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Three Week Graduation Trip to Amsterdam, Bruges, Berlin, and Paris

Three Week Graduation Trip to Amsterdam, Bruges, Berlin, and Paris

Old Sep 20th, 2014, 10:49 AM
  #1  
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Three Week Graduation Trip to Amsterdam, Bruges, Berlin, and Paris

My boyfriend and I will be traveling to Europe as a graduation trip for three weeks in May. We are planning on visiting Amsterdam, Bruges, Berlin, and Paris. We will be on a student budget and hope to do this as economically as possible. I have traveled internationally before with my family but this will be the first time on my own, so I am open to any and all advice on the best way to do this. My first question would be how best to travel while in Europe. Is it best to do the EuroRail or should we purchase individual tickets as we travel? We are looking at hostels and AirBnB listings and are most interested in private rooms with private bathrooms (we know this will cost more.) Is there a good site to use to find rooms? Lastly, are the cities on our list a good choice and will it be easy to travel between them in the span of three weeks?
saraseckman is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2014, 11:43 AM
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The cheapest way is to pre-book cheap 'budget train tickets' direct with the train operator when booking opens 90-odd days before departure:

You want to start at Berlin. Berlin to Amsterdam starts at 39 euros at www.bahn.de/en (German railways). You print your own ticket.

Amsterdam to Brussels from 25 euros rising to 79 euros, www.b-europe.com by high-speed Thalys in 1h55, or for a fixed-price 39 euros on the IC train in 3h30, which you can buy on the day.

Brussels to Bruges costs 13 euros, train every half hour, buy on the day at the station. No reservation necessary or possible.

Brussels to Paris by high-speed Thalys train from 35 euros, www.b-europe.com (this will also book you Bruges to Paris with a chnage at Brussels).
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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This is awesome! Thank you!
saraseckman is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2014, 01:58 PM
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The problem is that they are not refundable and so you have to decide your entire itinerary in advance, down to the exact day and time you want to take a certain train. If you can do that, then that is the cheapest method, much cheaper than a Eurailpass. And Eurailpasses are harder to use than they used to be in that you still may have to buy seat reservations on some trains and some countries may limit the number of seats available for pass users. At least, I know France does, not sure about others.

So both methods have drawbacks, but if you don't mind planning your trip in advance, go for the cheap prepaid advance tickets. For local or short train trips, you don't have to do that as they often don't have discounts if you buy far ahead and don't have seat reservations.
Christina is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2014, 04:40 PM
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I would assume you have some idea already of the number of days you are going to allot to each place since you have only three weeks. Buying tickets in advance shouldn't be a big issue if, in fact, saving money is the most important factor and is driving the whole thing in the first place.
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Old Sep 20th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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I think you have a good mix of cities, and a good time frame to do them in, so much that you would even get a few side trips, like Potsdam (which you can easily see from Berlin).

In Germany, for booking rooms, if you don't want to use Airbnb, each city has their own website (such as www.berlin.de), which has tourism listings. You can select different types of accommodation (and for you I would recommend 'Bed and Breakfasts' (in German, 'Pensionen"), which are small private hotels, some in people's houses, with access to a bathroom (but how varies slightly)). Usually inexpensive, and more character than a normal hotel. Most include a hearty breakfast.

Lavandula
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 07:29 AM
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How old are you - if under 26 then you can use the bargain Eurail Youthpass that could be as cheap per segment as discounted tickets and in your countries pretty much let you hop on any train any time - discounted tickets are inevitably restricted to a certain train and can't often be refunded nor changed and as they are sold in limited numbers must be booked weeks in advance - in concrete - strongly consider the advantages of a Youth Pass is you are under 26 that is.

Great sites for planning a European rail trip - Man in Seat 61's commercial site (click on his commercial link to Rail Europe to see pass prices) - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 10:39 AM
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Brussels to Bruges costs 13 euros, train every half hour, buy on the day at the station. No reservation necessary or possible.>

but with the ABS fare - All-Belgian-Stations fare if you are doing a rail journey in conjunction with a Thalys train then for an extra 4 or 5 euros (not sure exact amount but minimal - you can take any train within 24 hours (could be 48?) from any Thalys station to any station in Belgium.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2014, 01:28 PM
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and are most interested in private rooms with private bathrooms (we know this will cost more.)>

Get a copy of Let's Go Europe and check out the many private hostels and youth hotels which more and more have private rooms and none of the rules or curfews, etc of official HI (Hostelling International) hostels these are also more Bohemian places with bars and just a great place to socialize and meet other young travelers from all over the world.

Airbn'b is great but isolating - meeting other folk your age from all over the world is great - one of the funnest parts of travel - don't miss out on it by staying in an isolating hotel or airbn'b IMO.
PalenQ is offline  
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