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complications i am encountering while planning a trip to europe...

complications i am encountering while planning a trip to europe...

Old Nov 14th, 2004, 09:59 AM
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complications i am encountering while planning a trip to europe...

To begin with, I couldn't decide whether I should travel to different cities throughout Europe (Paris, London, Berlin, Venice, and Amsterdam) via train. Then I realized that I wouldn't be able to spend long in each city (like 4 days each because hotel costs would build up, and the cost would eventually surpass my budget ($5000), and then i wouldn't be able to enjoy the experience due to being so travel-weary...So I decided that I might want to cut it down to 2 cities, but I realized that the cost would remain the same given that my travels to these cities were covered by some European railways deal. Is it possible to enjoy cities when you're only in them for that short of a period (also when you only have 5000...but i did calculate the expenses, and it totalled up to $4,225, and this includes airfare, rail tickets, food, hotel...but i may have miscalculated)? Also, how old do you have to be in order to check yourself into a hotel in some of those cities? Thank you very much.
-Matthew
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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You've left out an important detail: How many days altogether?
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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That last question -- I'm curious, just how old (young) are you?

But to sort of answer your questions: It appears you are looking at a 3 week trip ( 5 cities X 4 nights each ) You could could do this sort of trip for a lot less tha $5000 or for a lot more. It doesn't take too much research/planning to find inexpensive places to stay and eat. Hostels and 2 star hotels are a good option. (Don't assume hostels are always cheaper - a nice 2 star may actually cost less, especially if it includes breakfast.)

Low cost airlines criss cross pretty much all of Europe and are often cheaper than taking trains - even w/ a rail pass.

Students get discounts on lots of things like concerts/museums/theatre.

Yes you can see a bit of a city in 3 or 4 nights but some places really demand more simply because there is so much to see and they are so large.

Paris and London for instance are "worth" a minimum of 5 or 6 nights each. Whereas Amsterdam is great but you can see a lot of it in just a couple of days.

Think about cutting bacck to 3 or 4 of these cities to slightly reduce your transport costs and compare flying w/ train to see which is cheaper.

Think about London/Paris/Amsterdam or possibly London/Paris/A'dam/Venice.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 10:52 AM
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Thank you for your help, janis. If i did cut out a city, it would most likely be Amsterdam though because I have heard it is rather trashy, and, well, I hate hedonists, and Amsterdam is renown for being the hedonistic capital of the world (either that, or Florida). Taking planes is a great idea! I never thought about how much time it would save (or extra time it would provide me to see more of each city). And to answer your question, I am 18.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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Students also get a terrific deal on Eurailpass. At your age, you can use the long-haul overnight routes as your hotels!
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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The budget seems fine to me.

I would skip London (it's big and it's the most expensive) and stick with Venice, Paris and Amsterdam, maybe Berlin.

I'm sure it's <possible to enjoy cities> in less time, but I prefer less stops and longer in each place (checking in and out of hotels when moving cities can get expensive, exhausting, and takes away from siteseeing time).

Make sure your railpass/deal does in fact save you money, over single point-to-point tickets purchased at the station.

As a generalization, hotels in Amsterdam and Paris are cheaper than Venice (and definitely cheaper than London) for similar places.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:00 AM
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Robespierre--I looked into the Eurailpass, and it does not include London on its list of destinations.

Suze--I would actually prefer to cut out Amsterdam, and Venice over London. I love British people, and British culture, and I think I might be an Anglophile.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Well, Buddy, I hate to tell you this but if you really "hate hedonists" then you aren't going to be reall thrilled with parts of Berlin, either.

There are hedonists everywhere and some people would even describe YOU as one, what with running around Europe spending thousands of dollars ON YOURSELF!

So please put your hatred on the back burner and try to enjoy the positive aspects of these places.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:25 AM
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Well, if you suffer from Anglophilia (as I do), you might consider splitting your time between the continent and the UK. If you are up to the rigor of sleeping on trains, the checking in and out of hotels can be minimized, and the money you save can probably stretch your journey to a month. A 10-day Eurailpass for 3 countries (France, Germany, Benelux) will cost you $379, and a Britrailpass for 15 days is $389.

Before you commit to any plan of action, though, run all your possibilities through railsaver.com

A fun alternative to the Eurostar is the huge Stena ferries from Hoek van Holland to Harwich.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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Hi Matt,

I suggest 10 days in London and 10 days in Paris, with a couple of side trips.

Fly into London, take the Eursostar to Paris. (Buy a RT one-day ticket at www.eurostar.com up to 60 days in advance)

Fly home from Paris.

You can do that for $5000 or less.

Air Fare 1000
Hotel at $90/day 1800
Eurostar 100
Other trains 200
Other @ $95/day 1900

This is a very generous budget for an 18-yr old.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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I would cut out London. Chop Venice also. Substitute Munich for Berlin, or go to Duessledorf and Cologne to save time on the trains. Amsterdam is what you make of it. It has some of the best museums in Europe and is a welcoming place for Americans. Skip the red light area and weed houses though they are prominently mentioned in the popular guide books. Crap sells. Paris is a city that every young American man should visit. What a town! Give it some extra time. Don't be bashful with the French girls, or the Dutch or German girls either.

