City Guides

Itinerary Planning Advice for Budget Backpacking in Europe

Choosing well-researched itinerary is essential for budget travelers. This guide will help you make the most of your time & money.

Planning

Updated: March 18, 2017. Originally posted August 2013. 

In our opinion, creating a proper itinerary (even if it’s very loose) is essential if you want to visit Europe. It’s even more essential if you want to go backpacking cheaply in Europe.

Here’s the thing about visiting Europe… you could travel for over 12 months and still feel like you’ve missed a lot. Everyone has difficulty choosing where to visit. It’s probably the most common struggle. It takes a lot of creativity, and you’ll probably spend many hours trying to nail down your itinerary. There are multiple strategies for traveling, and it’s up to you to find the one that works the best for your journey.

This article will help give you advice for planning your travel itinerary. 

Cheesy Analogy Alert Planning is a lot like doing a puzzle. You start by assembling the border (your arrival and departure dates) because that is the easiest. Then you figure the rest out. Sometimes you have a few chunks assembled, but it takes a lot of trial and error before you complete it.

Why Should I Plan an Itinerary? I Want To Be A Free Spirit!

Some people travel to Europe with the “I’ll just wing it and see what happens” attitude. I was one of those people. It can work but it usually doesn’t. Without planning, you waste a lot of time on trivial stuff that you could have easily done at home, and you end up missing a lot of great things and spending a lot more money.

For example, it takes 10 minutes to book a hostel online, but it can take you an hour or two trying to find one randomly in an unfamiliar city. It takes an hour to research a city to find stuff that looks interesting, but showing up in a city without any clue about what it has to offer can be a disaster. You’ll spend all your time wandering, and you might not find anything that is really interesting to you. European cities are not like Disneyland — everything isn’t laid out all nice and neat. Sights are spread throughout the city, and you’ll never find the little gems if you don’t look ahead of time.

You don’t have to plan out every second of your trip, but a little homework really pays off.

First, the length of your trip has a huge impact on how much of an itinerary you’ll need. Basically, the shorter your trip, the more you need to plan…

  • Anything under two weeks should be planned out in-depth because you’re short on time.
  • Trips two to four weeks require a little less planning because you have more wiggle room.
  • Anything over a month can be planned as you travel but you should still do some planning ahead of time.

Planning = Saving Money

Here is the truth… the more you plan, the less you’ll spend.

The best way to save money on high-speed train and plane tickets is by booking far in advance because prices rise as the departure date nears. For example, booking a high-speed train from Paris to Amsterdam is €35 if bought 3-4 months in advance. However, that same ticket costs €110+ if bought last minute. The same goes for plane tickets throughout Europe.

Don’t want to lose flexibility? A rail pass is probably a better option (learn more about Rail Passes here), but buying all your tickets far in advance will almost always be cheaper than using a rail pass.

Things like hostels, hotels, and apartment rentals can be cheaper when booked early — because the earlier you book, the more options you have. For example, booking a hostel last minute could result in you needing to book a more expensive bed because the cheaper ones are already taken.

Even spending a little time researching restaurants can help you find quality places that aren’t expensive.

How To Plan Your Itinerary

I tried to present these steps in a logical order, but it is impossible to document exactly how to choose your itinerary. These steps will get you about 80% to where you need to be, but you’ll have to figure out your own system to do the rest.

Step One — Choose The Season

Choose the time of year you want to travel. Each season has its pros and cons so check out our guide to picking the best season to travel to learn more.

Step Two — Choose Your Travel Dates

Pick your travel dates. Your dates are usually determined by your budget or available free time — probably a combination of the two. How you plan a two-week trip is a lot different than a six-month trip.

Once you know your exact dates, you’ll be able to start filling in those days.

Step Three — Concrete Events

Write down anything you are 100% certain you are going to do. This is stuff like “I have tickets to the Daft Punk concert on June 18th in Paris” or “My rich uncle is letting us stay at his villa in Tuscany May 5th-13th.” These are dates that can’t be moved. You’ll have to plan around these events, so they’ll greatly affect your other travel plans.

Step Four — Where To Visit

Break out the map and start brainstorming where you want to visit. Go the bookstore to take a look at the travel books. Look online at travel sites. Write down all the places that look interesting (don’t limit yourself at this point – go crazy). Think about what kind of stuff you’re interested in seeing — castles, beaches, WWII sights, major cities, nature, etc?

Further Reading [The Best Travel Guidebooks and Travel Guide Websites for Budget Travel in Europe.]

Step Five — Get More Realistic

Start narrowing down your list. I would make three lists:

  1. Places you 100% want to see
  2. Places you really want to see
  3. Places you could live without.

You’ll find yourself returning to this step often as you narrow down your list.

Step Six — Determine Days In Each Location

This is a tough step.

Write down how many days you think you’ll want to spend in each city. Don’t rush it! This is where many beginners — myself included — make mistakes.

Naturally, you want to see as much as possible, so you end up trying to jam a million things into a short amount of time. You’ll just end up missing a lot, and you will get burned out. Getting burned out is one of the worst things that can happen — it will make your trip extremely stressful, and you might get to the point where you hate traveling.

I would recommend a minimum of three full days for big cities (and that is really rushing it). You can easily spend 5-10 days in cities like London and Paris without getting bored. The list below indicates the minimum amount of days that we think you should spend in each city. Remember that only staying for the minimum will feel like a whirlwind.

