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10-week Solo Tour to Europe

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Sep 24th, 2014, 02:20 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 6
10-week Solo Tour to Europe

Dear all forumers,
First of all, thank you for reading this post! =)
I am a 23-year old girl going to embark for my first solo trip to Europe in May-July 2015.
I have drafted an itinerary for my trip as below. If you have time, feel free do comment on my itinerary and suggest to me anything that I shouldn't miss out during my trip.

1) Do I really need to pre-book all my flight/ train/ bus/ entrance fee before my departure from home country? If so, as early as when should I do so?
2) What is the most convenient and affordable way of getting data plan while traveling in Europe? I heard about the EE sim card that offer data bundle that can be used for roaming. Is it reliable?
3) Any safety concern for Asian female traveler while traveling in Europe?

So here is my plan:
- Fly to Turkey from Kuala Lumpur (stopover at Dubai- plan to do the hop-on-hop-off bus tour while waiting for connect flight)
- 7 days: Turkey (Istanbul-Pammukale-Cappadocia-Ephesus) --> plan to book a 7-day tour with Turkey Golden Tour
- 5 days: Greece (Athens-Delphi-Kafalonia-Santorini)
- 3 days: Romania (Sibiu-Brasov)
- 3 days: Bosnia and Herzegonia (Mostar-Blagaj)
- 2 days: Croatia (Dubrovnik)
- 3 days: Slovenia (Ljubljana-Bled)
- 3 days: Hungary (Budapest)
- 3 days: Czech (Prague)
- 4 days: Austria (Vienna-Hallstat-Salzburg)
- 2 days: Switzerland (Interlaken)
- 7 days: Italy (Venice-Florence-Siena-Pisa-Pompeii/Amalfi-Rome-Vatican) --> plan to do full-day tours to Siena, Pisa, Pompeii, Amalfi
- 5 days: Portugal (Lisbon-Cascais-Porto)
- 5 days: Spain (Madrid-Toledo-Serville-Barcelona)
- 6 days: France (Avignon-Paris-Versailles-Loire Valley) --> plan to do a full- day tour to French Riveira from Avignon
- 5 days: Britain (London-Bath-Oxford) --> plan to do full-day tour to Bath and Oxford
- 5 days: Scotland (Edinburg-Glenfinann-Inverness)
- 5 days: Ireland (Dublin-Galway-Iris Mor) --> plan to do a 3-day tour for Western Ireland
- Back to Kuala Lumpur

Any comments are most welcomed! =)
Thank you very much in advance!
justinaswteh is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 02:41 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,722
1) You do not need to pre-book but booking in advance generally means lower prices than same-day full fare prices. How far in advance you can book tickets depends on the carrier. Airlines are typically 300 days in advance, Deutsch Bahn is 92 days, and the others you will have to check (or others will chime in).

2) Flyertalk has a few excellent threads on SIM options:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...m-threads.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...paid-sims.html

If you are American and have T-Mobile, read this thread: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...-coverage.html


3) No, not really. The usual universal tips apply: don't accept drinks from strangers, avoid dark alleys, etc.


I'm not going to critique your proposed itinerary but I will say that you need to be aware of and factor in travel time from one place to another. Print out a calendar for your travel dates and put in cities and travel days (and times) so you can get a visual idea of your plan.
sparkchaser is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 02:54 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,035
Hello Justina
Your trip looks terribly rushed to me! Have you considered how much time you are going to spend getting from one place to the next?
I can understand your wanting to do and see it all, but at your age and level of european travel experience I would advise taking plenty of time to experience each place you visit.

For instance with plans for Dubai: if you are in transit between flights you won't get to leave the airport. The hoho bus there goes on very long circuits - 2 to 3 hours for each loop, so not really physically possible unless you plan to stay over.

Usually with most transport, the earlier you book the better the price. If you take a look at seat61 website, you will see plenty of advice about how to get around Europe by train. If you sign up for email offers from discount airlines, you get newest details about their specials.

This will be a fantastic trip for you - make sure you get to enjoy everywhere you go! Di
di2315 is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 04:16 AM
  #4
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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Hi sparkchaser,

Thank you for your advice! It is very useful to me =)
Yes I do realized that it is too packed and I will look into it again. Maybe I will slash away some places and increase more days for others.

