Last year I started traveling seriously for the first time, at 23. Kind of a late bloomer compared to all the aussies Ive met who've seen alot at a fairly young age. Now at 24, I just finished my recent trip, all by rail which covered New Orleans, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, LA, and Austin in Texas. Along the way I saw and met some of the coolest people. All for under $1500 for transportation and stay in various hostels covering the whole 45 days. I bought a few souvenirs along the way, but most was spent on excursions. I did every scenic route offered. Now I need to save up again, as I plan to do Europe next. AMA :)

Thanks to everyone!! Hope you all enjoyed it! Look out for my next AMA

Comments: 212 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

wantonregard14 karma

Get a BJ in any of the hostels?

rtwtraveler2 karma

I am ashamed to say I did not, but I did have ALOT of fun. Things like having to walk home in the snow in Chicago after some chick who seemed to be cool at first went psycho on me taking me to her place to "watch a movie." Bad move on my part. On top of that, my phone had died, and it was 1 am, middle of nowhere. Not so much fun that one experience, but others were nice like meeting cute aussie girls (not all of them are cute mind you), and hanging out with Asians. Made some of my closest friends who are Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Nicest bunch of people!

45DayThrowaway10 karma

Congrats! I did the same thing (45-day railpass and all) last year and couchsurfed the whole way (you should look into couchsurfing (, I met a lot of great people through that service that showed me around their city and never once paid to stay anywhere). I actually moved to Chicago based on how much I loved it when I was on my trip, it completely changed my entire life.

rtwtraveler3 karma

I can't depend on couchsurfing, what if I don't like the person I am staying with? Also for me being a guy, its alright. But for a girl traveling alone, I would not recommend. I've heard and met girls who told me the host would try to make moves on them. I prefer hostels. Even though one hostel in Las Vegas, the people there were shit. I would never stay in them again.

I've been to couchsurfing meetings, but haven't done it myself. Either way, you meet cool people in hostels, and locals can show you around, as is what happened to me in Austin. Made a good friend who took me to San Antonio, and when I offered to chip in for gas, he declined. Good people in this world do exist!

45DayThrowaway2 karma

I feel like I got a good enough idea of the person I was staying with by reading their profile. I also feel like that could go both ways though, I just lucked out and ended up staying with really awesome people. There was only 1 time where I was weirded out by my hosts but I didn't choose them, they saved me when I had no place to go one night so I didn't mind toughing it out overnight.

Girls aren't the only ones who get hit on by their hosts, it happens on both sides. I had 3 hosts and a host's friend come onto me, in addition to a girl at a bar in Kansas City who I ended up going home with because her friend told me I could crash in his room if I drove her home (she had a bit to drink).

I went to one couchsurfing meeting in Boston to meet up with my host for that night, it wasn't really my thing.

Also: Austin is badass, that was my second favorite city on the trip behind Chicago.

rtwtraveler3 karma

The thing about couchsurfing is that if you don't have a full profile with alot of vouchers, you won't get too many hosts willing to take you. Also you'll spend all day sending requests. Why go through the hassle when you can stay in a hostel for 20 bucks a day and not have to worry about where you will stay in each city. CS is great once you have been established for sometime in the community.

45DayThrowaway2 karma

Well I set out to couchsurf the entire country so that was my angle. As for the "you'll spend all day sending requests" you realize how long you were sitting on a train between destinations? I know you said you only used 11 segments but I used all 18, which is a hell of a long time on trains (shortest being probably DC to Philly at 5 or so hours I think, longest being LA to Seattle at 36). You have plenty of down time to shoot out requests.

rtwtraveler3 karma

Very true.

rtwtraveler2 karma

I would like to move to Austin for at least a year, so hard to get a job these days though. But I loved it there!

indrex9 karma

You should do this is India.

rtwtraveler6 karma

I actually had won a scholarship to India in college, and didn't get to go because my parents didn't think it was a good idea. I was 20-21 at the time. Mind you, I regret it to this day. I was a late bloomer. Intimidated by travel. But now, I am all for it. I plan to make a website and little series of my trips someday.

