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Budget advice
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Any Australian travelers here? Have you done Eastern Europe?

How long do you reckon 5000 AUD would last you in eastern europe? That is excluding flights.

I plan to spend as little as possible, but not to the point of camping or eating from garbage bins.

USD to AUD is about 1 to .7 right now, so multiply those numbers by about 1.4

If you stick to the cheaper cities in Eastern Europe, you can spend $30 AUD a day and have a decent amount of fun in addition to subsistence food and shelter
I did the same thing 6 months ago

I wouldn't expect to get a hostel for less that 10 euro a night, and you would probably want to spend about 20 euro a night

flights are expensive as shit, consider flying to the country with the best exchange rate then busing to your destination

I was super shady when I traveled, but I wouldn't recomend it

the real struggle is booking a return flight, booking one in advance is essencial for saving money, but that means your budget has to be pretty solid

best ways to save money are staying at hostels with cooking facilities, because after a few weeks you'l be sick of picnic food
bring your own cereal everywhere, scrambled eggs will keep you going
wash your shit in the sink/shower

the czech republic is cool, I liked poland personally; france was really expensive
turkey was the cheapest, but their exchange rate is less than stable
Thank you! This site looks super useful. I'mma dig into it.

That's one of my concerns, really, whether to book my return flight or not. I think I will be able to save a bit of money if I can couchsurf or get good airbnb deals.

Part of me wants to plan and make a booking for every place so I'm secured, and stretch out my budget for 2-3 months, then return home to my job.

The other part of me wants to just wing it. Buy a one way ticket, find volunteer work for food/accommodation at farms or hostels along the way, and see how far I can get. But then I'm not assured of my job and may easily go broke when I come home.

One of the main reasons for this trip is to somehow "find myself", and I don't know if 2-3 months will be enough.

Yeah, I'm hoping to hit up the Czech Republic [last] but don't think I'll be venturing into western EU. I've kind of narrowed it down to this:
>Helsinki - Tampere - Helsinki in a week or so
>fly to Cluj
>road trip down to Bucharest
>road trip with a mate to Zagreb, then Pula for a festival
>pass through Slovenia
>explore Budapest for a while
>hit up Prague
>???? or go home

Other places I'd like to see are Sofia and Vienna, if time/budget permits.
I mean I ended up half way across europe from where my return flight left from, but I'd advie it anyway
consider booking to india or KL then getting a transfer to aus with a different carrier if you can get a better deal

Ididn't find myself exactly, but you learn a lot along the way

vienna is expensive, but it's a solid enough plan for two weeks

try to stay connected with other travelers, they'l want to to do the same things as you as opposed to locals, use apps and facebook pages, failing that be friendly at hostels
Do European countries require you to have a return flight booked when you arrive at immigrations?

Thanks for the advice. I am quite introverted but I think I have improved much over the last 3 years so I hope to get along well with other fellow travelers.

Also I agree with your sentiments of possibly not finding yourself, but learning a lot is also a great reward for me.
Oh and while I've got you, what's the best way to get around eastern Europe? Eurail or buses?
these are two of the most common questions, and the reason for that is because they don't really have consistant answers

immigration varries based on who you get on the day, where you land, a hundred other things
countries WANT everyone to have return tickets, sometimes just so their country gets the money from both flights
some countries *cough* *england* *cough* have policies driven by domestic pollitics, not practicality or fairness

england is the tightest, my understanding is that most other countries are much laxer.
if you get into real trouble I've never heard of anyone not being given the option to book a return trip on the spot; pricey but not the end of the world

choose your level of risk
A. return ticket, almost absolute guarantee of entry
B. funds, bank account statement, stamped, with heaps of cash; consider getting a relative to add extra money then removing it imediately; it's nobody's law about the money it's just how they work
C. proof of exit, a bus ticket and accommodation booked in that destination
D. having solid and fixed travel plans, or pretending to

if it were me I'd just fly in with a fat bank account and proof of account, to a schengshen zone airport, ideally not england or france
it's not really likely you'l have trouble, often it's just to keep the fear in travelers; I list all this mainly as a disclaimer.

