Friday, 17 January 2014

Art Roch Hostel, 2 West Port, Edingburgh

I came to think of that hostel since we might be going back there in few weeks. A great chill area and a big kitchen, maybe not luxury but only 8 pounds a night, so can't complain. How do I know the place? Because I've stayed there before, during our eurotrip. That's when you buy a ticket to go around Europe unlimitedly by train for a month, and gain lifetime experience! I had my trip with three great friends who were all active when it came to booking tickets, working towards the trip and organizing everything. This post is for those who would also want to experience backpacking, and have an open mind for new experiences.

1. Travel off-season! It doesn't have to be mid winter, it is enough not to travel june-july when you'll end up sweating like crazy with a huge backpack and then trying to take 'fresh' photos. For Scandinavians; remember, the rest of Europe remains quite nice and warm even in October, and that's when we travelled.

2. Travel with ACTIVE people who are not too 'divas'. I know it sounds stupid, but hey, you've got to leave those high heels home (ok, I brought a pair myself but never ended up using them and it was the dumbest thing to bring them in a first place) and not expect to sleep in five-star hotels. In fact, not to even expect to sleep in hotels. You will sleep in HOSTELS. Yes, maybe in a dorm of 8 people, both boys and girls. If it sounds like too much, prepare to collect more money or consider something else instead of eurotripping. I said active because it is not nice if one person ends up being the 'group leader' and others are totally hopeless. For instance, if one gets lost, others don't have to panic that that person would starve to death or so.

3. A group of 3-5 people is good. We were 4, so that sometimes 2 went to do something and the other 2 something else. I know some people even go backpacking alone...I have travelled alone, but wouldn't do it for a whole month. However, this is a matter of taste. Of course you'll meet people on the way, probably even easier than in a group.

4. Get your tickets here.  Note that there are different solutions, for instance, we spent 7 days in Edingburgh, and 5 days in Berlin, and flew to/from both places,  so it made sense for us to get the ticket of travelling by train for 20 days, and it was even cheaper.

5. Plan, but not too much! If everything is pre-arranged, you might end up travelling as you're used to; moving like a robot from one place to another already knowing pretty much what you're going to do. Where is the good old adventure?? The best stories to tell from every journey are those which were not planned. I'd suggest to book accommodation for biggest, most touristy cities, and leave the smaller ones on the way for deciding there what to do. Most hostels  have people coming there all the time who literally just walk in and ask if they happen to have space. Again, if you travel off season, they will most likely have space. Also, plan the route; which places you want to go to, and on which time limits. This is important in order to make the most of your month.

6. Finally, the budget: I had 2200 euros when starting the trip, and still 600 when coming back. All depends on a. what cities do you do b. where you sleep c. what you eat. If you want to stay in nice hotels and eat outside in restaurants all the time, I would prepare 4000 euros or so. Prepare time for collecting the money: I got it in a month, but that was after making some 12 hour shifts at different places. Therefore, one and a half months should be enough. Depends again where you are from as well, because in Scandinavia incomes are quite good, whereas in eastern Europe or even Britain you'll earn a lot less with same amount of work.

7. Get the map out, call your friends, and set a deadline by which everything has to be booked and you'll go! You might want to also book some flights, Skyscanner is the best page to use for seeking good deals. However, in some cases, the slower you travel the cheaper. Alright, that's it for now. Stay safe, and good luck!!

Pics from our trip in October 2011, this one is from Mauerpark, one of the coolest places I've been to.

Love, xx

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