meg! Hey girl! I just got back from Dublin and I had a great time. I was there for 3 days and that was plenty of time to see and enjoy alot of the city. It was excellent.
Some advice, you will be able to see alot but you’ll have to think about where you go carefully. Europe is a great place to travel cheaply, lots and lots of people do it after college on a very tight budget. You’ll need a Eurorail pass, and listing of all the hostels and a backpack. Unfortunately I haven’t done the backpacking thing personally, but half my friends have. I’ll ask around and see what places you should defnitately go see.
My opinion, and that of many people who I’ve talked to, is that France is not a good place to visit on a budget backpacking trip. I personally hated the time I spent there and I wasn’t on a tight budget. Sadly, I think all the negative stereotypes are true. If you decide you must see France, I’d fly into Paris, see the Eifel Tower, the Arch de Triumph, and the some of teh other famous sights and then hop the first train out of there to the next city. Don’t make Paris a place where you settle in to “experience the culture”. Its not that special IMHO and is impossible to do on a tight budget.
A good friend of mine spent 2 weeks in Italy and had plenty of time to see it all. He wasn’t very impressed, and he’s 100% Italian and stayed with family there. I think its another of those countries thats much nicer on paper than in experience. It might also be a good idea to hit Rome and Venice for a day and thats it.
Spain on the otherhand, my mother loved. I haven’t personally been there either, but I’ve heard many more positive things about it.
The one thing that stands out about the countires you’ve mentioned is that they are all big and far apart. If you try and see all of those three you’ll spend the bulk of the two weeks on the train. You might be better off picking a region (North, Mediterranean, East, Mountains) and make sure you see everything there.
An example would be that you could fly into Paris, spend on night and day, see the sights and then go east to Germany, Austria and Switzerland and see the countryside and castles. Then finally ending the trip in Barcelona and fly back from there after spending a day or two.
Geting from France to Italy would probably waste a ton of your time, you’d probably have to pick one of the other in just 2 weeks.
I agree with Porp that you shouldn’t over plan. You want to pick an area, and obviously a starting point and a leaving point. And then leave the things in the middle to chance. But you will need to research so you know accurately how much time it takes to get from one place to another so you don’t waste too much time on a train backtracking.
You could make a nice 2 week trip of just Ireland, Scotland, England and probably Amsterdam. A good one of Spain, south France and Spain (this one will be expensive). And a good one of Paris, Germany, and the north alps. You sipmly will probably be wasting too much time traveling if you try and cross too many regions though.
Meg, you definately should do the trip. You also should do as much research as possible so you can choose whats most important to see while you’re there.
Promise me you’ll be careful. The hostels and trains are cheap, but they can be a little risky for two girls on their own. Especially ones as gorgeous as you ;).
Keep us posted on your ideas, and if you want a travel companion let me know, I might be able to clear up some time.