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View Poll Results: Where should I go?
Zurich / Istanbul / Frankfort 11 78.57%
Denver / Boulder 1 7.14%
Nashville / Chattanooga 1 7.14%
Other (please comment!) 1 7.14%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-10-2012, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,421 posts, read 1,204,806 times
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A little about me: I'm a 23 yr old guy, recent college grad working full time in the suburbs of Chicago... where I grew up. I've got a week off of work for vacation the beginning of December that I want to do something with besides sit around here.

My options that I've come up with:

*Europe: Round trip tickets from Chicago - Zurich - Istanbul - Frankfort - Chicago are $550. I would spend 22 hours in Zurich, 4 days in Istanbul and 20 hours in Frankfort. I don't have a real desire to go to Istanbul, but on the other hand, I went to Brussels in February (which wasn't also on the top of my list) and still had a blast.

+ Cheap euro-trip getting to see 3 countries
+Warmer weather
+ I can use miles earned from the trip to pay for half of my airfare for the Boston Marathon in the spring making the price really only 400

-I've read a lot about scams for solo travelers in Istanbul
-Foreign language barrier
-Not sure on pubic transportation from ZRH and FRA to the downtown centers and if 20 hours is enough to do much of anything after getting through customs and needing to go back through security


* Fly to Denver for $130 RT. I was born in CO and haven't been back since I was 6 months old. I'm not much of a skier or snowboarder, but it would be fun to hang out for a day or two in Denver, then take the bus to Boulder and go hiking and camping. Also could try XC skiing or something like that.

+Mountains sound pretty cool
+Colorado is on the list of placed I'd like to live
+I"m sure it's going to be pretty regardless
+Cheap to get there

-No hostels in Boulder -- will need to rely on Couch Surfing (which shouldn't be bad due to CU)
-I may need to check gear if I'm hiking as it probably would be allowed to fly with me on carry on
-Limited public transportation
-Possibly really cold?


*Take the bus to Chattanooga TN. Round trip bus tickets are around $60. I have a friend who lives in Nashville I can stay with for a night. After, I would take a bus to Chattanooga and hit the trails for 3 days of backpacking. Never been backpacking before but it would be a good experience along the smoky mountains. There is also an alumni I know that lives in Chattanooga that invited me to stay for a day or two.

+I can stay with friends
+Weather will probably be in the 50's in December
+I get to buy hiking gear!
+Nashville is also on my list of possible future places I want to move (along with Boulder, Seattle & Portland)
+Lots of public transportation to get from city to city

- Safe. I went to TN in June for a road trip, although we partied and didn't do any hiking or exploring
- No prior backpacking experience. Would need to learn on my own and fast
- 10+ hours on the bus.
- No backup plan if the weather turns sour.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:03 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,636 posts, read 39,998,659 times
Reputation: 23795
Europe... Switzerland & Germany are very SPECIAL near Christmas, and learn all U can about Turkey. Rare chance to go... have fun.

Denver can wait (dec is not great time there +/- snow conditions)

Chattanooga... go during spring / dogwoods or fall colors (I was there last week... but today in China and yet ANOTHER un-planned adventure) They are often the best. I really had a good time today!

tomorrow to Macau, then to Bangkok (more unplanned Opportunities) Gotta take them as they come. Life (with good health) is fleeting.

When you want to 'couch-surf' Portland / Seattle... Look me up... We've used Guest homes for 25+ yrs $10/night worldwide... (adult version of Couch surfing) MUCH better / safer / more educational. more rich than hotel.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:22 AM
 
5,798 posts, read 9,310,055 times
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Don't travel the whole way to Europe just for a week! By the time you're over your jet lag it's time to go home. Unless you can hit the ground running and not worry about sights you'll be missing. That would make it a supremely superficial visit, but to each his own. I have a friend who took a 7-day trip to Europe, and was promised all the sights available, and he was thrown on a bus in Paris, driven at breakneck speeds through town, and at the Louvre the bus tour guide yelled and pointed, "There's the Louv'!" And that was as close as he got--so if that's the kind of trip you wouldn't mind, go right ahead...

