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Ahhh! This transportation thing is driving me nuts!!

Hey guys. In 2012 I will be going overseas for the first time. I have found a way to eat cheaply (picnicking - thanks Rick!), sleep for free (globalfreeloaders.com <3) ... and I know I can't really budget anything right now due to inflation but I'd love to have some idea of what I'm working with. So what I need to figure out is if I should buy a rail pass (I'm spending most of my time in the U.K.) or fly on the cheap... I have gone to ryanair and easyjet to see what places I could get to from a certain place and a lot of the places I need are not available. But I don't want to spend a lot of time on trains... and I don't know if being in France, Swiz, and Germany for less than 2 weeks is even worth getting a railpass. Basically, I'm looking for the cheapest way to travel. Would hitching be worth it? I am a woman and I will be traveling alone but I know a lot of precautions can be taken.

Anyway, here's my basic itinerary... if a seasoned travel expert could figure this whole thing out for me I'd be so grateful. :-)

Ireland: Dublin/Dingle Peninsula -- 14 days ///////
Scotland: Edinburgh/Inverness (Loch Ness)/Loch Lomond-Trossachs National Park/Isle of Skye - 14 days ///////
England: Newcastle (3) /Liverpool (7) / Wales (7) / London (5) /Salisbury Plain (1) /Isles of Scilly (2) /Bath (2) - 20 days ///////
Hamburg - 3 days ///////
Switzerland - 4 days //////
France: Lyon - 3 days

Posted by
576 posts

Kyla...just curious...how do you know, in 2008, that you'll have $3600 to spend in 2012? With so many variables, that's an amazing job of preplanning one's budget!

Posted by
31524 posts

Kyla, You're certainly getting an early start to your planning! That's probably a good idea, as it will provide lots of time to work out the details.

If I read your Post correctly, your trip will be slightly longer than 60 days? I was a bit curious on the length of stay you listed for certain destinations. For example, 7 days in Liverpool seems a bit long?

Even if you're picknicking, you'll probably have to count on spending US$75-100 per day (average, which doesn't include air fares or Rail passes). The U.K. is more expensive than many other locations, but of course none of us can predict the exchange rates in 2012.

I would definetly not recommend hitching, especially considering your gender! The globalfreeloaders idea makes me a bit nervous also. I'd suggest considering Hostels for at least part of your trip.

The least expensive option for travel in the U.K. is probably by Coach (Bus). Have a look at megabus for one example. The trips are usually longer than going by rail, but if cost is a factor then something to consider. On the continent, rail is probably the best option. If the trip is going to be longer than 6-8 hours, I usually have a look at budget airlines. Check Rick's Rail section on this website to have a look at approximate costs and times between various destinations.

Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
11462 posts

At lot can happen in three years. Especially with this economy.

Rail passes may change. Airline routes will definitely change. Some airlines may disappear.

More importantly, spend the next three years saving as much as possible.

Posted by
17 posts

thanks guys!

well i'm only gonna have $3600 so 75-100 a day is not an option. I doubt it will take me that much... i can cut many many corners. And I've seen a site (i think europebackpacking.com or something like that?) that budgeted about 4,500 for 2 months... but includes sleeping expenses, which I won't need to worry about. My parents aren't worried about globablfreeloaders, Ken... I don't know that you should be! I just think it's a genuine way to meet people, and if you talk to them online beforehand you might get an idea of their creepiness factor if it exists (although I know people can lie online and creeps are particularly good at pretending to be a great person... but still. I think people are mostly good.)

Re: Liverpool.... I should have explained that I am a HUGEEE Beatles fan. Hamburg wouldn't even be on there otherwise. And I cut some time off in London to be able to check out Bath b/c Rick highly recommends it. I'll prob. spend the 5 days in London just seeing Beatles sites, lol.... no, I know I can see a lot in one day. I just need 7 days in Liverpool to take in the awesomeness of it all.

Posted by
11462 posts

If you're that big of a Beatles fan, check out London Walk's beatles tour. The guy who gives it is considered one of the leading experts on Beatles trivia in all of the UK.