Don’t forget that there are a lot of good day trips that can be taken while in big cities.

  • Amsterdam: 2-3 days
  • Bruges: 1-2 days
  • Athens: 1-2 days
  • Barcelona: 3 days
  • Berlin: 2-3 days
  • Budapest: 2-3 days
  • Florence: 2-3 days
  • Edinburgh: 2-3 days
  • Dublin: 2 days
  • London: 4 days
  • Krakow: 2-3 days
  • Madrid: 2-3 days
  • Interlaken: 2 days
  • Munich: 2 days
  • Paris: 4 days
  • Prague: 2-3 days
  • Rome: 3-4 days
  • Seville: 1-2 days
  • Venice: 2-3 days
  • Vienna: 1-2 days

Don’t forget to take travel time into account! Many beginner travelers forget how much time it takes to travel from one city to another. The traveling process includes getting to the airport/train station (you usually have to arrive early), time spent traveling, getting to your new hostel, checking in, etc.

An Example Of How Travel Time Adds Up — Paris To Amsterdam (By Train)

  • Hostel to Metro Station: 15-minute walk + 5-minute wait for the train
  • Metro Ride to Train Station: 45 minutes
  • Wait Time at Train Station: 30 minutes (you don’t want to miss your train)
  • Train Ride From Paris to Amsterdam: 4.5 hours
  • Walking to New Hostel: 35 minutes
  • Getting Checked In and Putting Your Stuff Away: 30 minutes

Total Travel Time: About 7 hours (even though the train ride was only 4.5 hours). This also doesn’t take into account the extra time you’ll spend getting lost when you can’t find your new hostel (it will happen, trust me).

Another Travel Note: Traveling is exhausting. Spending all your time on a plane/train is not much fun, and by the time you arrive at your new hostel, you’ll be too tired to want to do anything. So this is another reason to slow down and to spend more time in each of your destinations.

Step Seven — Flying To Europe

At this point, you have a rough idea of where you want to visit. I would now start looking at your plane ticket to/from Europe. You have two options when purchasing a ticket. You can either buy a standard ticket or an “open jaw” ticket.

  • Standard Ticket: You arrive and depart from the same airport. These can be good if you’re traveling in a specific region and the airport is relatively near where you’re traveling.
    • For example, you want to travel to France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. You can easily fly in and out of Paris because you can design your travel so you go in a loop with Paris being at the end of the journey.
  • Open Jaw: You arrive and depart from different airports. This can be a good option if you plan on traveling a good distance away from your arrival airport so you don’t have to waste time getting back to your arrival airport.
    • For example, if you want to visit Ireland, England, France, and Germany, it makes sense to fly into Dublin and leave from Frankfurt.

There are many factors that go into what plane ticket you purchase. An open jaw ticket could cost a lot more but sometimes the price different is actually quite small (it could even be cheaper). There can be a huge price difference between airports, so you might have to base your trip around that factor too.

Further Reading: [Guide to finding the cheapest airfare to Europe.]

Step Eight — Pick a Route

Decide on the best route to take. Try to avoid backtracking because it wastes time and money. Get a calendar and block out the days you’ll visit each location. Remember to not rush.

Step Nine — Transportation Within Europe

Now you should figure out your transportation options and costs. Are you going to take the train (individual tickets or use a Eurail pass), are you going to take planes, rent a car, or maybe use the bus? Are you going to take multiple forms of transportation? You need to price each option and figure this into your budget. Further Reading [Transportaion in Europe]

Now get a rough idea of how much it is going to cost to get from city to city. You’ll quickly start to see how much transportation eats into your budget. If the costs are getting too high, you might want to limit the number of cities you visit. Rome2Rio.com is an excellent website for estimating transportaion options/costs.

Even if you’re using a rail pass, you should still get an idea of where you want to visit. You want to use your pass as efficiently as possible. Click here for our guide to choosing and using a Eurail pass.

Step Ten — Recalculate

Go back through all the steps above (in no specific order) until you figure out your itinerary. Remember that all this will take some time and you’ll change your mind often.

It is important to remember that this isn’t about planning every second of your trip. You’ll drive yourself crazy doing that, but you’ll save a lot of money — and frustration — by planning as much as possible.

More Itinerary Planning Tips

If you’re a new traveler, I suggest starting your trip in an English speaking country. London is an excellent place to start. Aside from being one of the greatest cities in the world, it is foreign enough to be interesting, but similar enough to not be overwhelming (it also has excellent links to the rest of Europe). This way, you’ll ease into traveling before heading off to non-English speaking countries.

Don’t forget about jet lag. Your first day might be a little rough, so don’t plan on doing a ton of stuff. But don’t go to sleep in the middle of the day either because this will really mess you up.

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Planning

  • Susan W.

    I think this is a good guide for trip planning.
    Don’t forget to schedule some time outside the cities. After a while all the cities start to seem the same so I recommend spending some time smaller towns/villages. It is a nice change of pace.

    • TSB

      I totally agree. I love being in big cities but it was really nice to visit some of the smaller towns. I think most people only stick to the huge cities and I think they’re missing out on a major part of European culture by only seeing the large cities. There is a lot of nice countryside in Europe and the relaxation is great. Thanks for your comments!

