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 donâ€™t really have to budget for tipping. We only really tipped when we were in restaurants or cafesâ€™s but it doesnâ€™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 donâ€™t need to worry if you didnâ€™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 cityâ€™s are really big and have HEAPS of stuff to see that even if you had a week in each place you still wouldnâ€™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 itâ€™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 didnâ€™t take a sleeping back and only took a neck pillow for the bus/plane. Depending on what time you go you definitely donâ€™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 wasnâ€™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 arenâ€™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 donâ€™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.