Here's his bio:

Richard P

"the Pied Piper of Beatlemania", is the author of The Beatles' London, a consultant on the Hard Day's Night DVD, holder of the Beatles Brain of Britain title and owner of the Beatles Coffee Shop. So much for the understatement! As actor David Jansen* put it, "[Richard] is a Beatles genius". Part and parcel of all that are Richard's "connections" - they're to die for. He knows them all - all the "players" from the Beatles saga. One could go on. I'm thinking of his collection of Beatles gear...but really, the thing is to "go on" the walk. Here's an Abbey Road "grab". *David Jansen was the child actor who appeared in A Hard Day's Night

And here's the website"

London Walks

I took it in 1993 when there was only one tour (now there are two)and he's still giving it 18 years later.

Posted by
17 posts

Ha, yeah, I wish I was that good with money. in fact, I'm terrible at it.

I'm working with Americorps as a VISTA who do indirect volunteer service. You can either get an education award or a stipend at the end of each full year of service (which is what you must commit to, at least one year. ) The stipend is 1,200 for each year. you can be a VISTA for up to 3 years, which I plan to do...

so 3 X 1,200 = 3,600.
Voila!

:-)

Posted by
21867 posts

Lets do a bit more math -- $3600 for 75 to 100 days is $36 to $48 a day. Even excluding lodging that is a very tight budget. Have you considered using a bike?

Posted by
17 posts

okay, what if i skip switzerland and shave off two weeks?

Posted by
11462 posts

One thing you have to also consider...prices will go up in three years.

Posted by
17 posts

Yeah, I know I can't budget now....
I just wanted kind of a relative idea.

Posted by
191 posts

Kyla,

Just a thought, and maybe you already thought of this, but as you earn over the three years, put it in a savings account with interested (like ING in Canada, don't know the US banks) or a GIC...it's safe and you'll earn a little extra...not a ton, but every penny counts.

And asking for money for bdays, Christmases etc was a good suggestion.

Posted by
31524 posts

Kyla,

Thanks for the additional information on your "travel funds", as it helps to understand your situation.

Given inflation and other factors, I'm wondering if US$3600 will be enough to travel for that length of time? One suggestion that might help - you have four years of Christmas and Birthday gifts before your trip. Request cash or other travel related items so that you will be able to increase your travel budget somewhat. Perhaps helpful relatives will also decide to help you a bit further?

You didn't indicate whether you have all the travel gear you'll need, or whether you still have to buy Backpacks, etc.?

Regarding my concerns about globalfreeloaders, I'm assuming this is somewhat similar to couchsurfing? This could turn out to be a wonderful choice, but again considering your gender I'd suggest being very careful. Even though I'm a "larger" male, I wouldn't be comfortable with something like that.

Good luck!

Posted by
17 posts

I have a backpack already (my dad is into this stuff... he got it for us all to go camping but we still haven't) ... and a passport. I probably already have some other needs as well. & I don't think my PP expires until 2018.

Posted by
8186 posts

You have 3 years time to figure this out, so stop worrying about it. The trains and planes will be changing everything around anyway. I can't tell you how many times the Deutsche Bahn has changed things, like specials and discounts. Ryan Air is talking about flights to the states now. Who knows what airline will go bust by then or which new ones will start up. Who knows what fuel costs will be then or what the dollar will be worth. Who knows what you will be interested in 3 years from now. You might have met a wonderful man, you might be married, or have kids, perhaps you have found new cities that interest you far more than what you have listed here. Goals are important, but leave yourself a bit more open.

Bottom line is save money and when it gets to be close to a year before, then start looking at prices and schedules.

Posted by
11450 posts

I am still so confused,, I don't know what this Vista is ,but why would you do this for so little money?? I assume you live at home, since this is beyond a living wage??
Anyways, can't you get a part time job, even just a few hours on weekends to earn a bit more, I mean, your airline ticket alone may cost up to 1000 dollars , so what does that do to your budget??

Also , what about babysitting, people here will pay up to a couple hundred for New Years Eve sitting, three NYEs can net you 600 dollars tax free.

I strongly suggest you continue with all your research,, Beatles fan or not, 7 days in Liverpool and only 3 days in the entire country of France,, LOL

Alot can change in 3 years, and you will learn lots in that time and may decide to do it a bit differently, but, I must say I do commend you for starting your research. It will save you money, as knowledge definately saves money, and it will enable you to plan a great trip.

Good luck.

Posted by
11450 posts

Also Kyla, have you checked out some other travel forum websites, there are many and many of them are very good. You can never learn too much.

