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Old 06-11-2012, 10:06 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
18,678 posts, read 23,258,366 times
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Well that says it. We are open to ANYWHERE. Low budget. Our income changed for the worse in the past three years, but it's a promise I want to keep.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:56 AM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,833,048 times
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Find the cheapest airfare from your local airport.
There are numerous other sites for rooms, hostels are cheapest but no longer my cup of tea.

Airbnb.com
Wimdu.com
Bedandbreakfast.com
Easytobook.com
Laterooms.com
Priceline
Hotels.com
Hotelscombined.com
Hostels.com
Bookings.com
Eurobookings.com

Spain is cheap, but quite warm this time of year.
Eastern Europe is cheap.
Amsterdam would be fine.
Norway and England are pricey.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:20 AM
 
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If you go to EF TOURS, they have trips all across Europe for 7-11 days in the $2,500-3000 price range. I went across France with them.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:34 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,502 posts, read 62,199,370 times
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SEND your son to europe
Rail pass, hostels, an ATM card and one of the books are all he'll need.

The LAST thing he'll need (or want) is Mom going with him.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:44 AM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,337,177 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
Well that says it. We are open to ANYWHERE. Low budget. Our income changed for the worse in the past three years, but it's a promise I want to keep.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Southern Europe is generally cheaper than northern Europe. I would look at Spain or Portugal. Choose Lisbon or Madrid as a base and use public transport to visit sites around them.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:15 AM
 
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We just spent a couple weeks in Central Europe and now are in Germany. The exchange rate for the euro and other local currencies (like Polish zloty) to US dollar is better currently than it had been even just a few months ago.

Krakow, Poland was the least expensive by far of the places we visited. We really enjoyed it there - it's easy to navigate on foot or by public transit, the people are friendly and many speak at least a smattering of English which can help if you don't speak Polish. The old town is pretty, there's a castle, churches, a Jewish quarter, a garden ring around the old city, and a number of museums and memorials. Food and entertainment were inexpensive and tasty/worthwhile. Much of what we saw, inside and out, was free or just a few dollars.

There are excursions from the city but, personally, if you're ok driving in another country, I think you'd do better renting a car if you want to do the excursions. There's a salt mine about half an hour from Krakow (we skipped it but it's a top attraction that you can google for more info), more rural areas in the Tatras/Zakopane, and of course, Auschwitz-Birkenau is in the nearby town of Oswiecim - an hour or so drive.

In the city itself, among other things, we visited the castle and it's cathedral (where Pope John Paul served before he was Pope), saw other sites associated with John Paul, toured several churches, roamed through the old town and it's impressive main square, saw the Jewish area (and stayed there also - 10 minute walk to the castle on the edge of old town), walked to the former Jewish ghetto across the bridge (with heroes square and the Pharmacy Under the Eagle), and went to the Schindler Factory Museum. The Factory museum is relatively new and quite well done with displays about the war in Krakow, some information about Schindler, and more information about the Holocaust in Krakow. It's 17zloty but for 20zloty you can visit the Memory Trail which also includes the Pharmacy Under the Eagle (usually 6zloty and just a 5-10 minute walk from Schindler) and a Museum of Communism.

We reserved an entire separate day for visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau - our last day in the area. I'd recommend following the course we did - similar to what happened for the destroyed Jewish population of Krakow: Jewish section, ghetto, Schindler, then Auschwitz-Birkenau. A visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau is mandatory for all Polish 14 year olds and many return during their senior year also - similar to your son now heading off to college. It's free unless you get a guide (Birkenau is always free and was the more powerful visit for me). There are English descriptions posted at both sites. Believe it or not, you're still able to smile and be hungry and enjoy life again afterward.

Let me know here or via DM if you have more questions about anything I've mentioned or about the rest of our trip. I think Krakow and the local area offers a good mix of sobering history, medieval charm, European atmosphere, tasty food, and entertainment - all way below what they cost elsewhere in Western or even Central Europe.

Have fun with your planning! Oh and, although in some ways I can see the whole thing about sending him on his own, I also remember a trip I took with my family at about that age and those memories are incredibly special to me to this day.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:32 AM
 
Location: St. Croix
737 posts, read 2,249,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toosie View Post
We just spent a couple weeks in Central Europe and now are in Germany. The exchange rate for the euro and other local currencies (like Polish zloty) to US dollar is better currently than it had been even just a few months ago.

Krakow, Poland was the least expensive by far of the places we visited.
I haven't been, but have heard from many well-traveled friends that this is a must do at some point. I think the biggest expense is going to be your airfare. If you have miles on any FF program, use them if possible.

There are many package programs that will take you by bus tours to the various sites mentioned above.

Also, consider renting an apartment versus a hotel - just compare the prices. Happy travels.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,355,691 times
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With just a week, you should stick to one city, with perhaps a day trip outside. If you can possibly stretch the trip to 10 days, do so.

Your destination will be dictated by the cheapest fares you can find, but do keep in mind that certain cities are very expensive, others not so much. Lisbon comes to mind for economy, but you might not be able to get there cheaply. London might be cheap to fly to, but much more expensive once you're there.

But you can get by cheaply in expensive cities like London, Rome, Amsterdam or Paris. Youth hostels or budget hotels. Picnic lunches, local restaurants.

It would be great if you could send your son off on his own to do this. But at 17 or 18, it would depend on his maturity, and his ability to adapt. Travelling alone can be daunting at any age--if he had a friend who could travel with him, that would be different--in that case I'd say just send them off.

Just a pitch for Amsterdam. Beautiful city, lots to do, easy to get to. Hotels are expensive, but you can find budget places, or if your son is alone, he could stay in a hostel.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:04 AM
 
32,089 posts, read 32,994,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwanderer View Post
London might be cheap to fly to, but much more expensive once you're there.

But you can get by cheaply in expensive cities like London, Rome, Amsterdam or Paris. Youth hostels or budget hotels. Picnic lunches, local restaurants.
Although London is considered an expensive city, public museums in London are free. Also there is a max. amount that you can be charged a day for using the Underground (London subway train system). So the more rides you take in one day the less it will cost one assuming they buy the Oystercard (which using for all of London transportation system).
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:16 AM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
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Keep in mind the Olympic are in London this summer, make getting to England, and staying there 2-3x more then normal. Even if you go when the Olympic are not going on normal summer vacation traffic to London will be higher in the months before and after. Due to people not going during the Olympic time frames.

Personal Depending on your son's maturity, At 17/18? I would have him go with a friend to do it by 'himself' (with a friend). He will get more out of it then a trip with mom, and better life experience. Figuring things out by himself.

If he 'not' ready maturity this year there is always next year...
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