teenager train travel

Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:36 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
teenager train travel

My daughter is planning a trip to Europe and has some specific destinations and timetables. Need advice from you all for some options.
Her base is at friend's in Copenhagen...from there she wants to travel to Zurich Switzerland (by train overnight) and spend 3 days around there. Then she needs to meet a friend in Athens Greece where she will spend another 3 days. She wants to fly from Athens back to Copenhagen rather than returning on the train.
The questions are:
1) Should she buy a Select Pass Youth for the train travel?
2) Should she instead fly from Switz. to Athens rather than taking train from Switz. to Greece? or perhaps take train to Milan Italy and fly from there to Athens?
3)Is train travel safe for an 18 yr old alone?
4) Should we make airline reservations well ahead of time (ATH-CPH), or is it easier to get seats over there than the US on short notice?

Thanks for your input and help!
luannb is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2006, 07:42 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,963
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Often it's cheaper to fly in Europe as there are many budget airlines. Sometimes, with sales, flights are as cheap as 20-30E. For a list of the budget airlines and the cities they fly between check www.whichbudget.com
kybourbon is online now  
Old Jun 11th, 2006, 08:34 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Does she have an idea of the distances involved? Has she researched thoroughly, and does she realize that the best night train at 18:54 from Koebenhavn H to Zuerich HB is the one that takes 17 hours? (It's the best of four possibles because it has direct carriages all the way to Basel at 10:40 the next morning.)

From Zuerich to Athens it's over 40 hours - the best connections require changing trains only in Vienna, Belgrad, and Thessaloniki, others call for many more changes.

So, yes, if she can fly, that will help. Look at www.skyscanner.net for budget flights - learn to play with the site, leaving some fields undefined to see what comes up.

Once she decides which routes she'll do by train, then she can find out if a pass will save her money - it depends on how many countries are involved and how many kilometers etc.

Look at www.railsaver.com - learn how to work that site (check "only if it saves me money" on the second screen), and look at the handy ready-reckoner on www.ricksteves.com where he explains the passes very well.

As to safety - Europeans travel alone all the time if they have to or want to, but - age for age - they seem to be more mature before they're even twenty.

How savvy and grown-up is your daughter? Does she know how to be theft-proof? She'll be dozing annd sleeping a lot, that makes her and her stuff very vulnerable. Not so much her person - violence in Europe is rare, but pickpocketing and such is not. There's a lot to learn and practice about that, or else she might have nasty experiences. And does she know how to deal with overly attentive males - especially necessary as she is heading south?

But if she's tough and has a lot of commonsense, and has practiced travelling with a minimum of stuff, and I mean *minimum*, why not?

Make your airline reservations as early as you can, if it's the budget airlines that can be ridiculously cheap, and everything is based on one-way fares, not like in the US.

The luggage rules a more stringent than in the US, but if your daughter has anywhere near enough with her to get her into trouble over that, then she has way too much (usually 20 kg = about 44 lbs checked and 8 kg = about 20 lbs cabin).

WK
WallyKringen is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2006, 10:34 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,850
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How much of this research is she doing on her own? I ask because she has a very ambitious (and I would say uninformed) itinerary. If she finds doing the research overwhelming then she needs to cut her losses and plan for something more feasible like going somewhere in Germany and then on to Zurich or cutting out Zurich and just doing Athens (which is not a particularly wonderful city from what I have heard. . . most people try to leave and go to the islands, which 3 days doesn't allow for really).

I am of the firm belief that when you are young, you get all the budget and "suffer" travel out of the way (7 days straight of night trains, sleeping in parks when hostals sell out, seeing countries on foot with a heavy backpack hoisted up, eating sandwiches until you can't do it anymore. . .), but I also believe in being practical, which is hard at age 18. You think "OMG, I am in Europe and I have always wanted to see paris, Athens and Rome." Even looking at a map is not a good reality check. I would have her asking these questions and making her own choices/mistakes.

As for safety, as long as she is responsible and not easily overwhelmed, she should be fine.

How many days total does she have in Europe?
laclaire is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2006, 04:44 AM
  #5  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,700
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi luann,

I think my best advice for you is to have your daughter register here and ask her own questions.

She should also go to the Thorntree forum at www.lonelyplanet.com.

ira is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2006, 11:54 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Strongly agree that daughter needs to register here and lopnelyplanet and do all this work herself. If she's not up to doing that - by herself and sensibly - and organizing some detaled, realistic day by day plans - she's not ready to travel.