      • Jen

        I’ve heard this as well, but how do you get to small towns? I was hoping to avoid driving!

        • Corinna

          Stuttgart (Baden-Wuertemburg, Germany) has a great train system that can get you to all sorts of interesting small towns easily. For example, you can hop on the S-Bahn and go to Weil der Stadt and see the birthplace of Johanes Kepler complete with medieval buildings and town wall, or go to Ludwigsburg and tour the palace and gardens of the Dukes/Kings of Wuertemburg. You can get an all-day ticket for a reasonable price. I am sure other cities have similar systems that will allow you to see smaller places without driving as well. Hope this helps!

        • dan

          you are an idiot

  • el

    Very useful tips! Thanx!

  • el

    Very useful tips! Thanx!

  • Amazing article. very helpful and useful tips..

  • Amazing article. very helpful and useful tips..

  • Natalie

    This is amazing! The step by step process you have laid out is calming my stressed out mind. Thank you for the invaluable advice 🙂

  • Natalie

    This is amazing! The step by step process you have laid out is calming my stressed out mind. Thank you for the invaluable advice 🙂

  • anya

    I’m going to be traveling for 7 weeks, part of which is during the high tourist season. I want to keep things flexible, but I have a (probably illegitimate) worry that if a book hostels as I go (vs ahead of time), I may end up without a decent place to stay…is this something I need be concerned about? Thanks for all the great tips!

    • savvybackpacker

      Hi Anya,
      I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You should be fine if you book a day or two in advance. You might not always get your top choice but you should still be able to find something. Just try to book as early as you feel comfortable without cramping your travel style.

  • anya

    I’m going to be traveling for 7 weeks, part of which is during the high tourist season. I want to keep things flexible, but I have a (probably illegitimate) worry that if a book hostels as I go (vs ahead of time), I may end up without a decent place to stay…is this something I need be concerned about? Thanks for all the great tips!

    • savvybackpacker

      Hi Anya,
      I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You should be fine if you book a day or two in advance. You might not always get your top choice but you should still be able to find something. Just try to book as early as you feel comfortable without cramping your travel style.

  • Martin Breslin

    One thing that should be mentioned about transportation is costs. In many European countries, train fares are lower if booked in advanced. You must have a specific itinerary planned, as advanced tickets are not flexible.

  • Martin Breslin

    One thing that should be mentioned about transportation is costs. In many European countries, train fares are lower if booked in advanced. You must have a specific itinerary planned, as advanced tickets are not flexible.

  • Gilda

    I’ve enjoyed reading your amazingly detailed and very informative blog entries. We’re planing a trip to Europe next year but want to do some sightseeing around as we will most likely fly into London but end up in Brno for a wedding. Big thing is we will have out 4 and 2 year old kiddos with us…so we’re a bit worried we may cram too much! I am sure we’ll eventually figure it out. I just wanted to say a big humongous THANK YOU! I have been doing research and reading for the last month to determine an itinerary and your blog is one of my top ones now. Carry on traveler!

  • Gilda

    I’ve enjoyed reading your amazingly detailed and very informative blog entries. We’re planing a trip to Europe next year but want to do some sightseeing around as we will most likely fly into London but end up in Brno for a wedding. Big thing is we will have out 4 and 2 year old kiddos with us…so we’re a bit worried we may cram too much! I am sure we’ll eventually figure it out. I just wanted to say a big humongous THANK YOU! I have been doing research and reading for the last month to determine an itinerary and your blog is one of my top ones now. Carry on traveler!

  • Paula

    This helps a lot! Thank you

  • Paula

    This helps a lot! Thank you

  • Merliejo

    Gosh, I SO need your help right now! 🙂 Parents invited me to a quick 2-week trip to Europe. My gut is telling me that this is going to be a crazy trip because 1)we’ve NEVER been to Europe and 2)we are leaving in 1 week! YES. 1 week!!!!!

    With that said, they also asked me to make a route and find hotels. Ahhhh!!! Wanna cry. So, this morning…I have our hotel in Paris booked. But now, I have to find out places in London, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium. With just 2 weeks, I’m freaking out just a tad. Ok, More than a tad.

    SO here I go. If you have any tips for me, please add. I will use them! 🙂 Thanx for a great site~!!!

    Crap. Forgot about train tickets. Holey Moley Batman!

    • savvybackpacker

      Cut down on your destinations. You have way too much crammed into two weeks. Right now you have about 2.5 days per city country and that doesn’t include travel time. I’d pick three places… London, Paris and one other. You could probably just do London and Paris (and take a day trip or two from those two locations).

      • Merliejo

        Thank you! Unfortunately, I think Switzerland will be cut from that list. It was the least of my parents preferred (but one of my desires! But cuz they are footing the bill, I won’t complain..;) So that leaves Germany and Belgium. I’m thinking Germany stays because…well..,I haven’t heard much about Belgium. We’ll see. Thank you again for the insight!!!!!! Now to figure out this Eurostar thingy. LOL.

        • savvybackpacker

          Book those Eurostar tickets ASAP because they’re going to be expensive. You might look into budget airlines leaving from London. But yeah, cut out Switzerland and Belgium.

  • Merliejo

    Gosh, I SO need your help right now! 🙂 Parents invited me to a quick 2-week trip to Europe. My gut is telling me that this is going to be a crazy trip because 1)we’ve NEVER been to Europe and 2)we are leaving in 1 week! YES. 1 week!!!!!

