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Super Budget Options

I have a friend -- lets call him Leroy -- who was asking for pauper like budget advice for visiting a major European city. His parents will pay airfare but that's it. He was thinking $20 per day. I suggested a tent. He could get a loaf of bread with some "fixins" as they say Down South. Water and air is free. He used to play drums in a rather popular local garage rock band.

Any other advice for Leroy? I'll give him $100 for pocket money. Wife left him and he's looking for adventure. (Sorry ladies love is the last thing on his mind!)

Posted by
4334 posts

Stay in a hostel with free breakfast but not in "a major European city" located in the following countries UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, all of Scandanavia, Czech Republic, or Portugal.

Walk everywhere or hitchhike

Posted by
10390 posts

There is good news for Mr. Leroy. He can get accommodations for 20 bucks or less in urban centers in Poland. The private independent hostels in Krakow offer that. Even though hostels have no age limit, be it you're 19 or 67, after the age of 26, as I found out in 2009 at 59 then, I was charged 3 Euro extra. This surcharge took place in more than one city and more than one hostel. Of course, in some of those hostels I did choose the most dirt cheap option...staying a dorm room.

If he is in his 40s and 50s and wants the cheapest option, tell him to forget the private room option in the hostel, reserve a bed in a dorm room with 5 to 9 other roomies. That's the way to do it. If he also books night trains in advance, where applicable, he'll save on staying in a hostel and train fares.

Certain cities in Germany offer camp sites to stay at....the tent will be helpful there, eg, Hamburg, Berlin.

I am assuming that his desire to go to Europe is desperate enough to pick these dirt cheap options
and forego the "luxury and comfort" level. As a rule the best and the cheapest hostels are in Poland and Budapest.

Posted by
973 posts

If willing to work for his adventure, he could WWOOF, or use Work Away. They are sometimes thankless jobs and bare bones accommodation, but he will have a reality check, lodging and 2 meals a day with a reduced 5 day work week. Most are out of the ciry, but occassionally may be in major cities. Those will be the jobs that are child oriented isually.Oh, some hostels give free room and board for some time spent working the front desk.

Posted by
5639 posts

$20 a day would work when I was a young adult in the 70's. Now, it takes a little bit more $ per day to keep from starving.
Although we are past the pauper stage of life, we still picnic along the way.

Posted by
1765 posts

I'm going to go out on a limb and say it sounds like old Leroy lost his shirt in a divorce and is now having a mid-life crisis that needs to be done on the cheap. So I'm not going to get into the legalities of whether or not Leroy would legally (or illegally) be "working" or "bartering" for food and lodging in a foreign country - that's up to him to look into. But I'd tell Leroy to forget the hostels. I know someone mentioned he can try to find one willing to let him work for his bed (but realistically, they don't want him working the front desk with access to other hostelers cash or credit card info - more like he should expect he would be spending most of his day cleaning bathrooms, kitchen, lounges and other common areas because again, they don't want him having access to the stuff people leave in their rooms because he is essentially a transient. If scrubbing toilets and emptying trashcans is considered an "adventure" nowadays, then I guess I don't even need to leave my house and travel the world to be living large! Besides, if Leroy had to pay for a bunk in a hostel dorm - even one of the big dorm rooms that holds like 12 to 20 other travelers - he's not going to find a bunk for much less than $20 a night in a "major European city" that would still leave him enough of that $20 to actually eat, get around on public transit and gain entrance to any sights that charge admission.

I'd tell Leroy to establish a profile on the Couchsurfing community site now and keep his fingers crossed that multiple people will answer his request for a free place to crash for a night or two, because let's be real - no one wants some stranger camped out in the middle of their living room for much longer than that. If he's truly lucky, they might share some of their food with him. But beyond that, $20 a day certainly won't get him 3 meals a day in a "major European city". Now maybe Leroy's one of those free spirits who just figures he will plunk his arse down in some park or public square and soak up the atmosphere because that will "feed his soul"... still, it's a good idea to actually have more than $20 a day. And if he doesn't want to save any more than that, then I'd highly recommend he save some room in his suitcase for many packages of ramen noodle soup and a jar of peanut butter.

The only way I can suggest for Leroy to get in an "adventure" and stay in a place that won't have him playing housekeeper, isn't a complete dump and will feed him 3 meals a day for absolutely free would be Vaughan Town which is a program that pairs native English speakers with Spanish business people who are enrolled in a language immersion program - Leroy's "job" would be to speak English all day long with those enrolled in the program. He also is required to eat all of his meals with the students. But he needs to fill out an application to volunteer and get accepted, it's only for 1-2 weeks max, he needs to be willing to volunteer upwards of 10+ hours a day, every single day - there's no "day off" so he can go off on his own and sightsee. If he makes some friends among the Spanish, who knows - maybe one will be nice enough to let him crash for a few extra nights in their home after the program is over.

