Our Second Lesson in Backpacking – Plan but Don’t Have a Plan

Chelsea and I really decided to do this trip at the last minute. We started talking about it in January and booked tickets in March.

There was no real hard core money saving or planning whatsoever. With Chels in Wisconsin finishing school and myself in New York working way too long of hours, it was impossible to align our schedules prior to arriving in Dublin.

We made a general itinerary before leaving but we didn’t book anything except Dublin, London and Brussels. We just assumed we’d figure it out when we got here.

Which is definitely the thing to do but we should have had some sort of plan before.

Like a Eurail pass. It’s pretty much the most common way for backpackers to get around Europe. I’m not entirely sure how it works but basically you pay for the ticket and can take almost any train in Europe, only sometimes paying a booking fee. We researched it a little before we came and asked friends for recommendations but ultimately decided it wasn’t going to be worth it.

But now that we’re here trying to pay for this trip with the little money we have, a Eurail pass would have made a lot more sense. Since we’re paying for everything as we go, we’re booking train tickets really last minute. Each ticket is looking to be about 100 Euros. That’s over $100.

Eurail passes pretty much have to be bought online and mailed to you. We’re not really sure how the mail works here and it’s a lot of money to be spending when the ticket isn’t guaranteed to get to us! So we are struggling to figure out how to do that and if we should now get one.

Two of the Aussies we met were very organized. They had been saving for three years for their five and eight month backpacking trips. They don’t have dates for where they want to go but they at least have a way of getting there, i.e., a Eurail pass, round the world ticket or bus pass.

They have budgets, something Chelsea and I also didn’t figure out. These two Aussies know about how much they can spend each week and sometimes even per day. Chelsea and I really weren’t smart in Dublin and London so we need to sit down and try to figure out a budget.

So while we definitely are happy that we don’t have a set plan of where we’re going, we wish we had a plan of how to at least get around. And a plan of how much we can spend on what. Don’t have a plan, but plan!

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