My friend and I are seniors in high school and want to go backpacking across Western Europe (continental) during the summer before college. We want to start saving up for it now, and are wondering about how much we should expect to need assuming we use couch surfing as much as possible, eat relatively cheaply, and backpack/hitch a good amount. How much do we need for both of us, including flights?

Another question: I can claim EU citizenship using my mom's Polish documents, but it's a lot of annoying paperwork, I would have to visit the consulate, etc. Would having an EU passport make our trip any easier? My friend would just have her US passport (she's US citizen, I'm dual US-Canadian).

Finally, how do we go about planning a trip like this?

  • @pnuts Edited. And lol ok I'm really just looking for a place to start our research. – Elliot Gorokhovsky Aug 18 '16 at 4:45
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    EU citizenship will make traveling to the EU (and using your treaty rights, such as working) much easier, both on this trip and in the future. It's a good idea to take care of this now, while you have several months to play with, than to put it off to the last minute and try to do it urgently. Once you have the passport in hand, you need no further formalities and can travel to the EU whenever the mood strikes you. – Michael Hampton Aug 18 '16 at 5:07
  • What countries are you thinking about? Portugal will be cheaper than Spain, and Spain will be cheaper than France. – orique Aug 18 '16 at 6:52
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    Look, this right now is a bad question. We can't really tell you how much it will cost you, without doing all the work you should be doing yourself (finding out where you want to go, what you want to do, how you want to live.). Also, your questions should be asked separately, not all at once.However, question 2 is very answerable, so ask that alone please. – CMaster Aug 18 '16 at 7:48

What you spend on travel is a very broad question. Are you prepared to go into a large dorm in a backpacker hostel, or do you want a double room? How much do you travel between cities? How much for museum entry?

Hostels can be less than €20 per person per night if you book early and live in a large dorm room separate from your friend. Food can be €5 to €10 a day if you buy a loaf of bread and the makings of a sandwich and drink soda out of a half-gallon bottle, two or three times as much if you want dinner in a (cheap) restaurant and a cup of coffee.

Regarding the Polish citizenship, that is probably an unnecessary expense if all goes well. It could be a safety net in case of problems. If you plan to live very cheaply, your friend could carry all the cash at the immigration interview to show that she is a tourist, you take the other lane where there are no questions. But citizenship is not a game or a formality. Do you want to become Polish?

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