    With that said, they also asked me to make a route and find hotels. Ahhhh!!! Wanna cry. So, this morning…I have our hotel in Paris booked. But now, I have to find out places in London, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium. With just 2 weeks, I’m freaking out just a tad. Ok, More than a tad.

    SO here I go. If you have any tips for me, please add. I will use them! 🙂 Thanx for a great site~!!!

    Crap. Forgot about train tickets. Holey Moley Batman!

    • savvybackpacker

      Cut down on your destinations. You have way too much crammed into two weeks. Right now you have about 2.5 days per city country and that doesn’t include travel time. I’d pick three places… London, Paris and one other. You could probably just do London and Paris (and take a day trip or two from those two locations).

      • Merliejo

        Thank you! Unfortunately, I think Switzerland will be cut from that list. It was the least of my parents preferred (but one of my desires! But cuz they are footing the bill, I won’t complain..;) So that leaves Germany and Belgium. I’m thinking Germany stays because…well..,I haven’t heard much about Belgium. We’ll see. Thank you again for the insight!!!!!! Now to figure out this Eurostar thingy. LOL.

        • savvybackpacker

          Book those Eurostar tickets ASAP because they’re going to be expensive. You might look into budget airlines leaving from London. But yeah, cut out Switzerland and Belgium.

  • Melody

    Your blog has been super helpful. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip mid-September with 14 full days in Europe and a day on each side for travel. We are planning on doing Rome, Paris, Interlaken, and Munich (for Oktoberfest). I noticed you advised another girl to cut down on the number of cities/countries (she mentioned four also with a two week timeline). Do the places I mentioned sound doable in 14 days to you without killing ourselves? Any other advice? Thanks a TON!

  • Melody

    Your blog has been super helpful. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip mid-September with 14 full days in Europe and a day on each side for travel. We are planning on doing Rome, Paris, Interlaken, and Munich (for Oktoberfest). I noticed you advised another girl to cut down on the number of cities/countries (she mentioned four also with a two week timeline). Do the places I mentioned sound doable in 14 days to you without killing ourselves? Any other advice? Thanks a TON!

  • Ilijan Illy

    Can you Guys Help MEEE??!!
    Im from Croatia,and i Have friend in Ahen(Germany),and thats near few countrys,and i can not decide which countrys to visite,and how to organise ma self,if you guys could help that would be great ,thanks allot….!

  • Ilijan Illy

    Can you Guys Help MEEE??!!
    Im from Croatia,and i Have friend in Ahen(Germany),and thats near few countrys,and i can not decide which countrys to visite,and how to organise ma self,if you guys could help that would be great ,thanks allot….!

  • Jared Bonczek

    I have a 3 week trip planned. I am flying in and out of London. I am really taking into consideration your advice to not rush. I am loosely planning to do London (obv), Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, and Berlin. Any tips/suggestions?
    Things that I am into: bars, coffee shops, parks, sports

    • Konstantine

      Prague has an awesome beer garden that over looks the entire city, definitely recommend you getting there. Paris is a tourist trap if you let it, its a beautiful city with a lot to offer.
      Enjoy your time in Europe!

      • Aashi

        Thanks but we really have very tight schedule.
        Can you help me with our existing plan?
        Which places to see in prague and Austria..
        In Austria should we hire car or use train to travel?

        Ours is budget trip so if you can suggest good cheap apartments or hotels in close proximity of city.

        I would appreciate if you could guide me.

  • Jared Bonczek

    I have a 3 week trip planned. I am flying in and out of London. I am really taking into consideration your advice to not rush. I am loosely planning to do London (obv), Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, and Berlin. Any tips/suggestions?
    Things that I am into: bars, coffee shops, parks, sports

    • Konstantine

      Prague has an awesome beer garden that over looks the entire city, definitely recommend you getting there. Paris is a tourist trap if you let it, its a beautiful city with a lot to offer.
      Enjoy your time in Europe!

      • Aashi

        Thanks but we really have very tight schedule.
        Can you help me with our existing plan?
        Which places to see in prague and Austria..
        In Austria should we hire car or use train to travel?

        Ours is budget trip so if you can suggest good cheap apartments or hotels in close proximity of city.

        I would appreciate if you could guide me.

  • So so happy I found this site!! I’ve had a ridiculous urge to backpack europe and on my first summer off from university I really hope to travel for at least a month!

  • So so happy I found this site!! I’ve had a ridiculous urge to backpack europe and on my first summer off from university I really hope to travel for at least a month!

  • JDW

    I am looking to go with my 15 year old son for three weeks to Europe. I am thinking of flying into Ireland, then to London, Normandy, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Is that too much?

  • JDW

    I am looking to go with my 15 year old son for three weeks to Europe. I am thinking of flying into Ireland, then to London, Normandy, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Is that too much?

  • KYFER

    Hi Kyf here. I need help in setting up my Itinerary for my solo-trip for 14 Days. On a stictly tight budget. Goal is just to be atleast 1 day in those city.

