16's Year old travellers

Oct 2nd, 2018, 01:16 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2018
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16's Year old travellers

Hi everyone,

So me and a group of 3 friends were thinking of travelling abroad during the summer after completing GCSE's, specifically the Benelux region and the surrounding regions in France and Germany and I was wondering if anyone had any advice for us for budgeting.

We have already decided on getting interail passes to travel (Although any better alternatives are appreciated).

What I would like help deciding is:
  • Where are some good places to stay
  • How to eat well but for cheap
  • Places to see
  • What costs we are looking at per person
  • If our age will make it difficult
Anything is Helpful, thanks
lizardboyo is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2018, 01:27 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,211
Since you mention GCSE I assume you are British??

Just a quick comment -- many youth hostels require that travelers under 18YO be accompanied by an adult. Others have special rules for under 18's -- this from the Generator chain is just one example. https://generatorhostels.com/informa...-18?lang=en-GB
janisj is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2018, 01:36 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,205
I would not worry too much about official rules. They do exist but they are also often ignored. In Europe, independent youth are generally respected and admired.

However, do not be surprised if you hit a few obstacles.
kerouac is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2018, 01:56 PM
  #4  
 
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How long do you have - what is a possible budget you can afford - traveling by train is great and those passes will get you everywhere - your question of where to go is rather open-ended - any preferences -like Greece for beaches and parties or southern France or a string of mega touristed cities - north or south or all over.

Overnight trains though in decline still run many routes and can save time and cost of hostel - you can literally relocate from one end of Europe to the other (like Amsterdam to night train in Germany to Italy or Berlin or Poland, etc. Hostels are great but there are so so many different types these days - HI or AYH official hostels are nice but may have rules and be full with young kids groups but the many other hostels - both private and run by cities and youth hotels offer often more central locations and a more Boehmian atmosphere - with pubs on site (though YHA hostels are loosening up too) - anyway get a copy of Let's Go Europe (www.amqazon.com or www.letsgo.com) as it contains a wealth of info for folks your age - written by college kids and critiques zillions of hostels. www.hostelworld.com is one of several hostel-booking sites.

For rail planning check www.bahn.de/en - German Railways' pan-European scheduling site - easy to use for quick referral - www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

For costs - Scandinavia and Switzerland are really expensive - Greece, Portugal less so. but even Switzerland - especially in the awesome Interlaken area - the essence of the glacier-girdled Swiss Alps experience - can be rather cheap as there are several hostels there. And eating picnic style out of supermarkets can be cheap. Bars and nightlife tends to be really expensive. That said Amsterdam has many budget priced hostels and affordable nightlife - it is also a great place to meet Europeans your age in its many hostels and coffeeshops - the ones that sell cannabis from posted menus and you can toke inside (but never try to carry across any border) though technically the age limit for that is 18 - 16 for booze pretty much across Europe - checks may not always be done.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2018, 10:53 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,898
When young and on a budget my friend and I did three months in europe.. we hit grocery stores for food.. crackers and cheese for lunch etc.. a yogurt for breakfast.. . We did not dine in restaurants much.. street food is often cheap.. get a crepe or sausage or 5 euros.. etc..

Many hostels have communal kitchens you can use to heat up food.

Book hostels well in advance.. youll get in the better ones that way.. and yes, your age will be an issue at some hostels.. so you do need to plan ahead.
justineparis is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 12:01 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,395
Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
How long do you have - what is a possible budget you can afford - traveling by train is great and those passes will get you everywhere - your question of where to go is rather open-ended - any preferences -like Greece for beaches and parties or southern France or a string of mega touristed cities - north or south or all over.

Overnight trains though in decline still run many routes and can save time and cost of hostel - you can literally relocate from one end of Europe to the other (like Amsterdam to night train in Germany to Italy or Berlin or Poland, etc. Hostels are great but there are so so many different types these days - HI or AYH official hostels are nice but may have rules and be full with young kids groups but the many other hostels - both private and run by cities and youth hotels offer often more central locations and a more Boehmian atmosphere - with pubs on site (though YHA hostels are loosening up too) - anyway get a copy of Let's Go Europe (www.amqazon.com or www.letsgo.com) as it contains a wealth of info for folks your age - written by college kids and critiques zillions of hostels. www.hostelworld.com is one of several hostel-booking sites.

For rail planning check www.bahn.de/en - German Railways' pan-European scheduling site - easy to use for quick referral - www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

For costs - Scandinavia and Switzerland are really expensive - Greece, Portugal less so. but even Switzerland - especially in the awesome Interlaken area - the essence of the glacier-girdled Swiss Alps experience - can be rather cheap as there are several hostels there. And eating picnic style out of supermarkets can be cheap. Bars and nightlife tends to be really expensive. That said Amsterdam has many budget priced hostels and affordable nightlife - it is also a great place to meet Europeans your age in its many hostels and coffeeshops - the ones that sell cannabis from posted menus and you can toke inside (but never try to carry across any border) though technically the age limit for that is 18 - 16 for booze pretty much across Europe - checks may not always be done.

