Questions, Tips & Advice for All Tours - ASK HERE


#1

Hi guys,

I completed the Mega European tour this year (2012) between June and August. I remember meeting a girl here on the forums who had completed the Mega European the season prior to when I was booked in and with this trip being my first big adventure I had so many questions regarding what to pack, sights, places, sailing questions etc which she answered and it made things a lot easier for me and definitely helped me prepare for my trip. She also gave me some great tips for the trip and what to expect. Because of her advice I had the most amazing and memorable trip which definitely exceeded my expectations and Topdeck were amazing!

Now I would like to give back to the forums and if anyone is planning on doing the Mega European or a trip that links up with it and have some questions just ask here and I’ll try my best to help you.

Cheers

EDIT: If there is anyone else that has any general questions about what to take/what’s good in places/flotilla sailing questions/ other questions you can also ask here and I’ll see if I can give you an answer to your questions. Doesn’t matter what tour you are on.

Also if anyone else has some tips or advice for any trips or for travelling in general, post it here to help some people out! :slight_smile:

No question is a dumb/stupid question. Just ask and I’ll try to help.


2 week European Wonder Trip Questions
Mega European-Egypt May 14th 2019
#2

Hi Coggo,

I am planning to book a Mega European trip in April 2013. I have never travelled alone before or to Europe so I am very excited but also quite nervous! My family and friends who have done shorter tours in Europe have said that 49 days is way too long and that I will be exhausted and possibly over the company of the tour group by the end of it. What are your thoughts?

Thanks,
Cass


#3

Hi Cass,

The Mega European tour is a long tour and I also had some friends and family who advised me against such a big tour. Looking back I’m glad I did choose such a big tour because the time passes so quickly and I met a lot of people from other tours who said they regret not doing a bigger tour because there are things that they missed out on. Also I found that I made such close friends on this tour that if I only had 20 days with them we wouldn’t have became so close. My personal reasoning for choosing the longest tour was because I was overwhelmed with so many things to see in Europe that I didn’t know where to start and I wanted to see everything. I also had limited amount of time overseas so I wanted to get as much done as possible. This trip gives you a such a good taste of everything and I now know the places I want to go back and see and stay longer and places where I probably don’t have to go back to (although there aren’t many places I don’t want to go back to).

Trust me, you will be getting pretty exhausted by the end but everyone on the trip will be the same and you all push through it together. The main thing to do is to pace yourself some days but the excitement you’ll have from seeing some many new and awesome things you’ll hardly feel the fatigue until the tour is over. If you do plan on doing the Mega European you have to realise that it is a decent time and you have to pace yourself a bit.

It’s also very likely that you might “get over” certain people within the tour but that generally isn’t because you’ve been with them for so long, its because not everyone sees things eye to eye and they can get on your nerves. This could happen on smaller tours as well. The good thing is though, if you are “getting over” certain people who aren’t forced to hang out with them and you can do whatever makes you happy on the free days.

For my trip pretty much everyone got along really well (except for maybe one or two) but what makes it so easy to hang out with your group is that you are all there for the same thing and want to see that sights and I’m sure you’ll find that you’ll make life long friends on your trip.

To sum up, if you don’t know what you want to see but want to try everything then I’d definitely do the Mega European. The time flies by so quickly that at the end of the tour I guarantee you will say “I can’t believe it’s been 49 days already”. I did :slight_smile:

I hope that helped Cass and if there is anything else, just ask!


#4

Hi Coggo,

I’ve booked the Mega Euro for July/august and i will be travelling solo for the first time. I’ve never been to Europe before but i know things can be quite expensive.

Just wanted to know ruffly how much spending money did you take with you? ( i know everybody different with their spending but just wanted to get a ball park figure).

Also did you use one of those pre- loaded currency visa cards?

Thank you :slight_smile:


#5

Hello Everyone!
I was just wondering how it was with new people coming on the tour, I think i’m doing the Eastern Adventure trip that will join the Mega European on day 20. Cass, if you are thinking of doing the mega European that leaves on the 16th of April ill be meeting up with you guys on the 5th of May.
I’m just a little nervous about joining a bigger group and being the odd man out seeing as im traveling alone, any advice would be so appreciated:)
thanks!

