U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-25-2014, 01:34 PM
 
12,401 posts, read 18,495,911 times
Reputation: 19413

Advertisements

Usually I would say skip the "multicountry" tour, unless this is the only trip to Europe you have planned in your lifetime. The problem is that you will just not get the "feel" of one place, and all the places you visit will meld together into one incoherent mess and you find yourself into the "if it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium" syndrome.
Then again you have 3 weeks, I would say you can at least cover one country fairly well.
Last minute is no problem, except that you are going on high season. And trust me virtually ALL of Europe will soon be going on vacation. Seriously. Hotel rooms in some tourist areas might be hard to find.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-25-2014, 02:15 PM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,318,185 times
Reputation: 7587
I think it is a bad idea.

Forget all the fantasy about the excitement of going wherever the moment leads you, you end up overpaying for everything, may end up with a messy and exhausting itinerary (research where to go at the end of every day?) and not making the best of the time available.

Especially in Europe when the cost is high. A high speed train ticket from Paris to southern France is 40 bucks if you book in advance, but may well exceed $150 if you book for tomorrow. Is it worth it? Not to mention admission to many place might need to be reserved. You can't simply just show up and go.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong / Vienna
4,557 posts, read 5,146,748 times
Reputation: 3919
Quote:
Originally Posted by HookTheBrotherUp View Post
I will be in Munich in a couple of weeks, what do you think the fare would be to Salzburg, or do they only run within Germany? 'Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread... you can PM me.
München - Salzburg by train: one way approx. €30 (see: www.bahn.de/en or www.oebb.at/en); takes 1:30h
München - Salzburg by bus: one way €17 (see www.westbus.at/en); takes 2:30h
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 02:48 PM
 
12,401 posts, read 18,495,911 times
Reputation: 19413
Quote:
Originally Posted by HookTheBrotherUp View Post
I will be in Munich in a couple of weeks, what do you think the fare would be to Salzburg, or do they only run within Germany? 'Sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread... you can PM me.
Yes...that is a thread hijack. Extremely rude to the OP, the fact that you realize it makes it worse. You are welcome to start your own topic.

Back to the original topic.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Mt. Lebanon
1,844 posts, read 1,955,580 times
Reputation: 1899
People in Eastern Europe do speak English and other languages, however you have to be careful for pick pockets, exchange money only at the bank, be prepared for the unexpected. Heck, I had Romanian friends mugged in Paris at a red light. They were sitting in the car when someone simply opened the passenger seat and took the wife's purse from her lap and ran. Inside there was money, passports and her cellphone. So crappy things can happen everywhere. You have to have your guard up at all times, especially in Easter Europe.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 04:14 PM
 
291 posts, read 313,528 times
Reputation: 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by curzon_dax View Post
Long story short, my wife and I have a radically different outlook for availability and finances this summer than we had anticipated. We had talked about going to Europe back in the winter and had started movement on that front, but real plans never materialized due to uncertainty in our life. What I really want to do is get a plane into Europe (I guess Ireland for its cheaper fare?) and just wing it from there for 2-3 weeks.

I'm afraid that this last minute multi-country tour is pretty unrealistic. I see some really good deals on Flight+Hotel packages that are as cheap as the plane tickets by themselves. I've also read that its hard to use the rail passes without reserving your seat ahead of time. The busses are cheap, but would eat up a lot of time on longer distances (like Paris to Amsterdam). My wife and I are younger (26 and 25) and we could make do just fine in hostels and carrying possessions with us from place to place. Even so, it looks hard to do without having it all planned out months in advance.

Should I follow my dream of trekking around Europe, or should I content myself to a nice hotel and one city?

EDIT: If it wasn't obvious I am super open to your suggestions, although I'm not interested in Asian travel right now.
You don't have kids. Go for it. Go crazy. Make it happen. The one thing that I do not regret about my life was traveling when young. Saw the world. It was fantastic. Hard, hilarious, ridiculous, dirty at times, and sometimes expensive, but wonderful nonetheless. After kids it will be possible but a totally different journey, and that's of course if you're making a lot more money as well as having relatively easy children.

We loved camping around Europe, but we had to reserve our spots. That is something to look into! Camping outside of Paris is beautiful and then you can take the train in. Germany and Austria also have TONS of camping.

I am also a big fan of sleeping on the train instead of a hotel. But I'm kind of a rat like that.

The one thing I would say is more important than money is trying your best at every language and being grateful for their hospitality. Humility will get you much further than anything else in the world. "Pardonnez-nous, c'est notre chance de voyager avant d'etre une famille, mais nous n'avons pas beaucoup d'argent. Ca coute beaucoup? / C'est gratuit?" People will understand if you are trying your best.

I say go for it. Worst that can happen is you have really embarrassing stories to tell. Heh.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,484,766 times
Reputation: 36100
My wife is just back from two months in Germany, Poland and Lithuania/Latvia, and had no trouble at all just winging it, with no advance reservations anywhere, and couldn't speak any of those languages, and had no cellphone or tablet or anything. That was in May, it might be a little tighter in the summer months. She was just hoofing it with one bag, staying mostly at hostels. She's in her 60s and has an implanted heart defibrillator.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Chesapeake Bay
6,048 posts, read 3,890,246 times
Reputation: 3502
Quote:
Originally Posted by curzon_dax View Post
Long story short, my wife and I have a radically different outlook for availability and finances this summer than we had anticipated. We had talked about going to Europe back in the winter and had started movement on that front, but real plans never materialized due to uncertainty in our life. What I really want to do is get a plane into Europe (I guess Ireland for its cheaper fare?) and just wing it from there for 2-3 weeks.

