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Old 12-28-2011, 06:37 PM
 
Location: NYPD"s 30th Precinct
2,449 posts, read 4,445,983 times
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I used skyscanner.com as well when I went to Europe and had good results. I got a flight from Budapest to Barcelona for around 70 EUR on Wizz Air.

Definitely book your train/hostels in advance. I went to five countries and stayed in hostels. While I was checking in at the front desk, several times people came up with no reservations asking if any rooms were available and none were.

You'll need to determine how many train trips you plan to take to see if buying the pass is worth it. I was only taking the train twice (from Amsterdam to Berlin and from Berlin to Prague), so buying individual tickets was much cheaper. Amsterdam to Berlin was something like 25 EUR and the Berlin to Prague trip wasn't much more.

Remember that there are other modes of transit. I took a bus from Prague to Budapest for about 20 EUR, and then the aforementioned flight from Budapest to Barcelona.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:28 AM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,858,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
If you are using Ryan Air then make sure you read the fine print of the terms & conditions. Ryan Air can be very cheap but they charge for everything .... even checking in at the airport (as opposed to online). So don't leave yourself open to surprises.
You can only use a credit card and they charge you for it. Go figure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Febtober View Post
Remember that there are other modes of transit. I took a bus from Prague to Budapest for about 20 EUR, and then the aforementioned flight from Budapest to Barcelona.
The busses in Europe are not your regular US type bus.
Much more comfortable and reasonably priced.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Europe
5 posts, read 6,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi-turtle View Post
I've been wanting to travel abroad for over 5 years now but I've never had the time or the money to do it. Well I'm having a huge sales month this month that could probably pay for 3 of these trips and I've saved my vacation time this year for next year.

I want to travel to Europe. The countries I want to visit the most are Italy, Spain, Germany, and Amsterdam. I've never traveled outside of the US and I trying to find the best route to take to planning a trip. I shot out an email to friends about it but I know money is tight for some of them so I'm not banking on them joining me but I'm going regardless.

I need to get a passport (plenty of time) and my friend's parents own a travel agency that could find me a good deal on airfare....if I plan on backpacking it, what's else do I need to plan for? Do I buy train tickets in advance? Do I have to book a reservation for hostels or cheap hotels?
You should probably learn first that Amsterdam's a capital of Netherlands. It's not a country lol.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:10 AM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,858,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRock View Post
Go to the library and check out guide books. I use Rick Steve's, Lonely Planet, & Rough Guides. If you are into online message boards and forums check out Lonely Planets Thorn Tree Travel Forums, lots of great info there.

Rail passes are great, the trains are very efficient. Utilize the trains for overnight trips as you can save money on hostels.

Enjoy!
Always excellent advice.
Since I moved to Europe, I rarely read novels, I read travel books.
It feeds my wanderlust and I always have great ideas for where I might be.
I also suggest that you look at DK Eyewitness books, they're too heavy to carry but give you a photo view of where you'll be going.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Manitoba
793 posts, read 1,989,785 times
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There is high speed trains, if you prefer traveling on land. It is very easy to cross boarders in Europe without being stop at customs.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:36 PM
 
118 posts, read 170,004 times
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Rent books from local public library. There are many up to date travel books with maps included.
Rent an apartment/condo instead of expensive hotels.
budget airline: Easy Jet, Ryan Air, Vueling (Spain), Alitalia (Italy).
Eurostar train or Trenitalia.

2-3 days is enough for Amsterdam. Most of the attractions are within the old city center. Red light district, Anne Frank house, brown cafes and Canal tours are the main highlights. Very walkable and lots of pedicabs.

I recommend Barcelona for Spain. Fun city and easy to get around. Main attractions: Las Ramblas street, Gothic Quarter, Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Barceloneta beach, la Boqueria and many interesting Gaudi art works. Donít forget to try their famous tapas, seafood paella, and sangria.

You will need at least a week in Italy. 2 days for Cinque Terre, 2 days for Pisa/Florence, 3 days for Rome, 2 days for Naples / Amalfi coast. We booked tours through Romeinlimo. They drove us up and down the narrow scenic coast. Believe me, you do not want to drive over there.
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Old 12-31-2011, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pennsylvania / Dull Germany
2,214 posts, read 2,637,363 times
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Quote:
I need to get a passport (plenty of time) and my friend's parents own a travel agency that could find me a good deal on airfare....if I plan on backpacking it, what's else do I need to plan for? Do I buy train tickets in advance? Do I have to book a reservation for hostels or cheap hotels?
I think the best combination is to use various kinds of transportation, to see whatever you like to see within the given time.