Try Thorntree, which I think is the Lonely Planet one, and also tripadvisor.com and Fodors. In fact I would just google " travel forums" and read up like crazy,, I think its fun, and I know you will get alot of it.. hope to see you around the boards.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks, Frank... I commend myself for what I'm doing as well, haha. You've been a big help.

I've decided to stick with just backpacking the U.K... and my dad agrees I'll be a lot happier that way. I was going to cut out Scotland, but I honestly can't bring myself to do it.... if I have to though, I have to. I'm also reducing the length of my trip a bit... 45 days instead of 64 or whatever it was. It hurts my soul to give up Hamburg, but I'll be back. So here's what I have now, and I'm a lot happier with it and not frustrated anymore:

Ireland: Shannon/Limerick/Listowel/Tralee/Dingle Peninsula/Killarney/Ring of Kerry - Skelling Rocks/Cork City/Kinsale/Cobh/Dublin & Environs/Belfast & Environs -- 14 days ----------- Scotland: Glasgow/Stirling/Loch Lomond - Trossachs National Park/Isle of Skye/Inverness (Loch Ness)/Edinburgh - 7 days
------------England: Newcastle (3)/London (7)/Salisbury Plain - Stonehenge (1)/Penzance - Isles of Scilly (2)/Bath (2)/Bristol (1)/Cardiff (2)/North Wales (5)/Liverpool (4)- 27 days

That sounds like a lot, esp. in Ireland but I'm going around like in a circle so to speak... I've consulted maps many times now in the Fodor's books I checked out, so I've basically memorized the layout of Ireland. The point is that I'm being smart about it and not zigzagging all over the country. And I can fly from Belfast to Glasgow on either ryanair or easyjet, I don't remember (granted, maybe not in 2012) ... so after that I can just use a BritRail pass. I didn't think I could figure this out myself, haha!

Pat... There is a motto I live by from Boy Meets World... "If it's not meant to happen, I'll make it meant to happen." -- Cory Matthews. And indeed, a plane ticket will not cost 1,000 then because I won't let it!
My parents can't help b/c my dad can't work b/c my brother has Asperger's and they are in CC debt as it is... but they know how much I want this and by then perhaps things will be better.

Posted by
11462 posts

Pat...

VISTA stands for "Volunteers in Service to America."

You can read a summary about it here--(Interesting how you can give your opinion on matters you admit knowing nothing about--LOL)

I commend Kyla for what she is doing.

Posted by
11450 posts

Frank, no need to be a smart mouth, I freely admitted I did not know what Vista was, I do not act like I know everything,unlike some people.

I do know a person must have a bare minimum to live and 1200 a year isn't it,, so now you are telling me its a volunteer position. Like being in the army but with less pay??

It is nice that Kyla is doing that, but that still does not explain to me why she couldn't get a part time job, I mean, it is a bit hard to plan a big trip to Europe, with only 3600 dollars, unless her parents are planning on supplementing her.

It is nice that some people assume everyone knows everything about their countries programs.. a tad self centered of YOU Frank.

Posted by
11450 posts

Ahh , so they pay for your living allowance and health care. I would think the free health care alone is a great benefit. I still think its a big committment to give 3 years to the program and only come out with 3600 dollars, at least if the money was for school a person would come out with over 12,000 dollars, a huge difference!

Posted by
11462 posts

Gee, Pat, it was a joke. I used LOL when I made a snide remark--just like you do. I figured using LOL made it all right. Just like you do.

If you can't take a joke...LOL...dont' make them...LOL...

Just giving you a bit of your own medicine. LOL

Posted by
990 posts

Kyla, I agree that hanging around travel forums and reading up on European travel will help you figure out what you want to do, how best to cut your costs, and what is realistic. And, if nothing else, dreaming is fun--sometimes as much fun as the doing.

Regarding hitchhiking--forget it. Even without the safety issues--and let's face it, it was always a risky thing to do for anyone, male or female--it's just not done anymore. I recently read an article about a guy who intended to re-visit a trip he'd made to England years ago where he hitch-hiked all over. As he told it, he spent three days at the side of various roads with his thumb out and no one even slowed down, let alone stopped. He ended up having to walk to pubs after hours of unsuccessful hitching, where the patrons got a jolly good laugh out of his naivete for thinking that hitching was still a viable form of transport. It's over, it's a dodo, forget about it.

