Cynderbug: I’m not a fan of camping, so can’t share much there, but wanted to add Tia few other points:
1) please keep in mind that gas is insanely expensive here vs the US. Currently in Germany it’s close to 1.60€/liter, whatever that would be in $ and gallons. In many other European countries I’ve travelled, it tended to be even more expensive than here.
In Germany you can travel by bus for really really cheap prices as regulations have changed and there have come a lot of companies onto the market. The buses take you for as little as 9€ through Germany. But if course buses also take the longest.
Whats really popular here in Germany as well is car sharing. Not sure whether the sites are in English, but if you want to google it (if you even intend coming here), the word is “mitfahrgelegenheit”. Young people do it all the time, I’ve often taken people with me and have often gone as a passenger.
There is a train program called interrail. It allows you to travel cheaply all over Europe. However I just quickly scanned the page and it said it was for European residents only. Try to find out whether there’s an interrail for non-European foreigners as this would be fantastic. You could take the night trains and save on hostels and travel time.
If you book in advance, you can also get good rates (one-way within Germany ~40€). However with these you have to take the train you booked, so you’re a bit stucked if you want to change your travel plans.
planes are not too expensive, but if you’re travelling a lot I think it would add up too quickly. The “better” airlines offer round trips within Europe for about 100€ (can of course get much higher depending on availability). The low cost carriers will start as low as 29€, bit you have to pay for additional stuff like if you didn’t print your boarding pass, for every checked luggage (and they’re very strict with the hand luggage), etc. I don’t like travelling with them and personally think it’s worth the extra bucks to fly Lufthansa, airberlin, British airways, air FrancE, klm …
3) I wouldn’t worry too much about this. Once you speak to people, you’ll be known as a tourist anyway 😉 and while yes there are a few signs that mean different things in different countries – would you be walking around showing pepole the victory sign? (Which would not be offensive in Germany ;)) I would just be careful if youre plabbing on going to Islamic countries like turkey or parts of Eastern Europe – be sure to bring sth to cover your hair when visiting the musques. Probably the same is true for very catholic countries and visiting churches there (covering legs / cleavage).
4) wireless access is not as common here as in the us where your can do Starbucks hopping to get internet access 😉
in the bigger cities you’ll find enough hot spots, but again, not as often as in the us. In smaller areas, especially in the touristy ones, a lot of restaurants will offer wireless to their customers. Many will have signs on their windows.
If you want to be truly flexible and not rely in having to find a location offering wireless, you could think about buying a local SIM card. Don’t know how Long you’re planning to stay in each country for though and how much the prices differ. In germany, you can get really cheap rates. my option costs 8€ per month, giving me an internet data flat rate and 300 units for text messages or minutes. It’s from aldI 😉 not sure about how this compares to options in other countries.
HOpe this was a bit helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions.