Click to use it here. fo free.
Hit File>Make a Copy and you can start editing your own itinerary.
Yep, I made it. Is it insanely detailed? Yes. Am I crazy? Probably. But it really made me feel like I had my trip fully organized before I left. And it helped along the way.
Here you can see the date, day of the week, the city, train or airfare, the accommodations and how much they cost, along with estimated food and activity costs. "Other" leaves room for museum entrance fees (bring your student ID!), cab or uber fare, paragliding in Switzerland... that sort of thing.
I probably didn't spend $40 a day every day on food. But it all evened out in the end. It's better to have planned for a little extra than to starve!
Note the color guide. I used this itinerary months in advance for planning purposes. After each place or plane ticket was booked, I'd change the color from blue to green to know what I still had left to pay for.
I used the "Accommodations" tab on the bottom to organize where we were staying, the check-in time, and the addresses of the places we were headed. A lot of the hostels will have you pay upon arrival rather than online, so it was important to note that to avoid surprises. It was worth it to add the addresses in - when you arrive at the train station or airport, you want to be able to map yourself to the place you're staying, and I guarantee you won't know it off the top of your head.
We used Airbnb (addresses redacted) for many of the places we stayed and loved every one. It's perfect for couples or even groups of friends. Hostels are cheaper but we found that we were a lot more comfortable in our own room, not having to lock everything up every time we left. And the hosts we stayed with were so helpful and kind, some giving us cookies, breakfast - and awesome, local advice. If you want $40 off your first Airbnb trip, click this link to sign up today!
Travel Between Cities
I spent way too much time debating between flying everywhere or taking the train - so we did a mix between the two. It worked wonderfully. Airports are usually 20-30 minutes outside of the main city, so you end up spending more on cabs to and from your hotel to the airport. The trains are usually comfortable, fast, and arrive at the city center. They're also kind of magical. Maybe that's just me.
For all your must-sees. This was great. We'd make it to a city and not know where to start - where are we and what do we want to do? Or I'd look at it while on the train and we'd decide our first stop after we arrived at our residence. Paris was my most-studied (if you can't tell) and I organized it by arrondissement - or neighborhood - so that we could do and see (and EAT) what we wanted while we were in the area. Paris is huge. You can't walk the whole thing, so it pays to be aware of what's nearby (especially if you're only there for a few days).
Of course, having these notes doesn't mean you'll do everything you write down. Just wander and you'll often find that you're happier without planning your day minute by minute. Notes are good for a few reasons. One, to research a place before you actually get on a plane and go. Two, to be strategic about your time there. Three, to not get stuck eating at an expensive, sub-par restaurant in the Old Town Square in Prague (prices literally triple the closer you get to the square). And it's a great place to keep track of advice from friends! One of my favorite things about traveling is sharing experiences - and food recommendations. I'd have never had the truffle asparagus pasta at Mastro Ciliega in Florence if it weren't for my friend Christine recommending it. Ily Christine for that. So good.
Packing was something I stressed about because I was working the Cannes Film Festival for two weeks and then backpacking after. I had to bring gowns for premieres and slacks and blazers for daily office life. I wasn't going to wear any of that after the festival. So, in Switzerland, I mailed a load of it back. But I originally packed everything in my 45 liter Patagonia backpack, meant for "3-5 days of travel."
I chose a smaller backpack because I wanted to travel light. I managed pretty well. Packing cubes will save your life. And roll your clothes in them, it's much more efficient. I'll say one thing about shoes though - walk 10 miles in your shoes before you wear them to backpack Europe. Do you have blisters? Don't bring them. I wore sneakers pretty much every day and regretted it when I didn't. Most Europeans wear trainers on the daily because they walk more in general than Americans. This is something I noticed while over there and totally understood.
This section is good for planning what to bring and then keeping yourself accountable for your items while you travel. I lost one thing - a roll-on perfume. It's somewhere in Cannes.
The internship opportunity to go to Europe led me and Dalt to dream up a backpacking trip I'd already planned 15 times, so we decided we were gonna do it, and the rest was history. And by history I mean working three jobs and going to school full-time and not spending a penny more than necessary (sorry I was a hermit, friends). I knew how badly I wanted to make this work, so I did it.
I had help paying my internship fees from my so so so incredibly wonderful and supporting family. But the backpacking part was all me, and all Dalt, so we worked a lot.
And we did it. And you can, too! See if my savings guide helps you - you can modify it any way you choose.
I lowballed the goal and assumed worst-case-scenario that I would only have that much. Also, I got paid once while I was in Cannes, and didn't account for that in the savings guide. I also used a travel rewards credit card so I had funds when I didn't have funds. But now I'm paying that off. Yay, adulthood!
Didn't use this section except for the part about Bank of America being partnered with BNP in France. I suppose it's a good thing I didn't have to use it.
How much does it cost to backpack Europe?
The age old question...
For three weeks and including food and airfare - I'd say around $4,000. It could be done cheaper than I did it, but it probably couldn't be done smarter. It could also be done hella expensively. I spent extra money on food (I love to eat okay) and on souvenirs for family and friends (probably about $200-250 worth). It was important for me to bring back little pieces of the places that I went. So many little things reminded me of my mom, dad, sisters - so there went some money.
Airbnb was a wonderfully economical way to stay in some cities. In others, hostels were cheaper. Hotels were definitely more expensive... but seeing that we hadn't booked any of Italy until we were in Greece, we'd given up on staying in hostels and it was a little late to find a good Airbnb last minute so we spent a little extra on a hotel. And they were so, so nice!
If you have questions, comments, concerns - I live for this stuff, so feel free to ask away!!