Thank you again!
justinaswteh is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 04:18 AM
  #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 6
Hi di2315,

Thank you for your suggestions! =)
It is just the beginning of my planning and I admit that I am thinking too positively that I could go to all these dream places! haha
I will look into it again to make it more practical.

And thank you again! I hope it all work out in the end!
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Sep 24th, 2014, 04:47 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,644
Sorry - in a trip this length 2 night (1 day) stays just don't make sense. I know the idea is to see everyplace but that just isn;t really doable - and you will be spending a huge amount on intercity trains/planes. (And yes, to get decent prices you should be buying plane fares and long-distance trains fares far in advance - the longer you wait the higher the prices will be except for small local trains).

If you can;t spend at least 3 nights (2 days) in smaller places - or 5 nights (4 days in major cities) you will be super rushed and probably the whole trip will become a blur.

And your plan for Italy is simply not possible - you will end up missing most major sights.

So yes, reserve transit in advance. For lodging - if you have a very strict budget I would also reserve in advance. For most sights you can organize entrance once you get there - but there are a few places that do require advance reservations. Only you know if you want - or will have time to get to any of them.
nytraveler is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 07:08 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,083
Yes, you haven't allowed for travel time between places. How are you getting around to all those places in Greece? How are you getting from Dubrovnik to Ljubljana? From Barcelona to Avignon? If flying these routes, you have to allow time to get yourself from your hotel some distance to the airport 2 hours or so before the flight. Then, upon arrival, get yourself into town and to your hotel. And, in each new place, you have to learn your way around. All that takes time.

You need to cut destinations. Here's a start: you're skimping Croatia and Switzerland. Just eliminate them from your trip. As for the rest of the trip, you need to decide what you really want to see.
Mimar is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 11:31 AM
  #8
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Hi all l, thank you so much! I really appreciate your time and effort in leaving comments to my question! I had modified my itinerary based on the advice that you guys suggested.

*Another question is do I really need a Eurorail pass? It's kinda not worth it when I need to pay extra for reservation fee for some journey.

Still 73 days but I added more days for cities that need more time!
Does it sound more doable?

- 7 days: Turkey (Istanbul-Pammukale-Cappadocia-Ephesus)
- 7 days: Greece (Athens-Delphi-Kafalonia-Santorini)
- 3 days: Romania (Sibiu-Brasov)
- 3 days: Bosnia and Herzegonia (Mostar-Blagaj)
- 3 days: Hungary (Budapest)
- 3 days: Czech (Prague)
- 4 days: Austria (Vienna-Hallstat-Salzburg)
- 10 days: Italy (1D Venice, 3D Florence, 1D Cinque Terre, 2D Rome, 1D Vatican, 1D Pompeii, 1D Amalfi Coast)
- 5 days: Portugal (Lisbon-Cascais-Porto)
- 7 days: Spain (Madrid-Serville-Barcelona)
- 6 days: France (Avignon-Paris-Versailles-Loire Valley) -
- 5 days: Britain (London-Bath-Oxford) --> plan to do full-day tour to Bath and Oxford
- 5 days: Scotland (Edinburg-Glenfinann-Inverness)
- 5 days: Ireland (Dublin-Galway-Iris Mor)
- Back to Kuala Lumpur
justinaswteh is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 11:55 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,190
You have no travel time in your itinerary.

As an example, it takes most of a day to take a train from Budapest to Prague. You have exactly 73 days in your itinerary. Where are you going to fit the time to get from Budapest to Prague? Yes, on this route you can take a night train and save a day but that's not always possible.

Look at your Italy portion. You will not have as much time as your itinerary shows in each location.

You need to plan on the time to get from one place to the next. And this is not the same as train time or flight time. There is getting to and from airports and train/bus stations.

You need to cut back a bit more and exclude those places that have the least interest for you or those places that take a long time to get to.

Perhaps remove Romania, Bosnia, & Heregovina. Plan for 2 days in Venice. The Amalfi Coast takes a lot of time because of bus scheduling and the slow roads.
adrienne is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2014, 05:46 PM
  #10
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,157
This trip sounds very rushed to me -- unpleasantly so. I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together. You might end up deciding to cut several destinations.
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