Posted by
10390 posts

Staying in dorm room in a hostel, outside of camp sites, is Leroy's best option. Those rooms with 20 guys, I had that only once. That was in the Cologne HI hostel, ie 10 bunks and the room was full too. So, I had 19 roomies sharing that "ward" with me in 1971.

Get in the habit of traveling solo, having no private room, and he will not have any problems doing the hostel option.

Posted by
4196 posts

Tell poor LeRoy to research convents and monasteries for places to rest his lonely head.
Price and availability will reflect what European city he chooses.

Posted by
399 posts

Well, his real name is Dwayne and he was head in the oven there for awhile. He worked at a tanning salon while playing weekend gigs. On his 40th birthday he realized rock and roll stardom wasn't going to happen. The band rather tragically carpooled to LA looking for a record deal but no luck. Dwayne's wife left him there for a record exec. Talk about a double whammy. He's also trying to clean up from too much of the rock lifestyle so a convent or monastery is a swell idea.

I don't think he wants to clean toilets due to some bad cleaning experiences at the tanning salon. He said some people apparently went nuts in there. I won't go into details, my friends.

Posted by
106 posts

Which major European city? Or is that not decided yet? For how long? How much money he has in total? And how much time?

I guess if he's just looking to visit one city he doesn't have more time/money for more than a week, right?

In this situation it's not very smart to spend a small fortune on airfare(even if that is paid) for spending only a week in a European city. If I were him I'd take the money given for the airfare and do a roadtrip around North America, if he has the time for that.

A tent is not very practical in a major city. He could bivouac in a park, but that's not very safe in most major cities and he may be hassled by police. If he goes to a campground he's going to pay almost as much as for a bed in a hostel and in most cases he would be too far from the city centre to walk in and out every day. (With that budget you can't afford public transit).

If he can receive guests in his home, he should think about getting into couchsurfing. This is the best way to get free accommodation and it's even more than that: you get a local friend.

Posted by
106 posts

It's quite easy to travel in Europe on 20 dollars a day if he's walking/cycling. Hitchhiking still works in most countries of Europe, some are much better than others, but it's nowhere easy for a middle aged solo guy. Cycling is the best.

For accommodation it has to be wild camping and couchsurfing(but it's hard to rely only on couchsurfing).

20 USD/day will be enough for food if self catering. Many Europeans have less than that amount to spend on food.

Posted by
8535 posts

A little off topic but not enuff to get this post tossed, I hope, but why does it have to be Europe? I'm wondering the same as scythian how much of the U.S. he has already explored?

It's perfectly possible to have a great adventure without flying 'cross The Pond. He has a car, right? Load it up with a tent and supplies (hit the local thrift shops for secondhand) and off he goes. Use the $$ the folks would have provided for airfare to fund some initial outlay and save the rest for gas and whatnot. Buy an $80 "America The Beautiful" annual pass for the national parks and moments. He won't be able to camp free in all locations but he can on a lot of BLM land/national forests: do the research.

One very large bonus would be the ability to work (if he doesn't currently have employment or a residence) without having to jump through visa hoops. If he rocks into somewhere that appeals and can find employment - long-term or temporary - then he can put down roots for awhile and nicely augment that $20. Just a thought?

Editing to add: I'd recommend taking a copy of "Blue Highways", "Travels with Charley: In Search of America" and/or other good road-trip novels along. :O)

Posted by
10572 posts

Last June, I camped from the Pyrenees through Lot and Dordogne valleys, St. Emillion and the Atlantic coast (south of Arcachon). I flew round trip to Paris, after a few nights there took another flight to Toulouse and rented a car, drove to a sporting goods store and bought a tent, sleeping bag and pad for 80 euro. Camping was anywhere from ten to 17 euros per night. I didn't really plan it as a super budget option. It was more a way to try something I'd never done before - camp in Europe.

This may be why I travel solo often. Not too many Americans view hiking up hills to explore ruins of 13th century castles all day then sleeping on the ground at night as a great vacation option.

I ended up in an Airbnb in Bordeaux for the wine festival then trained back to Paris for a few more nights. before flying home.

Posted by
973 posts

I hope monastery stays outside of Italy are cheaper than those in Italy. They have become big alternatives to bed and breakfasts or hostels, and can cost as much as a personal use short let apartment.
There are monastery stays available in the US - but cheapest seems to be $40. Of course, he might be able to up his budget if he doesn't have to pay for a flight....though you did say his parents would pay for that.
Here's an article. One in Alabama seems to be on a 'free-will' offering (donation) basis
https://www.tripsavvy.com/monastic-guest-rooms-310504
One problem about running away from our life/problems is that this crap is still there when we return. Perhaps something closer to home to offer tools for surviving day to day life (monastery, ashram, life skills coaching) would be of more value and help give him the strength to see things through.
Good luck to Leroy/Dwayne.