I think StealthRabbit is the kind of traveler who gets the ultimate experience out of anywhere, but I don't agree with him about a week in Europe! I do agree about Denver and TN. Wrong time of year. Why don't you just come to SoCal for a week, if you want warm temps? Take 3 days in L.A. and 4 in San Diego, and experience Christmas lights hung from palm trees. Run on the beach. Experience the clubs. Or for even more of a contrast, a week in Phoenix/Scottsdale for a whole different world. Christmas lights on cacti! Go horseback riding in the desert. No equipment to buy!
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,539 posts, read 9,947,100 times
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I wouldn't recommend backpacking for three days in December in the Smokies if you've never done it before.

I don't understand why you would pursue such an ambitious itinerary for the European trip if you only have a week.

I'd go for Colorado.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:22 PM
 
14,264 posts, read 24,009,233 times
Reputation: 20097
Quote:
Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
A little about me: I'm a 23 yr old guy, recent college grad working full time in the suburbs of Chicago... where I grew up. I've got a week off of work for vacation the beginning of December that I want to do something with besides sit around here.

Do you drive?

There are some great towns (and hikes) outside of Nashville that might challenge you. Fall Creek Falls State Park near McMinnville, TN is a hike well worth it.

And that is one of dozens of good day trips out of Nashville.

A friend of mine just scored some cheap tickets to S. Florida during the same time period.

In general, the first week of December and January are primo times to score great last minute deals from Southwest Airlines out of Chicago.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:51 PM
 
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,790,163 times
Reputation: 5565
Quote:
Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
*Europe: Round trip tickets from Chicago - Zurich - Istanbul - Frankfort - Chicago are $550. I would spend 22 hours in Zurich, 4 days in Istanbul and 20 hours in Frankfort. I don't have a real desire to go to Istanbul, but on the other hand, I went to Brussels in February (which wasn't also on the top of my list) and still had a blast.

+ Cheap euro-trip getting to see 3 countries
+Warmer weather
+ I can use miles earned from the trip to pay for half of my airfare for the Boston Marathon in the spring making the price really only 400

-I've read a lot about scams for solo travelers in Istanbul
-Foreign language barrier
-Not sure on pubic transportation from ZRH and FRA to the downtown centers and if 20 hours is enough to do much of anything after getting through customs and needing to go back through security
I just spent 4 days in Istanbul at the end of September and had a blast -- it is now in my top 3 places (and 4 days was barely enough to see half the things I wanted to). I traveled solo (with tons of camera gear), never had any problems, with scammers or language -- people are very warm and friendly. Here are some pics from my trip: Istanbul. PM me if you have questions or need suggestions. Europe for 1 week is easily doable. I do it quite a lot for work (and add on a weekend trip somewhere). Jet leg going to Europe is not an issue at all -- when you get there, do NOT take a nap the first day, just go walk around; then go to bed at a normal time the first evening and you'll wake up the next morning fully adjusted.

I've been to Zurich for work several times, but wasn't THAT impressed. I mean it's pretty and all, but didn't strike me as anything special. Never been to Frankfurt.

Quote:
* Fly to Denver for $130 RT. I was born in CO and haven't been back since I was 6 months old. I'm not much of a skier or snowboarder, but it would be fun to hang out for a day or two in Denver, then take the bus to Boulder and go hiking and camping. Also could try XC skiing or something like that.

+Mountains sound pretty cool
+Colorado is on the list of placed I'd like to live
+I"m sure it's going to be pretty regardless
+Cheap to get there

-No hostels in Boulder -- will need to rely on Couch Surfing (which shouldn't be bad due to CU)
-I may need to check gear if I'm hiking as it probably would be allowed to fly with me on carry on
-Limited public transportation
-Possibly really cold?
I live in Colorado. December can be very cold (today was BRUTAL in the afternoon - 25F with biting winds). The problem with December in the high country is that it often has just a little too much snow for hiking/camping, but not enough snow for snowshoeing, XC skiing. I find Denver to be a bit too blah (not much character), but many others love it, so it really depends; Boulder can be interesting, but the ultra-organic/vegan/freecycle vibe can be too much after a while. The mountains are very pretty; you really need to have a car and drive around to get the best; if you do, keep an eye out on the weather (driving in a storm in the mountains = not fun, especially if you're not used to it -- I used to live in Chicago as well, and winter driving here is a whole different ball of wax).

