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Two Month Europe Trip

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Aug 28th, 2014, 12:12 PM
  #1
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Two Month Europe Trip

Hello all,

Hope everyone is doing well. So, let me start by saying that my European vacation is still in the planning stage. By no means do I have anything set in stone just quite yet. But, basically, my plans are to spend two months in Europe next year (May and June of 2015), and all I have at this moment is my passport. I don't really know how to go about planning the rest of my trip. I know that I want to visit: Rome, Venice, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, and maybe even London (this list is obviously subject to change). So I guess my questions are: How much should I plan on spending/saving up for this trip? What is the best way to travel once I'm in Europe (I've heard the Eurorail)? Are there any other cities you think I should add/remove from my list? What type of weather should I be expecting during this trip? Etc.

Any help you guys are willing to offer is greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

Nathan
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Aug 28th, 2014, 12:34 PM
  #2
 
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How much the trip will cost depends on where you are coming from + your comfort zone for food and lodging. Also -- while it turns out to be not all that great an expense -- some people actually want to enter great monuments of history and palaces and museums of importance while other people just want to wander pubic streets and churches -- and yet others want to eat and drink a LOT or shop -- so how much you want to spend on what is up to you.

Some of the places you mention are not "cities" but "countries". Nobody can tell you what to leave in or out of the trip until you tell other people why you are bothering to visit Europe for 2 months instead of South America or Asia.

May and June are among the best weather months in Europe but that doesn't rule out a heat wave or torrential rain next year.

The best way to travel in Europe depends on where you are going. Sometimes it makes sense to taake a train. Other times it is much better to fly.

Maybe if you posted your upper limit for what you want to spend for 2 months and what attracts you to Europe as opposed to North America or Asia it would help.
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Aug 28th, 2014, 12:34 PM
  #3
 
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The first thing you should do is visit your local library and get a couple of guidebooks and start reading. Read about the sights in each city you want to visit plus the introductory sections which give good advice on traveling.

If you're on a budget, Let's Go is a great resource.

How much you'll spend depends on where you stay. If you couch surf or stay in hostels you'll spend less money. Look up some hostel accommodations in each city to get an idea of the rates.

Once you know some or most of the sights you'll visit you can go on their web sites to get accurate entrance fees usually about E10 average but could be free for youths.

The best way to travel within Europe depends on where you're going. Usually train or bus for short or easily accessible locations; budget airlines when traveling farther.

Eurorail is not a transportation system. It's a rail pass. Do not consider this until you determine your itinerary and check prices for point-to-point tickets (pricing available on most national rail web sites or bus prices available on Eurolines bus site).

You have a varied list of places (and 2 travel months) so the weather will be varied from cool, possibly rainy in the north to hot in Rome. Hot and cool are relative. If you live in Florida then 80 degrees F. will not be hot to you but the cooler climes will be chilling. The weather will be approximately the same in France and central Italy as it is in the NYC area at the same time. You can get a 20 year average history on all these locations and check for yourself but there is no guarantee on the weather. You need to be prepared for rainy weather and hot weather.

Cities to remove? France, Germany, Greece, and Netherlands are countries, not cities. Don't know where you want to visit within these countries so can't add or subtract as there is no list to work with.

Do you want all cities or are you interested in nature and smaller places. There is more action in cities and more chances to meet other people traveling and getting to and from cities is easier than more suburban/rural areas.

Generally you'll want to spend at least 3 days (or more) in larger cities such as Rome/London/Paris and less in smaller cities. This does not count travel time to get to new places.

Good luck with your planning. Develop some specific questions and post again.
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Aug 28th, 2014, 12:38 PM
  #4
 
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What is the best way to travel once I'm in Europe (I've heard the Eurorail)>

Yes trains are the best way to go IMO if going to the tourist mecca cities you've perhaps been dreaming about visiting for years - cars are useless in cities nowadays - large swatches of city centres are now off-limits to private vehicles in many places and trains are so so fine - blowing along at speeds of up to nearly 200 mph often (don't worry you can still see the scenery it will not be a blur!)

You may want to mix in a few discount airline flights for say getting to Greece or overnight trains that connect a myriad of cities - save daytime travel time and the cost of a night in a hotel.

anyways for oodles of great info on European trains I always spotlight these IMO superb sites: www.budgeteuropetravel.com (download their free and excellent online European Planning & Rail Guide for suggested rail itineraries, rail maps and times, etc.; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

a Eurailpass (not Europass) could be a good thing depending on how much your are taking trains - hard to tell at this point.
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Aug 28th, 2014, 02:27 PM
  #5
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Everyone,

Thank you for your swift responses. I realize my original post was a little vague, but we've got the ball rolling, so let's go with it.

