Saturday, March 20, 2010

Backpacking through the uk?

I plan on traveling once i get my BA in writing(sum '13), and wanted to travel b4 I settled down. Just wanted to know if anyone could offer me tips on how to go about traveling throughout the UK. I want to move to England eventually, and would love to get to know the area(england, ireland, scotland), but wanted to know the cost, worries, precautions, etc. is backpacking through the UK a experience comparable to doing it throughout all of europe. I know England is one of the more expensive countries to travel through, as are France, spain and Italy. Can someone offer me any advice, would I be better off just going throughout all of Europe($ wise, fun wise), I REALLY want to travel through the UK, but if all of europe would be about the same, or a bit more, I figured why not. I wont have a limit in terms of how long I will be abroad, as I wanted to be already graduated when I do this. just in need of some guidance! Thanks!

Answer on Backpacking through the uk?

Traveling in the UK will be like traveling in all of Europe, but if you really think about settling in the UK it would be worth it to spend much time there.
I assume you are from the USA, in which case setting in the UK will be almost impossible right now. And even if you are from an other country it will never be easy.
So read up on moving countries before you have your hopes up too high.

I have traveled in the UK, mostly England, often, and have done a fair share of backpacking on the continent, being from the Netherlands that is not hard to do.
I like the UK but also have to admit that it is not that much different from the rest of Europe. The language is easier if you only speak English (or in my case, English and Dutch) but in the rest of Europe you can also have a good travel with just that.
The UK has a lot in nature and a lot of different cities and towns. For mountains you have to go to Scotland or Wales. The ones I have seen were not as impressive as those in the Alps region, but plenty big enough for most things you will want to do.

Money wise France, Italy and Spain will be little better and may be worse than the UK, if you want to go where your dollar stretches further you will have to look east, the countries that used to be communist in the past, like Czech republic, Poland, Romania, and so on. Do read up on them before deciding to go there, not all are as cheap, but on the other hand, not all are as ready for tourist either. So look for what you find acceptable, and expect them not to speak English.
And remember that capital cities are always more expensive than the countryside, east as well as west.

The UK is relatively expensive, the real costs depend on how the pound is doing against the Euro, and on where in the country you travel.
London is always expensive, even when you stay with friends your money will melt away as soon as you go into the city.
But many of the smaller cities, towns and villages have cheaper options, and when staying in a smaller place, you will also spend less on sight seeing and food.
In a rural setting you can easily do a hike instead of sightseeing and take a cheap packed lunch from a supermarket.

A good option for you might be couch surfing, I have not done it but people who do are positive. You share someones house for a few days, sometimes you make a meal together or your host shows you around the town, giving you valuable inside information on living there.
This are two sites, there are more, some for dedicated groups like people traveling by bike or walkers.
If you are going for couch surfing, and do hike, bike or do any kind of hobby that takes most of your free time, do a google search to see if there is a special group or couch surf organization about it.
I have often stayed with people who share my hobby and are member of the same society.

Oh, and remember that there is a limit on how long you can spend in each country/area. The Schengen countries, most of continental Europe, allow most tourist to come for 90 days out of each 180, the UK/Ireland zone has like rules, although they might allow you 180 days out of each year.
And that is as tourist, you may not work in that time.
Some people can get working holiday permits, (may be called different by now) which allow you to work in one country and stay for a longer time. But jobs are hard to find at the moment.