First Time on my own

3:45 p.m. on January 5, 2004 (EST)
(Guest)

hi,
i am 17 years old and i turn 18 on 7th aug 2004. on the 8th of aug 2004 i hope to start of a journey for about a few weeks. i have never back packed before. i want to visit italy and explore. i have managed to sort out quotes for flights and rail through out the country however, i cannot sort out accomodation. or how much money or equipment i will need. i dont know whether or not to pre book accommodation or just find it as i get there. i think it will be more of an adventure if i discover it on my travels.

ps: i am not the richest person in the world so i cant really afford alot of equipment

6:11 p.m. on January 5, 2004 (EST)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,622 reviewer rep
5,398 forum posts
Youth Hostels

You are a prime candidate for using youth hostels. Contact American Youth Hostels for info on joining, directories of the hostels in the areas you want to visit, fees, necessity of making reservations (and how to do so - some areas virtually require reservations at the hostels, some you can just show up at 4 or 5PM and get a bunk). You will meet a lot of interesting people at the hostels.

Oh, yeah, in recommending hostelling, I assume you are willing to do your "hostel duty" each day. Part of keeping the cost down is that everyone staying at a hostel has to help with various chores, like cleanup, kitchen duty (for hostels that have meals), and so on. If you are expecting a 5 star hotel, then hostels are not for you. They are basic accomodations, sleeping in bunkrooms (take earplugs for the snorers), and basic, simple meals when meals are available. In many hostels, you get kitchen privileges (cleanup duty is part of the privileges). You have to furnish your own sheet sleeping sack (a specified standard design), but the hostel usually furnishes blankets. You should also have a rudimentary command of the local language. The people you meet there will have recommendations for local restaurants that are cheap and have hearty fare and plenty of it. You won't find them in the Michelin guides, but the food and atmosphere are a lot more interesting than any 4 or 5 star restaurant (and less than 10 percent of the price).

Hostels can be in houses, schools (during the summer), former monastaries and nunneries, old castles, lighthouses, or dedicated buildings built as a hostel.

I highly recommend a summer hostelling in Europe as a way to see the real country. Some people don't like it (my brother-in-law had a bad experience), but most people your age love it.

6:55 p.m. on January 5, 2004 (EST)
MODERATOR
38 reviewer rep
1,765 forum posts

Shifty, First of all, you have plenty of time to sort out where you want to go and what you want to do. I would suggest getting the Lonely Planet book on Italy-go to their website-www.lonelyplanet.com-they also have travel services and lots of other stuff there. Most of their books are aimed at people traveling on a budget, or it used to be that way. Rough Guide is another one, but I don't know much about them. LP is great from my experience with their New Zealand book. Some suggestions:
1. Figure out if you are going "camping" or "traveling". Big difference. Camping means having a backpack, stove, sleeping bag, etc. and clothes for the outdoors. Traveling means having a travel backpack (one without a lot of extra pockets, etc. to snag on luggage racks on trains), a light sleeping bag or sleep sheet for staying in youth hostels, and your clothes. For a first trip, traveling might be best-less gear to deal with for one thing. How you travel makes a big difference in what you should take.
2. There are a lot of websites devoted to traveling, especially in Europe, for people on a budget. Check out www.bootsnall.com, an English site for travelers. Look also at the forums on www.backpacking.net (The Lighweight Backpacker). Go to the forums-there is one on international traveling, plus many others about gear.
3. There is a lot of gear made in Europe and prices are often better there than here for stuff from other countries. Try looking at www.barrabes.com, a Spanish website for camping gear to compare prices.
4. EBay is a good source for used gear. I've bought several items there, including a tent, pack, stove, jacket, and other stuff. Just remember not to get too attached to an item and pay too much-others will come along.
5. The dollar has gone down in value compared to the Euro lately so things will be pricey. Even so, hostels of one kind or another are probably fairly common so those and a railpass should do you pretty well. My travel experience has been in S.America (ages ago), Oz and New Zealand so no firsthand suggestions.
6. Try learning a bit of Italian before you go. Plenty of people speak English, but knowing a bit of the local lingo will go a long way in getting along with the locals.
7. Unfortunately, because of 9-11, the war, etc. not everyone loves Americans like they used to, so if this is your first trip abroad, just be cool, enjoy yourself and don't panic or get excited if things go wrong-they will at least once.
8. Make sure you have a valid passport (it will make it easier to get around and get back in the U.S.)and take any extra cash as traveler's checks. If you don't have a credit card, get a bank debit card from your bank that has the Visa or Mastercard logo on it-it will work like a credit card as long as you have money in your account, and will come in very handy if you need to leave a deposit for anything, like renting a bicyle. At 18, I doubt anyone will rent you a car even if you wanted one.
9. Don't forget to register for the draft before you go. I know there actually isn't one, but I think you still have to register-that used to be the case but check it out-the last thing you want is a hassle when you come back over something like that.
10. Not that I'm saying you do, but if you indulge in any "recreational drugs" while over there, don't even think of bringing any back with you-don't bring back anything for anyone you haven't personally inspected, taken apart, etc. With all the terrorist panic, trying to bring back anything you shouldn't is a really bad idea.
11. Have fun and don't just hang out with a bunch of other Americans-you can do that at home. If you stay at a youth hostel, you'll meet plenty of kids from other countries-they love to travel around and are almost always really friendly.