Posted by
2613 posts

Hitchhike, sleep in parks in summer and drink puddle water when available. Pastries are discarded in dumpsters. Be waiting before the best selections are gone. Bathe and do laundry while wearing your clothes in public fountains at night. Can find money in most of them also. Bonus! Another trick I relied on was to sit near outdoor cafes. Most people didn’t finish their meal. They’d leave and I’d swoop in and finish for them. Worked for me for weeks during my college days.

Posted by
1046 posts

couchsurfing or wild camping is about the only way. Even Youth hostels ( which were about $1 when I used them in 1970 ) are over $20 per night now

Posted by
4288 posts

I think the best advice this guy could receive is "grow up!". Forgive me if I sound harsh but I work in an office populated by a range of men all at different stages in their mid life crisis. Boy the fashion mistakes I have seen! And it's amazing how NONE of their wives understand them and they all REALLY could play for Chelsea if they just lost that last half stone....:-)

More practically $20 a day simply isn't enough. This isnt the 1970s. Turn up at immigration with that kind of budget and no real plans and he is in real danger of getting turned away before he arrives.
If he wants to try and work illegally he is going to face some stiff competition. Europe has a huge informal workforce doing many of the low paid seasonal jobs he thinks he can try. On a positive note doing that kind of work with people who have really struggled to get here, refugees, economic migrants etc should do him the world of good. Your house being blown up and crossing the med in a sinking boat is a crisis. Failing to become a rock god and your parents paying your fare isn't

As has been suggested it would make much more sense to stay in the US to work out his problems in a situation where he has got some support from friends and family and the ability to financially support himself.

Posted by
7517 posts

Well, well. I seem to be alone in thinking this person, this goof, Dwayne/Leroy, does not exist except in the mind of the OP, who wanted a bit of fun and to start an off-the-wall topic. As I wrote earlier "let's pretend".

Posted by
139 posts

Not a major European city, but he could make it work in Romania....if he uses your $100 for bus/train travel. For instance, you can grab a bed in a dormitory for about $10 a night in Bucuresti, Brasov, Timisoara, Sibiu, or Cluj-Napoca. If you buy your food in the local markets, where the locals do, you can eat for less than $10 per day.

Bus or train from Bucuresti-Henri Coanda airport to Brasov is about $10-15 - takes about 3 hours.
Bus or train from Bucuresti to Sibi is about $15-20 - takes about 6 hours.
Bus or train from Bucuresti to Cluj-Napoca is about $20-25 - takes about 8 hours.
Bus or train from Budapest airport to Timisoara is about $15-20 - takes about 6 hours.

You can bus or train from Budapest to Bucurest for less than $50....but it will take at least 11 hours...many options closer to 17-20 hours, when you factor in connections.

Posted by
10390 posts

If Mr Leroy is desperate enough to get away by choosing to go Europe, getting the money for air ticket from is his folks even at 40 is one way of doing that, as long he is obligated to pay it back and intends too.

I wondering how desperate he is actually to go over and put up with a host of inconveniences, which he regard as necessities, (too bad, do without them), deprive himself of luxury amenities, eg, no private room in a hostel amidst being surrounded my those 1/2 his age in a dorm room, no AC in that room when it's 85F outside, etc. If not, I don't think he's desperate enough.

Those private hostels in Hungary, Poland and other ex-Soviet bloc countries offer a bed in a dorm for under $20 a night, since that is a viable option for me.

Posted by
10390 posts

Keep in mind too that in Poland there are hostels not only offering a free breakfast (that's a given, anyway) but also on a certain day of the week, usually Sat night, a free dinner. eg, spaghetti night or something similar. He should base his travels mostly on buses, night routes too. Sleep on the bus, save the hostel cost.

Posted by
3681 posts

I too suspect this is a just a joke, but if not...

Here's my advice for "Leroy" and those who want to help him (since the OP asked)...

Not everyone needs to go to Europe, nor should (nor deserves to). Europe already has plenty of refugees, almost all of them more deserving of sympathy and assistance than this guy sounds, and Europe doesn't want or need any more coming from America looking for handouts. If this story is true, the first thing this person needs to do is get in touch with reality, and stop getting bailed out by family/friends/ex-whatevers and others. "Grow up" doesn't do the term justice.

Don't buy this guy a ticket to Europe. Don't give hum a hundred bucks for pocket money. Don't give him a list of monasteries that will give him handouts, which it seems he's used to. Stop enabling his delusional and self-destructive life choices. He needs to put on some big boy pants, become an adult, and more than anything else he needs to begin to take responsibility for his own life, and stop believing the fantasy that moving to Nashville, LA, Paris or Prague or anyplace else is going to solve his problems. Giving handouts to people with stories like this is what has caused the homeless crisis that I can see literally out my window. Stay where you are and get your life turned around, moving somewhere else ain't going to fix anything.

Don't enable people like this. It doesn't help them. It just lets them dig a deeper hole that's more expensive and harder to get out of.

Posted by
2613 posts

Leroy/Dwayne is made up. This is a hoax if I ever read one. OMG. Move along people, the shows over.

Posted by
3681 posts

Leroy/Dwayne is made up. This is a hoax if I ever read one. OMG. Move along people, the shows over.

I suspect that is true, but the OP has a long posting history (including more than a few other posts that I thought were also trolling). If this is indeed a hoax...

Posted by
600 posts

I believe Bike Mike is teasing us by providing false names for his protagonist. I bet his real name is neither Leroy nor Dwayne. Seeing as many West Virginians are of German ancestry, I’d have an educated guess that his real name is Fritz. I could be wrong, mind.

As per Norma, some people are looking into this too seriously.

Posted by
2613 posts

I wonder if his surname is Spargel. Dwayne (Fritz) Spargel.

Posted by
10390 posts

Hi,

When you look at hostels in Poland and Hungary, the non-HL hostels, see how many offer a free dinner. I know of one in Seattle which offers a "spaghetti feed" on Saturdays, Eating dinner in hostels, the HI hostels in Austria and Germany, will cost less than 7 Euro, did that numerous times in 2009, interesting to compare the quality and taste of the meal and to see who the guests doing this are. None of them was from the 20 something crowd.

Additional advice for Mr Leroy, my advice.....high time to get over to Europe if he has never done it, strike out as a solo traveler. He may be surprised at how "smart" he is in adapting, learning, etc or conversely too. Forget that romance problem.

Get out of that "down home" comfort zone into something totally different. He should have done it in his early 20s, when it was much cheaper but since the exchange rate at the moment is advantageous, it is a good time to be dropped into an entirely new environment.

Posted by
7517 posts

You will have noticed by now that the OP has not come back to defend his "friend", which is not at all friendly, nor has he thanked the sincere people who have taken the time to give serious advice and have shared their budget ideas.

Posted by
973 posts

Ottawa and environs are currently experiencing 'Snowmagedon'. Playing along with Big Mike is a fine diversion. Much better than donning outer gear and pulling snow off the roof.
Also, as this sort of topic comes up on other forums more than once (where can I live on $100 a month?), the next someone searching for budget options will find these suggestions. So not entirely wasted energy.

Posted by
399 posts

The Appalachian trail is now in the mix. When men hit a certain age they sometimes need a reboot. The daily grind of the same old thing can be dispiriting. Throw in a divorce, the dissolution of your band, and perhaps another life altering event and you have the perfect storm. To be honest Dwayne does have some of that Peter Pan, time to grow up dude vibe around him.

As at least one wag has said, the problem with getting away from it all is you have a take yourself with you.

Posted by
3228 posts

We are couchsurfing hosts and I usually have no issues sharing breakfast or making supper for them. I find 2 days is my limit for hosting people - we've had some great people stay that I would have loved to have stay longer, but we live in a small town with not much to do. He could certainly give couchsurfing a try, but don't try to stay too long, don't mooch food if they don't want to feed you, don't make a pig of yourself if they do offer food (unless they keep piling it on your plate). I think when we stayed with people, they almost all gave us a nice meal - might have been basic - like cookies and Nutella or cereal/toast for breaky...or a now friend we've stayed with 3-4 times in Maine who made amazing gourmet level meals . Some hosts were very hands off and we just did our own thing, others - like our hosts in Bern - took us out to a ski hill for a beautiful hike we'd never have done on our own. We take our guests to our local park - which is about all the town has going for it - if they are interested.

The nice thing for some of our guests is they'll pick up some food at the grocery store and can use our kitchen to make their own meals. It's nice to offer something for your host as well - I don't really mind one way or another, as we veer to the picky side of eating, but we had a German girl make some homemade pretzels, and a gal from Spain make us a great (I think) Spanish omelet.

We've had people from age 18 to in her 70s. Young adults taking a gap year, older couples exploring...we've met some lovely people and have kept in contact with about 25% of them via Facebook. It is much harder finding hosts now - I think many people have switched to airbnb. Smaller towns would prob be easier than big cities where they prob get dozens of requests a day. But smaller towns may not have the public transport needed to get around easily.

Posted by
8535 posts

Throw in a divorce, the dissolution of your band, and perhaps another
life altering event and you have the perfect storm.

Exactly why "Blue Highways" might be a meaningful read for him. A synopsis from Wikipedia:

In 1978, after separating from his wife and losing his job as a
teacher, Heat-Moon, 38 at the time, took an extended road trip in a
circular route around the United States, sticking to only the "Blue
Highways". He had coined the term to refer to small, forgotten,
out-of-the-way roads connecting rural America (which were drawn in
blue on the old style Rand McNally road atlas).

He outfitted his van with a bunk, a camping stove, a portable toilet
and a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and John Neihardt's Black
Elk Speaks. Referring to the Native American resurrection ritual, he
named the van "Ghost Dancing", and embarked on a three-month
soul-searching tour of the United States, wandering from small town to
small town, stopping often at towns with interesting names. The book
chronicles the 13,000 mile journey and the people he meets along the
way, as he steers clear of cities and interstates, avoiding fast food
and exploring local American culture.

Posted by
10572 posts

I traded being in a band (and living at home) for working my way through college and starving (with no girlfriends or groupies). Why? Because it had a more promising future. I still practice my guitar and write songs regularly but any rock star ship sailed when I chose college (and a future) over music.

I've had lots of talented musicians working for me over the years (not all aspiring musicians are talented). They're generally great people but it's always the same. They struggle, working multiple part time/low paying jobs, to support their music habit. Their chances of "making it" aren't much better than winning the lottery. The lucky few end up as public school music teachers. They have a regular paycheck, retirement, plus time off to play gigs on weekends and travel in the summer.

My oldest grandson wants to be a musician (not a rock star) and I'm fine with that. In retrospect money is overrated. You need it but not as the focus of your life. If he's happy and able to support himself (however modestly), what more does he need?

Posted by
2613 posts

Europe on $20 a day. Now the Appalachian Trail is an alternative. LOL

I live in the NYC area and have this bridge for sale... any buyers?

Posted by
10390 posts

"...certain age, they need a reboot." That can certainly be one way of looking at it, one interpretation. I don't buy that view at all. True, it is a personal decision.

Barring any singular health issues, he needs an escape, a real escape and needs to take the plunge into a different environment, culture and all that after the catastrophes he has gone through. Forget all that.

Chances are if he doesn't go now, assuming he is in good physical health, he'll end up never going to Europe for numerous reasons, only one being the financial reason.

In Germany he has an option still cheaper than hostels and camp sites, ie, check with the "Bahnhofsmission" in the big train stations.

Posted by
1275 posts

@Ceidleh I don't think he had any money for her to take. However, I can totally see why she left him. I don't understand why his parents would enable his immature behavior-he needs more than a trip to Europe to get his life in order. Appalachian trail or monastery stay in the U.S. makes much more sense.

Posted by
10572 posts

I almost forgot. In Scandinavia, as I understand, there is a recognized right to camp on any land you want (as long as you aren't a nuisance). I believe it's a tradition that goes back to the Vikings. He could travel with a tent and sleeping bag and only need money to buy food from the grocery store.

Posted by
3681 posts

Oh yeah, on a tight budget? Head for Scandinavia.

With respect, not the best advice I've seen.

Posted by
10390 posts

I've never done it, although have been pretty temped since I saw others doing this option and they told me of their experiences. ie., ...using the camp site option. The people I knew staying at camp sites, doing it for the experience and as the dirt cheap way of traveling, did not stay in Scandinavia but in Germany and France. They were all Germans and saw the camping option as a viable way of shoe-string budget traveling. They're right.

Yes, bringing his own tent , Leroy would be allowed that.

Posted by
10390 posts

"cheap life"....that means Bahnhofsmission in Germany when Leroy decides on doing this needed "great escape" now instead of later.

Posted by
648 posts

OP, your friend needs to be aware that we require visitors to Europe to meet minimum financial requirements in order to be admitted. If your friend is unable to meet these requirements when asked, then you can expect that he will be deported back to the US at his expense. Details are set out in this article: https://visareservation.com/means-subsistence-schengen-visa/

Posted by
106 posts

"OP, your friend needs to be aware that we require visitors to Europe to meet minimum financial requirements in order to be admitted. If your friend is unable to meet these requirements when asked, then you can expect that he will be deported back to the US at his expense. Details are set out in this article: https://visareservation.com/means-subsistence-schengen-visa/"

This is for those who need a Schengen Visa. Americans don't need one, all they need is a valid passport.

Posted by
10390 posts

Upon all my trips to Europe I have never been asked at the arrival airport after the trans-Atlantic flight, especially even when I was a college backpacker. At most I was asked after 2009 what my profession was. I say I am retired. Plus, I am never asked if I have a return flight "back to the USA"

Posted by
399 posts

Yeah, a little concerned about lack of funds being an issue at immigration, especially if he's pressed about his plans, which are rather non-traditional I suppose.

Posted by
3681 posts

What could possibly go wrong? Besides, if anything bad happens, surely someone will bail him out. Someone always does.

Posted by
106 posts

"Yeah, a little concerned about lack of funds being an issue at immigration, especially if he's pressed about his plans, which are rather non-traditional I suppose."

Lack of funds is not an issue at immigration. It's all about your appereance and conduct.

If you look and act "normal" they don't care about you. They may ask if you can show a return ticket to the States(recommended) and where are you going to sleep(the correct answer is obviously not: on the street) showing a confirmed booking for your 1st night may be useful. If you're asked about funds, just show them your credit/debit card and say I've got 5000 USD on it. They can't verify it. The the thing is if you look and act normal and nice and see you're not a threat you'll be welcomed. If you look and act like a bum/junkie/psycho you could have a million dollars and a house in Beverly Hills you won't get in, unless they recognise your face from a Hollywood movie. :-)

The British immigration is reported to be quite strict even to Americans, most of continental Europe is more relaxed.

In case you're hassled by French immigration just remind them that when your granddad landed in Normandy in 1944 there was no French immigration officer in sight asking for his passport! :-)

Posted by
8431 posts

First, sell everything and collect cans for recycling till Leroy can afford $50 a day, then head for Albania, lay on the beach for 10 days. What I would do if i were Leroy; and who knows, might be my life someday. Second choice go to Montreal and pitch a tent in Norma's front yard.

Posted by
7517 posts

I don’t have a front yard, James E. if I did have one it would presently be covered in snow, not ideal for camping, even for hardy Canadians. All this palaver about Mike’s imaginery friend reminds me of the imaginery friends one of my children had when little. Then he grew up.

Posted by
8431 posts

I see no evidence that Leroy isnt real, and the question is a good one for discussion. Is it possible to get by on $20 a day? "Maybe", but I would feel better with $50. Cant understan why it would bother anyone. Not offensive, not insulting, not political, not argumentative; Just a question.

Posted by
106 posts

I think the OP was wrong to mention the personal circumstances of his friend. It is not our business and it prompted most users to give life advice(which was not asked) instead of travel advice which is the profile of this forum.

Instead of all the irrelevant information he could have told us in clear terms how much money and how much time his friend has, where and when is he planning to go, what are his interests, etc.

Posted by
2331 posts

Leroy Dwayne might want to take a train to Grownupville. Or a bus to Adulthood. It can be a hard, bumpy road for some, but there's plenty of room when you arrive.

Now, if he exists and Mike's not messing us about, then Leroy Dwayne should not travel anywhere. Such a low budget with no back up funds will likely leave him living under a bridge. If he's trying to straighten out his life that is not a good beginning.

Posted by
1318 posts

BMWBGV - If I were you, and maybe you are in fact Leroy - I would urge him or yourself to stay home and save his/your money until he/you has/have enough money for at least a tiny safety net. There is just too much that can go wrong.

Posted by
399 posts

40 is the new 20 (or the other way around). 40 used to be old for a man but now he can enjoy a youthful lifestyle and attitude into his 40s. Life expectancy is near 80, so my goodness why spend the best years of one's life in the workaday drudgery and tedium? For Dwayne it's now or never. Life without risk or adventure is a boring death sentence. Good Lord now I find myself supportive of his dream. Maybe it's because I've said "some day" too long and now, in some ways, it's too late.

Posted by
106 posts

"For Dwayne it's now or never."

The best time to travel is when you have no commitments, responsibilities, deadlines and have lots of free time.

But on $20/day in Europe?

Save 10k and you can travel around the world for half a year or more.

Posted by
8535 posts

Mike, I'm worried for your "head in the oven" friend, as are you. It's impossible for people on a forum to understand the scope his issues nor should they be expected to do that. His challenges are probably bigger than we can manage online, and he very probably needs personal, professional help. There's just too much background we don't about, and none of us are qualified to offer up the sort of assistance he might need.

I'd STRONGLY urge your friend to seek professional intervention that doesn't involve parental $$ for airfare or any other financial support for an "adventure" which may very likely not help him with his situation long term. He might say that he's looking for that adventure to solve his woes but realistically be just a smokescreen to avoid dealing with them.

Posted by
8431 posts

Dwayne and Leroy should travel together to share the expense, then buy a tent and a personal heating device and camp in someone's parking space.

Posted by
106 posts

I don't get what all the fuss is about.

A 40 year old guy was dumped by his girlfriend, he's unemployed and he realised he's not going to be a rock star.

On the other hand he's probably healthy, he doesn't have children to care for and his parents don't need his support yet(if they can buy him a plane ticket) and he's on good terms with them.

Most important of all he's living in the best country of the world, with endless opportunities.

I see nothing tragic or unusual in this. He realised he has an opportunity to travel a bit. What's wrong with that? Finding a job is not going to be more difficult after travelling for a few months than it is now. In fact it may boost his CV to list his international travel experience and skills he developed during travelling.

Posted by
83 posts

Your friend Leroy can always become a beg-packer.

Posted by
10390 posts

"...it's now or never." It is, isn't it? Very true.

So, at 40 he had a romantic catastrophe, got dumped, ended in a divorce...so what? All very true, but also irrelevant. Important is his health and that of his parents, presumably between 63-70, is good and stable.

What I question is his degree of desperation. If he's desperate enough, he'll go, and ought to go, take that plunge, do " the great escape" over there, go solo, and just get out of his "down home" comfort zone, which presumably after the romance disaster and divorce may no longer be so comfortable after all.

"...most of continental Europe is more relaxed." True at Border Control/Immigration, pre-Schengen and currently. When I land in Paris CDG or FRA, after I hand over my passport are no questions put to me. He swipes it, looks at me, stamps it (that's what I want in the first place), it's returned. This was the way it was in the 1970s and 1980s and with Schengen.

Only in LHR or Gatwick is it different where I do have to answer the questions, ie this short interview.

Posted by
10390 posts

I totally agree with the above that one's appearance and conduct are most important at Immigration...not finances. If Leroy/Dwayne is concerned about questions put to him, land at an airport where this won't take place...Frankfurt or Paris.

No one will react to you there, not even when you say Merci or Danke as the passport is handed back.

Posted by
7016 posts

Ya know what is so funny about Leroy? Everywhere he goes, he will take himself along. You can run, but you can't hide.

Love the "now or never" comment about travel. At age 40. Leroy really does need to put on his big boy pants. Then pull them up and not leave them hanging around his ankles.

Posted by
324 posts

I always chuckle at David of Seattle's skepticism. But, he's probably right about a lot of posts. But, BigMike has been on here for a while. Naughty, naughty if Mike is doing some sort of human-interest survey, lol.

Anyway, Mike, have you been showing or telling the forum suggestions to your friend?

Since he's down in the dumps now, maybe a little trip would be a good thing to boost him? None of us are qualified to diagnose a depressed state of mind or behavior based on words in black and white.

Anyway, going along with the quest, can your friend afford to take his guitar with him? Or, is that a no no because he may not be able to secure it properly. Yeah, if he stays in a hostel, it may get damaged or stolen. Nix it.

It was just a thought. If he could have done that, he could play (not for money) in a park or piazza (wherever his travels may land him.) Sometimes, being in a different atmosphere, away from the every day junk, can be a morale booster. Of course, he still must face his life upon return. He knows what he can handle. And, perhaps, his parents paying the airfare for him sort of feel the same way? To some, it may seem like a band aid, but your friend may surprise everyone, including himself, and come back refreshed from a trip? LOL. I don't know...just random thoughts.

Edited: Just re-read your post, and you mentioned drums. So never mind, lol. Unless he wants to take a bongo drum along.

Posted by
324 posts

Here's another thought. Maybe it was already considered. But, can Dwayne do some temp work to make enough travel money? With something like that, he is not committed to a permanent job; work a couple of months; save some travel/food/spending money. As you stated, his parents are paying his airfare.

Visiting a major Euro city on 20€ a day is a bit too low; unless he will only eat one meal and a snack/fruit a day; get free water (bring empty bottle); walk everywhere or maybe rent a bike; don't buy souvenirs which is probably not even on his mind. shrugs

You haven't come back to tell anyone if Dwayne is receptive or what he thinks, if anything, of trying to plan something. Hmm?

Added: Here's another consideration for your friend: What about medical or travel insurance? He may be a healthy middle aged man, but, accidents can still happen. Then what??

Posted by
324 posts

The band rather tragically carpooled to LA looking for a record deal but no luck. Dwayne's wife left him there for a record exec.

Sounds like the background for a cheesy Lifetime Movie, or a country singer's new song. lol.

Anywho, if all this is true, and you're not kidding around, then hopefully your friend will find his way (in more ways than one.)

Posted by
10390 posts

It makes no difference if Dwayne is down in the dumps, an emotional wreck, (so what) or something similar, as long as he has the imagination and the will to go. Does he have the will to get out and get over there?

Posted by
399 posts

Girasole and others great responses practical, critical, humorous, thoughtful, and entertaining. Over a few drinks we discussed his options but, to be frank, I find myself increasingly reluctant to get overly involved. I did talk Dwayne into waiting until at least April due to weather. My hope is he finds a woman, a better job, and considers other options. I suggested some of what has been mentioned here. I can relate to the desire to shake things up, especially for a relatively young, restless man. Heck, one reason we travel, albeit under better circumstances, is to shake our lives up a bit, right? On a side note I'm hardly an expert on cheap camping in London thank goodness.

Posted by
8431 posts

Who is Dwayne? I thought we were discussing Leroy

I think they are dating. Or maybe I'm confused.