MWTM6 karma

Favorite city in the US on your trip?

rtwtraveler15 karma

Definitely Austin in Texas. When I started my trip I had no idea or clue it would be such a cool place, when I was in New Orleans, I kept meeting people, especially Aussies who said "you should go to Austin, you will like it". And I kept asking myself, "Texas, really?? What the hell is in Texas lol.." and then I realized it. Austin is the live music capital of the world. Seriously. It blew New Orleans away. At least for me. Not to say New Orleans wasn't awesome too, but damn. The amount of people outside was crazy on 6th street. I would definitely move there. Seemed like the best weather, best music scene, best everything.

thesandyoyster3 karma

What job do you have that would allow you to spend that much vacation time? I want to be friends with you. Maybe more than friends. Like brothers. only closer...

rtwtraveler1 karma

I don't work the typical routine, I am not rich in any way, quite the contrary. I am a budget nomad traveler. I am all for having friends, not sure if I want to be that close though lol..

Just sayin.

DarkPhoenix78783 karma

If you ever be in Paris, i will gladly offer you shelter & food :)

rtwtraveler3 karma

Pour sur, je plannifique aller au France il prochain voyage que je voudrai prende!

DarkPhoenix78782 karma

Great, when you come by let me know i'll be your guide in the city :)

rtwtraveler1 karma

Will do!

scrash3 karma

how much sex did you have? which was your favorite place?

rtwtraveler2 karma

Damn, getting straight to business aren't you lol? Typical of redditors :p

Favorite place, definitely Austin in Texas. After that Chicago because there is so much to see and do. Third place is San Francisco. Mind you all three are amazing for different reasons. I am just partial to live music, but Chicago had some bad ass stuff. I got pictures of Chicago at night, BEAUTIFUL man.

San Francisco, first time ever in California and WOW. Coming into the city was an amazing feeling. My rail pass included free greyhound buses, so that was awesome. The Cliff house and the rocks by the beach was fucking epic to see. I come from a flat place if you get my drift.

beeblez3 karma

Did you use some special deal or pass on your rail fares? When I've looked at traveling by train it's usually more expensive than flying.

rtwtraveler10 karma

No way, I bought my rail pass from Amtrak for 850 bucks. To travel to all these cities by airplane would have costed me much much more. Also traveling by train is so scenic, we were going through Utah to Denver Colorado and an Eagle was flying next to us, matching our speed as we were circling a mountain. We were on the edge of the mountain! Airplanes can't do that. Also, you can walk around in the train. Beats air travel any day.

beeblez9 karma

The pass seems to be the key. I just looked on Viarail canada:

A train from coast to coast costs $700 one way. A 21 day pass costs $630.

Wtf rail networks!

rtwtraveler6 karma

Not true, coast to coast is what I did just last year for $200. Look for the "specials" section. Right now they are having a 50% off sale. From TO to Vancouver for 300 right now. I would say wait a bit, when it goes back to normal, they will have a 70% off, coming to 200 bucks.

corinthian_llama1 karma

Have you found any deals for Europe that are that good?

rtwtraveler4 karma

I plan to get a Eurail 3 month global pass. I actually have not traveled to Europe yet so we will see how that goes. I went to London about 5 years ago for a week, and 1 day in France, never made it to Paris. Outside of Paris no one spoke english, and this was before I learned to speak french. Lets just say, if you don't speak french and your in the outskirts of a big city like Paris, your gonna have a bad time.

123lurker4561 karma

Where in Europe are you planning to go? Southern Europeish I'm guessing?

rtwtraveler2 karma

I plan to go to as many countries as I can with the pass honestly, which currently is 27. So I would like to visit them all, even if just for a day. I would like to move to europe someday also which is why I want to do this, so I can compare all the different cities and see which one I like best. we will see how it pans out.

fakoff2 karma


rtwtraveler1 karma

Yeah I was thinking of doing a trip where I could meet up with redditors from each different country. Perhaps I should start planning now

serasse1 karma

My wife and I did a Europe for 3 weeks on a Eurailpass, it was definitely a great deal. Europeans can't get it, only foreigners. You cannot buy it in Europe, you have to buy it before you go to Europe.

