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I did the Sept 2008 Escapade. Anybody got questions?

16 Jun 2009 Twisty asked

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Hey all.

Just thought I'd make myself available to any questions anyone might have about the Escapade experience.

I had the best time of my life last year and am still in contact with many friends from the trip (going back to Oktoberfest this year with 5 of them!)

So with my experience (male), and a few of the girls I know. I should be able to answer anything you want to know.

Fire away!
  • 16 Jun 2009 Lady Lou said

    Lady Lou

    Hey There!!

    thanks so much for letting us ask you stuff..

    ahhh ive got a couple…

    with sleeping.. i am going mid Aug, Is a sleeping bad with silk side a good idea or will is still be to hot? also should i bring my own pillow as well?

    i have also wanted to go 2 a concentration camp ive asked a few people they were allowed to go to one on there tour, was is the same with escapade as well? mormid i know but i wanted to ask..

    Day bags… personal question i know, and asking a boy.. but did most people just take just a packback or hangbags i just think with a backpack its easier for people to steal withs with a handbag you can get a big one and keep it under your arm.

    and the extras… what do you suggest i should do and miss out on? like any of the dinners not that great etc?

    thanks SOO much!!!

    Nicky!!!

  • 22 Jun 2009 Twisty said

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    Hey Nicky

    Sleeping bags are pretty important. I had a -5 degree rated sleeping bag and was never cold. I even slept outside one night! Lost my voice for 3 days after that though so I dont recommend it hehe.

    Pillows from memory were provided. Each place you slept in usually had sheets and pillow covers that you stripped the bed of the morning of your departure.

    You can easily get away with a sleeping bag that caters for 0 degrees because most of the cabins/hostels are fairly warm anyway.

    My sleeping bag had a zip off foot section which was awesome personally as I’m the kind of person that cant sleep with socks on.

    As part of the tour you will probably go to the concentration camp Mauthausen. A very sombre and almost spookily quiet place.

    Backpacks are a good idea. Most of the girls had handbags, but make sure they have a zipper on them. The only place people had stuff stolen was in Barcelona. It was very late at night and some girls were chatted up by some dudes, and some other guys (teamwork) stole a couple of cameras from their purses.

    As for the extras. I did everything but the paragliding in Austria. I wish I did because Austria was absolutely gorgeous. Me and my friends are spending the bulk of our return trip this year in Austria.

    All the dinners are great. All the evenings out are awesome. Even for the guys! The Flamenco evening sounds girly but its great fun. The Mozart quartet in Vienna was top stuff even if your not a fan of classical music.

    The biggest surprise is the Swarovski Crystal Museum. Tell everyone who will listen to check it out. Guys will want to give it a miss. DONT!

    Anyone else got questions?

  • 23 Jun 2009 Lyse said

    Lyse

    Hey!

    Just wondering… how much money did you actually spend? how much would you recommend including money for the optional extras? also whats is the weather like? haha im so stuck on what kind of clothes to take!! ohhh and lucky last question.. do you see snow!? Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 30 Jun 2009 Twisty said

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    Hey Lyse

    I spent roughly $4000AUD in total. That was over the 5 week period i was away. I went the cash card option so its basically like a ATM card but in the foreign currency and you convert it at a particular rate. Eg I convert $2000AUD at .50euro and get 1000euros. If the exchange rate drops to .48euro then i still have 1000euros. It makes it easy to know how much money you have.

    As a guy I didn’t end up doing much shopping. Maybe $Euro on souvenirs. Some girls on my tour were spending a few hundred Euro every place we stopped. I don’t want to know what they spent over all.

    Optional extras add up to about 400-500 euros. A definate must for them all!

    Weather is relatively comfortable. England and France averaged about 20degrees when i was there. Spain was 30+ and Italy was high 20’s.

    Once you start going north of Italy it gets a little colder. The day we were in Vienna was the first cold day. If you didnt pack gloves or a beanie. Use this time to visit H&M. Its a department store with good prices on such things. Think Kmart or Big W.

    The only really cold place is Switzerland.
    http://maps.google.com.au/maps…59,0.363579&t=h&z=12

    You stay in Lauterbrunnen and if you click that link you’ll see a big red “A”. Thats the mountain you go up. And yes, there is snow. It almost snowed. There was crystallised rain. But nothing snowflake like. This is the only time you’ll really need snow gear. So dont pack thinking everywhere will be this cold. All I had was a tshirt, jeans, thick jacket, beanie and gloves while i was in the snow.

    Germany, Austria, Lichtenstien, Netherlands are all coolish weather. Jumper weather. But you’ll take it off when your walking around.

    Good lightweight options are thermalwear. Especially for girls who feel the cold.

    http://www.torpedo7.com.au/div…/title/Base%20Layers

    Thats just an example of what to look for.