Posted by
10390 posts

Dwayne, Leroy...who cares what he calls himself, it seems because he is coming out of disastrous romance, presently an emotional wreck...all irrelevant, he has a bad case of inertia. What he needs is a good swift kick in the behind to get his imagination going so that he can get going over there. Where is his determination?

I am not so keen on his folks forking over a grand for his air fare, but yes, only on two specific conditions, one that they can easily afford it or, conversely, afford to lose it, 2nd, that he keeps his word in paying it back. The rest is up to him when he lands.

Posted by
324 posts

Ha! Okay, thanks for updating us. It makes sense to wait until warmer weather. Yeah, it's hard to not get involved when you care about a friend. Been there, done that. But, eventually it consumes you---time, energy, thoughts and it starts to drag you down too. You're there for him. But, he is 40. So, not a kid. Yeah, he is young enough to roust about for a month in Europe. But, seriously, he really needs to consider making some money for his trip if he has his heart set on it.

As you know from being on the forum, there are a ton of ideas for budget, but good traveling. And, no, lol, I don't think being with another woman right now is good. He needs to do some journeying and journaling within himself. He should realize that he can still enjoy being in a "rock band," but for now it can only be a weekend hobby. I think he knows he needs a full time job so he can support himself.

Posted by
324 posts

I don't know...hmm...maybe Big Mike and his friend Leroy D may be experimenting and laughing over some liquid courage. lol... shrugs

Posted by
600 posts

In the words of one of only three great Texans, oh boy. This thread is turning out better than a Molière farce. My hat, if I had one, is off to BigMike.

"Yeah, a little concerned about lack of funds being an issue at immigration, especially if he's pressed about his plans, which are rather non-traditional I suppose." - If he gets badgered by the pocket change police at immigration, he can always look at an imaginary flight schedule and take an imaginary flight back to good old West Virginia (though he could be from Virginia or Kentucky, for all I know, BigMike's not clear on that).

"I think they are dating. Or maybe I'm confused." - I'm in the same boat and I can't get out of it. I thought Leroy and Dwayne were cousins twice removed, and Leroy is married to Fritz (a budget wedding, naturally, possibly in Oklahoma City)?

"Do not feed the trolls. Do not be a troll." Yes, we can ignore them, as our fair moderators advise. We can write long essays in reply, hedging our bets that we are being helpful. We can try to point out trolls in a vocal way, at the risk of our own posts being removed because we have offended someone. We can have a little harmless fun with the trolls, also at the risk of offending someone.

I sometimes get the feeling some posters are one and the same. Brigham in Utah may well be Trixie123 from Pahrump as well.

Posted by
324 posts

If his friend is having a hard time, well, yes, it's not funny at that person's expense. If true, then we can wish his friend well for his future. People can offer only an opinion or suggestion. As we know, it's up to his friend to make the final goal happen.

But, Mike came on to open a discussion. Some replies, including a few of mine were serious and trying to be helpful at first. I will admit though, lol, that the whole "can he survive on 20€ a day" seemed odd. If he is 40 years old, he should know the cost of things anywhere.

Anyway, Mike came back and sort of told that he and his friend had a lighthearted talk (over a few drinks) about this plight. So, we don't know for sure what was conversed over those drinks, lol. Maybe some movie script....jk

Mike did state he convinced ole Dwayne to wait until Spring to venture out. If serious, in the following months, his friend can find a temp job, make the money he will need to support his travel abroad.....if that is what he truly wants. He won't have to wonder if he can live on 20€ a day.

It seems Mike has a good sense of humor. I think he can figure out who is posting stuff for fun. .

Posted by
10390 posts

No problem waiting until springtime to go over. Good, Dwayne can get with it by planning his trip, take that plunge to get out of his comfort zone and all the people around him, save his folks.

Very much so..it's now or never. If he feels desperate enough, he'll have the guts to go. Maybe he hasn't been in the dumps long enough, spend more time as an emotional wreck.

Posted by
324 posts

Agree! Elvis was very handsome and very talented and set the stage for a lot of performers after him. (Same as MJ.)

Obviously Mike, I thought the song was an appropriate reference to a lot of people's life situations. Just gotta make that change ;)

Posted by
10572 posts

Another thought. If he has nothing holding him back, why not go for a job on a cruise ship in Europe? They don't pay a ton (by US standards) but it includes room and board. They're always looking for English speakers and would probably put him in a public facing position (rather than maid/janitorial service).

Posted by
10390 posts

It all boils down to how desperate, eager, and just plain willing to get away, Dwayne is, given his state of mind based on these romantic disasters. Is he just going to be and stay a prisoner of these disasters, which he needs to see as irrelevant and inconsequential.

Working on cruise ship is a viable option...at least, that option satisfies one goal... he'll be gone from his "down home" comfort zone, making that "great escape" which includes Europe.

How about working on a merchant ship?