With the given route you may start in Amsterdam, as this is Delta airlines Europe hub with lots of reasonable priced connections to the US. After staying several days in the Netherlands (Amsterdam+ whatever you want to see) you could take a train to Germany (ICE high speed trains run from Amsterdam Central Station to Germany about every hour). You can also reach Brussels or Paris by train very comfortable.

Train tickets in Germany:
It is better to buy them in advance to save money. The website of DB Deutsche Bahn has special offers, but you can only book tickets within 3 months before the journey. There are 50% and 25% savings.

After visiting Germany you could either use trains via Austria or Switzerland to Italy, or flying into Italy or Spain. There are lots of airlines in Europe, the LCC Ryanair and Easyjet are not always the cheapest, you might also check Lufthansa, Germanwings, Iberia, AirBerlin etc. Tickets are bookable via expedia.com or any other booking site.

The problem with Ryanair is that they fly to smaller airports, simetimes far away from your destination, for example Dusseldorf Weeze (NRN), about an hour drive away from Dusseldorf, or London Stansted (STN), so you will spend a lot of money for the transfer, baggage fee, credit card fee, etc.
I prefer Lufthansa or other network carriers when I fly within Europe, because they do not charge you for baggage or anything else additionaly to your flight ticket and if anything goes wrong, they care for you.

In some destinations it might also be useful to get a rental car for a few days, so you are more flexible.

Hotel/hostel reservation might not be necessary but quite useful, as prices may be lower when booked in advance. It depends on whether you want to be more flexible regarding the location or not.
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Old 12-31-2011, 12:59 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,355,559 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Dakota View Post
I think the best combination is to use various kinds of transportation, to see whatever you like to see within the given time.

With the given route you may start in Amsterdam, as this is Delta airlines Europe hub with lots of reasonable priced connections to the US. After staying several days in the Netherlands (Amsterdam+ whatever you want to see) you could take a train to Germany (ICE high speed trains run from Amsterdam Central Station to Germany about every hour). You can also reach Brussels or Paris by train very comfortable.

Train tickets in Germany:
It is better to buy them in advance to save money. The website of DB Deutsche Bahn has special offers, but you can only book tickets within 3 months before the journey. There are 50% and 25% savings.

After visiting Germany you could either use trains via Austria or Switzerland to Italy, or flying into Italy or Spain. There are lots of airlines in Europe, the LCC Ryanair and Easyjet are not always the cheapest, you might also check Lufthansa, Germanwings, Iberia, AirBerlin etc. Tickets are bookable via expedia.com or any other booking site.

The problem with Ryanair is that they fly to smaller airports, simetimes far away from your destination, for example Dusseldorf Weeze (NRN), about an hour drive away from Dusseldorf, or London Stansted (STN), so you will spend a lot of money for the transfer, baggage fee, credit card fee, etc.
I prefer Lufthansa or other network carriers when I fly within Europe, because they do not charge you for baggage or anything else additionaly to your flight ticket and if anything goes wrong, they care for you.

In some destinations it might also be useful to get a rental car for a few days, so you are more flexible.

Hotel/hostel reservation might not be necessary but quite useful, as prices may be lower when booked in advance. It depends on whether you want to be more flexible regarding the location or not.
Let me add to this ..... Ryanair in particular charges for everything. By the time you have paid all the different fees plus bussed in from a smaller airport they may not be the cheapest. I have used Easyjet a lot and sometimes they can be very cheap .... sometimes not so cheap. I have also had very competitive one-way fares with British Airways and with TAP (Portugal). I have had very competitive round-trip tickets with KLM.

Also, research transportation options from various airports into the city. For example, the train from Heathrow into London is really expensive. The Underground, while much slower, is also much cheaper.

Check out hotels dot com for the cities you are going to. I have generally found that it gives you a lot of options at all price levels. It has the added advantage that you pay in US dollars so that removes some of the currency risk. I usually look on hotels dot com and then the hotel's own site to make sure I get the best deal. Don't be set on staying right in the center of a city. Sometimes you can get some great deals by staying a little bit out of the center and using public transport. For example, in Barcelona there is a business district along the Diagonal and you can get some great weekend rates when those hotels are quiet. Many hotels will give you a better rate when you pay in advance.

In some cities they give tourists free public transportation. Geneva, Switzerland does that and distributes the tickets through the hotels. Worth finding out in advance.
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