    Here’s my Itenerary In mind.
    1: Madrid
    2. Barcelona
    3.Paris

    4. London
    5. Amsterdam
    6.Frankfort
    7. Rome—then back to spain

    Concerns.
    1. Cheapest railways to take to connect them together
    2. Set the timing right to keep me from staying overnight on hostels and just stay on overnight trains.
    3.Major Do’s and dont’s

    I appreciate ypur feedback and suggestions.

  • KYFER

    Hi Kyf here. I need help in setting up my Itinerary for my solo-trip for 14 Days. On a stictly tight budget. Goal is just to be atleast 1 day in those city.

    Here’s my Itenerary In mind.
    1: Madrid
    2. Barcelona
    3.Paris

    4. London
    5. Amsterdam
    6.Frankfort
    7. Rome—then back to spain

    Concerns.
    1. Cheapest railways to take to connect them together
    2. Set the timing right to keep me from staying overnight on hostels and just stay on overnight trains.
    3.Major Do’s and dont’s

    I appreciate ypur feedback and suggestions.

  • Pat Patel

    Can you help me with my itenary . I am planning to
    1) Amsterdam
    2) Munich
    3) Austria
    4) Prague
    5) Croatia

    then I fly back from Croatia.
    This will be month long trip . Any suggestions . Thanks

    • Rohan Akerkar

      Hi

      5 of us friends are planning a backpacking budget trip to Europe. We have 3 weeks. To be precise, reaching on 25th July and departing on 15th Aug 15. Due to some reasons we need to start our trip from Rome. Hence we are flying in and out of Rome. The countries we are looking at are as follows:

      Italy – 8 nights
      French Riviera – 4 nights
      Amsterdam – 3 nights
      Germany (Berlin 2 nights, Munich 2 nights, Freiburg – 1 night) – total 5 nights. Need your suggestion here for the number of days in each place, and things to do
      Austria – 3 nights
      (Planning to purchase a Eurail pass. Need to know which trains are included in the Eurail pass)

      We also want to do some offbeat things like small villages quaint towns in Italy and austria. Please suggest.

  • Pat Patel

    Can you help me with my itenary . I am planning to
    1) Amsterdam
    2) Munich
    3) Austria
    4) Prague
    5) Croatia

    then I fly back from Croatia.
    This will be month long trip . Any suggestions . Thanks

    • Rohan Akerkar

      Hi

      5 of us friends are planning a backpacking budget trip to Europe. We have 3 weeks. To be precise, reaching on 25th July and departing on 15th Aug 15. Due to some reasons we need to start our trip from Rome. Hence we are flying in and out of Rome. The countries we are looking at are as follows:

      Italy – 8 nights
      French Riviera – 4 nights
      Amsterdam – 3 nights
      Germany (Berlin 2 nights, Munich 2 nights, Freiburg – 1 night) – total 5 nights. Need your suggestion here for the number of days in each place, and things to do
      Austria – 3 nights
      (Planning to purchase a Eurail pass. Need to know which trains are included in the Eurail pass)

      We also want to do some offbeat things like small villages quaint towns in Italy and austria. Please suggest.

  • Maulik Shah

    Hi I am from india and me and the missus r planning for 4 cities Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Kraków in end March – till mid April. Can these 4 be done in 12-13 days?
    What would be the best itinerary? Any other popular and budget locations can be added? This is our first trip outside asia

  • Maulik Shah

    Hi I am from india and me and the missus r planning for 4 cities Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Kraków in end March – till mid April. Can these 4 be done in 12-13 days?
    What would be the best itinerary? Any other popular and budget locations can be added? This is our first trip outside asia

  • travelkook

    If you had 10 days in Europe what would be your cannot miss places and the amount of time you would spend there? A friend and I are looking to go for around 10 days but do not know where to start. Thanks!

  • travelkook

    If you had 10 days in Europe what would be your cannot miss places and the amount of time you would spend there? A friend and I are looking to go for around 10 days but do not know where to start. Thanks!

  • Sariah Piedrasanta

    Thank you for taking the time and provide this guide for all of us.

    I am not sure how to help you with the amazon deal? My husband uses it a lot and I would like you to explain it like if I were an idiot please 😀

    Also, I am traveling with my super awesome cool 12 yr old twins boy and girl (trip was their idea). Any good advise on hostels where I could go with them? My friend will also be going with us so we will be taking advantage of group deals!!

    Thanks again, great job!

  • Sariah Piedrasanta

    Thank you for taking the time and provide this guide for all of us.

    I am not sure how to help you with the amazon deal? My husband uses it a lot and I would like you to explain it like if I were an idiot please 😀

    Also, I am traveling with my super awesome cool 12 yr old twins boy and girl (trip was their idea). Any good advise on hostels where I could go with them? My friend will also be going with us so we will be taking advantage of group deals!!

    Thanks again, great job!

  • Ryan

    I am planning a trip to Europe for 3 months, and am hoping to do so for around $4000. Is this possible?

    • Carlos Campos

      It most certainely is, although it would depend on how you’ll be using your budget.
      Are you couchsurfing, staying in hostels? How much time and money would you spend on each place? I suggest spending a little bit more of both in the things that really interest you without looking too much at the cost of it. Even if that means you would be splurging a little, it generally makes the experience much more memorable. Make sure you don’t miss out on something you want badly because sometimes you only get one shot and you might regret not doing it later.

