I am travelling Europe while I am on an International Exchange Program at KEDGE Business School in Marseille, France. This does change the scene a bit as compared to what a complete nomadic backpacking run across the continent could be. So for all the blogs and travel experiences in this category we will first set the premise that these information will be most accurate for an Indian staying in riviera side of France and from there taking the trips over a span of three months between classes.
How does this affect?
- Most of these trips will have journey back to and from Marseille which an unbounded backpacker can totally avoid.
- Whole travelling will have scheduling depending on classes and vacations, instead of being continuous.
- Most important, currency exchange rates. Yes! that is one thing which hurts more than winter here. For the reference during the period of my stay it is between ₹84 and ₹87.
To avoid much effect of it I will try to write point to point travel account instead of the whole stretch I do at one time.
Next, my stay duration in Europe is from first week of January to end of March. If anyone ever tells you to travel to Europe during this time, turn around and walk away from that person and never look back! It is the worst time to go about roaming in Europe. You would do good to remember that Europe is supposed to be beautiful for all the colors and flowers and greens! In this weather its all grey and wet!
But, like me if you do not have much of a choice and are travelling to Europe in this weather you might as well come prepared. Weather is not going to be nice to you. Pack well with
- Heavy thick jackets which can see you through temperature 10 degrees below the freezing point and take care of rains at the same time
- Gloves with touch points – trust me you would not want to take your hands out even to use your touch phones.
- Caps/Mufflers to cover your ear – 20 miles per hour wind speed is not considered killing!
- Your thick soled boots in which you can walk on snow.
Now, since we are talking about Europe at Shoestring it is very important to clarify here at the very beginning that it is a myth. Europe and specially some parts of it are two freaking expensive to be actually traveled on shoe string budget. But then that also depends on what shoe you wear and from where you buy your shoestrings. To be fair with Europe shoe and shoestring both are expensive here so you might just be able to live the cliche about low budget travelling.
Two things which can prove every expensive while travelling in Europe is the travel cost itself and stay. Two preparations which are a must
- Get an Eurail pass covering your whole travel period and countries you want to visit. For details check the Eurail website. You can also check Rail Europe out for all kinds of good deals on all train tickets and passes.
- Make a profile on CouchSurfing. This is by far the best way to find free stay with local people in their houses which is an experience in itself.
- Using your Indian Debit/Credit card for payments can be pretty expensive. So, travel with a currency card – for Europe Euro card would suffice though countries on eastern side have their own currencies. If you can get your hand on multi currency card covering all of them at good rate, its the best!
With all this done you are good to step into Europe!
P.S. Get a hair cut before you come here, your trip will go totally off budget if you had to get one here!
The EuroTrip starts from the next post!