4month travel in Europe
November 9, 2012 6:14 PM   Subscribe

4 month DIY traveling in Europe starting Dec. Good idea or bad idea?

Is it too late to plan a 4/5 month trip to Europe starting in Dec? I hope to leave (at least a week) before Christmas and stay till about end of April next year.

I plan to use a combination of couch surfing/friends for boarding and not picky on quality of food. Would $15K be enough?

Also if you know any travel hack websites/pointers feel free to share!

Thank you guys in advance.
posted by jstarlee to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
tbh $15K, if you do couch surfing, is more than enough. The food won't be your main expense; accommodation and internal transport (which differs wildy in price) will be.

I would recommend that you hit Scandinavia during this time (warning: the one place where alcohol can get quite expensive) so that you can view the northern lights. Also, if you go to the UK (which I don't recommend in any month, but especially winter), plan train trips in advance else will be heniously expensive.
posted by Wordshore at 6:21 PM on November 9, 2012

$15K is more than enough, so you might want to take $2k of that and put it in a separate account that's not accesible, or give it to a family member who you trust to wire it to you. That's your 'parachute' fund in case you wake up broke on a beach in Ibiza with no memory of the previous two weeks.
posted by mannequito at 6:34 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

BEST idea.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:44 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

15K is way more than enough if you are going to Southern and Eastern Europe. You will actually meet more Europeans during winter and spring since they won't be off on holiday.Check in the usual suspects-Lonely Planet, Rough Guides.
posted by Isadorady at 7:21 PM on November 9, 2012

hard to think of how a months long footloose and fancy free trip to Europe could be a bad idea.... any regrets you manage to conjure up will surely be outshadowed by the tidal wave of awesome memories you'll accrue. Go for it!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:03 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

It depends what you want to do in Europe.

It might be too late to get tickets to see important artworks which are open by appointment only (for example if you want to see The Last Supper in Milan).

Accommodation might be a problem, though if you are planning to couchsurf and stay with friends, definitely less so. It might be a good idea to test the waters by emailing a few couchsurf hosts and seeing how hard it will be to get a couch to surf on in December wherever it is you're thinking of going.

Keep in mind that things really close the fuck down in a lot of places during the week between Christmas and New Years.

That said, you have 4 months, so none of that is really a dealbreaker -- just something that takes some planning.

Go for it!
posted by Sara C. at 8:07 PM on November 9, 2012

It's not too late to organise it but the first things I would do are to plan accommodation and transport for Christmas and New Year - things get incredibly busy and good options book out fast!
posted by EatMyHat at 8:26 PM on November 9, 2012

Fantastic idea. Have fun!
posted by lulu68 at 9:03 PM on November 9, 2012

Tedious but necessary bureaucracy note: ignore it if you have an EU passport, or (less likely) if you have an long-stay visa.

Standard entry rules for American tourists in Europe's Schengen area only allow for 90 days in a 180-day period. You could conceivably get 4+ months' worth of travel if you're careful with your planning and bookend your trip with stays in non-Schengen countries like the UK, Ireland and some of the Balkan states. However, coming in on a one-way ticket or with a return flight dated past that 90 day limit might not get you the warmest welcome at passport control on arrival. You'll also need decent documentation of the money you have available to support yourself.
posted by holgate at 9:10 PM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you're used to a moderate climate keep in mind that most of Northern Europe is pretty cold so prepare accordingly. Personally I wouldn't do a 4-5 month trip in the winter months in Europe (reference point: I'm in Belgium).

Your budget is way more than enough especially if you plan on couchsurfing/staying with friends.
posted by wolfr at 1:48 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is cold in most parts of Europe in Dec-Apr. Be aware that transportation might be an issue due to snow/bad weather.
Have fun!
posted by travelwithcats at 2:33 AM on November 10, 2012

One thing to consider when travelling in winter: when you get tired from all that walking and sightseeing, the hanging-out-in-the-park-to-rest-up option is less fun.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:06 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

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