      I wanted to do 3 months, too, couchsurfing only and getting around by train, but then I realized it was too ambitious: too many places to visit, too much money to be spent in travelling from one place to the other, and sometimes even though places look close to one another in the map, the actual trip can be a hassle or even impossible.
      I was thinking about doing Bordeaux-Toulouse by train; the railway hasn’t even been built yet, and it might only be until 2022! Also, make sure to follow James’ advice and do a list of what countries, cities or sights you just have to cross out. Be specific! Personally, Croatia didn’t interest me until I saw all it had to offer, just to later realize getting there would be the toughest part of the journey, so I just dropped it and focused on optimizing my resources for Greece instead, which I’ve been dying to go to since forever.
      Iceland for me was also a dealbreaker, but there was no way I could create a circuit with it and the mainland without backtracking or on the cheap. Depends on where you’re from, but, for example, if you fly from North America to anywhere in Europe you get up to one week stopover in Iceland, accomodation free of charge, with Icelandair. Me, I’ll be living in Paris around 20 months before the trip, so I’ve decided to separate that part of the trip and make an individual 72-hour trip to Iceland before the bigger adventure. Just an example of how things can be arranged in your favor, though sacrifices may have to be made. It’s up to you to consider.

      I would still suggest you ponder over the idea of sticking to two months. This is a really, really rough guestimate, but based on my 5000 EUR-2 month travel itinerary (I did research on food, entertainment, train and air travel costs as well as lesser expenses), with $4000, taking a $1000 flight into Europe into account, along with maybe a $800 dollar Eurail Pass, if that fits your needs, couchsurfing and having one or two good but unexpensive local meals in at least every city you’re in, I would say you can fit in like 15 to 20 cities in your travel plan for the same amount of time. I don’t know about staying in hostels though.
      If 3 months is your goal, well, you may have to give up on some things. We can’t have it all when the money is scarce, that’s for sure! But still, the adventure will always have something in store for you, believe me, beyond your wildest dreams. So when you get there, yes, plan ahead, but do sit down and just take in the view for a while.
      I wish you all of the best, Ryan!

  • Ryan

    I am planning a trip to Europe for 3 months, and am hoping to do so for around $4000. Is this possible?

    • Carlos Campos

      It most certainely is, although it would depend on how you’ll be using your budget.
      Are you couchsurfing, staying in hostels? How much time and money would you spend on each place? I suggest spending a little bit more of both in the things that really interest you without looking too much at the cost of it. Even if that means you would be splurging a little, it generally makes the experience much more memorable. Make sure you don’t miss out on something you want badly because sometimes you only get one shot and you might regret not doing it later.

      I wanted to do 3 months, too, couchsurfing only and getting around by train, but then I realized it was too ambitious: too many places to visit, too much money to be spent in travelling from one place to the other, and sometimes even though places look close to one another in the map, the actual trip can be a hassle or even impossible.
      I was thinking about doing Bordeaux-Toulouse by train; the railway hasn’t even been built yet, and it might only be until 2022! Also, make sure to follow James’ advice and do a list of what countries, cities or sights you just have to cross out. Be specific! Personally, Croatia didn’t interest me until I saw all it had to offer, just to later realize getting there would be the toughest part of the journey, so I just dropped it and focused on optimizing my resources for Greece instead, which I’ve been dying to go to since forever.
      Iceland for me was also a dealbreaker, but there was no way I could create a circuit with it and the mainland without backtracking or on the cheap. Depends on where you’re from, but, for example, if you fly from North America to anywhere in Europe you get up to one week stopover in Iceland, accomodation free of charge, with Icelandair. Me, I’ll be living in Paris around 20 months before the trip, so I’ve decided to separate that part of the trip and make an individual 72-hour trip to Iceland before the bigger adventure. Just an example of how things can be arranged in your favor, though sacrifices may have to be made. It’s up to you to consider.

      I would still suggest you ponder over the idea of sticking to two months. This is a really, really rough guestimate, but based on my 5000 EUR-2 month travel itinerary (I did research on food, entertainment, train and air travel costs as well as lesser expenses), with $4000, taking a $1000 flight into Europe into account, along with maybe a $800 dollar Eurail Pass, if that fits your needs, couchsurfing and having one or two good but unexpensive local meals in at least every city you’re in, I would say you can fit in like 15 to 20 cities in your travel plan for the same amount of time. I don’t know about staying in hostels though.
      If 3 months is your goal, well, you may have to give up on some things. We can’t have it all when the money is scarce, that’s for sure! But still, the adventure will always have something in store for you, believe me, beyond your wildest dreams. So when you get there, yes, plan ahead, but do sit down and just take in the view for a while.
      I wish you all of the best, Ryan!

  • Aashi

    Hello.!!
    We are planning for 25 days trip to Europe
    We have planned as below but would love if you can give your opinions and suggestions on the same.
    Paris – 3 nights
    Amsterdam – 2 nights
    Prague – 2 nights
    Vienna & innsbruck – 1 night each
    Switzerland – 6 nights
    Italy ( venice, florence, cinq terra, Rome, Capri island, Amalfi coast) – 8 nights
    We can add 3 more days..

