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Old 06-26-2014, 12:45 AM
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,402 posts, read 4,452,621 times
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
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.
This isn't true unless you're a chump and just pay for everything before thinking. I've been winging every single trip I've ever taken to Europe on budgets that most people wouldn't take to Guatemala. OP, you can totally do it if that's what you want. If you even thought about buying a railpass I would guess that you already have a pretty decent budget for the winging it.

Last edited by Jesse44; 06-26-2014 at 12:55 AM..
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:58 AM
5,457 posts, read 12,690,847 times
Reputation: 5498
Default Agree...

Originally Posted by jayway View Post
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!
This is what my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I did, we stayed a minimum of 1.5 days in some places, and up to 3 days in others like Florence, Rome Paris, etc. It was not intended to be cultural experience on those early trips, but rather we'd visit a museum, check out the city and the suburbs (yes, we purposely hopped on trams and buses to check out the city) and in subsequent years, we'd target one area for a week at a time.

We thought this worked well for us because every trip better prepared us for the next trip. We progressed... at first it was hostels, then pensions and hostels, then pensions and hotels, then hotels and homes, and now we pretty much just use VRBO and HouseTrip and stay in homes. With a family now, we tend to stay in one area for at least a week and we rent a home for the week, it is cheaper. It works out well, we can cook our own meals when we don't eat out, we come home, turn on the TV, surf the internet, drink wine, meet the neighbors just like we were at home. We use it as a spoke, and then plan day trips from it. Florence for example, we stay there, and buy the cheap Italian rail tickets to visit Venice, Rome, etc. for the day.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:47 AM
Location: DFW
6,801 posts, read 11,788,872 times
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As long as you can afford it, I don't see why not.

I like the idea of traveling spontaneously or on a loose itinerary. Having every day preplanned or having to follow a tour group elevates my anxiety levels tremendously. Of course, if you're traveling during the high season, you might need to make reservations in advance.
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:12 PM
27 posts, read 27,647 times
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Don't even think about it. Do it! I absolutely love Europe! I've been there a few times, but when I backpacked for 3 months 10 years ago, I had no itineary. Long story, but it pretty much was decided I was going a couple of months before. I just brought the 'Let's Go' series book. Being spontaneous and not having plans was the best. Only one time did I hit a snag and it worked out. I was in Florence and it took 9 times at a payphone to find a hostel to stay in. Oh, one other time in Cinque Terre all of the rooms were booked. The lady at the tourist office put me up at the vice mayor's house. Weird, but it turned out fine. You only live once. Have no regrets. And have fun!
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:13 PM
27 posts, read 27,647 times
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Oh, and one more thing. As long as you have a rail pass, you don't have to reserve seats. Just don't sit on the ones with reserved cards on them.
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Old 07-06-2014, 01:38 PM
40 posts, read 42,136 times
Reputation: 62
Try couchsurfing. Saves you lots of money and the hosts are helpful and nice.
And yes it is an awesome idea. Have fun!
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:16 AM
211 posts, read 276,718 times
Reputation: 379
I thought I would update all of you. I looked very seriously at East Germany and had a really good idea of what we would do. But then I couldn't help but feeling a little depressed about the things that have happened there in modern history. So I thought really hard about things that I like and what things we could do to have a fun trip. We're really big fans of Harry Potter and we really like Rugby. We can make the Premiership 7's final on our timeline and the Harry Potter Studio toward looks like an awful lot of fun. So we're off to old London Town!

I feel like I must apologize to the posters in this thread for going with what probably sounds like a nerdy and boring trip rather than the spontaneous trip we had been thinking about. We will probably "hire" a car and drive out to a castle/abbey or two that was used in filming the Harry Potter movies. Seeing a theatre production is a possibility, but when I saw a Broadway show I didn't like how massive the crowd and theatre itself was. I enjoy smaller black box productions where details like the smell of actual bread baking becomes part of the show. Aside from all of that and general sightseeing we should still have a couple of days to play with. I'm making a topic on the London Forum to assist me with further help in my London travels - I apologize now if this is considered spam.

Thanks again to all of the respondents!
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:32 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,687 posts, read 16,124,355 times
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Not nerdy at all, and the London Underground system and assorted commuter trains will scratch the itch for train travel.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:58 AM
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,541,856 times
Reputation: 2674
Originally Posted by HookTheBrotherUp View Post
Some may not agree, but those types are the ones that have to plan their lives.
There's a time to plan and a time to not. If you had young kids and/or if there were very specific things you absolutely wanted to see I'd say plan it to the tee. But if it's just the two of you, and if you don't mind missing some of the more most populous sites or perhaps even spending a night in a train station or something, then just go. Do get a guide for hostels and other cheap lodging options because you'll need to call ahead each day for your lodging that night. If you wait till 9pm each night to find a bed in a city, then you'll ether be spending some nights on the street or forking over big $$$ for premium rooms.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:11 PM
291 posts, read 312,673 times
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Hey, congratulations! Great job choosing a city. It might be less exotic in linguistic terms but that also lets you get deeper into things. Good for you guys and I hope you have a fantastic time. The British are wonderful people.
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