Cheers, Chels


#6

Tammy,

As you said spending money is different for everybody. I personally took about $9,000 AUD but I had been saving for about 2 years and I didn’t spend all of it. The advice I can give is look at your optional activities listing and see which ones might interest you and first of all budget for that. I think I did pretty much every optional activity except for maybe one or two. They were all definitely work the money and a lot of the people on my tour did them as well so i was a great way to get to know them early on in the trip. Looking back, I think I may have spent around $5,000 to $7,000 AUD and that is including optional activities, not provided lunches, dinners, snacks and souvenirs and I also spent about 5 days before the trip in England and 4 days after. So that covered all my expenses quite comfortably and all my admissions into museums, tips for food and drinks at night.

Some other tips that helped me when I was on the tour was that on drive days you have to stop every 2-3 hours on the bus and usually this is at gas stations. A lot of people would go load up on chips and lollies which are pretty darn expensive. I rarely bought things at the gas stations and it probably ended up saving me about 500+ Euro by the end of the trip. I put that money towards buying nice lunch’s in the city’s we were at or going out at night or paying entry into museums. However you can buy things at the gas stations if you want it is just a good way to save some money.

I did have the pre-loaded card. I used http://www.cashpassport.com/multi/ and they were great. The new cards didn’t have any withdrawal fees and there was only one ATM in Rome I found which wouldn’t take the card on the whole trip. They were really great because I they give you a spare card just in case you lose one or if one gets stolen so I just kept my spare locked in my big backpack in the hotel and one with me. The general thing that a lot of people did as well was make withdrawals of about 400-500 Euro. This way you could leave 300 in your locked bag at the hotel and keep enough on you to last a day or day and just top up whenever you start running low. That way as well you don’t have to keep finding ATM’s in every city you go. It is also handy to have cash handy when you have to pay for optional activities while on the bus so you are never left short. I was very happy with my card and would recommend it if you haven’t already got one. I also kept about 100-200 Euro on me when I went out for a day so I had enough for whatever I wanted to do.

One last tip Tammy which my sister gave me. Don’t not do an optional activity or something on the trip because you think it might be too expensive. There we so many people who didn’t do things because they thought it was too much and then 100% regretted not doing it that night when we came back and said how great it was. You are on a holiday of a lifetime and you may as well make the most of it. You don’t want to look back and say “wow I really wish I sky dived in Switzerland now or I wish I paid to see the salt mines”. People on my tour didn’t go up the Eiffel tower because they thought it was too much!! (P.S climb the stairs to the first level of the Eiffel tower because there is nearly no line to climb the stairs and then you can get the lift from the first level up to the top. You save about 2 hours of lining up and get some great shots going up the stairs)

Chelsea,

I remember that our tour had a fair few people in our group leave at Athens and we picked up a lot of Eastern European trip people around that time. By this stage we had been together for roughly 20 days and everyone knew everyone and little groups do form but we welcomed all the new people coming onto the trip. You do have to realise though that people will already have made friends by the stage you join but the best thing to do is just strike up a conversation with people and you’ll be fine. Some of my best friends on the tour joined halfway and were doing the Eastern European trip.

A little advice would be if you are travelling alone and joining into a tour group that has already been together for a while and you are worried about being lonely or don’t feel confident going out into a city alone is when you have your free days (so not on the bus) just ask a group of people if you can tag along with them for the day and if they were like my bus group, everyone would be more than happy to hang out with you for the day. Just ask what they were planning on seeing for the day and if that is relatively the same thing then tag along.

I know it can be very hard but probably the worst thing you can do is to act shy and not talk to people. I was given this advice before going on my trip that you will 100% regret it if you don’t put yourself out there and get to know people early. Everyone is in the same boat as you and are probably just as nervous so the sooner you can start talking and making friends the easier and more fun the trip will be. Looking back I’m glad I tried to talk to everyone in the first couple of days and know a couple of people on my bus who took half the trip to come out of their shells but once they did they enjoyed everything so much more.

The best thing to do is to put yourself out there and if you just ask a group of people if you can tag along for the day then I’m sure they’ll be more than happy. It’s that easy. And it’s surprising how often you run into other groups from the bus because you all go look at the same things you can always jump in with another group and go with them for a while

I hope this helps and keep the questions coming :slight_smile:


#7

Hey Coggo

It’s Rosey :wink:

So glad you started this post because the post from that girl was incredibly helpful in my preparations and reservations for the tour.

I highly recommend this tour. 49 Days is long and overwhelming but I absolutely do not regret it. I’m glad I ignored those who did not agree/support my choice of tour and still went ahead. The flight to Europe from Australia is so long and painful, I personally couldn’t justify flying that long for a 2-3week tour.

One tip I wish someone told me was to bring my student ID or licence when visiting museums, sightseeing, trains, landmarks etc. Most places have discounts if you are under 25 or a Student. These discounts can be quiet significant (almost 50%) too. I remember that Arcropolis costs 16 euros but with the student discount came down to 6euros. NOT BAD AT ALL.

As for money, Topdeck suggests your budget for $60-70 a day. I think that amount is a little steep as I don’t think I spent that much everyday. Maybe every second day. Bus days are usually really long and you are on the bus literally the WHOLE day. Those days you will only spend about $10-15 depending on meal inclusions. I think the hidden money burner is probably the gas stations. Food and drinks sold at the gas stations at highly inflated - almost 10 times. For example, 500ml water will costs 3.5 euros whereas in a supermarket you can buy 2litre water for 50c. Same goes for snacks etc etc. What most of us usually did was buy food/drinks from supermarkets the night before a bus day and bring it with us the next day. You stop at gas stations about 3-4 times in one day, so that’s constantly buying snacks and the lines rather time consuming.

I found that certain countries are more expensive then others. For example France, Switzerland, UK and maybe to an extent Germany/Austria. a little bit more expensive than the rest. For example you could get quiet alot with 5 euros in Greece (meal + drink) whereas 6 euros (roughly) couldn’t get me a pie in Switzerland.


#8

Thanks Coggo for the great response!

I have another question for you. With an Australian passport did you need to apply for visa’s for any of the countries?

also when you did the sky diving was it from a helicopter? How did you find it?

Im really looking into sky diving and over coming my fear of heights.

Thank you


#9

Hey Rosey my Mega European buddy!!

I haven’t talked to you since the trip. How was your travels after the tour? You hopped off in Belgium didn’t you? Dave and I hung around London for 3 days after and watched a bit of the Olympics and went and checked out Cambridge university. The flight back went surprisingly well and Emirates were definitely the best airline to go with. So how’s things back in Perth now?

Tammy,

I’m glad I can help. Keep firing away with the questions. And anyone else that is reading can ask as well. It doesn’t have to be a Mega European question, could just be a general question on what to take or what to see for any tour.

With just my Australian passport I didn’t need to apply for any other visa’s prior to the trip. The only temporary visa you need is to get into Turkey but that is taken care of at the border crossing and your tour leader will take care of that for you.

The skydiving I did in Switzerland was the best optional activity I did on the trip and it as out of the helicopter. I’m very bad with heights and I was very worried on how I would go with the jump but the helicopter ride was really amazing and when I was 15,000 feet up and hanging out the helicopter door waiting for the guy to jump surprisingly it was totally different to being really high up on a building. I wasn’t scared at all and just took in the view and enjoyed the whole thing. I definitely recommend doing it even if you are scared of heights. I had more trouble looking over the edge up the very top of the Eiffel tower. One of my goals for the trip was to improve my fear of heights and I climbed every tower/building I could on the trip and now I’m fine climbing and looking over nearly any building. It really helped me and the key is just to keep pushing yourself to go up these buildings.

I was lucky as well because I was able to go to the top of Jungfrau and sky dive in the same day. Generally the time doesn’t permit you to do this but I asked my tour leader and they worked it out that I got to go up Jungfrau in the morning for 3.5 hours and then head back down and skydive in the afternoon. Was probably one of the best days of my tour!


#10

Also if people are reading this and have any questions which aren’t related to the Mega European feel free to ask them here as well


#11

Hi Coggo

Thank you so much for all your helpful tips - this is excellent for someone looking to book the Mega European tour in 2013. I have a couple more quick questions if you don’t mind!

