First EuroTrip decision/planning help

May 26th, 2015, 08:42 AM
  #1  
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First EuroTrip decision/planning help

Good afternoon,

I am in the process of planning my first EuroTrip and would love some input and suggestions. Here are some things that I think could help guide you in forming your suggestions for my trip:

1. Two people going - Myself (Male, 23) and a friend (Male, 23). Both of us have never been to Europe.
2. When? - We have 12 days (2 of travel) total for our trip and we would like it to be in the beginning of August. Leaving from Tennessee.
3. We are looking to see 3 main cities (maybe a day trip or two depending on which cities we choose)
4. What we want to see - Both of us seem to agree on what we value from this trip: Culture, Scenery, Food&Drink, Night Life
5. This is a budget trip as we just got out of school and would like to keep everything under $3500

Basically, we would love suggestions on which cities to visit that make the most sense logistically and economically. If you could put yourself in our shoes and think about the information above that would really help. We have contemplated two routes (Paris, Munich, Venice) (Prague, Munich, Venice), but would love to hear more options from people with more experience. Thank you very much for the help. We are excited!
Michael2727 is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 09:05 AM
  #2  
 
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Well for young people I would reco Prague, Berlin (much livelier than Munich) and Paris - just because. But do realize that you are giving all of these places very short shrift.

As for budget I assume you mean $3500 each. If you mean for both of you then you just don;t have enough (airfare will be at least $2500 - even with open jaws tickets - and you must do those to avoid wasting time and money backtracking).

Get a copy of Let's Go Student Guides so you can see the most economical ways to travel, with hints on best hostels, local transit passes (but count on walking a LOT) and what sights are less expensive versus top $.

Do note that wine and beer in student pubs and cafes are fairly expensive - but hard liquor and mixed drinks tend to be very expensive everywhere - so don;t even think about it. Also soft drinks are very small and expensive to plan on carrying your own bottles of water.
nytraveler is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 09:09 AM
  #3  
 
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Does the 3.5K include flights or not?

Nightlife in abundance in Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Prague, avrious areas of Central Europe. Less so in Venice. Venice is also not a budget-friendly destination as a general proposition.

What types of culture and scenery? Castles, museums, historical sites, architecture, local fauna?

What types of drink? Beer = Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic; Wine = Italy, France, Spain; Vodka = Poland; Whisk(e)y = you're not going there.

What types of food? Hard to get a bad meal in Italy; hard to eat all of the 150000 varieties of dumplings in Prague.
BigRuss is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 09:14 AM
  #4  
 
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A flight alone will cost about $1000-$1500 per person unless you have flier miles to spend or another source for a discounted fare. Optimistically, this will leave about $2500 to spend, or about $250 per person per day. Perhaps as little as $200 per day if the cost of the flight is closer to $1500.

Given you are on a tight budget, consider southern Europe as it tends to be a little cheaper than the northern cities you listed. I imagine Spain, Greece, or Slovenia can be done very economically right now.

Paris and Munich have fantastic nightlife, for sure, but are also pretty expensive. Hostels will probably be your cheapest bedding option in those towns, but do your research. Some hostels flat-out suck while others are a great value.
Edward2005 is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 09:18 AM
  #5  
 
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First, not sure you have time to do three cities; if you try it, then I'd do the Prague, Munich, Venice itinerary as it is much more compact than the other. And if "culture" means art or music, or both, consider substituting Vienna for Munich. Or Budapest, which, along with Prague, is one of the least expensive cities in Europe.

Second, each of you should get a good guidebook and come up with a list of places each of you wants to go. Don't confine yourselves to the places you've already selected. If you do this independently and arrive at, say, two places you agree on, then do those: five days each with a day trip from each city.

You're going to find culture, drink, and nite life wherever you go in Europe, although better food in western Europe than in eastern, IMO.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 09:30 AM
  #6  
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Thank you very much for the quick replies:

@nytraveler - The $3500 would be per person. Berlin, Prague, and Paris sound great. I just thought logistically that would be tough with the amount of days we have due to the distance from city to city. Any suggestions on some that are fairly close and easily accessible to each other?

@BigRuss - Sadly, the 3.5K per person does include airfare. We plan on backpacking and staying in hostels. The trip is more for Culture (museums, architecture, Night Life)and Food&Drink (general taste of the town at each stop, not extravagant). Wouldn't mind seeing some mountainous scenery during a day trip.

