Hi Wanling and KL,
Your posting reminds me of my fascinating tour in Europe. My hubby and I enjoy backpack free n easy so much. I agree with Grace, buy a good guide book and find out more abt the places before u go.
1st we decided on which countries to visit, bought the city maps, booked accommodations, train and flight tickets. Find out the weather and temperature and bring the rite clothings.
I did a lot of homework with the websites and Lonelyplanet city maps. Those maps were really good, showed the attractions and sight-seeing locations, and metro maps included as well. We depended on it most of the time. We did not stay in 345* hotels, but chose the cheap hostels instead. Such a good experience to stay in hostels as we had never done that b4. Met alot of funny funny young people there. I'm very Kia-se and kia-su, booked the hostel through internet in advance, unlike most of the angmohs backpackers walked in for lodgings, ended up fully booked and needed to search for elsewhere to stay. I think that's why we always see them carry sleeping bags on their backpacks.
My hubby and I toured cities of Rome, Paris and disneyland, Bercelona, Madrid, Portugal lisbao, Switzerland Geneva, Luxembourg, Belgium Brussels, Germany Berlin and Hamburg, Poland, London, Dublin, Manchester, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Denmark Copenhagen and Legoland, Sweden, Finland, Oslo, and.....Iceland.
Actually to go on Contiki tour or Backpack is up to individual. Of cos there are some pros and cons. For contiki tour, you don't have to do so much plannings, and it's safer to travel with more people. But prepare to travel by coach and limited visit time allowance for each attraction. Some places only pass by and dun even have the chance to get down the coach and explore. Must pay for optional tour. You must be alert if you go backpacking. It tend to catch a lot of attention for asian people like us. Few of my friends were pick-pocketed and robbed in Europe. My advise is never walk alone on the street. Despite of this, my hubby and I still prefer F&E. Dun have to rush, can see and feel more of the local life-styles, the arts and their cultures. Try out their public transports and the feeling is never the same as taking MRT and SBS. From the tour, it was a real eye-opener for us and we had learnt to be more independant. Also realised how fortunate we were to be in Spore.
Can send u some pix if u r interested. Email me: [email protected]
All the best!