Category Archives: Study

How to Plan a Backpacking Trip Through Europe

With summer upon us, it’s not too late to start planning your Europe backpacking journey with your friends. Organizing, especially amongst a group of friends, can be a pain. With so many countries, places, and bars to see across Europe with so little time, it can be a nightmare planning it all.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for your backpacking adventure…

 IMG_7849

Planning your dates – With a continent to explore and everyone one of your friends having a different idea about what to see and do, Doodle can help you plan your travel schedule together. Doodle simplifies the process of agreeing on a date and time for a holiday with friends or family members cutting out the endless WhatsApp chats. Simply suggest the possible dates, send to the participants via the app, email or iMessage and then let them instantly vote on which options work for them. Doodle will do the rest, confirming the best time for everyone. The best times to travel in Europe are in the shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn since European cities in the summertime can be packed tourists and cruise guests.

Transport – Getting around Europe can be a breeze, from cheap discount airlines like Ryanair offering £10 flights to bus companies such as Flixbus offering €5 bus fares between cities. Europe has it all. Despite the number of options, planning ahead will save you lots of money as fares in the summer can shoot up quickly last minute, especially if all your friends voted with Doodle on going to La Tomatina. Make sure to tackle landing cheap tickets as soon as possible so you avoid paying over-the-odds for transportation. Train travel is a great way to travel around Europe since you can purchase a Eurail pass that will allow you to travel to multiple countries using the one, global pass.

Festivals – No summer backpacking journey to Europe would be complete without attending one of Europe’s many festivals. From the world famous music festivals such as Tomorrowland to Spanish cultural festivals such as Las Fallas and Running of the Bulls – there is a festival in Europe for every occasion. But before diving head first into a festival, it is important to pack the proper gear. For example, if you plan to head to Oktoberfest in Munich, make sure you don’t forget to pack the lederhosen, or you will miss out on half the fun!

Budget – While running out of money happens to some, it is not in the life of Doodlers. Before you leave on your trip with your friends it is important to hash out your travel priorities, because there is nothing worse than getting to Paris than finding out you can’t afford to see any of its amazing museums. At the same time, while saving on accommodation can increase the longevity of your journey, don’t be afraid to splash out every now and then on experiences that you will never forget. Create a budget to stick to, and make use of apps such as Venmo or Splitwise to help you split your costs fairly.

Accommodation – There are many ways you can save money on accommodation, such as staying in hostels or booking an apartment on AirBnB and splitting the costs. Apartment shares are actually a great way to save money when you’re travelling in a group since you can buy groceries at the supermarket and cook your own meals at home.

Backpacking with your friends around Europe can be a life-changing experience that you’ll never forget. With the correct planning and communication with your friends, you can have an incredible journey. There may be a few unforeseen hiccups along the way, no doubt, but that is part of the entire travel experience.

 

About the Author

Victoria Brewood is owner of Life Hacks and Tips – a site offering life hacking tips for every situation. She has been travelling the world since 2008, visiting over 50 countries including Madagascar, Iceland and Japan to name just a few. Victoria’s favourite countries to backpack in Europe are Portugal and Montenegro.

International survey finds families are overwhelmed by group organization and communication

Based on the results of a new international survey* that we’ve conducted in Germany, the United States, and France, the dream of having a quiet family life is just a dream for most families. The results confirm that family life involves an enormous amount of organization.

The parents’ job situation plays an important role in this. Working parents have more organizational issues in their lives, and they’re also under more stress. Additionally, when it comes to scheduling, they make greater use of email, electronic calendar requests, and Doodle. With that said, they still primarily use phone calls to make arrangements with several people despite the fact that this method wastes the most time and there are much better alternatives.

Since finding a time for a meeting or making a decision with a group of people can be so time-consuming, we asked parents as well as people without children how often they have to handle those tasks in their personal lives.

The frequencies of schedules

Group Appointments

From back-to-school events to sports appointments and vacation plans, parents’ organizational efforts are definitely more complicated and increase in complexity according to the number of children in the household. Interestingly, there’s hardly any difference between men and women, which indicates that fathers are just as involved in family scheduling as mothers are.

But there are still major differences between men and women when it comes to their professional lives. For example, a substantially higher percentage of fathers work full-time (91% vs. 54%). The results also show that part-time work is popular among mothers, especially in Germany, as indicated here:

Job situation varies

The job situation of mothers in these three countries varies

Just under half of the respondents said that they usually handle the organizing within a group, and a similar percentage of them agreed that finding a suitable date for several people is annoying. In turn, while parents are usually more involved with group decisions, less than a third of them actually like to meet in large groups.

Family statements

International Statements on organizing

Mothers feel significantly more pressure with time in their personal lives than fathers do (49% vs. 38%), even if fathers are involved in group decisions to the same extent as we learned before.

There are also interesting differences between the countries concerning the request for an SMS confirmation before an appointment. French parents favor this (58%) while American (45%) and particularly German parents (24%) are skeptical about the idea.

Ultimately, whether they’re working full-time or part-time, employed people are more likely to organize events, they’re more annoyed by group scheduling, and they experience stronger pressures on their time.

This correlation with parents‘ job situations becomes even more apparent in a further analysis when we form an Organization Index as well as a Stress Index based on the requested statements.

Organisation in families

Stress index for families

When you look at the communication tools that families are using to organize their group decisions, it’s easy to see why so many of them are annoyed by the process.

The majority of respondents still rely on email and phone calls, which are highly inefficient methods of finding an agreement with a group of people.

Job status is the main factor for the frequency with which the communication tools are used. Working parents use almost all of the tools more regularly than nonworking parents. There’s also a particularly big difference concerning email and electronic calendar requests – calendar requests seem to be much more familiar to working parents. Additionally, Doodle is used more often by working parents to schedule personal appointments or make decisions with a group of people.

The tools of family communication

How do families communicate

Outside of job status, there are also some country-specific preferences with communication tools. For instance, American parents are more likely to use social networks for group decisions while German parents are more likely to use WhatsApp. In fact, 45% of German fathers and mothers regularly use this messaging service to organize appointments and agreements within groups while another 25% sometimes use it for those purposes. On the other end of the scale, more than 80% of American and French parents never use WhatsApp for group organization, so this use case appears to be a German phenomenon.

In the end, no matter which communication tools are used, it’s a fact that many families are choosing inefficient ways to communicate in groups. An experimental study for a Bachelor’s thesis at ETH Zurich revealed that using Doodle for group scheduling could save up to two-thirds of the time that you’d spend otherwise. Even in smaller groups, people benefit from online scheduling by saving around fifteen minutes for each event. Even if you only have a few group arrangements each week, the time that you save by using Doodle will mean that you’ll have more time with your family.

*Two-stage international online survey in July 2014 in Germany, the United States, and France of respondents between the ages of 18-60. Families among the internet population surveyed by Toluna Online Panel. Families and No Families surveyed by Doodle on-site survey. The current analysis is focused on respondents between the ages of 30-49 (N=6.562). More than half of all interviewed parents were a part of this group.