November Eastern Europe Trip

Old Sep 4th, 2015, 11:01 PM
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November Eastern Europe Trip

Hello all. I live in New York and this will be my first trip to Europe. I'm so excited! I turn to you here as I'm a little lost and know I'll be guided well by seasoned travelers. The primary focus of my visit will be Minsk, Belarus, and will come at the end as I'll be meeting family and friends there. Here's a rough draft of my itinerary:

Budapest 10/22-10/25
Vienna 10/25-10/29 (side day trip to Bratislava probably on day 2)
Prague 10/29-11/2
Minsk 11/2-11/8

I will be traveling by either bus or train between the first 4 cities. I am aware that there is a growing concern with the situation in Budapest but I am willing to risk that and hope it will be resolved/alleviated by that time. I also know the weather can be fairly cold, I'm packing a good jacket! Is the time spent in each city about right or am I rushing (or dragging) at any one? I also hear there is not much daylight that time of the year, is that accurate? Any information, tips, or suggestions by those who have experienced these cities is greatly appreciated!!! Thank you in advance.
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Old Sep 4th, 2015, 11:38 PM
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I must admit that this trip seems a bit rushed to me -- but it really depends on what YOU want to see and experience, and I can't speak to that! I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (always a good investment, IME, or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

"I also hear there is not much daylight that time of the year, is that accurate?:

You are wise to consider sunrise and sunset times! Look here:
http://www.timeanddate.com

"Any information, tips, or suggestions:

Get at least a few good guidebooks -- you will learn things you never even knew to ask! As a rule, I find the Rough Guides very helpful, but you have lots of options that serve different needs.

Another tip: Think of planning as part of the fun and enjoy it, even if it is sometimes difficult!
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Old Sep 5th, 2015, 05:12 AM
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Well there isn;t much daylight in NY at that time of year either. This may be a little shorter but not a lot. And you can probably expect weather that is fairly similar - can be chilly and bright or quite cold with sleet or even some snow. Just be sure you have good footwear for slippery sidewalks/ cobblestones, clothes you can layer and a study folding umbrella.

Unfortunately you seem to be counting days several times so it seems you have more time than you really do in each place. For instance you have counted 10/25 as being both in Budapest, for travel from B to V and as a day for Vienna. It can't be all 3. At the most it an be 2 - travel and one city or another depending on what time train you take.

Lay the trip out day by day, listing where you will start, any travel for the day and where you will sleep. If you do you will see you only have 2.5 days in Budapest and the first will be jetlagged. And Vienna is only 3 - and you want one for a day trip.

Frankly I think you need more time everywhere - but if you lay it out day by day you will have a more realistic idea and can make decisions on where you want more time.

Sorry can't help with Minsk - have never been there.
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Old Sep 5th, 2015, 05:32 AM
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for lots of great info on trains in central and eastern Europe check these IMO superb sources: www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. There is an Eastern European Railpass that if traveling on several trains would be a good deal.
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Old Sep 8th, 2015, 05:15 PM
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Thank you all for the great suggestions! Because the main part of my trip will be in Minsk with built-in guides (my family!), I only really want to get a taste of the other places, besides, I only have that time to work with but would hate to miss any of those since I'll be there already. The rail pass seems like a great idea, will definitely check that out!
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 06:36 AM
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I took a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava - it's only about an hour by train and the city centre is compact so a day there for most would be enough and sweet - can go by hydrofoil too but I think takes longer and is more expensive. Loved the day in Bratislava!
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 07:14 AM
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Wouldn't go Vienna to Bratislava by hydrofoil in any season other than summer.

Figure out what's open on 10-26 and 11-2 - those are your Mondays and museums tend to be closed.
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Old Sep 10th, 2015, 07:28 AM
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You will have less time in each place than you think (can't really count the same day in two different places since travel time eats up most of a day)

What you actually have is:

Budapest 10/22-10/24 (2.5 partly jet lagged days, assuming you arrive on the 22nd)
Vienna 10/25-10/28 w/ a day trip
Prague 10/29-11/1
Minsk 11/2-11/7 (assuming you leave on the 8th)

If you are OK w/ this -- then fine, but just to let you re-figure what you can accomplish/see in each city.
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Old Sep 11th, 2015, 03:43 AM
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jj makes a great point about counting travel times between those cities making it less than you appear to have in each. If not close family slice a day or two off Minsk perhaps.
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Old Sep 11th, 2015, 09:03 AM
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You may want to re-think Budapest if it involves trains in or out - currently all to Austria are suspended or were as of yesterday and the migrant problem promises only to get worse in the short run rather than better.
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Old Sep 11th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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Thus since trains to Slovakia and Czech Republic would seem to be running perhaps go Budapest to Prague then Vienna thru Slovkia - Bratislava to Minsk?
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