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Old 14th June 2011, 21:39   #31
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Very Nice thread.
Reminded me of our trip which we did last month.
Budapest-Vienna-Salzberg-Prague-Berlin-Helsinki.
We did all the intercity journeys by a rented car,except the berlin-helsinki.

Did not visit the other places as had gone to Paris,Nice,Monaco,Rome,Venice,London earlier.
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Old 15th June 2011, 10:12   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by figo_united View Post
Wow! that's a fantastic eurotrip.
Thoroughly enjoyed the pics, thanks for sharing

Had a question : Is it mandatory to have a fixed itinerary with all travel booked before applying for the VISA?
Hi,
For a schengen visa (apply for most of countries in Europe, though UK not included), they require you the following apart from filling up the visa form & proof of sufficient funds

1. You need to apply to the country where you intend to spend the maximum number of days or if you are spending equal number of days in all countries then your first port of entry into a schengen state.

2. Your detailed itinerary as this would determine the number of days for which you're granted a visa. This is different from validity of visa period. For example my itinerary was for 15 days from 1 May to 14th May and i applied in 20th February. I will get a visa for approx 18-20 days in a 90 /180 day period. i.e i got a visa which was valid from the day of stamping say 20 feb till 19th may for a travel of 20 days. (leave the single entry or multiple entry out for now).

Now having gone twice and that too without any travel agent i have realised that you can change your itinerary after your visa comes within the valid visa period as i doubt they send your itinerary details at all entry points. Infact one of the reasons of changing is that its easier to obtain visa from switzerland embassy then say Italian as i faced last time.

In italian consulate they require that if you have a minor child with you then both the parents need to sign an affaddavit that they have no objection to carry the child on the trip. So far so good. But that has to be stamped by the home ministry of your respective state. Now thats a hell of a job. So i changed my itinerary to show maximum number of days in switzerland and applied from there. Later on i stayed for maximum number of days in Italy.
Similarly if you have to apply in French consulate you need a personal interview and finger printing. SO people generally tweak their itinerary.

3. Proof of accomodation , well you can generally book a hotel on a website which doesnt charges you for booking but confirms you the room and submit that confirmation print out. It's acceptable.


@ Selfdrive:(regarding friendliness of swiss people):
IMHO and my experiencesi have found swiss much better in terms of tourist friendliness. In fact i have had much worse experience in France if you speak in english than in switzerland. In france shopkeepers wont entertain you if there are french people also waiting. they will first talk to them.
i found italians to be the best in whole europe in terms of tourist friendliness.
But these are just my personal opinion based on my travel experience in Europe.
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Old 15th June 2011, 10:18   #33
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Dear Chethan,

You landed at Vienna and took of from Rome-then how did you go about obtaining the schengen visa? what is the procedure or did you go through an agent?

Once again your pictures are captivating.

Jude
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Old 15th June 2011, 10:46   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Dear Chethan,

You landed at Vienna and took of from Rome-then how did you go about obtaining the schengen visa? what is the procedure or did you go through an agent?

Once again your pictures are captivating.

Jude
Hi Jude,

Schengen VISA covers 25 European countries as on date. Two things are important here.
  1. Country in which we stay for maximum number of days
  2. Port of entry
Depending on the above two criteria, application needs to be submitted to the respective embassy.

In my case, it was Austria. It was easy for me since I had obtained Schengen VISA through Austria earlier. I got my VISA within a week at my door steps.

Both times, I applied for the VISA directly. I think direct contact is better than through an agent. VFS handles applications for many countries.

Please go through this website for details: Austria Visa

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajay0612 View Post
Nice pics. Thanks for sharing.
Welcome!




Quote:
Originally Posted by cityvic View Post
Very Nice thread.
Reminded me of our trip which we did last month.
Budapest-Vienna-Salzberg-Prague-Berlin-Helsinki.
We did all the intercity journeys by a rented car,except the berlin-helsinki.

Did not visit the other places as had gone to Paris,Nice,Monaco,Rome,Venice,London earlier.
Thanks! Can you share your experience? Please.

Last edited by Chethan B G : 15th June 2011 at 11:02.
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Old 15th June 2011, 14:17   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave7377 View Post
Hi,
For a Schengen visa (apply for most of countries in Europe, though UK not included), they require you the following apart from filling up the visa form & proof of sufficient funds

1. You need to apply to the country where you intend to spend the maximum number of days or if you are spending equal number of days in all countries then your first port of entry into a Schengen state.