Posted by
17 posts

I'm not going to France anymore as you can see... but when I said huge Beatles Fan I think you misunderstood me... "Lol" all you want, but there's never been a better band before or since. They are like the blood in my veins. France is not. End of story.
I can't do anything to earn extra money... as an Americorps VISTA I am committing to a year of service WITH NO OUTSIDE COMMITMENTS! I don't have to commit to three years, that's just the maximum amount of time you can serve with any program or combo of programs within Americorps.
Education is overrated. Why do you think I'm traveling? For the record, they only give you the education award for 2 years anyway, on the 3rd year you would HAVE to take the stipend. So I wouldn't have 12,000... only 8,000 for school. That would certainly NOT get me even one semester at the University of Virginia or any other in-state school... so what's the point? I don't need a piece of paper to prove what I can do. My resume will look incredible after Americorps. And that's another reason I'm doing it, besides that I want volunteering to be my life's work -- I can't find a full-time job. I tried for a long time and the economy just sucks too much right now. Maybe not in Canada... (which I love, btw. Degrassi!!)
Please don't insult Frank. He wasn't really rude to you at all. I would NEVER be in the army, ugh. But this is volunteer work and technically they shouldn't even be paying me at all! The fact that they are is just icing on the cake. But I'm finally doing work I love that's stimulating to my brain and something I'm passionate about. Before this I've worked at Ben & Jerry's and a movie theater... I get bored so quickly, just imagine.
The UK on 3,600 or more WILL happen... after living at the poverty level for 3 years I'll know more than enough tricks to cut corners. Sites have budgeted 2 months for 4,500... and that's including sleeping, which I won't need.
"You may say that I'm a dreamer... but I'm not the only one..."

Posted by
17 posts

OH and when it's over you get non-competitive entry into a government job. You can't be that. I won't have to struggle to get a job anymore when this is over.

Posted by
17 posts

....... ?????

I didn't make this thread so people could argue. I made it for some help and advice.

Posted by
11450 posts

Frank, I reread my first post, there is nothing wrong with it , you are just a busybody.

Kyla, good luck to you.

Posted by
11462 posts

INteresting, Pat, how you deleted your original post when you insulted both Kyla and me. Then added a new one wishing her luck and insulting me.

I'm glad you did because I couldn't care less if you insult me but there was no need to insult Kyla. She did nothing wrong.

Posted by
11450 posts

FRank, now it is confirmed, you are a LIAR and a trouble maker. I will contact websmaster if you continue with lies.

I did not delete or edit my first post. It is exactly where and as it was first posted.

I deleted my very last post. Which said:( entire post)

Kyla I am glad you and Frank see eye to eye you are a set .

If you found that insulting , well too bad,, but more importanty ,, why? I deleted it anyways as I realized that Kyla is just a young girl and I shoulddn't lump her with your illness.

But thanks for last post ,as I said it confirms what I have always thought, that you are a person who purposefully looks for trouble, and now apparently lies about it too. Thanks Frank.

Posted by
11462 posts

You are right...I meant last post not original post. For that, I stand corrected.

As for everyting else, I'm not going to waste my time.

Kyla...one thing you might want to look into are volunteer opportunities in both Ireland and the UK. Some non-profit organizations might be willing to have you "work" for them--without pay--but will pick up some of your expenses. I don't know of any offhand, but since you like to volunteer, it might be an idea to explore. And, you have plenty of time to do research.

Posted by
17 posts

Young girl? I'm 21!!! You sound younger than me, honestly.

Frank, I would LOVE to work in the U.K. or Ireland... but I think there's some bill or something (I'm not sure exactly what it is) that the U.S. won't sign and so Americans can't work over there now, or only for a very limited amount of time. I hate the U.S... this just confirms it .... I'd love to live over there!

Posted by
11462 posts

Well, it's not some bill that we don't sign. It's not that simple. Nor does the ability for you to work overseas have anything to do with the U.S.

Most countries try to make sure their own people get work before outsiders. Europe is unique in that it has virtually opened up the borders and any citizen of an EU country can work in another EU country without a work permit. This has actually made it harder for Americans to work in the EU. American companies, with offices overseas, can hire Americans more easily than European companies. Most of those jobs are for people with specific skills or eduction.

So, if you are serious about working and living overseas, go back to school, find out what kind of careers are more apt for foreign living, and get an education in that field.