Been to Nashville once about 12 years ago, but don't remember much.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:25 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,636 posts, read 39,998,659 times
Reputation: 23795
Granted a week in Europe is not LONG, BUT... you can cover a lot of ground and have a great time (and come home and sleep... till Christmas )

I don't let Jet Lag mess with my plans, You are male, so I expect you can get by on very little sleep while you pursue adventures. Airplanes / trains / buses / taxis are for sleeping. Destinations are for enjoying. YM (or energy level) MV

(I use 1/2 caplet of Tylenol PM and it gives my 6 hrs of sleep and no drowsiness).

I would still do Europe, BUT... if you want something more sedated / reasonable / closer... Consider San Antonio, Austin / Hill Country Tx. I will be doing tht first week of Dec as I often do. Very fun local small town festivals + Canal Lights. Crisp, but nice weather. (usually). But for a 23 yr old guy... You might enjoy Diva Night in Boerne... Whoops, I see it was in Sept this yr... you missed it)

(I spent age 18>50 being a caregiver for a sick parent, so I have some lost time to make up... (tho I partied pretty hardy pre age 18). I realize all too well how Life can get you down, (or change unexpectedly) so live accordingly (but within your limits, and don't put others at "too-much " risk).

Enjoy your youth... mine was over the day I turned 18. (and I was raised on a Dairy farm prior to that... 24x7 'At-Task'...) didn't hurt me any, but no picnic.

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 11-11-2012 at 05:34 AM..
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:25 AM
 
14,264 posts, read 24,009,233 times
Reputation: 20097
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
I would still do Europe, BUT... if you want something more sedated / reasonable / closer... Consider San Antonio, Austin / Hill Country Tx. I will be doing tht first week of Dec as I often do. Very fun local small town festivals + Canal Lights. Crisp, but nice weather. (usually). But for a 23 yr old guy... You might enjoy Diva Night in Boerne... Whoops, I see it was in Sept this yr... you missed it)

You really cannot beat San Antonio/ Austin. Tons of great BBQ in the vicinity, great music venues, etc.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
13,293 posts, read 12,802,384 times
Reputation: 6637
Quote:
Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
*Europe: Round trip tickets from Chicago - Zurich - Istanbul - Frankfort - Chicago are $550. I would spend 22 hours in Zurich, 4 days in Istanbul and 20 hours in Frankfort. I don't have a real desire to go to Istanbul, but on the other hand, I went to Brussels in February (which wasn't also on the top of my list) and still had a blast.

+ Cheap euro-trip getting to see 3 countries
+Warmer weather
+ I can use miles earned from the trip to pay for half of my airfare for the Boston Marathon in the spring making the price really only 400

-I've read a lot about scams for solo travelers in Istanbul
-Foreign language barrier
-Not sure on pubic transportation from ZRH and FRA to the downtown centers and if 20 hours is enough to do much of anything after getting through customs and needing to go back through security
1 week isn't long enough to see any of those places. Let alone all 3. I was in Istanbul for a week in April, and barely scratched the surface.

I'd recommend Iceland. Iceland air usually has reasonable flights. Reykjavik is a beautiful city. With plenty of interesting things to see. You can take a day trip to the Blue Lagoon. Then take one of the multiple day trips around the country.

It could be a bit cold in December, but it'll increase your chances of seeing this.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,356,377 times
Reputation: 1159
Quote:
Originally Posted by filihok View Post
1 week isn't long enough to see any of those places. Let alone all 3. I was in Istanbul for a week in April, and barely scratched the surface.
I agree with this. I also don't understand why you're not interested in Istanbul. Why spend 20 hours in Frankfurt? What is there? Clubs?

Spend the whole week in Istanbul. It is a fabulous city.

Or do the drive, it's warmer in Tennessee than Colorado--camping in December??
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