Replies: 15 - Last Post: Jan 23, 2013 8:31 AM Last Post By: culturbia
Dec 12, 2012 7:47 AM
First adventure..Hi all,
Bit of a newbie on these forums so sorry if this is in the wrong place!
Me and a friend have always talked about going backpacking for a month. We've talked about it for years and we've finally got decent jobs so we're going to start saving and make a go of it. The only thing is we really can't decide where to go so we'd like some educated opinions. We're open for pretty much anything but below are some specifics.
We're both 20, but will be 21 when we go.
1 male 1 female.
Looking for a budget of around £3000-£3500 including any flights required.
We want somewhere for sort of an adventure (more on this below)
Looking to travel for around 1 month.
Looking to go around September/October.
We would like an adventure! We don't require adrenaline activities but our original plan was to fly to somewhere in mainland Europe and just explore without a set itinerary.
Places we're sort of now considering;
- Backpacking around Europe
- "backpacking" around Thailand
- Heading towards South America..maybe Bolivia.
If anyone could suggest any places inside our budget/time frame that would be amazing!
Dec 12, 2012 10:00 AM
1Well first a couple of basics.
One of the commonest mistakes people make is trying to see too much in too little time. A month may seem like a lot of time to you but in terms of travel it is not. It is enough to see one country in Europe for example or a few highlights of a couple of countries.
The common phrase used is, 'to see as much as possible'. Unfortunately, many people confuse the word 'much' with the word 'many'. They are not synonymous. The way to see as much as possible is to spend time IN places, not IN BETWEEN places. Move less, see more.
You use the word 'adventure'. You need to define that more. Generally, the definition of adventure requires two things. Risk and the unknown. Many people consider just 'winging it' as being an adventure and it is indeed a reasonable use of the word if you just fly to A and wing it from there with no set itinerary or pre-booked anything.
With that in mind I would suggest you pick one country, buy a return ticket and go with no plan beyond that. Europe would obviously cost you the least in terms of airfare to get you to your start point and back. My wife and I are planning to visit Switzerland in September for a month in just that way. It just depends on what your interests are (of which you've said nothing) and where would therefore appeal to you.
The second of the two most common mistakes is packing too much. You haven't mentioned that but presumably it will come up in your thinking at some point.
Edited by: emd_four on Jan 23, 2013 8:28 AM
Dec 12, 2012 10:07 AM
is your budget between the 2 of you? if so it not a huge budget for any long haul trip.....so i would rule out a trip to SA...both on the budget and the timeframe....probably too far for a month long trip. Thailand would be a good option though return air fares would eat into your budget but it is a cheap country to travel in. i think your best bet both in terms of travel distance and cost would be Eastern Europe....get cheap flights and travel by train or bus through 1 or two countries.....might just be doable on your budget.
Dec 12, 2012 11:02 AM
Thank you very much for your reply. I know I was a bit vague with my description but I was kind of hoping for a helpful prompt which you provided so thanks a lot for that.
We certainly don't want to rush our trip which is why "winging" it appeals to us. We feel making a set itinerary would almost limit us and force us to do stuff. I guess each to their own.
Regarding what we like to do; we want to experience a lot of different stuff. I know that's still very vague but we don't want to spend a week sitting on a beach. We also don't want to go drinking a lot. We want to see stuff, learn about different cultures and create memories.
Sorry, I've been very vague there. The budget is each, not between us. So a grand total of £6000-£7000.
Dec 12, 2012 11:33 AM
4Ok on a budget of 3000 or just over I'd recommend Bolivia....you won't see all Bolivia has to offer but you could certainly take in some of the highlights including La Paz, Lake Tititcaca, Salar de Uyuni. October would be a good time to see these places too....it is a fantastic country to travel and fairly cheap....you would have plenty in your budget including the flights. Though a month is not a huge amount of time I did meet lots of backpackers trying to travel there in less time.
Dec 12, 2012 12:35 PM
Dec 12, 2012 12:43 PM
7Ah then I would recommend doing a bit of research on Eastern Europe. Places like South America may be a bit cheaper, but fares to Eastern Europe (many points and airlines) will possibly work out cheaper.
Dec 12, 2012 3:31 PM
8I'm in favour of closer is better simply from an airfare point of view, unless you specifically want to go somewhere farther away. Since you don't note any preference in the places you mention I would stick with closer. What you will find is that people always want to 'push' their favourite places. But they are THEIR favourite places, not necessarily going to be yours.
My personal favourite countries in Europe happen to be France and Switzerland. Mickyfinn obviously likes E. Europe and tries the 'it's cheaper' line to sell it. But in the end, it is what interests YOU not us that matters. Do some research online and maybe get a 'guide to europe' or two from the library. Both of you make up a list from your research of all the places and things you would like to see and do. Then compare the lists and see what country gets you the most of that list. Go there.
No one every gets everything they want on their list. That just means you need to go again. I mentioned an upcoming trip to Switzerland. It will be about my wife's 6th and maybe my 26th. I still haven't seen everything in that one tiny country that interests me. I've spent perhaps a total of a couple of years there overall.
Now let me make my pitch for your thinking about Switzerland. On one of my earlier trips there many years ago, I walked across the country from North to South. Basel to Locarno in around a month. I did do a few short hops on trains, buses and cable cars for various reasons but the majority of it I just walked. Up and down, down and up. There is nowhere more suited to hiking or more beautiful to hike in. How does that sound as an ADVENTURE?
Look at this page: http://www.swisstrails.ch/swisstrails_engl/wanderland/wanderland.html
Scroll down to #7 for the route. I've also done #5 but from Basel to Geneva. Click on the 'more information' buttons and read more. This website is selling packages but you can ignore that and do it all on your own as I do. The site just gives you the route, all you need is the excellent Swiss hiking maps to do it yourself.
My point is that sometimes the best way to have an 'adventure' is to have a reason for going. A 'theme' if you will for your trip. Try this and believe me you will encounter risk and the unknown every day.
Dec 12, 2012 11:00 PM
Dec 13, 2012 12:32 AM
Dec 13, 2012 4:18 PM
11I think the Bolivia option is a good one. Yes there airfare is more but it will be so different to what you are use to that it will definitely be the backpacking adventure you are looking for. There is a huge variety of things to do and see in Bolivia.
The largest indigenous population in South America.
the Salt lake at Uyuni
And so much more.
Dec 17, 2012 9:16 AM
12Another vote for Eastern Europe. Its sufficiently different from the Western Europe to give you the adventure you are hoping to experience. Its also generally much cheaper than Western Europe. We visited Poland for the first time this year and I fell in love with the place. But other places that are very special are Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Serbia. You could also spend a fabulous month touring Turkey - which is one of my top 10 places in the world! A little further afield - how about Uzbekistan? I found the people there to be the kindest and friendliest in Central Asia and its a really fascinating place.
Thailand and Bolivia are both great places for backpackers but they are typical "backpacker trail" type places. Don't get me wrong - I loved both countries but there is so much to see and experience a little closer to home and a little more adventurous too I think.
Dec 17, 2012 7:01 PM
13I'm adding a vote for Turkey. If you prebook your flights they are reasonable, travel by bus is cheap and inexpensive, food and accommodation can be whatever you can manage and there are places suitable for most activities.- ie history, trekking and adventure or anything in between. Many Turks speak English. Its a good place to get an East meets West experience.
Dec 17, 2012 8:10 PM
14Okay, I am changing my mind. I will go with Turkey as well. It will be well within your budget and has a good variety of places to see. The only time I wouldn't recommend Turkey if it is in Winter.
Reserva Provincial Esteros del IberáBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$240.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.03 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$142.16 per night