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17 days in Europe... need help

I'm a 17 year old planning an Europe backpacking - alone. Actually the scheduled day of depart is February 24th, so it's kinda getting emergency. I need to decide at least the visiting country and reserve the airplane (it is basically a free ticket... lucky but dates restricted) as soon as possible.

Here's the thing. I have 17 days to travel (02/24-03/12) and have to decide whether I should follow the western course (Portugal-Spain-France...Possibly Italy?) or the eastern one(Benelux-Germany...Possibly Vienna or Paris). I'm personally more inclined to the latter mainly because the safety issues- I'm seventeen but an asian so looks little younger than others and 5' 8", so the notorious Madrid, Barcelona, Venice and etc. look little intimidating although I decided to give it a go to europe backpacking itself. Is the security of those cities that bad? I have been to London and security issues there seemed much better than the rumors.

And one more thing, I don't know how much days should I allot to a single city, especially large ones. I certainly like to walk around streets and go to landmarks but I don't want to do a 'checking trip'- I don't think I'm going to spend 7.5 euros on Anne Frank's house or something like that... I usually prefer more sightseeing and seeing what I like (in london, National Gallery was a bless but Tate Modern was... little disastrous)

Should I travel germany and its neighborhood, what form of transportation do you think is the best? My budget is not that great. And is the Hostelling International membership worth joining? Since I'm a korean citizen I'm also looking at korean europe traveling websites, and HI membership is generally thought of as a necessity there.

Any comments or suggestions on schedule, itinerary, or other travel topics would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Posted by
5 posts

Munich of course. Lost of young people there from all backgrounds. Good hostels near and in the major part of town. And since you've gotten that far...might as well go to Prauge.

Posted by
3188 posts

Part of your decision may be based on where you can fly in and out of on a free ticket and then, I'd plan on taking trains to your destinations. If it were me, I'd start with Paris and then plan an itinerary around that--possibly Switzerland and/or northern Italy. You could potentially fly into Paris and home from Milan. I think that you should not worry about safety in any of the larger cities as long as you take the usual precautions--travel with a money belt, be aware of your surroundings, etc.
Here's a link to a great discussion about trip planning. Good luck!

Itinerary Planning

Posted by
881 posts

Ethan - the hostelling international card is not a bad deal for the price, but honestly I found I enjoyed the non-HI hostels in both Vienna/Salzburg/Munich a lot more - more fun people and atmosphere. Safe trip!