Perfect.

2. Your detailed itinerary as this would determine the number of days for which you're granted a visa. This is different from validity of visa period. For example my itinerary was for 15 days from 1 May to 14th May and i applied in 20th February. I will get a visa for approx 18-20 days in a 90 /180 day period. i.e i got a visa which was valid from the day of stamping say 20 feb till 19th may for a travel of 20 days. (leave the single entry or multiple entry out for now).

I agree. For a Schengen VISA, it is better to apply 45 days in advance. More so, if we are applying for the first time. Normally the processing time is 15 working days.

Now having gone twice and that too without any travel agent i have realised that you can change your itinerary after your visa comes within the valid visa period as i doubt they send your itinerary details at all entry points. Infact one of the reasons of changing is that its easier to obtain visa from Switzerland embassy then say Italian as i faced last time.

I personally do not recommend this. We never know - In case of a problem, we might end up with a black-mark on our passport - Which is not at all desirable.

But, if a hotel is booked in (say) Switzerland for a week - we can play around with the itinerary for that week. We will be forced to do it, due to the local whether conditions. This is fine since you are staying in the intimated place and you are contactable by the embassy, if required.

In Italian consulate they require that if you have a minor child with you then both the parents need to sign an affidavit that they have no objection to carry the child on the trip. So far so good. But that has to be stamped by the home ministry of your respective state. Now thats a hell of a job. So i changed my itinerary to show maximum number of days in Switzerland and applied from there. Later on i stayed for maximum number of days in Italy.
Similarly if you have to apply in French consulate you need a personal interview and finger printing. SO people generally tweak their itinerary.

Affidavit is required only if both or one of the parents are not traveling with the minor (Affidavit is required from the parent who is not travelling, if one parent is traveling). If the whole family is travelling together, than the Affidavit is not required.

Personal interview and Biometry may be inconvenient. But it is for everyones safety, which includes us. Last time when I applied for a UK VISA, Biometry was taken in Bangalore by VFS-Global. I did not have to travel anywhere. Also, since I had visited UK earlier, I was not called for an interview. If they had called me, I would have to travel with my family to Chennai - Part of the exercise I suppose.

3. Proof of accomodation , well you can generally book a hotel on a website which doesn't charges you for booking but confirms you the room and submit that confirmation print out. It's acceptable.

Please understand - It is a matter of making our intentions clear and building trust with the officer at the embassy. We should try and be as clear as possible in our objectives.
  1. Return Air ticket - Confirms that we are serious about returning back - Off course we can cancel it if our intentions are not right - But the documentation process works that way.
  2. Travel Insurance - Confirms that we are responsible citizens and would not become a liability, for the hosting nation.
  3. Booking accomodation, Eurail pass... etc - Will show that we are clear about the itinerary we presented and mentally prepared to execute it.
  4. Copy of the TC in respective currency - shows our preparedness.
IMHO, these things go a long way in building trust and makes it easier for the embassy to take a decision. Better to do this, instead of breaking the rules.


@ Selfdrive:(regarding friendliness of swiss people):
IMHO and my experiences have found swiss much better in terms of tourist friendliness. In fact i have had much worse experience in France if you speak in English than in Switzerland. In France shopkeepers wont entertain you if there are French people also waiting. they will first talk to them.
i found Italians to be the best in whole Europe in terms of tourist friendliness.
But these are just my personal opinion based on my travel experience in Europe.

French people are a bit fanatic about their language. That may be a reason for their behavior. But in Switzerland, their way of doing business is different. As a matter of fact, I have toured Paris twice and did not have any problem. Of-course, language is a big problem in France. But now a days (after recession), they are better.
My reply in bold - Just my opinion.
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Old 15th June 2011, 14:28   #36
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave7377 View Post
@ Selfdrive:(regarding friendliness of swiss people):
IMHO and my experiences i have found swiss much better in terms of tourist friendliness. In fact i have had much worse experience in France if you speak in english than in switzerland. In france shopkeepers wont entertain you if there are french people also waiting. they will first talk to them.
i found italians to be the best in whole europe in terms of tourist friendliness.
But these are just my personal opinion based on my travel experience in Europe.
This may very well be true; I cannot confirm this as I already spoke basic French so never had this language issue.
However, IMHO I found that people in megapolises like Paris were a bit blunt and not really friendly as compared to other smaller tourist spots in Europe. By the way, Paris is also notorious for its tricksters so if someone was over friendly my suspicion meter automatically went up
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Old 15th June 2011, 15:30   #37
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Hi Chethan,
First of all, a wonderful , detailed informative tralogue of yours.