    We need your suggestions as to are these many days enough for each country?
    Italy 8 nights is perfect or we should cut down?
    Anything that we are missing out and should include?
    We can add 3 more days to our trip.
    Don’ts and Do’s as we are just 2 of us (Me & my Husband)
    We are from India and eat Jain Vegetarian food so if you know restaurants in these countries (tourist centres) pls suggest.
    Is there any non commercial and beautiful places in thesecountries that we shouldnt miss
    Our budget is around 6500$ for two people
    Plsss suggest. Thankss

  • Aashi

    Hello.!!
    We are planning for 25 days trip to Europe
    We have planned as below but would love if you can give your opinions and suggestions on the same.
    Paris – 3 nights
    Amsterdam – 2 nights
    Prague – 2 nights
    Vienna & innsbruck – 1 night each
    Switzerland – 6 nights
    Italy ( venice, florence, cinq terra, Rome, Capri island, Amalfi coast) – 8 nights
    We can add 3 more days..

    We need your suggestions as to are these many days enough for each country?
    Italy 8 nights is perfect or we should cut down?
    Anything that we are missing out and should include?
    We can add 3 more days to our trip.
    Don’ts and Do’s as we are just 2 of us (Me & my Husband)
    We are from India and eat Jain Vegetarian food so if you know restaurants in these countries (tourist centres) pls suggest.
    Is there any non commercial and beautiful places in thesecountries that we shouldnt miss
    Our budget is around 6500$ for two people
    Plsss suggest. Thankss

  • Aashi

    Hello.!!
    We are planning for 25 days trip to Europe
    We have planned as below but would love if you can give your opinions and suggestions on the same.
    Paris – 3 nights
    Amsterdam – 2 nights
    Prague – 2 nights
    Vienna & innsbruck – 1 night each
    Switzerland – 6 nights
    Italy ( venice, florence, cinq terra, Rome, Capri island, Amalfi coast) – 8 nights
    We can add 3 more days..

    We need your suggestions as to are these many days enough for each country?
    Italy 8 nights is perfect or we should cut down?
    Anything that we are missing out and should include?
    We can add 3 more days to our trip.
    Don’ts and Do’s as we are just 2 of us (Me & my Husband)
    We are from India and eat Jain Vegetarian food so if you know restaurants in these countries (tourist centres) pls suggest.
    Is there any non commercial and beautiful places in thesecountries that we shouldnt miss
    Our budget is around 6500$ for two people
    Plsss suggest. Thankss

    • Konstantine

      Prague is amazing, its a shame you only can spend 2 nights there. very inexpensive to stay there, can enjoy a 1L beer at a bar for little over a dollar.

  • Aashi

    Hello.!!
    We are planning for 25 days trip to Europe
    We have planned as below but would love if you can give your opinions and suggestions on the same.
    Paris – 3 nights
    Amsterdam – 2 nights
    Prague – 2 nights
    Vienna & innsbruck – 1 night each
    Switzerland – 6 nights
    Italy ( venice, florence, cinq terra, Rome, Capri island, Amalfi coast) – 8 nights
    We can add 3 more days..

    We need your suggestions as to are these many days enough for each country?
    Italy 8 nights is perfect or we should cut down?
    Anything that we are missing out and should include?
    We can add 3 more days to our trip.
    Don’ts and Do’s as we are just 2 of us (Me & my Husband)
    We are from India and eat Jain Vegetarian food so if you know restaurants in these countries (tourist centres) pls suggest.
    Is there any non commercial and beautiful places in thesecountries that we shouldnt miss
    Our budget is around 6500$ for two people
    Plsss suggest. Thankss

    • Konstantine

      Prague is amazing, its a shame you only can spend 2 nights there. very inexpensive to stay there, can enjoy a 1L beer at a bar for little over a dollar.

  • Christian from Squeeze Pod

    Very nice planning advice. Well planned and comprehensive. Thanks for sharing James.

  • Christian from Squeeze Pod

    Very nice planning advice. Well planned and comprehensive. Thanks for sharing James.

  • Sylvia

    Hey 🙂 I would need help with my itinerary. I`m a 22 yr old girl that will be packpacking solo in Europe in July and August. I will Land in london a stay a week there and then I would like to go to amsterdam and Dublin end of july. After that I am not too sure if my itinirary is good. (July 30th to August 25th) I will go to

    Paris and surroundings 4 days -> {MAYBE Switzerland (zermatt} -> (train) Rome and surroundings 4 days -> Monaco 3 days -> (train) Barcelona 4 days -> (flight) Lisbon or Marrakesh 3 days -> back to london (flight)

    and the rest of the days will be for travel and maybe another city if I have time. I am not sure about my plan and also the modes of transportation. I am looking for the cheapest alternative and cheapest logical itinerary.

    Please help me 🙂

    Thanks!!

  • Sylvia

    Hey 🙂 I would need help with my itinerary. I`m a 22 yr old girl that will be packpacking solo in Europe in July and August. I will Land in london a stay a week there and then I would like to go to amsterdam and Dublin end of july. After that I am not too sure if my itinirary is good. (July 30th to August 25th) I will go to

    Paris and surroundings 4 days -> {MAYBE Switzerland (zermatt} -> (train) Rome and surroundings 4 days -> Monaco 3 days -> (train) Barcelona 4 days -> (flight) Lisbon or Marrakesh 3 days -> back to london (flight)

    and the rest of the days will be for travel and maybe another city if I have time. I am not sure about my plan and also the modes of transportation. I am looking for the cheapest alternative and cheapest logical itinerary.

    Please help me 🙂

    Thanks!!

