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Old 12-27-2011, 09:35 AM
 
674 posts, read 1,017,922 times
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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?
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:44 AM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 2,253,117 times
Reputation: 1506
I would start by buying a couple of guide books and deciding on what you want to see. Lots of people will give you advice but if you hate museums, love live music, hate drinking but love architecture only you will know what you want to see and do.

I would also price up the flights online before you get the quote from your friends travel agency. Just so you know if you are getting a good deal. Look at some of the smaller airlines in Europe, German Wings, Air Berlin etc. They often have great deals on inner european flights.
Have a loot at a monthly rail pass for europe. Thats could also work out good value esp if you do the night journeys and sleep on board.
I would also get a trip advisor account and see what advice you can get from there.

Travel By Train In Europe: Eurorail, Eurail Pass & Train Tickets - Rail Europe

Backpacking Europe - YHA Australia

Try www.booking.com for hotel rooms in advance. I have gotten good deals from them.
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: American Expat
2,189 posts, read 4,714,003 times
Reputation: 1875
The train tickets are very expensive. For one, one of those rail passes or whatever they called it is only for E.U.citizens. Then, the other one I looked at, was for non-E.U. citizens but very expensive. And it would take a long time to get from Spain to Amserdam... And I would go with Hostels if you want a cheap and good place to stay at.
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:22 PM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 2,253,117 times
Reputation: 1506
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glucorious View Post
The train tickets are very expensive. For one, one of those rail passes or whatever they called it is only for E.U.citizens. Then, the other one I looked at, was for non-E.U. citizens but very expensive. And it would take a long time to get from Spain to Amserdam... And I would go with Hostels if you want a cheap and good place to stay at.
The rail passes are NOT for EU citizens...Here is a quote from the rail europe site....

Can I buy a pass if I have a European passport and a green card from the United States?
We are not able to sell rail passes or tickets to residents of Europe, the UK, Morocco, Turkey, or any of the countries of the former Soviet Union. If you are a resident of these countries, we will not be able to sell you one of our passes. If you are a citizen of any of these countries, but are a resident of the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America or Canada, we are able to sell the rail pass or tickets to you. Passes are based on residency not citizenship, and the country of your residence will be printed on the rail pass.
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:52 PM
 
210 posts, read 618,928 times
Reputation: 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by swisswife View Post
The rail passes are NOT for EU citizens...Here is a quote from the rail europe site....

Can I buy a pass if I have a European passport and a green card from the United States?
We are not able to sell rail passes or tickets to residents of Europe, the UK, Morocco, Turkey, or any of the countries of the former Soviet Union. If you are a resident of these countries, we will not be able to sell you one of our passes. If you are a citizen of any of these countries, but are a resident of the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America or Canada, we are able to sell the rail pass or tickets to you. Passes are based on residency not citizenship, and the country of your residence will be printed on the rail pass.

There are rail passes for people living in Europe (InterRail) and those living outside (eurail, raileurope, etc).
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:40 PM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,327,070 times
Reputation: 13682
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?
The key question is how long you plan to be in Europe for.

The countries you want to visit are quite big and the amount of time you have will determine what you can reasonably get to see. For your first time in Europe I would suggest that you prioritize your itinerary into must see and nice to see.

Amsterdam is probably a good place to start from because Schipol is such a big international and intercontinental hub. I would suggest you fly in and out of there from the USA. Last time we were there we stayed out at the airport (CitizenM hotel which was pretty reasonably priced and walkable from the terminal) and just got the train into Amsterdam (20 mins).

From Schipol you can either get trains or cheap flights to your next destination.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:33 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,411 posts, read 26,224,622 times
Reputation: 16496
Although I'm not booking my first trip abroad, I am booking my first trip to Europe this summer. Europe seems great, especially for a first time traveler. There are so many options, but one thing I am straying from is going with the Europass. From what I've seen in my prices, flying seems to be a cheaper option than the train. I am, more or less booking my itinerary using Ryan Air, and it is actually reasonable. It takes a little bit of extra planning due to the fact you have to check all of the flight routes and where you can fly from each city.

The countries you have listed aren't impossible.. but you really have to decide exactly what you want to see in each place. There is a lot to see in each country (well Amsterdam is a city, so that narrows things down a little bit there), I don't know too much about Germany, but there are a LOT of things to see in both Spain and Italy, and I feel that you could really be hard pressed for time to see all of these countries in one trip if you are staying in Europe for less than a month.

If you could give us your time frame, we'd have a much easier time giving you further advice.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,819,132 times
Reputation: 11318
Quote:
Originally Posted by burgler09 View Post
Although I'm not booking my first trip abroad, I am booking my first trip to Europe this summer. Europe seems great, especially for a first time traveler. There are so many options, but one thing I am straying from is going with the Europass. From what I've seen in my prices, flying seems to be a cheaper option than the train. I am, more or less booking my itinerary using Ryan Air, and it is actually reasonable. It takes a little bit of extra planning due to the fact you have to check all of the flight routes and where you can fly from each city.

The countries you have listed aren't impossible.. but you really have to decide exactly what you want to see in each place. There is a lot to see in each country (well Amsterdam is a city, so that narrows things down a little bit there), I don't know too much about Germany, but there are a LOT of things to see in both Spain and Italy, and I feel that you could really be hard pressed for time to see all of these countries in one trip if you are staying in Europe for less than a month.

If you could give us your time frame, we'd have a much easier time giving you further advice.
Be careful with RyanAir. You need to book early to get good prices; otherwise you can pay full price. Be careful with your weight, too. 10 kilo max or you pay.

Also check out Lufthansa, GermanWings, EasyJet.
Try this link for a pretty complete listing of cheap airlines: Low cost airlines in EUROPE - Complete listing

I've been using skyscanner.com for good prices on regular airlines.
I just got a phenomenal deal on a flight to Thailand through skyscanner.

For rooms, look at airbnb.com or hostels.com.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:48 AM
 
Location: "The Gorge"
905 posts, read 3,067,964 times
Reputation: 712
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!
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:59 AM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,327,070 times
Reputation: 13682
Quote:
Originally Posted by burgler09 View Post
Although I'm not booking my first trip abroad, I am booking my first trip to Europe this summer. Europe seems great, especially for a first time traveler. There are so many options, but one thing I am straying from is going with the Europass. From what I've seen in my prices, flying seems to be a cheaper option than the train. I am, more or less booking my itinerary using Ryan Air, and it is actually reasonable. It takes a little bit of extra planning due to the fact you have to check all of the flight routes and where you can fly from each city.

The countries you have listed aren't impossible.. but you really have to decide exactly what you want to see in each place. There is a lot to see in each country (well Amsterdam is a city, so that narrows things down a little bit there), I don't know too much about Germany, but there are a LOT of things to see in both Spain and Italy, and I feel that you could really be hard pressed for time to see all of these countries in one trip if you are staying in Europe for less than a month.

If you could give us your time frame, we'd have a much easier time giving you further advice.
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.
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