(IMHO someone 18 should be able to do this - but unfortunately now many young people haven't developed basic life skills yet.)
nytraveler is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2006, 12:14 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm an advocate of train travel so you can see the scenery, especially in Switzerland, but on an overnight train you don't see the scenery.

I believe overnight trains rarely have secure single compartments; so one is likely to be sharing a compartment with perhaps seven strangers.

For interesting information on European trains, try visiting:
http://www.seat61.com/
clevelandbrown is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2006, 04:01 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

I use overnight trains for covering long distances in Europe. Cabins in most trains have 2 or 3 locks. Women are grouped together in cabins, as are men, whenever possible. Make an early reservation to help assure this.

I love the trains but I think that doing Copenhagen, Zurich, Athens by rail is a bit crazy. Shop for cheap flights. Flying will save plenty of time and probably save money.
hopscotch is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2006, 07:27 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,963
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow! Tough crowd. There could be many reasons the daughter isn't doing the research. My daughter is currently in Madrid without internet connection so perhaps she doesn't either. When my daughter gets home this summer she will be working a full time job + overtime + studying for GRE while I will be working part time. Maybe the OP's daughter has similar time commitments and mom has all the time in the world.

luannb - I really think flying is the way to go with such long distances. There are three airlines listed for these routes. AirBerlin, Snowflake, and Sterling. You might check Europebyair.com as they sell $99 flight connections and see if any would work.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Jun 13th, 2006, 05:55 AM
  #10  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,700
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi ky,

No intention to be tough.

The point is that if DD can't do this on her own now, she will run into major problems later.

Did you see the post about the son who lost his wallet somewhere in Europe and needed Mom to tell him what to do over the phone?

ira is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2006, 06:18 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 33,963
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ira - I wasn't referring to your post as you are always polite! I just know there are many times my daughter does not have access or time (she's 21) and I have no problem helping her.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Jun 13th, 2006, 06:24 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't honestly believe that the answers to the questions originally posed will suddenly change regardless of who does the asking.

As much as I love riding the rails I think you've received good advice re flying over these longer stretches. In the end, if the segments are available and booked early enough they can save considerable amounts of money vs. rail travel.

And how much actual rail travel should drive the need/non-need for any sort of pass.

IMO rail travel is safe for an 18 y.o...whether or not is could be any safer or less so will depend on personal behavior and conduct, responsibility levels, etc.

Yes, once you have finalized the itinerary make as many reservations on line as possible; with budget air carriers the earlier you book the cheaper it will be.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2006, 07:36 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for your input. Yes, my daugher is working full time with limited computer access, so I was trying to help out since I was already registered here. She has done quite a bit of research but has been bombarded with conflicting "advice" and multiple options which have created some confusion. At this point it seems flying is the best answer for price and time constraints. After doing more reading I'm feeling more confident about the safety issues....just being a typical mom I guess. Thanks again!
luannb is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2006, 07:27 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 11
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just thought I'd post a follow-up trip report. My 18 y/o daughter has made her way beautifully through the places she wished to visit. No problems on the train from Copenhagen to Switzerland and she spent 3 days hiking alone in the Alps which she loved. She caught a train to Milan Italy where she then flew to Athens and met up with her friend as planned. They are now enjoying the islands after spending two days visiting the ancient ruins. She will fly from Athens back to Copenhagen next week to spend another week in Scandinavia. BTW, she says that her Lonely Planet book was absolutely invaluable for this trip, and she has felt very safe throughout her travels. Only things she would change next time...more memory cards for her camera, more money for Switzerland ($$$), and an even lighter backpack.
Thanks to all for your advice.
luannb is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2006, 11:08 AM
  #15  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,700
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the followup, L.

Glad it's working well.

ira is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2006, 12:43 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,000
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

Thanks for your report luannb. I wish more people who ask for advice here would do as much.

For the camera I bought more chips for my camera as I traveled. Also, she doesn't need to use the max pixels setting. I got about 450 pictures from each of my 256 meg chips using a 1600x1200 frame size. That is plenty enough precision for most computers.
hopscotch is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
pickledpurls
Europe
29
Jan 27th, 2016 10:32 AM
chereamycat
Europe
5
Apr 22nd, 2012 03:17 PM
lovetravel06
Europe
7
May 14th, 2006 05:20 AM
Kaladran
Europe
35
Mar 9th, 2006 03:11 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information