  • I read your post about spending money, however did you have to tip often? Should I allocate some funds for this?
  • With regards to the visa for Turkey do you need to pay this in USD? Cash on the day?
  • In your opinion is there enough time spent in cities to take in the sights etc or did you find yourself on the bus for most of the time/trip?
  • Did you take a sleeping bag and/or pillow?
  • Did you take a back pack or a suit case?
  • With the optional activities can you do them all if you wish or somedays to you have to make a choice between option a or b?
  • Any hot tips on must see places/activities in cities on the free days that you would recommend to other travelers, that you would say cannot be missed etc?

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!

I look forward to hearing from you.
Sophie.


#12

Hi! Thanks heaps for doing this for the forum you’ve already answered so many of my questions! I am doing the first half of the Mega European tour from 2nd July and was just wondering (especially with the sky diving) what travel insurance did you take out? I’ve got a couple of quotes from iSelect but not sure if it will cover sky diving :slight_smile:
Also how did you find the flotilla sailing? I’ve seen a few people say that they had to actually sail the boat and didn’t get much rest is that true? I’m sure I’d love it anyway but just wondering : )
Lastly- same as SophieRose- any tips on do/don’t in terms of sight seeing for the first 23 days??
Thanks!
Maddy


#13

HI Maddy,

I just read you post and noticed your going on the mega on the 2nd July, it just happens to be so will i.

When do you get into London? Will you be staying at the clink ? are you traveling solo?

:smiley:


#14

Coggo, awesome thread. Will stay tuned for more useful tips.

For those travelling on the Mega European from the 16th of April, I’ll see you there to make best use of long flight from Oz!


#15

Great tips for the Mega - Anyone on the trip Departing June 4th? I’ll be there, haven’t yet sorted accommodation prior to leaving will be in London for a couple of days before, any suggestions?


#16

Hi Tammy!
Apologies for the late reply I forgot I posted :slight_smile:
I fly out from Perth to Manchester on 27th June, then will be there till the 31st for a wedding- looking to travel on the 31st to London and stay (somewhere!) until the 2nd. Are you staying at the Clink? Both my housemates have done Europe for a few years and reckon it’s the way to go! I might book myself in there?
I am travelling solo, are you? Was meant to be going with my partner but he got a new job so can’t come. Still, veryyy exciteeeed!
I am only doing half of the mega european though, it’s called the Road to Athens, so I stop in Greece after sailing and then (if I can get tickets) I’ll be flying to Belgium and going to Tomorrowland festival!
Feel free to PM me on fbook if it’s easier, just search Maddy Seeley :slight_smile:


#17

Hi coggo

I agree, this thread is amazing!! It has answered so many of my questions!

I do have a few more though if that’s okay!

  1. What sort of bag did you take - ie. backpack or suitcase. I was really wanting to start my trip (not necessarily finish it though!) with just carry on luggage…is this practical?

  2. How much did you pack - what do you wish you had left behind and what do you wish you had with you?

  3. I think I read above that you flew with emirates, where they good? What’s it like on the plane? (Besides long) and did you do the stopover in Dubai?

  4. How did people amuse themselves on the long bus rides

  5. Are there any attractions you do or don’t recommend? I am really wanting to see castles/old buildings which I have heard there are a lot of, but I just wanted to know what sort of stuff you did on your free days

  6. On the free days, how difficult/easy was it to get around? We’re the tour leaders much help?

  7. Jungfrau mountain excursion. I think you said you only got to do this briefly, but do you know if anyone went skiing? It’s something I really want to do in the Swiss alps :smiley:

  8. Sailing. What was it like? Were they long days? How did everyone entertain themselves? How difficult was it to sail them?

I think I have 100 more questions but these are all I can think of for now :smiley:

Thanks again for doing this post!

eljohnston1990 (very excited traveller!)


#18

Wow Sorry guys I haven’t replied in a while. I’ve been busy with work and more travelling :slight_smile: I’ll try to answer all the questions in order.


#19

Sophie,

In regards to tipping I guess we tipped at most places we were at but usually you are eating with other people and you all share the tip (which is like 10%-15%) so you don’t really have to budget for tipping. We only really tipped when we were in restaurants or cafes’s but it doesn’t break the bank.