Cant quote your message as system is not allowing. Pointwise my opinion

1. Yes normally you should keep your itinerary firm but you can very well change your plans and thats perfectly allowed. Infact Schengen visa is itself about freely travelling within member schengen countries. But as a general rule i agree better not to change your itinerary.

2. Regarding affadavit, sorry my friend that one parent travelling is for other countries. For italian embassy its a wierd rule which even VFS agreed that inspite of both parents travelling, you got to produce that affidavit. i filled up the form went to vfs consulate, then didnt accept saying you got to bring the affadavit signed by home ministry of your state. They even showed me a sample copy of a similar afadavit from someone in mumbai. Now i was in a fix as my maximum number of days were in italy and being following the guidelinesi landed up in VFS italy counter. Infact the VFS only suggested me to alter my itinerary . i tried to argue that why do you need the certificate when both parents are travelling but they didnt listen. And infact this condition is also listed on vfs site for italian embassy.
This was the reason i changed my itinerary during one of the travels.

3. Biometeric is easy when you have a VFS office in your city. Ask for people who live in central part of country when any visa / vfs centre is quite far.

4. Proof of accomodation: See what's the consulate mentions is that proof of accomodation. They do not say that you should have paid your accomodation in advance or not. the sites i am mentioning hold your booking till your date of arrival. It is a confirmed booking, only that your credit card is not charged in advance. If you dont cancel your reservation till the time it is mentioned in your conditions, your card will be charged for first night.


3. Similar goes for air ticket. They ask for a confirmed air booking. The booking print out i am mentioning is a confirmed booking with a valid PNR number. Olny that you dont pay and ticket is not issued. Why would i book a ticket when i am not sure i get a visa. Just for example embassy refuses me a visa, why sohlud i bear cost of cancelling a ticket. So for first timers its okie to actually buy a ticket and thats what i also did. But from next time onwards only a booking printout which has a PNR number (travel agents do that) is sufficicent.

4. There is no need for proof of travel currency and besides why buy it in advance when you are not sure of visa.

It is certainly not breaking rules, just safe guarding your money and flexibility IMHO.
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Old 15th June 2011, 20:04   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave7377 View Post
Hi Chethan,
First of all, a wonderful , detailed informative tralogue of yours.

Thanks!

Cant quote your message as system is not allowing. Pointwise my opinion

1. Yes normally you should keep your itinerary firm but you can very well change your plans and thats perfectly allowed. Infact Schengen visa is itself about freely travelling within member schengen countries. But as a general rule i agree better not to change your itinerary.

Schengen VISA gives us the flexibility to plan an Itinerary. It has got nothing to do with "travelling freely".

2. Regarding affadavit, sorry my friend that one parent travelling is for other countries. For italian embassy its a wierd rule which even VFS agreed that inspite of both parents travelling, you got to produce that affidavit. i filled up the form went to vfs consulate, then didnt accept saying you got to bring the affadavit signed by home ministry of your state. They even showed me a sample copy of a similar afadavit from someone in mumbai. Now i was in a fix as my maximum number of days were in italy and being following the guidelinesi landed up in VFS italy counter. Infact the VFS only suggested me to alter my itinerary . i tried to argue that why do you need the certificate when both parents are travelling but they didnt listen. And infact this condition is also listed on vfs site for italian embassy.
This was the reason i changed my itinerary during one of the travels.

Very surprising - As you said, very weird rule.

3. Biometeric is easy when you have a VFS office in your city. Ask for people who live in central part of country when any visa / vfs centre is quite far.

Choice is available only for a Schengen VISA. What about the VISA for UK or USA? I still say that it should be digested, as part of the exercise.

4. Proof of accomodation: See what's the consulate mentions is that proof of accomodation. They do not say that you should have paid your accomodation in advance or not. the sites i am mentioning hold your booking till your date of arrival. It is a confirmed booking, only that your credit card is not charged in advance. If you dont cancel your reservation till the time it is mentioned in your conditions, your card will be charged for first night.


3. Similar goes for air ticket. They ask for a confirmed air booking. The booking print out i am mentioning is a confirmed booking with a valid PNR number. Olny that you dont pay and ticket is not issued. Why would i book a ticket when i am not sure i get a visa. Just for example embassy refuses me a visa, why sohlud i bear cost of cancelling a ticket. So for first timers its okie to actually buy a ticket and thats what i also did. But from next time onwards only a booking printout which has a PNR number (travel agents do that) is sufficicent.