Just trying to make the most out of this trip and want to hit 2-3 awesome locations that provide great sights/tours during the day with fun Night Life for a younger person right out of school. I am in that stage where I appreciate and am intrigued by culture/art/history, but still desire the active night life.
Michael2727 is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 09:36 AM
  #7  
 
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The idea that you will have time to see three major cities please do day trips in a mere 10 days on the ground is perhaps unrealistic. Decide what is most important to you and focus on those things. For instance, it would be perfectly reasonable to choose just one city and do several day trips or to choose two cities and plan a day trip from each (if you can tear yourselves away from the city).
Kathie is online now  
May 26th, 2015, 10:44 AM
  #8  
 
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I think you can do 3 cities, but try to make them relatively close. London, Paris and Amsterdam, maybe? The pub culture in London is great for young people.
Suki is online now  
May 26th, 2015, 11:22 AM
  #9  
 
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Well seems like you're going by train or should be as cities these days in Europe are rather car-not-friendly - trains are great - check out these superb sites for lots of great info on them - even though you can get a Eurail Youthpass since you are under 26 with that short of time and trains to take just buy regular tickets - actually you can save tons of money by booking ahead - weeks ahead-

discounted tickets are sold in limited numbers on each train and often sell out weeks early but that can be much much cheaper than full-fare walk-up tickets - for a great lowdown on discounted tickets check www.seat61.com and for general info on European trains www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Note that discounted tickets are generally non-changeable non-refundable so be sure of your day and time - you will be assigned to a specific train and the ticket will not be valid on other trains.

A problem with Germany right now is a spate of train strikes - some as long as 8 days and no resolution in sight.
PalenQ is online now  
May 26th, 2015, 11:35 AM
  #10  
 
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Distance between places does not always make it worse logistically. There are cheap air flights within Europe.

I would also skip Venice this trip.

Prague with Berlin (or Munich) and Paris
Prague with Paris and Amsterdam (train between Paris and Amsterdam)
Prague with Paris and Barcelona (fly between Paris and Barcelona)

This would be rushing it for me, but you are young. Go for three - no time for day trips though.

If you want some countryside or smaller towns, cut it to Paris and Amsterdam or Paris and Barcelona. See a bit of Belgium on the way to Amsterdam. Take a day trip from Barcelona.
Sassafrass is online now  
May 26th, 2015, 11:37 AM
  #11  
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Great input. What about doing Paris, Barcelona, and Rome and flying to each? I am seeing flights for pretty cheap. I feel like those 3 cities seem like a great combinations of my desires. Am I off base on that? Any opinions on this route and those cities?
Michael2727 is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 11:52 AM
  #12  
 
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Nope, if you can find good flights, that would work. I do feel Rome, especially will be shortchanged, and there are wonderful day trips from there, but it is a great world city. If you are wanting mainly cities, you can't miss with any of these.

Everywhere will be hot, but Rome will be super hot in August. How does that sit with you?

If these cities fit your desires, then go with it. I have been to Rome in August, and while it was nearly unbearably hot, I did survive and did enjoy it. Actually, I have been to all of them in July or August. I went at a slower pace and spent afternoons in cool museums and lots of time relaxing at outdoor cafes, enjoying something cold to drink.

Be aware that in Italy, at cafes, it usually costs more to sit down and and have a drink or sandwich. You can stand at the bar to eat or drink or buy drinks and sandwiches at little markets or stands and sit in a park or bench to eat.
Sassafrass is online now  
May 26th, 2015, 12:07 PM
  #13  
 
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If you want to see some mountain scenery, then don't drop Munich from the itinerary; there are some easy day trips from there into the mountains. Maybe Paris, Barcelona and Munich?

Cheap flights are a great way to get around, but be sure to pack light, because most low-cost airlines have strict limits on luggage, and heavy fees if you go over. With only ten days, you should be able to go with carry-on only, but remember that carry-on size in Europe is smaller than in the US.

For getting to Europe and back, price a multi-city route, flying into one city and returning from another. This will usually save you both time and money. Try different combinations of the three cities, two at a time, to find the cheapest pair. (You would use a low-cost airline to get to the third city and then from there to the last city.) Then try adding the third city into the mix (Home to A, A to B, B to C, and C to home). It might add very little to the cost, or it might be more expensive than using low-cost airlines for the two internal flights.

