Pam and I decided we would do the trip with backpacks. Not the ones you see college kids lugging around on summer trips that are half the size of the person, but the kinds you'd see college kids lugging around campus. What we couldn't fit into those small backpacks didn't go. That didn't leave much room for the kitchen sink or the "everything but" either. A couple pairs of jeans, a couple of t-shirts, a few sets of underwear, toiletry kits and our travel guide. We didn't intend on buying souvenirs, except for plates (I've been collecting those cheesy (ugly) souvenir plates for years). When they got too heavy to carry, I mailed them home. I do painfully regret not buying more souvenirs. Unfortunately we didn't have a digital camera back then either. Oh well.
We had decided to take along just the parts of the guide we needed. So we chose our countries, ripped them out of the book, stapled the sections, and threw out the rest. As we left each country we threw out that country's section to lighten the load. The guide was very useful; it told how to get to each country/city by train, gave a small selection of hotels within certain price ranges, a list of some interesting restaurants, provided a few rudimentary maps (not to scale - we found) and some points of interest in certain cities. It was a very good investment.
We stayed in the least expensive hotels we could find without having to go to hostels because we wanted to stay in the same room with each other. There was a couple times we had to use bathrooms that were down the hall and one time we stayed at a hostel that was more like a hotel than any we'd ever seen. One time the bed in the hotel room was so bad, I dragged the mattress to the floor to sleep on it. It felt like a cot from the World War II era or something.
Going cheap is actually easier than you would think. It just takes a little sacrifice and the ability to lower your normal standards a little. We also decided before hand that being lost was going to be the norm of the day, so we promised each other not to get upset when we couldn't find our way to or from something. It actually added in a little more adventure to the trip.
More to come...