But Amtrak and Canadian rail passes are for locals too?

rtwtraveler1 karma

Yeah. Europeans can travel by train, just not with a eurail global pass

mushroomchow3 karma

Which countries are you planning to visit in Europe? If the UK, i have to reccomend the Hope Valley and Settle & Carlisle routes. :)

rtwtraveler7 karma

Lol, this might sound crazy, but I plan to visit ALL of them. Within a 3 month span. I realized in this trip you don't need more than 4 days to see a big (huge I should say city), and the smaller ones you can explore in a day or 2. So for the big cities in places like France, Spain, Germany I will stay 4 days, the smaller cities like Istanbul or Prague I will stay 2 days.

w00dbeck3 karma

Did you have help in mapping out your itinerary? Such a fantastic way to see the Countries/States/Providences.

rtwtraveler6 karma

I spent 4-5 months preparing for this trip. Started with an idea, I probably called Amtrak 15 times, spent over 10 hours cumulative on the phone, planning everything out. I have a vision board of my itinerary, want to see? I would be glad to share. It has the departure and arrival times in each city. What was so awesome traveling by train is that I got to choose how long I wanted to be in a city for. I could also change things last minute, unlike flying by air.

My_Dog_Eats_Trees10 karma

PLEASE POST YOUR VISION BOARD! Sorry for the caps, but I'm desperate to figure out a good way to travel by train in the US. Living in Europe I traveled by train everywhere, but here in the US is seems inaccessible and overly expensive. Teach me your thrifty train-traveling ways!

rtwtraveler9 karma

Here you go:

A little bit messy, ok alot, but basically there you have the cities and departure/arrival times. Each day its the same times, so you can't get them wrong. Always be there early in the station, and call ahead to make sure the train isn't running late. You can tell that I originally planned to end it in Long beach, but instead went to LA, then straight to Austin. Was best decision I ever made.

gippered3 karma

I'm amazed that vision board was useful in keeping anything straight.

rtwtraveler1 karma

Lol the end result was alot simpler. Way less stops in some parts. I didn't go to certain cities, etc. I didn't get to go to Yellowstone either. But I did go to Grand Canyon. I must say, I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. I hate to say it, but pictures seemed better than the real thing in this case. So far as how it looked. Was impressive nonetheless.

serasse1 karma

Pictures are from airplanes, from inside the canyon, etc.

You could have gone these places too, but you would have had to buy an flight in one of those little airplanes, or you could even have hiked down into the canyon with planning and fitness.

I didn't really like it so much until I hiked down to the Havasupai village. Could have ridden a mule down (and up) too, all it takes is $.

rtwtraveler1 karma

Yeah I was on a budget. You could see it by heli, it was like $350 vs $80 for what I did.

sarah_egg2 karma

That is very cool, I have always considered traveling by train and it's nice to know it is easy and inexpensive! Thanks for sharing your experience.

rtwtraveler2 karma


josephteague3 karma

How much on average was each train ticket? Or did you get them all at once? I am interested in doing some travel by train next summer, do you have any tips on finding the best deals?

rtwtraveler10 karma

Just to give you an IDEA, I spent $300 one time to go from Boston to Miami, which with my rail pass is considered ONE segment. My rail pass includes 18 segments, or stops, over a span of 45 days of travel. ALL for under...drumroll...$850 dollars. Yeah, you can do the math and see a Rail Pass is totally worth it. You could go to 18 different cities for 850 bucks if you really wanted to. I still had 7 segments left by the end of my trip to give you an idea and a week left of travel.

Amtrak sells rail passes for anything from 15 days, to 30, to mine which was 45 days. They used to be cheaper before. They have gone up alot in price recently.

amysplat3 karma

Is there any cost of your trip that you didn't think about that you wish you'd thought of before you left? Any essential item(s) you would recommend someone to bring if they were to go travelling? Did you ever get lonely?

rtwtraveler7 karma

Hmm not really since I planned it out really well beforehand. First time I traveled, I was inexperienced, a noob you could say, and packed so much. I used maybe a quarter of it. This time, what did I bring with me? Just one backpack. That was it. People were blown away. It's amazing how you can live with so little. It's so peaceful to think that I could live with just the basics. You really CAN live with very little.

Yes I did get lonely at times, but honestly I put it out my mind. I was in a new city pretty much every week, why would I need to be bummed about that? So I would go and venture out, and meet new people all the time. It was good to realize that most people in this world are actually very nice.

There is more good people in this world than there are bad.

BaronOfBeanDip2 karma

Is this including flights to the US? Or do you currently live there...

rtwtraveler2 karma

I already lived in the states, I did take flights to my first destination which was New Orleans and also back from Austin, but it wasn't necessary. I could have used my rail pass for that if I wanted to. Problem is the route from New Orleans got destroyed by Katrina in 2005 and Amtrak is too cheap/lazy to put it back in service.

fal_karm_haha2 karma

How/where did you compromise on luxury for maintaining the tight budget?

rtwtraveler2 karma

Since it was just me, I would stay in hostels. Surprisingly most were clean. Ive been to most of the HI hostels in the U.S. already, and all were surprisingly well kept. I also went OFF SEASON, so I saved high costs there. The weather wasn't that bad honestly. Also, didn't buy more than a 3-4 souvenirs at less than 5 dollars a pop. Cool gifts nonetheless. I walked most of everywhere. The only thing I did spend on was food, its your body after all. So I had a budget of $30 for food for the day. Sometimes lower, sometimes higher. Overall, the things I did on this trip would cost much much more. Probably close to 10-15k.

AndrewMireles1 karma

So with food, activities and souvenirs how much do you say you spent?

rtwtraveler6 karma

Well food is the one thing I did not skimp on, I always made sure to eat really tasty food. So probably spent close to a few hundred on food alone. But you could technically do things cheap and eat at Mcdonalds/fast food places. I didn't. I ate out at restaurants about 80% of the time. Your traveling after all.

Activities, probably around 150-200. The ride to Grand Canyon from LV alone was $80. Museums and what not another 50-100 bucks.

Souvenirs..about 20 bucks. Lol. Thats where they get you.

There is a big difference between being a tourist and a traveler.

A tourist sees strictly the main sites, a traveler ventures out. A tourist buys souvenirs, a traveler usually doesn't.

Travelers go off the beaten path..

delinquentme2 karma

Could you flesh out the itinerary a bit more? Speadsheet with prices or at least locations would be awesome!

Shit I'd even pay for this. As I'd love to go on a trip like this ... but planning seems like it could be a little rough.

rtwtraveler3 karma

Here is the vision board I made:

My itinerary was New Orleans, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Denver (Boulder by bus for $6 dollars), Las Vegas, LA (stopover for half day), then ending in Austin (car ride to San Antonio).

I basically did a loop by train. I would say I racked up 10-15k miles by train on this trip.

wildanimal1442 karma

How did you find hostels?

rtwtraveler2 karma

Hostel websites online. Top 2 are, That or using the HI website, so you avoid the booking fees.

Mlee562 karma

Why did you not come to Rhode Island?

rtwtraveler1 karma

meh.. what's there?

sandybell7512 karma

Hi there, your trip sounds fantastic.

I am planning to do something similar this summer. I am preparing to apply for a B2 tourist visa to the USA, and would like to travel coast to coast in under 23-ish days in addition to 7 days to spare. The core of the plan is to fly to CA on the 3rd weekend of July, attend a few days of the San Diego Comicon, then make my way to New York by the 8th of August to attend Otakon. Otakon is not really mandatory and I'm willing to let it go in favor of a more fun/enriching experience in the States. I still want to go to New York, though.

So, in my original plan, I wanted to rent a car or trailer and use it for travel, but the travel by train, basically back-packing, seems to be the more fun option which will give more opportunities to meet people.

Here are my questions:

1- Did you plan your route beforehand, or was it spontaneous? If yes, how did you plan it?

2- What are the must-visit cities between CA and NY? How can I experience the essence of the city in no more than 1-2 days?

3- Did you travel alone? I'm trying to convince friends to come with me, but I'm a fit and energetic person and most of my friends aren't. I feel they will weigh me down in a back-packing scenario.

4- What was your travelling gear like? How much luggage did you get with you?

5- How do you find hostels?

6- Did you have any experiences with criminals? Were you mugged? Did someone at the hostel or trains try and steal any of your stuff while you slept? What measures did you take to protect yourself??

Thank you for doing this AMA!

Note: I'm a 24 year old guy.

rtwtraveler2 karma

  1. Yeah up until LA, austin was not planned AT ALL. I used the amtrak maps, and just figured out what places to visit.
  2. Well you mean west coast to east coast? Lol, pretty much all the ones I visited are "must see" cities.
  3. I traveled by myself. Friends didnt want to go, they all have jobs, kids, etc.
  4. Nothing extreme. Just casual clothes really. Luggage, one backpack. Less than 10 lbs for sure.
  5. Booking them online. Really easy, just type in on "hostels in..." and voila. Find the best one with good ratings.
  6. Yes, I kind of almost got mugged, more scammed I should say in NOLA by a shoe cleaner. More on this later! Nothing of the sort on the trains, although it did cross my mind. Well I couldn't bring a knife with me (airports confiscate it since I was doing carry on only), so basically I wouldn't go out too late at night. If I did, I would make sure to avoid certain areas, be in well lit areas, walk fast lol, or take a taxi.