4. There is no need for proof of travel currency and besides why buy it in advance when you are not sure of visa.

It is certainly not breaking rules, just safe guarding your money and flexibility IMHO.
Dear Dave,

This is one of the most debated subjects. Look at the psychological angle:
  • Embassy does not want us to invest financially, since they do not want to be obligated to issue the VISA.
  • At the same time, embassy wants to make sure that the intentions are right, the applicant can support himself and will return after the said date.
  • We do not want to commit financially, but want to convince the embassy.
Let us discuss only about people who do not have any criminal records. There are 3 types of applicants:
  1. All documents are perfect / Frequent traveler - Just fill-in application, attach documents and get the VISA - No financial investments.
  2. Self-employed person - No IT returns - only black money - Weak in documents - Depend on a sponsor to provide documents and support if required.
  3. Average documents - No past records of travel - Fence sitter - Dicey situation
In the 3rd situation - Producing supporting documents such as Air-ticket, Travel Insurance, Confirmed Accomodation, Fixed property documents, TC copy... etc will strengthen the case. Person who is scrutinizing will have less doubts.

All countries require tourists. They only want to be sure that the person who is applying will not create any social/economical/criminal problems, can support himself during the stay and will come back after the said time. If these criterias are fulfilled, why will they reject any VISA? It is entirely up to us to convince them. We should think positively and act.

Last edited by Chethan B G : 15th June 2011 at 20:14.
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Old 16th June 2011, 13:24   #39
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Smile Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

On 3nd of May, we visited BMW Museum in Munich: BMW Museum : overview

It was worth visiting - Family entrance with guided tour: 30 Euros.

Some Pictures:

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030721.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030722.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030723.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030724.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030735.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030767.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030769.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030792.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030794.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030796.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030799.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030801.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030837.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030838.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030841.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030842.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030843.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030848.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030849.jpg

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Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030860.jpg

Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030861.jpg

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Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p5030866.jpg
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Old 17th June 2011, 17:33   #40
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Hi Chetan,

Thank you for your detailed travelogue!

I learned quite a few things. Personally I felt excited enough to travel to Italy after reading through your experiences.

I go on a number of travel forums such as Indiamike, LP and so on and for me it is a first to see a family take food-grains, spices, etc. and cook abroad.

I am totally fascinated by this aspect even though I don't have any dietary restrictions. I remember Ismail Merchant used to cook all the time in the US and UK and also on movie-sets and he made converts of a lot of actors and technicians. Of course, he also always liked to believe he was on a shoestring budget.

I would like to know more about what utensils you took, list of dal, spices, etc., what food was prepared, etc. I did see the list on the first page and know that you took a small pressure cooker, but I am looking for as much info as I can get as well as a picture of the pressure cooker!

Also if you can elaborate some more about the Italy part of the trip, such as where you stayed in Rome and how much it cost, etc., I would appreciate it.

Thanks again and keep up the good work!

nowwhat?

Last edited by nowwhat? : 17th June 2011 at 17:37.
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Old 17th June 2011, 18:32   #41
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Originally Posted by nowwhat? View Post
Hi Chetan,

Thank you for your detailed travelogue!

I learned quite a few things. Personally I felt excited enough to travel to Italy after reading through your experiences.

I go on a number of travel forums such as Indiamike, LP and so on and for me it is a first to see a family take food-grains, spices, etc. and cook abroad.

I am totally fascinated by this aspect even though I don't have any dietary restrictions. I remember Ismail Merchant used to cook all the time in the US and UK and also on movie-sets and he made converts of a lot of actors and technicians. Of course, he also always liked to believe he was on a shoestring budget.

I would like to know more about what utensils you took, list of dal, spices, etc., what food was prepared, etc. I did see the list on the first page and know that you took a small pressure cooker, but I am looking for as much info as I can get as well as a picture of the pressure cooker!

Also if you can elaborate some more about the Italy part of the trip, such as where you stayed in Rome and how much it cost, etc., I would appreciate it.

Thanks again and keep up the good work!

nowwhat?
There are a number of sites which offer apartments on rent, mostly for a minimum of 3 nights. During my trip in 2010, for Rome, i booked through Bed&Breakfast Association of Rome from lonely planet. i booked this apartment called Romolo & Remo Romolo & Remo Apartments. It turned out to be a wonderful experience and the host was a wonderful person. Cost was Euro 82 per night.
Normally all apartments mention the utensils and kitchen appliances present there and if you can eat whatever that can be cooked in microwave then you need not carry anything from here as most appartments have microwave.