    Girls can get away with 2-3 formal dresses. Most other places are fairly casual. Be sure to pack something weird as your guaranteed to have at least 1 dress up night. 80% of the time you’ll be partying at contiki bars with your group anyway. So don’t go overboard on the “nightclub” attire.

    You’ll be told when to dress up, and when to stay casual.

    This is before we went to the Casino in Monaco.
    (Im in the green)
    Guys:
    http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/p…676_1295525_1990.jpg

    Girls:
    http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/p…24_30046923_7588.jpg

    Let me know if the images don’t work Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 13 Jan 2010 Explorer1163508 said

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    Hi! I’m going to the May 12, 2010 trip! Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    When you said you spent 4000 AUD, was that just pocket money or is the package cost included already?

    Also, during the “free times,” did you go around the place (commute) by yourselves, without the tour guide?

    Thanks!!

  • 13 Jan 2010 Toddsgoingos said

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    thanks for the info,
    i’m doin the tour in july with a friend
    cant wait for it
    just two questionx
    the optionals did u book them when u got to each location?
    and how was the accommodation? any pictures of it?

  • 13 Jan 2010 Twisty said

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    Congrats to the 2 new people who posted.

    The $4000 that I spent was outside of the tour/flight costs.

    So it included all of the optional extras on tour, plus my spending for the several days before and after the tour started.

    As for the free time, buses and trains can be complicated so I think most people walked. More often than not everything is within walking distance anyway, and you’ll see 70% of things during the free time.

    A couple of my friends ended up buying skateboards in Paris so they could roll around instead of walking. GET COMFORTABLE SHOES!

    As for the optional extras, within the first day or two, the tour manager will give you a form asking what you want to do and the costs (so you can budget if need be) and then you pay the costs to the tour manager.

    The accommodation was decent. Some places were like a cabin, others were bungalow style rooms, then there were hotels, must mostly dorm style hostel kinda rooms. I wish i got photos of each place, but i only got a couple.

    Any more questions, feel free to ask!

  • 13 Jan 2010 Explorer1163508 said

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    Hi! Thanks for the info. Have few other questions though, if you don’t mind.

    You said you have a couple of photos of the accommodation, may I see them? Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> Also, did you really need sleeping bags? I read in a post somewhere that beds were provided.

  • 13 Jan 2010 Twisty said

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    Ill post the photos up on a free image server in the next day or so for people to see.

    As for the accomodation “Bedding” is usually a mattress and a pillow. Some linen is supplied at some destinations but thats just a bed spread and a pillow case. You strip them off when your leaving.

    Sleeping bag is a must, it also helps not to get bed bugs (all but 1 place was bedbug free (amsterdam))

    If you dont want to carry one with you, the contiki basement sells them, or just pick one up along the way, every campsite has sleeping bags that people have forgotten over the years.

    I thought i lost mine in rome and i was shown a storage cupboard with about 100 sleeping bags inside.

    But i wouldnt rely on it

  • 14 Jan 2010 LauraM12345 said

    LauraM12345

    sleeping bags are provided for the trip now. you pick it up when you get to the hotel in london

  • 14 Jan 2010 ryannz said

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    Hey Twisty, thanks for letting us ask you questions. The camp ground in Paris which I think is called Camp Paris Est Le Tremblay or near enough. What sort of accommodation is it? My girlfriend and I have four nights in Paris before the tour starts and aren’t sure where to stay, the camp grounds probably easier so we can join the tour there but cant find it anywhere on the net to see how good it is (or not.)

    Laura, you mention that sleeping bags are now provided. Are they good quality? Long enough for tall people? Used or new?

    Cheers

  • 14 Jan 2010 Twisty said

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    http://www.travbuddy.com/Campi…mblay-v191534/photos

    Thats the contiki village in paris, Camping du Tremblay.

    theres a couple of photos on that link

    I cant for the life of me spot that campsite in paris. Even with the name of it! Ill keep searching though

  • 31 Jan 2010 Rachel E said

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    Hey Twisty

    I have millions of questions.. but 1 that comes to mind atm is about power adaptors… it says on the website that buses are equipped with power points on each seat? is that the case and are we required to take uk/ european adaptors to charge aussie products?
    I’m going solo on the tour and can’t wait as its my first time os, thanks heaps for setting up this forum, its good to hear of other ppl’s experiences.
    Rachel Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 1 Feb 2010 Twisty said

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    Hey Rachel E,

    The bus does not have a power socket at each seat.
    There are only 2 on the entire bus, centrally located near the middle stair well.

    Take a power board, and then let people feed off that, odds are someone else will take a power board too.

    The power on the bus is a euro adaptor.
    But youll need one of each for your time in the UK and definitely around Europe.

  • 6 Feb 2010 Katemcb said

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    Hey Twisty,

    Just wondering about taking my laptop and whether there is many places we stay with wifi, free or not?

    There’s so much conflicting info about taking laptops.

    Thanks

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