Just a note about getting entrance to coffeeshops in Amsterdam if you're 16. There will be a bouncer checking passports: under 18 and they'll refuse you entrance. These rules are NEVER flaunted, and some coffeeshops have some sort of passport reader that you have to use, so they have automated records for city authorities to check. If it turns out they admitted under 18 y.o., they'll be closed down indefinitely, so coffeeshops are really strict.

You. Won't. Get. In.
menachem is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 12:14 PM
  #7  
 
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OK - no coffeeshops for them - weird can drink beer legally but not go in coffeeshops. Thanks for correction.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 12:40 PM
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
OK - no coffeeshops for them - weird can drink beer legally but not go in coffeeshops. Thanks for correction.
They won't be able to drink alcohol either. Or buy beer in a supermarket. Legal age is now 18.
menachem is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 12:41 PM
  #9  
 
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You can't drink beer at 16 either. 18 is the minimum age for alcohol in the Netherlands and has been for a long time now. ID will be asked for for buying booze too.
hetismij2 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 01:12 PM
  #10  
 
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Seems much of Europe is moving drinking age up -in France now 18 for hard stuff but I think 16 for beer and wine.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 02:56 PM
  #11  
 
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getting interail passes to travel - before you do this you need to have your trip more planned out. often time simple point-to-point tickets are a more economical choice than any kind of a "pass"

places to stay and places to see - check out a few guidebooks from your local library are read them

eat well but cheap - grocery store, farmers markets, street stands

costs - what exactly are you asking? a budget that includes paying for a place to sleep, does this include airfare/train/bus transportation? food? admissions? are you asking for a total trip budget? or just an estimate for walking around pocket money on a daily basis??

age - i doubt you can check into a hotel. so you need to check on hostel age limits, student housing possibilities, etc.
suze is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 03:32 PM
  #12  
 
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In Germany, there are no restrictions for under 18 travelling on their own.
It gets tricky when you need a hotel room, not because you are on your own but because you cannot enter a fully-binding contract when you're still under 18. The easiest work-around scenario would be to ask the parents to book (and use the pre-pay option) a room for you via Booking.com or other sites if you need a hotel in Germany.
In addition, you should have some sort of letter with you from your parents saying (best in simple English) that X is travelling with her/his parents' consent.
Otherwise, some other restrictions exist for under 18. You cannot stay at pubs or restaurants longer than midnight (clubs etc. will usually enforce a 18+ policy anyway).
Alcohol purchases and consumption in public / at pubs or restaurants is restricted to beer and wine for those under 18 but 16 or older.
Spirits/liquors and smoking (whatever) is 18+.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 03:44 PM
  #13  
 
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I would think hotels may be worried about parties and damages - stick to hostels and pre-book too.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 4th, 2018, 09:45 AM
  #14  
 
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In Amsterdam, "trekkershutten", ie cabins, at campsites, might be an option for you.

Camping Vliegenbos (north of IJ) has a number of very artsy ones, but there's also a campsite at Amsterdamse Bos that has them, and Camping Zeeburg. The latter not really recommended though, because it attracts its fair share of crazy people. And I mean crazy, crazy people.
menachem is offline  
Oct 4th, 2018, 11:32 AM
  #15  
 
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16-yr-old would love Vliegenbos Camping - mainly folks their age to around 30 - it's called or was called 'a youth camping' - I've stayed there years ago and it's a fun place for your ages and really not far by foot from central Amsterdam via the free pedestrian/cycle ferries. Het Bos Camping is rather remote and appeals more to families with cars.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 4th, 2018, 12:33 PM
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
16-yr-old would love Vliegenbos Camping - mainly folks their age to around 30 - it's called or was called 'a youth camping' - I've stayed there years ago and it's a fun place for your ages and really not far by foot from central Amsterdam via the free pedestrian/cycle ferries. Het Bos Camping is rather remote and appeals more to families with cars.
Yes I know. Vliegenbos is the better option and their art cabins are pretty special. Need to bring your own bedding, but that can be had for cheap at Hema or Zeeman.
menachem is offline  
Oct 4th, 2018, 02:25 PM
  #17  
 
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If staying in hostels I always used to bring my own sleeping bag - lightweight to carry - would rather have than hostel bedding provided so that would all that would be needed at Vliegenbos. Hostels do provide decent blankets, etc but I always found a sleeping bag more comfy.
PalenQ is offline  
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