Phil banks, pero I have had favorable experience withdrawing foreign currency with my ATM card (Plus or Cirrus network with 4 digit PIN). The exchange rate is quite good and the charge is not so bad (except sa Pilipinas kasi most of the machines I've used only allowed me to take out 5000PHP each time per use, tapos I have re-enter my PIN again which incurs another service charge). It is quite risky to buy your Euros all at once, especially if you will be backpacking and staying at hostels (take this with a grain of salt though kasi I've never experienced hostelling).

#20 Lana

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 10:18 AM

Thing is, if you exchange Euros for the local currency, you really wouldn't know how much you'll be spending anyway (unless you plan on being a tightwad for the day). Approximating is useless, trust me. We tried it and always overshot our budgets. So, when you finally exchange the remaining monies back into Euros, you'll be shelling out just a little bit more, too. In effect, you save nothing. Stick to Euros.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hahahahaha! Natatawa ako nung isang time kasama namin sa group nagulat kasi akala nila all of Europe uses Euros so we were stuck wandering around looking for a bank to exchange Euros to the local currency. Ako naman, I only changed a little bit for incidentals since I didn't really plan on shopping except for little souvenirs and food. Besides, if you bought and paid for something in Euros, they'll most likely give you change in the local currency. E di mas napamahal ka pa kung ganun. That's what I thought, at least. Ang ginawa ko na lang, pagdating sa border, lahat ng barya ko, ginamit kong pambili ng chocolate. E di may pasalubong pa :D




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