I'm afraid that this last minute multi-country tour is pretty unrealistic. I see some really good deals on Flight+Hotel packages that are as cheap as the plane tickets by themselves. I've also read that its hard to use the rail passes without reserving your seat ahead of time. The busses are cheap, but would eat up a lot of time on longer distances (like Paris to Amsterdam). My wife and I are younger (26 and 25) and we could make do just fine in hostels and carrying possessions with us from place to place. Even so, it looks hard to do without having it all planned out months in advance.

Should I follow my dream of trekking around Europe, or should I content myself to a nice hotel and one city?

EDIT: If it wasn't obvious I am super open to your suggestions, although I'm not interested in Asian travel right now.
Many years ago my wife and I took a trip to London/Paris with no advance planning. Just on the spur of the moment we looked up air fares/time, went to the airport bought tickets and went. We didn't even take any luggage, bought additional clothing when we got to London and mailed the stuff home at the end. Also took very little cash plus an American Express card. Absolutely no problem with hotels, food, travel. Had a great time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,603,858 times
Reputation: 29034
Quote:
Originally Posted by curzon_dax View Post
Thank you all for your responses. I'm a bit intrigued by the suggestion to go East. My immediate concern is communication. I'm a native English speaker and can get by a bit in Spanish and very little French (though my wife is better). German would be entirely new for me and I'm not sure how much I could pack in over the next month or so before I go.

Secondly, we had brought up Germany before but, well, what does one do while traveling in Germany? I know about Neuschwanstein Castle and that's about it lol.
My general opinion is no trip abroad is ever a bad idea. But having taken many vacations in Europe, I advocate against trying to fit too much into one trip. No matter how young and agile you are, it gets old checking in and out of hotels, lugging your stuff, hoping your transportation arrives on time, etc., etc.

Pick a country, take a couple of trips within it if you're staying a week or more. Cruise at a leisurely pace. You won't enjoy yourself or get much out of journey if you're just concentrating on beating the clock and reading maps.

If you've never been to Europe before, Germany is a good place to start. I traveled all over the country with a friend. Neither of us spoke German at all but it made no difference. Practically every German we met spoke some English or directed us to someone who was totally fluent. It's easy to travel in Germany because all the cliches about Germans are true to some degree: they are logical, well-organized, and punctual. Their country is clean, easy to navigate, and I never detected any hostility to tourists.

From many American cities it's cheapest to fly to Frankfurt (perhaps because it's a corporate business center). The airport is easy to navigate and you can connect directly to trains that go all over the country. Trains in Germany are a pleasure. Clean, comfortable, safe, and usually on time. You can take overnight trains and sleep comfortably (save on hotel bills). Heidelberg can be a day trip from Frankfurt and it's the Germany of a tourist's dream. Its baroque, romantic, picturesque Old Town is very walkable. You can see the castle and the historic university and dine in traditional German restaurants. If you don't have time to go to Bavaria and see your Neuschwanstein Castle, this is a fine substitute, especially if you will be in Frankfurt for any reason. When most people go to Bavaria they go to Munich. That's a very large city (one of the fastest-growing in Europe) that is more modern than old at this point.

By all means, GO TO BERLIN. One of the world's great cities. It's beautiful, sophisticated, vibrant, arty, and historic. It's got so much history represented within, but most importantly is a microcosm of all the events that shaped the world's experience of the 20th century from World War I through the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's an amazing place and a cinch to navigate via its excellent subway system. Look for a small hotel or even a bed and breakfast for a good deal. Many are in comfortable, clean residential neighborhoods but you can still get everywhere else in the city via efficient and affordable public transportation.

I have a soft spot for Bremen. As a port, it's Germany's traditional shipbuilding city and like many port cities it has various foreign influences, English, Scandinavian, etc. Bremen is charming and walkable; I found people to be very friendly and it's not as filled with tourists as many European cities. Some of it is Gothic, some of it dates to the Renaissance, and it was a center of the early 20th century Art Nouveau movement. The cathedral is breathtaking. There's a charming neighborhood called the Schnoor, which is a well-preserved area of narrow streets and residential buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries, now filled with cafes, galleries, and interesting shops. On the other hand, Bremen has a good Science Center and a modern art museum. You can tour the Beck's brewery and the famous Glockenspiel House with its unique carillon of Meissen porcelain bells. The Brothers Grimm were from Bremen ... how much more German can you get?

Wherever you go, good luck with your trip.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-25-2014, 10:35 PM
 
Location: S. Nevada
851 posts, read 855,585 times
Reputation: 1048
Quote:
Originally Posted by curzon_dax View Post
Long story short, my wife and I have a radically different outlook for availability and finances this summer than we had anticipated.
I take it this means you have more money rather than less? I say go for it. If you start in Ireland, how about spending some time there then hop on a plane to the continent and do the Eurail thing. Hostels too - such a great/easy way to meet interesting people from all over.

Doing low budget but also having impulse money is great. For instance, on one of my Eurail legs, it was standing room only for my train class and I was tired. But there was room in the sit down only restaurant car.
I had a lovely meal and view for what I thought was a reasonable price ~$30. And I'd treat myself to a nice hotel room once a week.

Do the EU overview now, see what you like and go back there for a longer visit later!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top