The Turkey Visa, yes you have to pay cash on the day from what I remember but they stop at a massive kind of shopping centre with all duty free goods right before the border for everyone to get money out. There are also currency exchanges there so you don’t need to worry if you didn’t have the money. You can just get it out on the day. That was my experience at least.

Regarding time in each place, some days you can be a bit pushed but one of my biggest pieces of advice is to plan ahead. Read your itinerary before you get to each place and see what there is to offer. They give you a map of the city which includes all the major sites and what each thing is about on the bus so read up on that, choose what you want to do and look how far things are away and plan a sort of course so you can see as many as you want. I found that because I did that I saw pretty much everything I wanted to do including going up Jungfrau in Switzerland AND ski diving on the same day. The thing is as well that these city’s are really big and have HEAPS of stuff to see that even if you had a week in each place you still wouldn’t be able to see everything so pick out the things you really want to see and go for them. You do spend a bit of time on the bus but it’s really not that bad as everyone made it out to be. I used it to write my journal, catch up on sleep and plan what I wanted to see in the next destination. And realistically you have to expect some long drives if you want to go all over Europe but the bus days FLY by.
I didn’t take a sleeping back and only took a neck pillow for the bus/plane. Depending on what time you go you definitely don’t need a sleeping bag. Let me know when you are planning your trip for and I can try and help with what the weather will be like in most places.

I took a back pack because some places have stairs and no lifts or only one lift and it takes forever with 48 people trying to use the lift at the same time. A lot of girls on my trip just had rolling suitcases and were fine though. I choose the backpack more for mobility and I wasn’t planning on carrying a heap of stuff with me.

Regarding option activities, most of the time you can do them all but there are some days you may have to choose. The big one for me was in Switzerland where they want you to choose to either sky dive or go up Jungfrau. I asked my tour leader if I could go up Jungfrau in the morning and then sky dive that afternoon and they were fine with it and organised it all for me so I got to do both. From memory there aren’t many optionals that will clash.

Tips would be like I said above, plan what you want to do and actually do what YOU want to do and don’t always follow other people because you will definitely regret that. Get up early everyday and make the most of each place because sleeping in on your city days are such a waste and you can sleep on the bus.

Places I loved were Switzerland, Turkey, Rome, Vienna, Budapest (maybe my fav), Amsterdam, Prague and Berlin.

Oh and probably one other super important tip is to go out of your way to talk to people on the bus. The longer you wait to strike up a conversation the more you will regret it later on in the trip. Make yourself get out there and talk to people.

If you want me to go into more detail or if you have any specific questions about any part of the trip just let me know.


#20

Maddy,
I have covermore travel insurance. I don’t think it covered sky diving from memory but it covered everything else. I don’t think you can get travel insurance cover for sky diving or if you can it would probably be super expensive.

In regards to sailing, it was probably the biggest highlights of my trip. It’s phenomenally beautiful sailing around Greece and very relaxing. I didn’t have ANY sailing experience before hand and was made captain of my boat and it was still heaps fun. You have plenty of little stops where you just jump into the most beautiful water you will ever see and at night you moor at the islands and have dancing and everyone relaxes and chats. You will really enjoy it. We sailed I think once out of the 3 days and the rest of just motoring around which is a lot easier. When you are sailing you need everyone helping to tie ropes but it’s still a lot of fun and not as hard as people make it out to be. It adds to the experience really.

Tips for the first 23 days:
France can get a bit chilly in the afternoons so take a cardigan if you can carry it. The fat tyre bike tour in Paris is a MUST. You see sooo much and I had an absolute blast. In Paris don’t talk to any Gypsies, just ignore them and keep walking and if you are carrying a bag and you are with someone have them keep an eye on your bag and you watch yours because it’s a lot easier to see each other bags. Jungfrau is definitely worth going up to see and my memory of sky diving will last with me forever.

Another tip is to take a water bottle with you on your free days, it can get really hot and draining so having water will keep you going.

As I said to Sophie, get up early each day and don’t waste time sleeping in, have a plan of what you want to see so you don’t spend half the day wondering what to do.

If I think of anything else I’ll post it on this forum thread. I hope this help and if you want me to elaborate just let me know.