Also during my recent trip i tried these ready to cook dal/veggeis (as i had my inlaws who only ate indian food) and surprisingly dal /veggies (Rice is pretty much available everywhere) were pretty good. You just need to put them in boiling water and its ready and tastes pretty good. (atleast thats my personal experience) You can try it in india and if you like can very well carry them.
Regards
Amit
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Old 17th June 2011, 21:02   #42
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There are a number of sites which offer apartments on rent, mostly for a minimum of 3 nights. During my trip in 2010, for Rome, i booked through Bed&Breakfast Association of Rome from lonely planet. i booked this apartment called Romolo & Remo Romolo & Remo Apartments. It turned out to be a wonderful experience and the host was a wonderful person. Cost was Euro 82 per night.
Normally all apartments mention the utensils and kitchen appliances present there and if you can eat whatever that can be cooked in microwave then you need not carry anything from here as most appartments have microwave.

Also during my recent trip i tried these ready to cook dal/veggeis (as i had my inlaws who only ate indian food) and surprisingly dal /veggies (Rice is pretty much available everywhere) were pretty good. You just need to put them in boiling water and its ready and tastes pretty good. (atleast thats my personal experience) You can try it in india and if you like can very well carry them.
Regards
Amit
Thanks, Amit for details about the B&B in Rome! I really, really want to go there!

Just to give you a little bit of background, I lived in the US for many years. We, my family, used to prepare and have Indian food. However the utensils were mostly purchased from India on my occasional trips here and all ingredients were easily available in Indian shops in the US.

The truth is, it never struck me that I could make a trip to Europe lugging some essentials from here. The last time I landed in Switzerland from the US, I was shocked at prices even in the interior parts of that country. I still remember the ignominy of paying separately for a sachet of ketchup on top of the already inflated price of french fries at McDonalds (Again bear in mind I came from the US where MickeyD is considered pedestrian).

I don't think I can survive on microwave cooking for more than a day.

Now if only you or Chetan can put together a small list of what I should take!

Last edited by nowwhat? : 17th June 2011 at 21:10.
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Old 18th June 2011, 02:56   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nowwhat? View Post
Hi Chetan,

Thank you for your detailed travelogue!

I learned quite a few things. Personally I felt excited enough to travel to Italy after reading through your experiences.

I go on a number of travel forums such as Indiamike, LP and so on and for me it is a first to see a family take food-grains, spices, etc. and cook abroad.

I am totally fascinated by this aspect even though I don't have any dietary restrictions. I remember Ismail Merchant used to cook all the time in the US and UK and also on movie-sets and he made converts of a lot of actors and technicians. Of course, he also always liked to believe he was on a shoestring budget.

I would like to know more about what utensils you took, list of dal, spices, etc., what food was prepared, etc. I did see the list on the first page and know that you took a small pressure cooker, but I am looking for as much info as I can get as well as a picture of the pressure cooker!

Also if you can elaborate some more about the Italy part of the trip, such as where you stayed in Rome and how much it cost, etc., I would appreciate it.

Thanks again and keep up the good work!

nowwhat?
Hi Nowwhat?!

Thanks for the compliments!

Because of my profession, I tour / travel a lot. Therefore, I end up eating in the hotels most of the times. Now, if I take a holiday and and go out, I have to continue eating outside. Believe me - It is very stressful.

About 5 years back, when we had been to Goa on a holiday for a week, we had rented a self-catering apartment. Since we had driven down to Goa, we had dumped most of the groceries in the boot and taken it along with us. We cooked our food - Mainly breakfast and dinner. This gave us a different experience. We were not food-sick when we came back home.

Later-on, when we planned our first trip to Europe, we had 2 problems:
  1. We are vegetarians - choice of food is very very limited. We can not eat continental food contineously for long. Eating bread / Burger everyday for each meal is out of question. Indian restaurants abroad, are quite expensive.
  2. Our budget was limited. Breakfast, lunch & dinner put-together would cost an average 100 Euros minimum, for a family of 3 - This itself will amount to about Rs.2,00,000/- for a month - 30% of the budget! Infact, this can make or break the entire plan.
This forced us to try out the option of self-catering. But this has its own disadvantages too:
  • Because of the extra luggage, mobility will be restricted. Therefore, it is better to rent properties on a weekly basis. At the same time, this can also become a boon in disguise, since the property rent will lower and becomes more affordable.
  • Even on our holidays we need to cook / work in the kitchen. At the same time, this accupation will save us Rs. 2,00,000/- for a month. A rupee saved is a rupee earned! - So, we also earn money during our holiday!
Since the advantages easily over-weighed the disadvantages, we decided on self-catering.