To save money and have a pleasant place to sleep stay in B&Bs. Do google searches for the cities combined with B&B. There are plenty of possibilities. Stay in nearby cities rather than the Big Apples to save more. Paris is so big that you should probably stay in the city. Take a room in a fleabag with a down-the-hall toilet/bath in the 5th or 6th.

Eat in bars (you are old enough in Europe) and cafes. No pretentions and a nice crowd. For example, in Holland have an uitsmijter and in France a croque-madame; each is basically an open face ham, cheese, and egg sandwich. Also try the fare in butcher shops. Many serve sandwiches and beverages. Visit the markets and buy cheese, cold meats, bread, and wine and take it "home" for a picnic in your room.

You'll be tempted to dress in denim and tennies at your age. But you'll get much more respect wearing slacks and street shoes. Others on this forum will immediately say that Levis and Nikes are OK. Well, they are but you'll do better if you dress a bit higher.

When are you going?
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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PS,

It is highly unlikely that railpasses will save you money.

Enter your itinerary at www.railsaver.com. Be sure to click "only if it saves me money".
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:37 AM
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You might have a look here at the minipasses offered by Eurolines; a triangle journey London-Paris-Amsterdam-London runs about 55 British pounds - not bad. It takes longer, of course, but I'd say there's a certain charm to crossing the channel (fares include ferry passage) and staying low to the ground. And you don't have to worry about airport transfers, checking luggage and the like since you're let off near inner-city public transportation.

http://www.nationalexpress.com/eurol...vel_passes.cfm

If you decide to go on to Berlin or Venice, perhaps you can find a cheap flight from one of your triangle cities.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Matthew- I would definitely skip Amsterdam, since you have such a negative preconceived notion of it. Why did you mention it in the first place?

And since you love the British, well definitely go to London. You didn't give us this information in your original post, or my response would have been different.

I think Ira's suggestion of 10 days London and 10 days Paris and the budget he outlined is an excellent one.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for the link, Russ.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 12:18 PM
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TopMan--About me being a Hedonist, you have no idea what you're talking about. And if I wasn't looking for the positive aspects of these places, why would I even put Amsterdam on my list? I was simply looking for ways to shorten my list, and that is the one factor that has made me even the slightest bit reluctant to visit.

And thank you all for your advice. I am looking into the links...I think I am going to cut Venice because I imagine it to be a place better spent with a wife, or girlfriend, and I am taking neither. But I am not sure if my question about how old you have to be to check yourself into a hotel was ever answered...?
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 12:40 PM
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Matthew,

I think you should include London, Paris and Berlin. Maybe Venice because it is sooo very different. Berlin is really a bustling city and will be amazing for you (I live only two hours away ).

Definitely check the cheap airlines like Ryan Air, Easy Jet and others. There are very cheap flights Berlin-Schoenefeld - London.

I am wondering about two things: First, I am sure you could cut your expenses on hotels, especially Berlin is not expensive and there are always good deals on ebay, even for five star hotels in Berlin.

Second, why do you only include big cities, not a smaller town or rural area? The essence of Europe is to find in those places more than in the big, cosmopolitan cities.

At the age of 18 you are old enough to check in hotels.

Ingo
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 12:48 PM
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Regardless of where you end up going on you trip, one thing that you brought up that hasn't been answered is checking into hotels at your age. Normally it wouldn't be any problem as long as you're planning on staying in youth hostels, but if you are actually planning on staying in a few decent hotels during your stay, then you may be requited to produce a credit card as a form of security. You can pay in cash, but you will find that most hotels will require you to book your room and cover any additional expenses with a credit card. Also, make sure you get an ATM card so you can obtain euros or British Pounds as needed.

Enjoy your adventure.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 12:55 PM
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In my estimation ira's budget is very generous. It is easy to keep your costs down if you plan ahead a little bit. I live on the west coast and the MOST I have ever paid round trip to either London or Paris is $630. August is the hardest time to get bargain airfares, but any other time you should be able to fly for far less than $1000 - especially if you are traveling from the East coast.

Hotels would be most expensive in London and Venice, and a little less in the other cities. But even in London you can get a decent hotel in places like Victoria, Paddington, or Russell Square w/ private bath for about $80 or $90 per night single, and much less if you look farther out of the center.

If you book far enough ahead you can get REALLY cheap airfares intra-Europe -- sometimes for just the taxes, or £10 plus taxes. But you do have to book ahead for these.

I could easily do that trip (3 weeks - London/Paris and one other city) for about $3000 give or take. Now -- I usually do spend more - but when I'm on a tighter budget I have no problems doing a trip for $100-$150 per day plus airfare.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 02:46 PM
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"I hate hedonists, and Amsterdam is renown for being the hedonistic capital of the world (either that, or Florida)."


Thanks for the best laugh I've had today!!!
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