So here's some more details:

My budget is about $6,000 for the whole trip. Including airfare, food and lodging, entertainment, etc.

I will either be flying out of either the San Francisco Airport or JFK. It all depends on whether I will be vacationing with a friend or not. But yeah, I will be flying out of one of those.

I am a 24 (will be 25 at the time of the trip) year old male, who is a college student (I don't know if there's any student discounts or anything of that nature, just throwing it out there). This being said, I don't need to stay in the fanciest or nicest hotels, I am not apposed to sleeping in Hostels, on a train, or even on a park bench every once and a while, for that matter.

The goal of the trip is that I want to soak up all the culture and history Europe has to offer. Like I said, I am a college student, and this is the only time I have off of school for the forseeable future, so I want to see the best museums available (the louvre, etc.), the best architecture (the coliseum, etc.) , as well as the best beaches (Greece?). And I've always wanted to visit Venice lol. I basically just want to soak up as much of the European culture as I can.


So, with all this being said, what further advice would you guys offer me? If you need me to elaborate on any of my intentions further, please just ask.

Thanks again for your help thus far.
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Aug 28th, 2014, 03:31 PM
  #6
 
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Ok, so $6000 all in. At best, you might find air for $1000, leaving you with $5000 for two months, about US$83 a day. That is a very low budget. You think you are going to eat, sleep, drink on that budget? Even if you were just staying in one place, it would be hard to do. Add in transport and add in visiting "the best museums available" and you will need at least twice that much.

I'd suggest that you spend some serious time with guidebooks and decide what the most important things are for you to do/see/experience, save more money, and seriously consider cutting your time to one month. Then choose places in the same general area, and plan to spend at least a week in each place. The more time you spend in a place, the more you will be able to "soak up as much of the European culture" as you can. And you'll spend less time in transit and less money on transport.

Good luck - you have a lot of work to do!
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Aug 28th, 2014, 05:00 PM
  #7
 
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>>My budget is about $6,000 for the whole trip. Including airfare, food and lodging, entertainment, etc.<<

Not really doable unless you mostly couch surf, and even then it would be tough. With all the travel to places like islands etc your transport costs will be fairly steep.

Airfares from the west coast are running pretty high and there are even fewer discount fares when staying over 30 days.

My suggestion is . . . If you only have $6,000, take a shorter trip to fewer places -- 4 or 5 weeks instead of 2 months. Then your budget will be more then adequate.
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Aug 28th, 2014, 06:52 PM
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If that is your upper limit I would count on a trip of no more than 4 weeks.

It's likely your air fare will be between $1 and $1.5K - depending on where you come from and days of the week - since May is already high season.

I would start in the south so you avoid the worst of the heat and head north.

You will really need to make some hard choices.

As a first step I suggest you look at a couple of the student guides - Let's Go books or Thorn Tree section of the Lonely PLanet web site. That will enable you to get an idea of the nightly cost of hostels, how much budget meals will cost (expect food to be about 40% more than in the US, but soda is VERY expensive, more so than basic wine or beer), and then allow for intercity transit, a transit pass within each city - unless you will walk everywhere) and check out the cost of sights. Some places are free (many museums in the UK) but major sights can easily cost $25 or so for entrance.

NO SHOPPING

As for night life you will need to look for student cafes or pubs and avoid hard Liquor (often very expensive) and stick to beer or wine.

My younger DD went with friends 2 summers ago and it cost her about $8K for 5.5 weeks - and they were being careful - although they did get a triple in budget hotels with AC rather than hostels. (Not all hotels/hostels have AC in europe - esp north of the Alps).
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:36 AM
  #9
 
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The money will be an issue

Rome, Venice, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, and maybe even London

You need to focus on the hostels and doing what the locals do in terms of food. Less travel, slow trains etc will all help as will booking longer distances further out.

London and Venice will be expensive but London has good hostels and Venice has Mestre
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:57 AM
  #10
 
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You should post on the Lonely Planet Thorntree forums because you will find more posters there who have personally done what you are contemplating or something close to it (like 6 weeks instead of 8).

Something you might consider is making one month of your stay in Europe a situation where you "work to travel." You won't get paid but you will get free lodgings and often meals. You can do 4 one week stays in different places or 2 different ones or the entire month in one place. If you want an experience of European culture this can be an interesting way to do it. You can google and find out more about the various programs people join.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 01:17 AM
  #11
 
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>>Something you might consider is making one month of your stay in Europe a situation where you "work to travel." You won't get paid but you will get free lodgings and often meals<<

Not legally you can't.
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