I used busses all the way
eurail is nice enough, but europe is actually tiny, it takes like 5 hours to cross a country by bus; eurail is also hideously expensive
in eastern europe coaches (they are always called coaches, busses are public transport and some drivers even get offended if you mix up the two because it's a profession for them)...anyway they are dead cheap, always clean, not super comfortable but comparable to Australian regional coaches; many have free internet.
Not OP, but would you recommend this pass:

or just booking coaches on the fly?
>countries WANT everyone to have return tickets,
Yes, so they know your ass isn't going to get robbed and have no money to leave. It's so they know you truly don't intend to work, don't intend to do anything but tourist activities, the visa you entered upon, or because you have no intention of illegally overstaying or illegally immigrating.
>sometimes just so their country gets the money from both flights
Nope. It's not about that at. all.

You dropout travelers seeing the world without an actual job waiting for you at home, a plan that isn't really thought out, you are out of the norm of tourist patterns and really a subset of society. You don't act like usual tourists. You act exactly like deceivers would act.
and to clarify I DON'T mean carry cash through the airport, I just mean have all your available funds (ideally more) in your account

also a few other things I learnt
1. never exchange money in australia, the rates are a joke; but many foreign banks will take you for a ride as wel
australian banks offer a travelers card where you can pre-load currency, sometimes this is also a rip off but can be lesser of two evils.
I didn't find a good option, jews everywhere

2. lock the zips on your bag, but just as important is locking the bag itself to something, large cable tie locks are available
I locked my small day bag to my hiking bag when in transit, and locked both to a solid object at night when lockers wern't available
you get use to it pretty quickly
pickpockets abound in france/italy/spain, nothing in lower pockets is safe, money belts are bad in hot weather but DO work. most people who were victims of theft simply left valuables lying around

3. cities look really different at night, be aware of that if you plan to arrive late, and if you stay out drinking keep a hotel card and some cash in your sock or somewhere OUTSIDE YOUR WALLET
of course they want to stop illegal immigrants and stupid tourists needing to be bailed out, but at the end of the day you have a conflict of interest

you want your funds free, they want you locked in
for backpackers (and actually most people) I wouldn't recommend eurorail

1. for the price you could fly to most places in europe, short flights are cheap as shit
2. for the price you could also just spend more on your actual holiday
3. you are paying for cover for the whole period instead of the actual trips you take
4. the train won't take you to your hotel, you're getting a bus, metro train or cab anyway so the eurail pass won't even be the full cost of your trip

coaches can be really cheap, but book them ahead because sometimes they are full, often due to something you couldn't forsee like a local sports match or a event
not like a month ahead, but at least a few days

pick a company that's terminal is on the public transport grid (looking at you here Greece)
>Oh and while I've got you, what's the best way to get around eastern Europe? Eurail or buses?
You're going to have to price it out yourself. Local public transportation can be very cheap. It could vary greatly between the cities you'd like to travel. Also, there's a lot of budget airlines beating rail prices in Europe right now, from wizzair, to easyjet to ryanair. When you're pricing stuff out, take into consideration how central the station is to where you wish to be...since airports and stations aren't usually central and would add expense.

For Budapest and Prague the airports are quite a bit further from the city centers. The train station in Prague is 2min walking distance from the opera house and old town, could roll your bag down the street from your hotel. The trolley buses are cheap, and locals prefer the metro.

When I do prague-vienna-budapest (~11 days), I use the austrian (OBB) trains for punctuality and cleanliness and you should too. Budapest train station is filled with middle east immigration. While you're in Vienna, you do not need 2 weeks unless an art major or something specific like that. Take a trip down the Danube one-way, and train it from there to next stop. I enjoyed all the towns down to Melk and back.

I wouldn't book on the fly. Reserved seats matter, esp for your gear and the quality of people around you. Try to get a bit of a plan for the beginning of your trip, maybe buy it in advance half-way, and then spend a day of rest planning the second-half and buying these things online.
The link was to a eurail-like buspass; you did not read my post properly.
i had an awful time at budapest airport, my flight was delayed 6 hours so I got in so late that everything was shut, info desks, exchange offices

and the timetables for busses out of the airport were different because it was so late, and nobody spoke a work of english
everything I had ran out of battery on the flight, and my charger didn't work

thank god someone who spoke a bit of french helped me out, I would have camped there the night oherwise
I did check the link, but I thought it was just their main page

I havn't taken euro-rail's busses, and I don't know your plans so I can't really comment
Taxi is the best way to leave budapest airport and train station both. And if you plan ahead, I'd actually let your hotel send their usual driver. These two transfers are like #2 reason for trouble that tourists encounter some of the known issues.
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