1 month backpacking trip

I am doing a solo backpacking trip to europe, i got a free flight thru frequent flyer and will be arriving in paris and flying out of paris as well, unfortunately w/ frequent flyer there are restrictions on where i can fly in and out of...anyways i wanted to get to london, but it seems like i would be backtracking as my originial plan was to go to London (2-3 days) then amsterdam (2 days), paris and france ) 3-4 days and then off to spain, italy, switzerland and whatever i have time for...

now since i start in paris, i am trying to figure out if should go to london and amsterdam before or save those two for the end of my trip. any suggestions would be great as well as reccomendations of places to see and stay on my month long venture. Thank you!!

Posted by jigar
Cardiff
21 posts

one more thing, is visiting the greek islands at all possible in this trip?

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

Hi Jigar,
Even though your ticket to Paris is free and you have one month I agree with Kent's suggestion that you need to calculate the time to travel between the destinations that you've listed in your post and also the cost--you will incur expenses with train and/or bus tickets and also the possibility of flying on discount airlines.

I suggest focusing on 4-5 destinations and then working out an itinerary that makes sense for you. For example, you could consider a loop using train that would include:

Paris to London,

London to Brussels and then Amsterdam,

Amsterdam to Frankfurt,

Frankfurt to Zurich, and

Zurich back to Paris stopping at smaller cities along the way.

There are tons of itinerary possibilities! Check out Rick Steves' Best of Europe 2009 to help you plan your journey!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17736 posts

jigar,

As the others have said, there are LOTS of Itinerary possibilities for your trip. While it might be theoretically feasible to include the Greek Islands, IMHO it would complicate things due to the travel times.

Given the circumstances with your flights, you might consider something along these lines:

  • Fly to Paris (You may lose a day in flight times - you didn't say where you're located - where is Patel?).

  • Tour Paris - 5 days? (one day for day trip to Versailles or elsewhere if desired)

  • Train to Amsterdam-3 days?

  • Budget flight to London-5 days? (one day for day trip to Bath or elsewhere if desired)

  • Budget flight to Rome-5 days? (allowing one day for day trip if desired or spend time in Rome - LOTS of sites to see!)

  • Train to Cinque Terre, Florence or other location in northern Italy-3 days?

  • Train to Switzerland-3 days? (would you prefer cities in Switzerland or the more "traditional" Switzerland? One big favourite here is the Berner Oberland region and especially the small villages of Gimmelwald or Murren - you could perhaps visit two locations in Switzerland depending on your priorities)

  • Train to ??? -3 or 4 days(at this point, the goal is to get back to Paris in time for your flight - you could either visit the Black Forest area of Germany or the Alsace/eastern region of France.

  • Train to Paris - 1 night (pre-book your Hotel - ask your Hotel to reserve a Shuttle to Paris/CDG for the following day.

Keep in mind that some travel days of ~6 hours or so will be a factor in some of the train trips I've listed. For the budget flights, PACK LIGHT or you'll get "nicked" with an overweight charge!

This is only one suggested Itinerary. I'd suggest picking up a copy of Europe Through The Back Door, as that has an incredible amount of information not only for trip planning but also for travelling smartly in Europe.

Good luck and Happy Travels!

Posted by jigar
Cardiff
21 posts

Thanks for the replys everyone. After doing a little more research. I extended my trip a week. It seems like there will be a lot of time that will be killed travelling From one country to another.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

Hi Jigar,
It's great that you can add extra time and also a little easier that you're flying to Paris from Cardiff rather than the US.

I think that you'll have fun with the planning!

Good luck!

Posted by jigar
Cardiff
21 posts

cardiff is in California, just north of san diego...so i'll be making quite the journey :-)

im thinking this

France 4 days
Spaing 7 days
Switzerland 4 days
Italy 7 days
Greece 5 days
Amsterdam 2 day
London 3 Days

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

Opps! Cardiff, California is a bit of a difference.

I haven't worked out the distances for your proposed trip of:

France 4 days Spain 7 days Switzerland 4 days Italy 7 days Greece 5 days Amsterdam 2 day London 3 Days

Maybe something like: Paris (4), Madrid (3), Barcelona (4), Geneva and surroundings (4), Milan/Venice and surroundings (7), Greece is a long trip from Venice but doable (maybe discount flight or ferry from Bari), then discount flight from Athens to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to London. Still some details to work out...

Keep tweeking!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17736 posts

jigar,

Thanks for the clarification on your location; that helps.

Flying from the west coast, you will be losing a day in flight times and time zone changes, so be sure to allow for that in your planning. It's going to be a long day!

One method you might consider is to spend a few days in Paris at the beginning of your trip to get over jet lag and get up to "touring speed". Then train to Amsterdam, train or flight to London and then head south to Greece (check flights on EasyJet from LGW to Athens or other destinations in Greece).

From there you can slowly work back through Spain, Italy and Switzerland to arrive in Paris for your flight home. I haven't checked flights from Greece to Spain, but I suspect there will be some. From Spain you can fly to Rome and then continue from there by train. Be sure to allow adequate travel time between cities!

Happy planning!

Posted by jigar
Cardiff
21 posts

Thnks for the reply ken. I have a friend in Paris who I will be staying with once I land which should help with the jet la then I'm off to my adventure. One question I have is about the euroglobal train pass. Based on my schedule I feel I. Don't need the unlimited but I have yet to doña lot of research on this. I think the 10 or 15 day pass should be fine as I might incorporate some airtravel during my trek. Any thoughts? U have had people tell me both sides of either getting the unlimited as I soul have now restrictions but I have also been told it could be a big waste of money as well. Thanks again to all who have replied!!!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17736 posts

jigar,

One thing that might help you with your decision on the most appropriate Rail Pass, would be to enter your Itinerary into www.railsaver.com. Be sure to include the legs that you'll be travelling by budget flights.

The site should provide you with a close estimate of which Pass is best and which sections you might just pay for P-P tickets. You might find that a Flex Pass would be more cost effective?

One thing to keep in mind with Rail Passes is that these DO NOT include the reservation fees that are compulsory with some trains (usually the high speed trains such as the TGV in France). You'll have to pay for these separately.

You might find it helpful to download the free PDF Rail Guide from this website, as it explains all the details of travelling by rail in Europe.

Cheers!

Posted by Roger
Monein, Pyrenees, France
425 posts

Jigar -- No-one seems to have answered your Greek Islands question ...... Easyjet (www.easyjet.co.uk) could fly you from London (Gatwick) to Athens, Crete or Rhodes for a reasonable price. Crete would be my recommendation - a little bit of everything.

Roger Bruton

http://www.fermedecandeloup.fr