I will answer all of your topdeck questions


#1

Alrighty folks.

I’m about to complete my first topdeck tour in about a week. This is the 49 day camping tour around all of Europe so I have plenty of useful bits of information. I’m also doing the 22 day hostel tour through scandanavia in another month, so as this thread progresses I should be able to answer all of your questions in one spot.

Why?
I’m doing this because information is scattered and nobody really made a “no bullshit, this is how it really works” thread before my first trip.

Notes: I’m American so I can’t answer every Aussie/kiwi specific question but I could easily ask one of my new friends from there for help: just expect some more time on those answers.

Other than that, feel free to toss out questions and I will do my best to answer them within 48 hours (as I’m still on the road).


#2

Hi Matthew,

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions!!!

Im booked on the European Pioneer, departing the 2nd of Sep.

  • Is there anything that you packed, but did not use?? Or is there something you should of packed that you wished you brought with you???

  • Approx, how much money per day have you been going through???

Thanks :slight_smile:


#3

I want to put a trip to Rome must be consulted where? I need your help. Thanks.


#4

Hey,
Did you use a credit/debit card or a prepaid card? How much money per day did you spend (not including souvenirs)? Most camp sites have ATMs, right? And any recommendations on the optionals? Did you guys only paid with cash for optional activities?
Thanks!


#5

Did you have any trouble using your USA debit card in Europe when using ATMs?


#6

With respect to packing. Bring as little as possible. I haven’t used a huge majority of the random stuff I’ve brought. Supermarkets are everywhere and you can purchase anything you might need. If you’re unsure if you need it, you probably don’t.

With money I have relied on my debit card. ATMs are everywhere. To minimize costs I usually take out €200-300 each time and when I go to a non euro country, I have just gone to a counter that converts euro to local currency. Using your ATM for a single days currency in a new town is costly. Worst case scenario any real service station or store will accept credit cards which usually have very low fees.

I have actually spent VERY little on this trip. Topdeck suggests £€50-60 per day but I’ve really only been using about €20. If you eat the meals provided and arent looking to get fancy cuisine it is totally reasonable. I also haven’t bought souvenirs except for a couple small things. My only real cost has been beer which adds up. But if you shop at local markets you can usually get 500ml beers for less than €1 each. I’ve also only done about half of the optionals. Expensive music shows like cabaret don’t really Appeal to me but they might for you.

Let me know if I missed anything.


#7

Try a travel agent for booking. I used STA.

www.statravel.com

if you have any specific questions feel free to ask and I’ll see what I can do!


#8

How do I become omniscient like you? Do you know more than the people that work for Topdeck?


#9

Did you travel alone? Was it hard to find someone to do stuff with? Also did you have a problem with things getting stolen? Thanks


#10

I did travel alone and have never had a problem finding people to do things with in town. You won’t have a problem finding a group of people to do things with as lots of people will be alone.

We haven’t had any problem with theft in the campgrounds or on the bus. There is always a chance of some random locals going into your tent while you’re gone, but most of the campgrounds have good security. I haven’t ever felt worried about leaving my stuff in my tent alone.


#11
  1. Eat more bacon
  2. Probably about some things. Does topdeck know calculus?

#12

Hey Matt,

Thanks for taking the time to answer everyones questions :slight_smile:
I’m going on my first tour in Sep, travelling solo, I’m female, 20 years old…
Just wondering about security in the Clink hostel if you’ve stayed there? just a bit apprehensive at the moment…
also, I’m going to France, Italy, Germany etc and staying in London for a week.
Would you Recommend Euros or Pounds as the main currency to be used?

Thanks again :slight_smile:


#13

Hello,
I’m interested in doing the Greek Island Hopping Tour departing on July 22nd, but I was wondering if it’s safe to go to Greece at this economically hard time for them?

Also, do you relax on such a trip or are you tied to ferry ride times and can never sleep in?

Thanks a lot

Claudia-Sam


#14

G’Day,

I will be on the Mega trip in a couple of weeks, just wondering how much spending money would you recommend we exchange for Switzerland? You can’t use Euro money can you?? obviously if i go skydiving it will set me back more…

Cheers


#15

Hey I actually emailed the skydiving place and they say they will take Euro’s for payment!!! I am doing the mega European next week and exchanged about 30 swiss francs.


#16

[quote=18715]Hey Matt,

Thanks for taking the time to answer everyones questions :slight_smile:
I’m going on my first tour in Sep, travelling solo, I’m female, 20 years old…
Just wondering about security in the Clink hostel if you’ve stayed there? just a bit apprehensive at the moment…
also, I’m going to France, Italy, Germany etc and staying in London for a week.
Would you Recommend Euros or Pounds as the main currency to be used?

Thanks again :)[/quote]

I stayed at the clink and had no problem with security. What you will find all across Europe when staying in campgrounds or hostels is that your stuff is never totally secure. My group has had no problems but theft could happen. The good news is that nobody wants to steal your clothes or what’s in your main bag. Keep your money/passport/camera/phone with you and you shouldn’t have any problems.

You will need euros for everything but England. I would recomend picking up 20-30 of both currency before you fly to Europe just so you have some cash for when you first arrive. Other than that, ATMs are your friend and will give you the best conversion price.


#17

[quote=18722]Hello,
I’m interested in doing the Greek Island Hopping Tour departing on July 22nd, but I was wondering if it’s safe to go to Greece at this economically hard time for them?

Also, do you relax on such a trip or are you tied to ferry ride times and can never sleep in?

Thanks a lot

Claudia-Sam[/quote]

I believe so. I was just in Greece a couple weeks ago and didn’t notice anything that would overtly suggest they were in financial crisis. As a side note, Greece was wonderful and I would recomend it to anyone.

For the other question we had plenty of time to relax. Sometimes you have to get up early for ferrys or the bus but you can sleep on them. I have slept on the bus almost every day.


#18

[quote=18734]G’Day,

I will be on the Mega trip in a couple of weeks, just wondering how much spending money would you recommend we exchange for Switzerland? You can’t use Euro money can you?? obviously if i go skydiving it will set me back more…

Cheers[/quote]

I only started out with about 30 francs but ended up getting more for drinks and such. The campground in Switzerland has a pretty cheap bar that we all hung out in while it was raining. For the most part, people will take pounds or euros for payment (but give you your change in francs). Just ask if you can pay with something else.


#19

Hey Matthew,
Not sure if you can help or not BUT…what did you use for ID when you went out to pubs, clubs etc?? Not 100% keen on carting my passport out with me after a few too many (tend to get a little reckless!!!) Were there any places you went that ID was really enforced and if so what did majority use…
Cheers
Greer :slight_smile:


#20

[quote=18772]Hey Matthew,
Not sure if you can help or not BUT…what did you use for ID when you went out to pubs, clubs etc?? Not 100% keen on carting my passport out with me after a few too many (tend to get a little reckless!!!) Were there any places you went that ID was really enforced and if so what did majority use…
Cheers
Greer :)[/quote]

I only got asked for ID once which was in Bulgaria of all places. I don’t think anyone else has had an issue with it either. I used my state issued drivers license to get in so I doubt it really matters what you have.

That being said, you should always have at least a copy of your passport with you at all times. Ideally the real thing in the event a law enforcement person wanted to see it. Plus if it’s in your bag at a hostel or campground it probably has better chances of being stolen than if it’s with you. Just a thought!