Hope this all helps!

maasedge1 karma

I didnt think Amtrak went to Vegas, only through it. How did you get there?

rtwtraveler2 karma

From Kingston you take a bus. 2 hours to LV.

likeabandofgypsies1 karma

Well thats not exactly ALL the big cities in the US. You didn't even go through my home state for that matter.

But any way, that's a pretty good price for all you saw. good job.

rtwtraveler2 karma

Well I could have if I had wanted to by not staying so long in certain cities. I had already seen all the other major ones in a previous trip. And I live on the east coast so I know it very well. I had close to 7 segments left by the end of it. Enough to visit NYC, Seattle, Boston, D.C., Philly, you get the idea. But I already went on my previous trip.

moto17731 karma

I thought travelling by train was massive expensive in US. How much did you spent just on trains?

rtwtraveler2 karma

About 850 for the rail pass

Fixhotep1 karma

i am a little late, but i would like to know about your sleeping quarters on the trains you took. how cramped were they? comfortable? how many people did you have to share a quarters with?

what was your favorite and least favorite part about the sleeping quarters?

rtwtraveler1 karma

coach is actually quite comfy. ALOT of room compared to an airplane. Also you can walk around. In the observation car of the train there are three seats attached, which is where I laid out to sleep most of the time. I would sleep sideways with a pillow and something as cover. It can get quite cold!

SunScientific1 karma

Did you have a huge backpack with you everywhere you went? How many outfits did you bring? 45 days of constant travelling requires a decent amount of equipment. Did you ever feel over-encumbered? Also, did you just wash clothing at a laundromat or did the hostels provide washers and driers?

rtwtraveler2 karma

Lol, I kid you not, I had only 4 shirts and 2 jeans. And most hostels had laundry facilities. My recommendations are to buy the basics on the go. Things like toothpaste, brush, shampoo and conditioner. I would buy mini bottles everywhere I went. For next time I will definitely pack more clothes. There was room for at least 10 shirts in it. Didnt use my laptop at all on my trip. My backpack was pretty medium sized. Not big at all. I didn't feel weighed down by it. I would go to the hostel and just drop it off in storage or put it in a locker in the room. And went out and explored. What I did have alot of was clean underwear and socks. That's essential. I also brought my own towel. Don't use one from the hostel IMO. You can buy towels while you travel. Pretty much all you need you can always buy. So no worries.

SunScientific1 karma

Many thanks for the reply. I have learned much from this ama. It's funny how important a towel is. Ford Prefect wasn't lying.

rtwtraveler1 karma

No worries! It def is. It came in handy. Also, NEVER drop the towel.

Gavrochen1 karma

How did you like Chicago?

rtwtraveler6 karma

Fucking loved it man, one of the coolest, hippest urban cities Ive been to. Would recommend. Art Institute is fucking awesome. Chicago at night is a different beast. It comes alive. Its like an urban jungle. Similar to new york, but at a slower pace. People are actually friendly! But thats what I liked about it, it had that east coast new york vibe, but more chill. Best of both worlds.

donnykerbatsos1 karma

did you visit California?

rtwtraveler3 karma

Hell yeah. San Francisco was really cool, west coast vibe. Especially Berkeley. Young intellectual crowd, vocal and opinionated. Telegraph was a cool street

donnykerbatsos1 karma

very cool southern California is pretty awesome too. i hope your travels were badass though

rtwtraveler1 karma

Yeah but idk if I would ever live in SoCal. San Francisco seemed to have more of what I liked

MadEyeJoker1 karma

One of the best AMA's I've ever read. Bravo, OP. Bravo!

rtwtraveler1 karma


rtwtraveler1 karma

Thanks everyone for being part of the AMA! I will do another one hopefully tomorrow about my European excursion. :] thank you all! Reddit is awesome!

rtwtraveler1 karma

Thanks everyone for being part of the AMA! I will do another one hopefully tomorrow about my European excursion. :] thank you all! Reddit is awesome!

GoGoGadge71 karma


rtwtraveler1 karma

How did I manage this? I got laid off and had saved up a little bit of money, enough to do this trip at least.