Quote:

hi,
i am 17 years old and i turn 18 on 7th aug 2004. on the 8th of aug 2004 i hope to start of a journey for about a few weeks. i have never back packed before. i want to visit italy and explore. i have managed to sort out quotes for flights and rail through out the country however, i cannot sort out accomodation. or how much money or equipment i will need. i dont know whether or not to pre book accommodation or just find it as i get there. i think it will be more of an adventure if i discover it on my travels.

ps: i am not the richest person in the world so i cant really afford alot of equipment

8:13 a.m. on January 6, 2004 (EST)
(Guest)

Im not american

I am irish, i live in northern ireland, so i see that there will be no trouble with the locals, afterall, everyone loves the irish :)

8:18 a.m. on January 6, 2004 (EST)
(Guest)

To answer your question

I have decided to travel and not exactly backpack or camp out. i am going to get a rail pass for travel, any suggestions on a good rail network???

Thanks

11:35 a.m. on January 6, 2004 (EST)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,622 reviewer rep
5,398 forum posts
rail passes

Go to your local rail office. They have several types of passes for students and youth that are good for the Continent (well, ok, I got mine in London and in Luxembourg, not Northern Ireland). I found the rail office people to be very friendly and helpful in suggesting the cheapest version back when I was a student, and later when I became a greybeard (in between, I think they assumed I was a rich American and could afford anything, since they kept suggesting the 1st class version).

Change my suggestion of contacting American Youth Hostels to the British version of International Youth Hostels. You can also get a student hostel association card, which opens up another whole set of hostels. Having camped in much of Europe, I will attest to how nice it is to be able to dry off once in a while (we had a full week of rain when we were bike camping in Scandinavia on one trip - never got dry until we finally checked into a hostel in Goteborg).

12:40 p.m. on January 6, 2004 (EST)
(Guest)

Few More Suggestions

I used the "Lets Go!" series of books when I traveled by rail in Europe. It also used to be budget minded and gave good tips on seeing the sights. (I think it was written by traveling Harvard students at the time.) They can be found at www.letsgo.com. I saw one there for Italy.

Also the Europeans seem to be very big on student discounts so even if your rail pass doesn't get you everywhere, the buses can be cheap. I don't remember where I got it but I carried an International Student Identification card (with picture) and flashed it everywhere. Got lots of discount travel that way.

12:43 p.m. on January 6, 2004 (EST)
MODERATOR
38 reviewer rep
1,765 forum posts
Re: Im not american

Ah well then, that makes a big difference in what I said. I'd still look at the GB EBay site for gear. And of course you won't have to deal with our customs people. Just don't act like a football hooligan-hehehe.

Quote:

I am irish, i live in northern ireland, so i see that there will be no trouble with the locals, afterall, everyone loves the irish :)

12:54 p.m. on January 6, 2004 (EST)
(Guest)

And TomD

Thanks for those websites mate, they really helped

7:28 p.m. on January 6, 2004 (EST)
MODERATOR
38 reviewer rep
1,765 forum posts
Re: And TomD

Glad to be of help. I'm sure there are others out there, just a matter of looking and looking until you find an interesting one-that's how I found this one.

Quote:

Thanks for those websites mate, they really helped

December 28, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: Anza Borrego Rocks Newer: travel time
All forums: Older: Winter lighter / stove Newer: Climbing Aconcagua Feb 2004