By the way, www.skyscanner.net is a good source for budget flights.
bvlenci is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 01:53 PM
  #14  
 
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>> What about doing Paris, Barcelona, and Rome and flying to each? I am seeing flights for pretty cheap. I feel like those 3 cities seem like a great combinations of my desires. Am I off base on that? Any opinions on this route and those cities? <<

I would do Paris-Rome-Munich( in that order) of all the cities that you have mentioned.If you have 10 nights I would recommend 3-3-3 and an overnight trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (from Munich) to get a taste of alpine scenery and activity.Fly into Paris and out of Munich, with low cost airlines for intra-Europe flights.
dugi_otok is online now  
May 26th, 2015, 02:46 PM
  #15  
 
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Dear Michael,

you don't have to listen to an old lady who grew up in Europe but she thinks that visiting three countries in 12 days and on a limited budget is not a good idea. You will spend most of your time checking in and out of hostels and airports.
Forget the night life. All major European cities have some kind of a night life. Try to concentrate on architecture/ history of each country that is of interest to you. Can you rent a car?

Most cities in Europe have a lot to offer. I'd say zoom on one to two adjacent countries. Truly, in my young age I thought I had to see 'everything'. The matter of fact is that one can't. You are young enough and can always go back.
Stephany is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 03:28 PM
  #16  
 
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My 2 cents is that counting on being able to fly between cities like clockwork puts you at the mercy of weather and strikes. For such a short trip, you might feel quite a loss if one of your flights doesn't get off the ground for hours or days.

So I would pick cities/countries that are easy and enjoyable train rides from each other, and yet give you some idea of the great variety of the European Union (see it while it lasts!)

For me, that might be Amsterdam, Paris and Cologne, or Paris, Antwerp and San Sebastian, or Paris, Venice, Croatia. You don't always need Paris in the sandwich. You could anchor the trip around the Alps but include some of Italy or France or Germany. Combining Munich, Verona/Venice and Trieste could actually be quite fascinating! But the idea is to get an itinerary where you can get to another country/culture by train in half a day or an overnight train.

Sure, trains face strikes too, but usually you have a lot of advance notice and can make other arrangements. Plus, trains are cheaper, and usually more relaxing and interesting. Airports all feel and look the same, and having to get there 2 hours in advance is a time waster.

Also, I live in Europe and I think it is myth that some cities are better for young people unless you are planning on isolating yourselves in some party scene -- and that just doesn't fit with your description of wanting a cultural experience of Europe. There are definitely some places in Europe that attact an older, well-heeled retiree set of tourists, or families with kids, but otherwise every place has young people looking to hang out together at night in August, and music festivals.
sandralist is offline  
May 26th, 2015, 09:24 PM
  #17  
 
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As I found out, Geneva even has a vibrant alternative culture scene. I was there because I was in Mapping Festival years ago and it turned out that yes, Geneva can be an alternative experience and doesn't have to be high budget.

>>A problem with Germany right now is a spate of train strikes - some as long as 8 days and no resolution in sight.>>>

Not any longer fortunately: unions and the government have reached an agreement.
menachem is offline  
May 27th, 2015, 03:57 AM
  #18  
 
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I think you should do two cities to maximize the time you have for experiencing tEurope. Commuting is time consuming and you have the risk of delays. Two years ago my daughter (your age) went to London, Paris and IIbiza for 10 days. Her Delta flight out of Atlanta was cancelled and the only option they gave her was a midnight flight the next day. She ended up with one day in London which was the city they enjoyed the most.

Also your first day is hampered by jet lag and it takes some tine to orient yourself to a place and get the feel of it.
nubbyrose is offline  
May 27th, 2015, 05:40 AM
  #19  
 
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I think that either pair of three cities mentioned in the OP would be sweet for 12 days - more in Paris of course and do a day trip perhaps to Reims for Champagne tours - about an hour by Paris by train - Reims is also a neat city with a famous cathedral.

Munich offers an easy day trip to Dachau, if that type of experience interests you and IME a very very sobering sight quite different from usual museums, etc.
PalenQ is online now  
May 27th, 2015, 06:12 AM
  #20  
 
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If you are set on 3 cities, I'd look into Paris, Amsterdam and Budapest. I think you'll get three very different experiences. You can easily take the train between Paris and Amsterdam, but would likely have to fly to Budapest. I found Budapest fascinating, very inexpensive and could easily have spent a week there.
GinnyJo is offline  

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