1st Time European Traveller

Oct 7th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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1st Time European Traveller

I'm a college student from the Midwest traveling to Prague over Spring Break with approximately 15 other students. I'm in charge of planning the trip. I was wondering if anyone had any helpful tips to help me plan (and also help me adjust to international travel and/or flying for the first time). Thanks!
keep_fishin06 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Be careful, a beer is $1.30 in a pub ;-)
logos999 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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You alone are in charge of planning the trip? That doesn't seem fair. And you alone will be the culprit when something goes wrong.

Why can't you all work on different aspects of the trip and you just coordinate it? There are a gazillion websites to investigate, plus libraries and bookstores chock full of guidebooks, maps, videos, and more.

And this site is really useful, too, but in order to help you get started we need to know how long you're going to be there, what your budget is, if you're planning to approach this as a herd or split up into small groups...that kind of stuff, plus what your general interests are.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 7th, 2007, 11:19 AM
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You are planning everything yourself? Finding flights for 16 people? Hotel for 16 people? Activities? You'll be in charge of everyone after you arrive? If yes, that's quite a task for someone who has never been to Europe before, I'm afraid!

My first suggestion I guess is to get 1-2 guidebooks specific to Prague. Then read here on Fodor's, Trip Advisor, and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum all previously posted information on Prague.
suze is online now  
Oct 7th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Hi K,

>I'm in charge of planning the trip. <

How many members are on the planning committee of which you are the chair?

If you are the only one, I suggest that you find a reason to decline the honor.

You will be blamed for every minor problem.

A few tips:

1. Do not pay any of your own money for anything.

2. If anything has to be paid for in advance, get the money from the other travelers. Do not pay with your own money.

3. People often say that they will go on a trip and then don't. Get payment in advance. Do not pay for anything with your own money.

4. When in doubt, do not pay for anything with your own money.

5. Get a travel agent.

ira is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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Tke them to the outskirts of Prague like the spa town- karle-ve-vary (spelling) for the authentic flair of the Czeck culture. Any town outside of the tourist area is well worth the true culture-experience. Then theres that town( I forgot the name) where the whole of the world sent flowers for a field because of the atrosities that went on during the nazi occupation-right outside of Prague. (The whole town was crusified-murdered, and the blonde babies were sent to Germany for adoption-that town all because one citizen shot at a nazi) The whole country is magical- look at your guide books and don't be afraid to go to what is interesting outside of the tourist traps. They will welcome you unquestionably. Much more to see outside of Prague.
virgi is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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Is this a trip of mixed sexes or is it an all male or female trip?
How many days will you have in Prague and do you want to limit it just to Prague or other parts of the Cezch Republic?
crazychick is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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I strongly suggest you get a good student travel service, and I can highly recommend STATravel.com. They even have offices on a lot of college campuses, and people on hand to point you in the right direction for Prague planning. They helped us plan our daughter's Italian semester abroad, and I can recommend them. You can find a reputable tour company through them, once you've narrowed down your plans with STA's help.

I'd get your group to come together for an STA meeting/presentation, so you are all on the same page from the get go.

Agree on options, and have the group vote on, and pay a deposit on, the plan. Then hire the appropriate tour company, and sit back with all the other travelers to enjoy the trip.

As everyone else has said, don't take responsibility for planning the entire trip yourself! You'll get skunked, for sure.

If you are pressured to be in charge, tell them you'd only do it if YOUR portion of the expenses are paid by the rest of the group. I wouldn't even do it then, though, if I were you.

P.S. EF Tours is a tour companpy many student groups use, for low cost trips. They get mixed reviews.
Oct 7th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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One word: D-E-L-E-G-A-T-E

Define fifteen tasks, and divvy up these chores among the participants. With this number of hands, each job should be trivial. You remain the co-ordinator, making sure that the hotel hand knows what the local transport hand is doing, and so on.
Robespierre is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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OK - you have received some very good advice. But I have a question -- if you have never been overseas, never been on a plane even - why are you in charge of the plans?

You will need help - not because you aren't capable of doing the planning. But because there is just a LOT to organize/plan and you don't have the experience to even ask the right questions.
janisj is online now  
Oct 7th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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keep_fishin06, listen to ira, who is very wise about European travel. He is right, don't fork over any of your own money without collecting IN ADVANCE the money that your other fellow travellers must pay.

Or else you can do the planning and give everyone the itinerary, and let them make their own reservations with their own credit cards...

ira is right, if you pay, you will get stuck with paying for rooms or flights for someone who is so so sorry but just can't go after all...and who won't reimburse you.

My best advice is choose an accomodation which is quiet enough to sleep at night, yet is within convenient walking distance to some of the major sights and convenient walking distance to fun restaurants. That will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your trip. I recommend Rick Steves guidebooks. Lonely Planet and Rough Guide are good, but only if the guidebook is printed recently...a guidebook that is already 2 years old is just too out of date for picking accomodations and restaurants.

You'll love Europe! Rick Steves is especially good at introducing Americans to European travel...read one of his books...he has one on Prague, one on Eastern Europe (get the 2007 edition), and he also has one on Europe Through the Back Door...

Fodors guidebook is more like a reference encyclopedia. Rick Steves is good for reading the whole book cover to cover. Then use Fodors as a reference guide.

Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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"My best advice is choose an accomodation which is quiet enough to sleep at night, yet is within convenient walking distance to some of the major sights..."

And my best advice is to choose your lodging by value for money rather than proximity to anything. Get the public transit system down, and pick a hotel that's near a station mabye five or ten stops away from the town center. You can only walk so far, and once you've exhausted the immediate area of your hotel, you'll need wheels in any case.
Robespierre is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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Get help, being in charge means you can assign tasks. If you are going inexpensive take a look @ www.czechhostels.com. Listen to ira. PLan to spend time outside of Prague, Cesky Krumlov comes to mind & they have tons of hostels. From there you can also canoe, raft & what not, weather permitting.
SAnParis is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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Hopefully our OP will check back today?
suze is online now  
Dec 15th, 2007, 11:07 PM
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I am a college student from the midwest as well (Ohio State). I went to Prague this summer along with many other European cities and sites on a Contiki tour. Since it will be your first time, I would suggest going on a tour. It will take the pressure off of you because you won't have to plan nearly as much, and, not to mention, you won't get blamed if some one has a bad time.

I would recommend Contiki. I had a great time on my tour. We saw a lot of places in a pretty short amount of time, and I made some friends along the way.

Have fun on your spring break!
april85s is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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april85s: keep_fishin posted this one thread and then moved on. Has not been back to Fodors, so s/he probably won't see your advice (which is good BTW)
janisj is online now  

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