  • Matt Boghos

    Need recommendations.. Never been to Tomorrowland. I am traveling from Las Vegas to Amsterdam, taking a train to Boom, Belgium. spending the weekend in book for TL. Then I have 8 days for backpacking, I want to travel and stay in hostels. Need recommendations, heard Budapest was a great time and to party. Let me know, Thanks

    Matt B from Vegas

  • Matt Boghos

    Need recommendations.. Never been to Tomorrowland. I am traveling from Las Vegas to Amsterdam, taking a train to Boom, Belgium. spending the weekend in book for TL. Then I have 8 days for backpacking, I want to travel and stay in hostels. Need recommendations, heard Budapest was a great time and to party. Let me know, Thanks

    Matt B from Vegas

  • Sneha Mutha

    Which is the best place to visit among Copenhagen, Vienna, Prague, Budapest during december-january for 3-4 days? I will fly from Paris and have to return back to Paris in 3-4 days.

  • Sneha Mutha

    Which is the best place to visit among Copenhagen, Vienna, Prague, Budapest during december-january for 3-4 days? I will fly from Paris and have to return back to Paris in 3-4 days.

  • oscar

    hi,
    i need help on the best route to see as much
    countries i can in 4 weeks. I know not that much time. I will be flying
    to stockholm since that is the cheapest destination i found to europe
    from san francisco. And from there i was planning on going to berlin,
    prage, vienna, budapest, munich, amsterdam, brussels, luxembourg,
    london, paris, madrid, barcelona, venice, florence, then back to
    stockholm to fly back to san francisco within 30 days. I know there are
    alot of cities, is this possible? not to mention this will be on a
    budget tour… if i were to eliminate cities and just concentrate on a
    few cities so i can spend more time in rather than rushing myself all
    over europe, what would be my best route and which cities??? pls help..
    thanks

    oscar

  • oscar

    hi,
    i need help on the best route to see as much
    countries i can in 4 weeks. I know not that much time. I will be flying
    to stockholm since that is the cheapest destination i found to europe
    from san francisco. And from there i was planning on going to berlin,
    prage, vienna, budapest, munich, amsterdam, brussels, luxembourg,
    london, paris, madrid, barcelona, venice, florence, then back to
    stockholm to fly back to san francisco within 30 days. I know there are
    alot of cities, is this possible? not to mention this will be on a
    budget tour… if i were to eliminate cities and just concentrate on a
    few cities so i can spend more time in rather than rushing myself all
    over europe, what would be my best route and which cities??? pls help..
    thanks

    oscar

  • this is really helpful. also, do you have a post about what would be the ideal budget for each place and overall?

    thank you 🙂

  • Jay

    Hi, I just booked Europe from May till September. Starting in Norway and ending in the UK. I have purchased a 3 month train ticket, that much I have already figured out, but I have no clue where to go, what to see, which route to take, how to use travel by train at night to save on hostels. Does anyone have Ideas/suggestions for me. Thanks

  • Urvashi Katyal

    Hello,

    So basically a friend & I plan to visit Europe sometime during this year. Since we’re both students, we’re on a really tight budget and we’d require someone’s guidance while planning out things.
    1. Which is the best( also the cheapest) month to travel to Europe.
    2. We plan to be there for about 2.5 week and want to cover the best of Europe so what are the places/ countries. ( Our start point might be London but we’re flexible)

  • Jasmine Appleton

    What app/ program has been used in the first picture on this page? It lays out the itinerary so well!

  • Sam Davidson

    Hey, I’ve never planned a trip like this before and have no idea where to start. I’m just the kinda person that I wanna see as much as I can of everywhere. I’m planning this as a graduation present from college so I’d be leaving in late may/early June 2017. The trip can be around 1-2months long. Do you have recommendations of “must see, do, or go” places?

    Thank you

  • Hi
    We (my self and two friends) hope to visit Europe end of this May for two weeks
    Hope to start to from Paris and end with Rome (Dubai to Paris and Rome to Dubai)
    Our focusing cities are Paris, one city in Swiss, Milan or Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Pompeii
    We don’t sure we can visit all these cities during two weeks
    We are on a tight budget so we hope to do kind of backpacking as much as possible
    We hope to stay 3 days in Paris and one day somewhere in Swiss then rest in Italy
    Can you guys give us some advises and suggestions please about places to stay foods and transportation
    Thanks & much appreciated
    Shalika
    shalika999@gmail.com

  • Alexander Kanto

    Hello. Great advice, thanks! How did you create the map? I am struggling to find a route planner, that combines both ground and flight routing. Especially like the different colors showing different kinds of transportation too.

  • Valérie Leblanc-Boisvert

    Hi, I’m an artist and I plan to start in Barcelona because it’s my dream. I would like to stay about 2 weeks there to really enjoy it. Then take another 2 weeks visiting other places. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

  • Valerie – Trusted Travel Girl

    This is a great guide on how to plan a trip! This is specific and to the point! Thanks for this article!

  • emma

    Hi, i am heading to europe in october for 21 days.
    i fly into amsterdam, staying for 5 days. i then want to fly to prague then to cesky krumlov via train and continue into austria ( will probably be doing some hiking/camping) i am flying back out of amsterdam to australia i really want to get to italy to eat the pizza and drink the wine. any advice would be great!!!
    transport, places to visit/stay.

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