However, there may be volunteer opportunities through non-profit, religious, or similar organizations that might allow you more time overseas albeit without pay.

Posted by
8186 posts

Actually, when you make statements like "I hate the US" when it is about something like immigration law or work permits in foreign countries, things you don't really know anything about, it does sound like you are a young girl. You do not want to get a college education and think that is not needed in todays world, you think that hitchhiking would be a good means of traveling around, you believe the government is going to give you a good job just because you are volunteering, but without a college education? These are all signs of someone who is just a tad immature, so I do think the "young girl" label still fits. I admire you for volunteering, but keep your mind open to the fact that having a college education is never a detriment and always a plus. Take if from someone who knows. I do not have a degree and I so wish I did. My life would have been so much easier, jobs would have been easier to get. Yes, you can make it, but the struggle is tougher.

Posted by
17 posts
  1. I admitted I knew nothing about it. I guess hate is a little strong, but I'm always happier somewhere else. In fact, I'm never happy. "Only fools are satisfied..." - Billy Joel
  2. I know a college education is needed... I am protesting it. I would major in English anyway, and I do NOT want to be a teacher... so what would I do? That's bullshit that someone would hire me just because I have a degree. And I don't care if I would make more money. That's horrible.
  3. I'm the most paranoid person around, I don't honestly think hitchhiking is a good means of travel... it was just a question.
  4. I don't believe the gov't is going to give me a good job. In fact, I know it's not guaranteed. But with Americorps you are guaranteed non-competitive entry. Meaning I wouldn't need a degree! The job still isn't a sure thing, but my resume having Americorps on it would be like the replacement of a degree.
Posted by
8186 posts

It is not that they will hire you just because you have a degree, it is that they don't hire you if you do not have one. When you are competing with 50 other people for the same job, guess which resume ends up in the round file?

Posted by
17 posts

What I'm saying re: the non-competitive entry is explained on americorps.org. It might only be explained in the training if you have been accepted in a program, but I'm busy typing up attractions and budgeting prices for that ... so I don't feel like looking it up right now.

Posted by
131 posts

Hi, Kyla!
First, thank you for the work you are doing. I am a teacher and I don't know what we would do without our Americorps volunteers. It's long hours and exhausting work and they make such a difference.
Planning for and dreaming about my next trip can keep me going on tough days at school and the research you are doing will make all the difference by being so prepared and knowing exactly where you want to go. Starting to rank the absolute musts is also a great thing to do now so when it gets closer you already know that and can be watching for flights.
My daughters both have backpacked alone in Europe but staying in hostels is smart. Some of them are really cheap and mostly, most of the time, you will find someone to travel with. You'd be better off saving up for those and skipping France/Germany/Switzerland if need be, but-
Have you considered some of the "volunteer" options in Europe? I use quotes because often you have to pay- but it's way less than a tour and with homestays and meals and such it might provide a base or a way to extend your time.
Good luck!

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you so much Karen! You've been a great help. I'm glad you know about Americorps.
I have considered volunteers for peace, which allows you to pay $300 plus airfare to go overseas and volunteer. But since I will be volunteering for 3 years non-stop, I figured it'd be okay if I took a month and a half off from my life's work.
:-)

Posted by
21867 posts

Kyla, I know you are not going to like to hear this but you really need to do a little reassessment. Three years with Americorps will not be equivalent to a college degree and the learning experience will not be the same. A college degree should be a collection of experiences that is greater than sum of a few courses and a piece of paper. While I think it is admirable to desire a lifetime of volunteerism, there is an element of reality called health care, retirement, etc. that one needs to provide for oneself instead of relying on others to provide that for you. Unless, of course, you have a trust fund and then you are free to volunteer for the rest of your life. And the religious orders have addressed this question fairly well so you might consider joining an order. You plan does need a little work but you have time.

What happen to your Moracco trip that was schedule for Dec 5th?

Posted by
17 posts

my morocco trip? how did you know about that?!

i'm not getting a college degree. end of story. where would i get the money for four years? even if i hadn't spent it on a cruise for my family, it would not have gotten me through 4 years and my parents can't pay for it. no way. i would have been in more debt because of it. maybe it's other people that need to reevaluate absolutely having to have a degree.

i'm at the VISTA training right now and almost everyone agrees with me and respects my decision regarding college. i have learned so much about poverty and other things as well.