An Online Primer for Budget Exploration
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Along with an abundance of public transportation, Europe provides budget travelers an inspiring variety of cheap places to stay. Still, much of your budget can be consumed by your accommodation costs.
The bottom of the budget barrel for accommodation is no accommodation: sleep on the trains, in the parks or train stations, or somewhere "wild" in your tent. We will do a comparison of four travelers in Chapter Four, but while it is relatively safe and generally tolerated to sleep under stairways and in church yards, it gets old fast.
Some diehard Eurail pass holders board a train each night at midnight, sack out for a few hours in a deserted compartment, board a return train somewhere around 4 a.m. and wake up in their original city in the morning. It saves money but also is quite taxing.
On the other hand, occasionally sacking out on long-distance night trains after a bottle of wine or two can be quite enjoyable, providing the conductors don't constantly bother you to see your tickets. I think cheap wine is the key but in any case sleeping on the train is quite pleasant overall.
There is one occasional though chronic problem with night trains you will hear about, especially in southern France and parts of Spain and Italy. Thieves are said to gas entire sleeping compartments, and slip in to steal everything while travelers are knocked out. Victims generally come to no harm but of course it is extremely unsettling. Keep compartment windows open to keep the air moving and keep the compartment door locked. Monitor the grapevine to determine if there have been any recent incidents. I was unsure if this was part of travel lore but I did meet a Finn who claims to have been gassed, and several travelers said it happened to friends.
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