GoGoGadge72 karma

I have about 50 grand in credit available should shit hit the fan. I plan on leaving the country and declaring bankruptcy once I hit the cap. fuck it man. lol

Good for you.

rtwtraveler1 karma

Lol I would not recommend that but you live once so you might as well take a trip, $3500 you could do the same thing and stay in a nice hotel every once in awhile. Plus see alot more too.

Alice_Ayres1 karma

How did you plan? I wanted to do a similar thing in Europe this summer and would appreciate tips :)

rtwtraveler1 karma

I got a vision board I had been given by someone and planned it all out. Little did I know it would come this handy. Also, I always kept wanting to make a bucket list after seeing the movie, it was very powerful on me. Then while I was on my trip, I realized, visiting all these places, I was checking them by one.. from my "bucket list." It made me get emotional when I realized that I was, finally, realizing my dream.

Dean4031 karma

I'm from Canada (AB) and had no idea we had passenger trains..... Or did you just hitch a ride on freight trains haha.

rtwtraveler3 karma

I went from Toronto to Vancouver by VIA RAIL for $200 bucks, over 4 days in a train. How was it? Fucking awesome is how it was. Made lifelong friends there, and it was the most scenic train ride of my life. We stopped at Winnipeg, damn those cute winnipegers are friendly people. lol

And if you think that isn't cheap, consider how much you'll spend renting a car and in gas. And hotels since you can't drive 24/7, unlike in a train where you can lay out and sleep comfortably. Your talking about $1500 if you do it yourself. Its over 3,000 miles.

gillsaurus1 karma

Dude, how the hell did you get a Toronto-Vancouver via rail ticket for $200!?!? I just looked it up, and it says it would be $600.....Hell, it would cost me around $180 for Toronto-Ottawa roundtrip, when I'd come home from school last year....TELL ME OUR SECRETS!

How did you like Toronto, by the way? Lived here all my life and still haven't seen half the city.

rtwtraveler1 karma

Toronto I spent a week at. Personally it felt like nyc, hectic. But Queen West was pretty cool. Its the hipster part of TO. What I did like was the museums. MOA and AGO were AMAZING! Best museums Ive been to so far hands down. Well except for the ones in London which are free.

rtwtraveler2 karma

Train hopping is illegal. And right now, you would freeze to death. Also they check the trains and will clob your head with a mallet. No kidding.

specialmed1 karma

Hey man I would love to know your details about traveling through Europe. I need to know how to make it affordable and fun at the same exact time.

rtwtraveler1 karma

Haven't been to Europe so I'm gonna be working on the itinerary for the next few weeks/months.

iamaredditer1 karma

What city had the best food in your opinion?

rtwtraveler2 karma

It's hard to say but probably Austin. Pizza was cheap and amazing. A ton of food trucks, heard something like 1600 in the city alone. Didn't see more than two dozen but still, that was pretty cool. Food trucks are really good and cheap. Also hopdoddy burgers were amazing!! Literally.

ungulate1 karma

What single thing did you see on your trip that surprised you the most?

rtwtraveler4 karma

Waking up to red rocks early in the morning while I was on the train/

Realizing that things like that were real and did in fact exist, and that I was a part of it. Utah is pretty much like desert, but in winter, its covered in snow. So beautiful.

iLoveBirthmas1 karma

Someone has to do it. Proof?

rtwtraveler2 karma

Here you go: Pretty cool picture they have on it. That's somewhere between Utah and Colorado, as I believe that is part of the river. It really is that scenic. The most scenic route was that one, although from Chicago to Portland was also pretty cool.

patalliro1 karma


rtwtraveler1 karma

I live in Miami and had been to NY on previous occasions.

you_dont_exist1 karma

LMAO when you get to the UK, it's almost cheaper to get a taxi.

rtwtraveler1 karma

I havent heard anything about BritRail, any advice?

SFHalfling1 karma

Its far, far more expensive than on the continent, generally overcrowded and people don't really talk to each other on it.

The main reason for the cost etc is because of the age of the system, being amongst the first to create a national railway, stations were built for the traffic of the 1800s, not 21st century populations. People in the UK just don't talk to strangers in the same way that other nations do, probably due to the isolation that being an island nation instils.

Having said all that, I've never seen a train more than 5-10mins late for no good reason, and if you travel off peak times you can normally snag a seat if you are amongst the first few stops to board. And if you are in trouble / talk to whoever you are near most people will talk back, and pretty much everyone will help, we're just a fairly private nation.

rtwtraveler1 karma

I want to travel the UK, but feel its better by car. Ireland I assume you would need a car most definitely.

