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4 college grads in Europe for 2 weeks, please help!

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Mar 19th, 2012, 06:15 AM
  #1
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4 college grads in Europe for 2 weeks, please help!

My son and his 3 friends are doing a whirlwind trip to London, Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam for a total of two weeks. A couple of the guys planned some of this without really researching so this trip is definitely more expensive than it should be.

Itinerary:

May 21 Fly Bos to Lon - Booked
Stay in hostel 3 nights -still deciding which one

May 24 -Fly to Prague - Right now Easy Jet has best flights, around $117, need to book asap
Prague Hostel- Booked Charles Bridge Economic Hostel for 4 nights

May 28-Train from Prague-Berlin -looks like it's too early to book, also which train stations do we need to book from, little confused here) or should they take a bus?
Berlin 3 nights - haven't booked hostel yet

May 31 Train from Berlin to Amsterdam- need to book asap as there is a special for 39 E
Amsterdam 4 nights - Botel Zebra, booked

June 4 Fly out of AMS to LON to BOS (Separate BA flights, they did not do open jaw)

Does this all make sense? Any suggestions would be appreciated especially with the two trains. Thanks in advance!
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Mar 19th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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If I may make a suggestion it would be about their itinerary. Many moons ago I did something similar and I was miserable after the 3rd or 4th place I visited. I ended up spending more time at airports and train stations then at the locations. If I were them I would eliminate at least one city and stay longer at all the other cities.

My suggestion: London, Prague and Amsterdam. Forget Berlin on this trip.

JMHO.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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College grads,guys,this will be a terrific trip. Give them this website and Rick Steves, and let them do the planning. A great way to learn and look forward to their adventure!
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Mar 19th, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Dear Mom: Butt out. Why are you interfering with your son's friends? If these are actual grown-up adult "college grads", they should learn about Europe on their own, which includes doing their own research and making their own mistakes. And it also includes no "I told you so" afterwards.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 12:28 PM
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Southam, nope, not butting in, that's why the itinerary is what it is. They came up with the hostels and countries, I'm helping with the transportation because they asked me to. They were at my house over the weekend, feeling very overwhelmed between midterms, graduation and this trip and asked for my help since they know I enjoy researching trips. My son and another leave for this trip one day after graduation. I, along with 2 other parents are paying for this trip as graduation presents so we are trying to keep the costs down too.

Andeesue, yes they have quite a few books and websites which is how they came up with the hostels and flights.

AAFF, I agree but they chose them....my son did a semester in London last year, so he's familiar with some European travel.

Any other helpful ideas concerning train/bus travel to/from Prague and Berlin? Thanks!
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Mar 20th, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Are they travelling with luggage etc? If so remember to factor that into the cheapest of air tickets, although saying that easyjet currently is saying approx $369 for 4 inc booking fee and one suitcase each (20kg per bag) but it is warning me that, that fare is limited and so BA could easily soon become the cheaper option so book sooner rather than later!
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Mar 21st, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Thanks for responding fredandgingermad! Unfortunately, that flight is very early in the morning so they don't want it. Plus, they still haven't decided which hostel to stay at in London and which airport to fly out of since prices are similar when factoring in the luggage. Are all three London airports easy to get to?

Thankfully, these are the only two things left to do, as the other hostels and trains are now booked!! For anyone interested in Prague and Berlin, we used the bahn.de website to book the trains from Prague to Berlin to Amsterdam.
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Mar 21st, 2012, 06:53 PM
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By 3 London airports i take it you mean Gatwick, Heathrow and London City? Although now looking at Easyjet's page again i presume you actually refer to Stansted as a 3rd London Airport?

If so then all 3 are fairly accessible, Heathrow is the only one of the 3 actually in London, LGW is fairly near and Stansted is about an hour away.

On Easyjet
From Stansted flights for 4 to Prague (inc luggage) leaving lunchtimeish is approx $496
From Gatwick flights for 4 to Prague (inc luggage) leaving in the evening is approx $503

BA now coming out rather more expensive, so unless they're thinking they'll be carrying more than 20kg of luggage each stick with easyjet
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Mar 22nd, 2012, 04:45 PM
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Thanks Fredandgingermad! Easyjet was the better deal!
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Mar 23rd, 2012, 05:11 PM
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For London accomodations, try looking at the London School of Economics. Dorm rooms are available over the summer and pretty good rates in comparison to hotels. Location near British Museum was great for a friend who stayed there several summers ago.

As far as easy access airport for Easyjet, Gatwick would be my choice. They can take a train there from Victoria station, using the tube to get there.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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Andeesue, the LSE looks perfect, but unfortunately it's not available for their dates. Thanks anyway! They're still looking for a London hostel, any other suggestions?
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Mar 27th, 2012, 02:14 PM
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for info on trains I always spotlight these fantastic IMO sites - www.bahn.de - German Railways site that you researched and www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. And check out to see if the Benelux-Germany railpass has a cheap Youth pass option for young folk if they are doing any other rail trips in Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany - with that pass they just show up and hop on practically any train anytime in those countries - fully flexible and no need to pre-book, even on overnight trains they could take from Berlin to Amsterdam - saving a night in a hostel - actually take overnight train to Duisburg then day train to Amsterdam from there. Book train from Berlin Hauptbhanhof IMO or Zoo station.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Try www.yha.org.uk for high quality London hostels. Astor's also gets good reviews here.

Lee Ann
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Mar 28th, 2012, 05:07 AM
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Let's Go Europe is by far the best guidebook for folks your age and travel mode - unparalleled coverage of zillions of hostels, youth hotels and low-budget accommodation - in summer check out London's university dorms and one of the neatest HI hostels - the one in Holland Park adjacent to the historic Holland House in posh Kensington district.
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Mar 30th, 2012, 05:57 PM
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They have three nights in London and this counts the first day when they'll be experiencing jet lag. Why don't they just do London and the Netherlands. They can get a plane out of Gatwick and easy connection by train from Victoria Station. There's just too much running from airport to airport to enjoy the experience.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 09:35 AM
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The trip is now all booked with this itinerary. It's a lot to see in such a short time, I agree, but the guys were determined to do it!

Leeann, they did book YHA Central for the London hostel. PalenQ, good book suggestion and website recommendations! PatriciaOne, they booked with BA out of LHR because they preferred an afternoon flight and the price difference was minimal.

Thanks so much everyone for all the suggestions! They are looking forward to an awesome trip (or epic, as they are calling it) with memories to last a lifetime!
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Mar 31st, 2012, 01:29 PM
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About Berlin-- Just texted my daughter who lived in Berlin for a year. She loved it! Very artsy, cool, hip. We visited her there. A bike tour was wonderful to see the sights without getting footsore. It's a very bikeable city. The Holocaust memorial was very moving. Wall museum very informative. I would skip the museum at Checkpoint Charlie, but some of our group loved it.For a day trip, take train to Potsdam to see Sans Souci--we rented bikes right off the train and had a great time cycling into the town and the castles. Don't even have to go into buildings-the charm and the ride were so great. Great cheap places to eat if one looks. Prenzlaur berg is where most of the young people live. Great place to find a good bar. She says some of her friends stayed at the Circus Hostel. Local trains around city easy to navigate. Hope the guys have fun!
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Mar 31st, 2012, 01:36 PM
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Also, are these guys into techno music? The music event "Sensation" is in several cities in Europe. Have them see a taste on Youtube and see if this is something they are interested in and if the days coordinate with their schedule. Reason why I'm saying this--my son who is 21 is in Italy, traveled to see this show. "One of the best nights of my life!" It is not for the Mom-age group, but it is a very European music festival. Daughter went to out door music festival when in Germany. Many European young people do this type of thing.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 07:57 AM
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Mutti, thanks so much for this great information and I will definitely share this with them. Berlin was my son's choice of cities to visit on the trip as his European friends love it and are meeting them there!
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Apr 2nd, 2012, 06:02 AM
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Berlin to me is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe - not one of the most beautiful but certainly fascinating - from relics of the Third Reich to smashing new architecture as Germany builds from scratch a world-class capital city.
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