In a self-catering or a serviced apartment, kitchen will be fully equipped. It will have all necessary utensils to cook / serve / eat. It will have a fridge, microwave and also a Hob (gas or electrical). Some apartments will have dish washers and clothes washing machines also. Only mixer/grinder will not be available. All these facilities will be clearly listed on the website. You can pick and choose a property depending on your requirements and facilities available. Whatever is shown on the web will be available on site. These properties will cost roughly about 100 euros per night, for a family of 3 / 4 pax.

Please look at the apartment pictures I have posted. Also, carefully look at the Tour Itinerary I have posted in the first post of this thread. It has details about the website and the property reference number. You can see the property on the web and match that with the photos I have posted. Also, if you key in any arbitery dates, you can see the rates also. All the accomodations we took are mentioned in the itinerary.

As I have mentioned on my first thread, We had carried main food items like Rice (5kg), Dal (1kg), Ragi floor (1kg), Poha (1kg), Rice floor (1kg), Green chillies (250gms), Wheat floor (2kgs), Rasam powder, tamarind paste,[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']pickles[/FONT], spices... etc - Mostly non perishable items. Other items like vegetables, milk, butter, curds, meat (in your case)...etc - perishable items will be available locally. These items will not cost more that 50 euros per week.

We can cook any thing and everything that we normally cook at home. Except dishes which will need a mixer/grinder, cannot be cooked. Pressure cooker will not be available in most of these apartments. It is an important accessory since it reduces time to cook Rice, dal, alu...etc. We used to cook larger quantities of dal and alu, which used to suffice for 3 days and keep it in the fridge. This used to reduce our every day cooking time. For this reason, we had taken a 2 ltr prestige pressure cooker.

Popular Pressure Cooker 2 Lt [popular-2-ltr] - Rs.702.00 : Prestige TTK

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If you want further details on the food we cooked, you are welcome to come home anytime and taste the food we cook!

Last edited by Chethan B G : 18th June 2011 at 03:06.
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Old 18th June 2011, 12:49   #44
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Taking inspriation from your previous trip , me & my friend have planned to travel next year to europe , infact i have printed the entire thread and have also suggested couple of my friends who wanted to take tours thru SOTC / COx&kings to check your thread .

Well detailed with wealth of info, am printing this thread right away ..

5 star for your efforts and time , we could enjoy thru your pics.
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Old 18th June 2011, 13:46   #45
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Smile Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nowwhat? View Post
The truth is, it never struck me that I could make a trip to Europe lugging some essentials from here. The last time I landed in Switzerland from the US, I was shocked at prices even in the interior parts of that country. I still remember the ignominy of paying separately for a sachet of ketchup on top of the already inflated price of French fries at McDonald's (Again bear in mind I came from the US where MickeyD is considered pedestrian).

Now if only you or Chetan can put together a small list of what I should take!
Traps that can be avoided!
  • Super markets and other shopping centers will charge extra, for plastic carry bags!
  • Buy a burger at any MacDonald's, pay extra for ketchup! - Throughout Europe. Better carry ketchup sachets!
  • In Switzerland, always ask for Cappuccino. If you order filter coffee, milk is added at extra charge! - 3 franks for that 3 ml milk!
  • In Switzerland, a Macdonald cheese burger will cost about 10 franks! - It contains only one slice of cheese and tomato.
  • In Venice, restaurant charge 2.5 euros per head as table charges, 12.5% service charges and over that, tips are demanded! - Takeaway is the best option.
  • TC commission is charged any where between 1.5% to 12.5%! Germany being the cheapest. Carry money in cash or card.
  • Mineral water bottles are best bought in super markets. They cost 1 euro per bottle of 1.5 liters. Outside, only 0.5 ltr bottles are available and will will cost 3 euros! - Apartments kitchen tap water will be potable. Therefore, same bottle can be refilled 3 / 4 times.
I have listed food-items that we had taken with us. Usually Sugar, Salt and cooking oil will be kept in the apartment for free. Other items, depending on your daily requirements will vary.

Cooking is the best option. Otherwise, at the end of the day even after spending money, we will not be satisfied.
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