Travelling Europe for 4 months (+ living there for a year) – help me answer some questions

Posted on February 11, 2016 | in Travellers Questions | by

Im heading to Lyon for a year for student exchange (university level) – with the semester starting in September and my semester in Australia finishing at the end of June, I was planning on heading to Europe early July (essentially as soon as possible), giving myself around two months. Ill have a similar two months at the end of my year to travel. For context, I am 20F and will be most likely travelling solo for at least the first two months – first time in Europe (except for a short school trip to France) but Ive traveled a total of around 6 months in SEA solo so Im not particularly nervous or anything and count myself as at least a little bit more travel smart than the average person. I prefer budget backpacking but am willing to spend a few more dollars if it means the difference between a hostel with a rating of 2.3 vs a hostel with a rating of 8.9 – I would say Im in between the backpacker that eats only bread theyve stolen from hostel breakfasts and a flashpacker.

So far this is what Ive been thinking:

First two months: ???
Christmas break: Germany – I want to see the Christmas markets
Sometime during the year Im studying (weekends, public holidays, short semester breaks etc): Since the UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, and the rest of France are so close I figured Id just hit them during long weekends or something. I also want to see Morocco and Algeria which I was planning on doing when I get like a mid semester break (not really sure when/how long the breaks are but I assume theyll be at least one thats a week long at the very least). Last two months: ??? Possibly going to just walk the Camino de Santiago (Spain intensively for two months) if I find Im running out of money What I need help with is grouping together countries in those two month block time periods – basically I want some advice in which countries flow together well in terms of distance and time/cost of travel between. Countries Id like to see (that I dont have planned for during semester travel):

Hungary Iceland
Czech Republic
Italy Greece
Turkey Russia (wouldnt mind just going to St Petersburg on that 72 hour free visa)

Im open for any ideas for other countries as well. Also, Im well aware thats an ambitious list for four months so Im willing to cut places out – thats just a starting list. Some other questions I have:
* Any chance anyone knows the cheapest European city to fly into from Sydney?

When should I look to get my one way ticket? Im just wondering whether the fact that Im flying into somewhere as popular as Europe during their peak season means I will actually save money by booking tickets insanely early as opposed to the general 7 weeks ish before rule
Is the Eurail pass a good idea or not with the countries I have in mind? Ive read mixed things about whether or not they save money
What should my budget be around?


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