Ah, Busabout; the start of my adventures, a catalyst for travel in the years to come. Little did I know just how much this trip would have an impact on so many aspects of my life.
I spent almost four months backingpacking around Europe, stopping in 13 different countries and 35+ cities along the way. I slept in around 24 different hostels, 10 Airbnb’s and 3 mountain cabins and made some incredible memories that I’ll cherish forever.
From turning 20 in Croatia’s Krka National Park, hiking in the Swiss Alps, paragliding in the Slovenian mountains, island hopping in Venice, sailing around Dubrovnik and white water rafting and canyoning in Slovenia.
I explored the ruins of Pompeii, joined multiple bar crawls in various cities, hiked up and (hitchhiked) down Mt Vesuvius, ate delicious local food in Germany and learnt so much history along the way; it was without a doubt a trip that broadened my mind and changed the way I view the world.
It started with weeks and weeks of planning, nights spent researching each destination and afternoons taken up with futile attempts at becoming multilingual. I devoted my time in the approaching days to meticulously packing and ambitiously making note of at least ten things to do when we got to Amsterdam.
Needless to say, I soon found out just how much I prefer spontenuity over rigid plans and step-by-step itineraries.
‘The Whole Hog’ route
A brief introduction to Busabout
If you’re unfamiliar with Busabout Hop-On Hop-Off, allow me to give you a quick overview. They’re first and foremost a ‘door-to-door coach network’, taking you to and from each stop, allowing you the flexibility of travelling independently. Chances are, you’ll make some pretty amazing friends along the way with a similar route, and whether you decide to travel together or solo is entirely your choice.
They offer short trips of three to twelve stops or an Unlimited Pass, allowing you the freedom of unlimited travel between May and October. You can also build your own trip via their Online Trip Builder. Pretty cool, eh?
You decide where to go and how long to stay there, following the arrows on the map, and you can start your trip anywhere on the network. There’s no limit on how long you stay in one place, and you can even break away from the trip and return later on.
On each leg of the trip there are ‘guides’ who are wells of knowledge on each city and are there at your disposal. They’re all incredibly down to earth and easy going, happy to help and more than happy to grab a drink with everyone.
The company have a list of recommended hostels in each stop, which are also the pickup/drop off points and generally the cheapest options. You can stay wherever you like, but make sure you’re at the pick up point on time – no one enjoys running from a different hostel across the city with a 70L backpack at seven in the morning.
En route from Krakow to Zakopane
I can say, without a doubt, that if I had chosen to Interrail then I wouldn’t have connected with half as many people as I did with Busabout. It’s the perfect choice for solo travellers and you meet so many like-minded individuals who are all there for the same reason.
Along the way, I met people on the coaches who I spent the day with, exploring the city or eating in seafront restaurants, sharing stories only to never see them again.
On the other hand, there were those that I had a deeper connection with. The ones you alter your route for so you can travel alongside them, the ones you rent Airbnb’s with – drinking and talking into the early hours of the morning, the ones you feel forever grateful to for making your experience that much more. That’s not something I would have had, had I chosen Interrailing.
In my next few posts I’ll be expanding on my experiences, sharing hostel recommendations and how to travel on a budget, passing on any tips and tricks I picked up from those around me and explaining the dos and don’ts of overpacking, along with the travel items I couldn’t live without.
Airbnb in Krakow, Poland – see? Some pretty special people here.
A lil list of where summer 2018 took me:
Netherlands – Amsterdam
Germany – Berlin, Munich
Czechia – Prague
Austria – Salzburg, Grünau im Almtal, Vienna, Ellmau
Slovakia – Bratislava
Poland – Krakow, Zakopane
Hungary – Budapest
Croatia – Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar
Italy – Venice, Bologna, Verona, Rome, Orvieto, Florence,
La Spezia (Cinque Terre), Lake Como, Milan, Naples, Pompei
Switzerland – Lauterbrunnen
Slovenia – Lake Bled, Ljubljana
Spain – Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid
Portugal – Lisbon, Porto
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