OK so... I've been a visitor to these forums for a few weeks but have found what I've needed without posting until now.
Me and my girlfriend (21 & 23) are looking for somewhere to go this September. Finding inspiration wasn't hard, we want to see the world and are open minded enough to go anywhere. However, we only have 3 weeks to travel as that's all we can get off work. We could probably go a few days more if needed. We've picked September simply because we should have enough spending money by then.
Earlier in the year we had planned to Interrail in September from Cadiz through Seville/Granada/Valencia/Madrid/Barcelona/Southern France/Tuscany/Rome/Naples/Bari (Free ferry to Greece) then finish up with a relaxing week island hopping around the Cyclades before flying home. However, our job situation has changed and this would be whistlestop to say the least in 3 weeks. Also, with the Euro/Pound rate it would be more expensive, I've heard from friends paying well over the odds for groceries and beers on package holidays recently. Our budget was about £1750 each.
This made us switch our attention to a week's trip to New York City. At the end of 2010 we are planning on moving to Toronto for a year to work, so thought that a week in NYC would also give us a chance to stay in Toronto for a day or night and check it out albeit briefly. Bare in mind neither of us have ever been out of Europe. The dollar/pound rate is OK at the moment and I have found flights from Bristol (our local airport) to NYC for £250pp return in September. However, this is still NYC, the hotels/hostels are not cheap and there is LOTS to see and do, and we wouldn't want to spend our time there thinking about our money. Chances are we would spend as much in a week in NYC as we would 3 weeks backpacking in Europe.
It turns out our budget will be around £1500 each now, that will have to include everything (flights, interrail tickets etc). I know that is not alot and 3 weeks isn't alot of time, but we have both got the travelling bug and turned down the chance of a Med package holiday this summer because we are bored of them.
As you can see our Europe itinerary was quite comprehensive but just covered Spain, a whizz through the South of France, Italy and Greece. Nice and sunny, full of culture but still familiar, and relatively safe for our first backpacking trip. Then theres the NYC/Toronto option. What would you do?
(Sorry for the essay!)