ShaneL791 karma

$33/day for transportation and hotel is ridiculously low. Most cheap hostels cost about that amount for a day without any transportation. What rail ticket did you buy? What hostels did you stay in? I assume you had to spend extra for food, drinks, excursions, etc... How much was the trip in total?

rtwtraveler1 karma

I posted how much I spent on other things above, but yeah, I relied mostly on the train for long distances, and bus, light rail for everywhere else within the cities. That or walking.

I bought the 45 day rail pass. Total cost of the trip? With food and excursions/sights? About 2500. Still very cheap. But I ate at expensive restaurants sometimes, never fast food.

Just remember, buy ALOT of water. Keep hydrated at all times.

ShaneL791 karma

I hate to sound like a hater here, but so far you've said:

$850/rail $30/day food $2500 total.

That leaves $300 for accommodations (or just under $7/day), not including any souvenirs you purchased or public transportation you took. How did you find accommodation for under $7/day?

rtwtraveler1 karma

No, the rail pass was 850. Accomodations was a bit over 700. Thats the 1500. Food, excursions would probably be another few hundred, I havent calculated that part as I paid for food and misc items day by day but it was under a thou. Accomodations were about 20-25 per day. Off season. I also used an HI second night free. I paid less sometimes if I stayed in HI for being a member. Membership was 28 and it got me a free night PLUS cheaper rates.

ofa7765 karma

Wait a second. Your math still doesn't all add up there.

Your figure for accommodations only makes sense if you really maximized the second night free deal from HI, which is quite possible. You just said accommodations were about $20-25 per day, which makes sense if you're staying in hostels in the offseason, but for your accommodations to come out to only $700 for your 45 days trip, that would have to average only $16 a day (about $15.56 for it to equal $700 exactly). Again, if you always got the second night free and always stayed at HI, this would check out.

However, your $2,500 figure for the total cost of the trip is also kind of unrealistic. Even if you were able to get a hostel for an average of $15-$16 dollars a day, your other expense still add up to well over $2,500.

$850 Rail pass +

$700 Accommodations+

$1350 Food (You said you averaged $30 a day for 45 days)=


That's $2850 before you take into account your plane fare to New Orleans and plane fare home from Austin or the cost of getting around on taxi/light rail/subway within each city, plus at least another couple hundred bucks for activities, sights, museums, etc.

TL; DR It looks like you had an awesome trip and did it on the cheap and I commend you for that, but I'd guess you were closer to $3,500 than $2,500 for the total cost of the trip.

rtwtraveler1 karma

no no no, I meant that I had up to $30 dollars for food a day in terms of budget. There were days I would only spend 5-10 dollars on food. There were days I ate practically snacks like granola bars. Other days I would spend 20 etc. On the train food was VERY expensive so I wouldn't really eat, rather just keep myself really hydrated with gatorade and eat hummus and pretzel chips. But vegas was expensive, I spent $42 in just one buffet. It was the meal for the WHOLE day. Worth it? no way. glad I left that place. never going back again.

I would say I was closer to $2,500 total, if you include the food, flights. But the rail pass and hostels was around $1,500. Guess it depends if you eat expensive and if you want to fly home to save time or not. Flights are cheapest on tuesdays-wednesdays!

flowercup1 karma

What did you do in Portland?

rtwtraveler2 karma

Nothing really. It was raining and gloomy all the time, people were bitter. It's small, not even a museum to visit really. The 4 days I was there I just walked around Hawthorne street and what not. Not much else to do..

rtwtraveler1 karma

I know summer must be awesome, but damn winter there was not fun.

FaithlessValor1 karma

Hey man! I don't know if you're still answering questions, but I'm planning a European trip of this nature as well in the spring, although it may be more hiking/wilderness camping for the first few months. I'm taking a repositioning cruise from Miami to Denmark for dirt cheap, then taking it from there!

Any tips? What are you planning for your European excursion? I too was a "late bloomer", and am also 24. Your experiences excite me!

rtwtraveler1 karma

Really? I'd be interested in finding out how much the cruise is? I would love to be able to save up some money. On my travels I met a girl who took the Queen Mary 2 from london to nyc for 7 days for only $400! Seriously. All inclusive. Don't know how she found such a deal but it was really cheap.