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27 replies
August in Central. Europe- how busy?
Lon35
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First I have had most of my travel / train related questions answered (over and over) before I even asked the question about travel between Krakow-Budapest-Prague.

My main question in a general one. I will be traveling the last week of August and fist week of September (2009). Basically 3 countries I will pass through Poland, Hungary, and Chezc as I do a loop for two weeks.

Will there still be a lot of local vacation travel on the rails during the last week of Aug first week of Sept? If so how much more in advance should I buy rail and make hotel reservations (have grown out of hostel travel)? My main cities are Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest and Prague.

Any advice would be appreciated.

I am leaving from Wasaw and traveling for 16 days
Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Cieszyn, Kraków, Warsaw
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
oldlady
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This will be the absolute busiest time of the year for tourism as this is when many (most?) Europeans go on vacation themselves. Schools usually start the 1st week in September so there will be some let-up then, but it’s often filled up with more tour groups of American retirees. When to buy and book is still a matter of personal preference and travel style. How much flexibility do you want? How much will having to wait two hours for the next train because one train is full, or staying in a less than perfect hotel or “wasting” time at the tourist information kiosk, etc. bother you?

I usually book hotels on line well in advance because I’m very picky about location and spend a lot of time comparing prices. You can find someplace decent to stay in any of these cities by walking up to the tourist information kiosk at the train station when you arrive (assuming it’s daytime), but you may have to take a subway and a bus to get there. I’d probably try to book a week in advance — especially if arriving in the evening. I always book 1st night (no fun to try to find a place when you’re jet-lagged, culture shocked and sleep deprived) and last night (most flights leave early in the morning and I like to have all the airport transportation worked out) in advance.

I would try to buy train tickets a day or two in advance — a week for an overnight train on a weekend. I doubt you’ll have serious trouble getting a seat except for overnight trains. If you can buy at the train station or from the national rail company websites then you’ll pay regular fare and may even find a special. However, I think it may be difficult or impossible to buy international tickets (one country to another) on-line from these sites. If you buy on-line from any of the rail travel agency websites you’ll pay from 30% more up to double the price. There are almost always open seats in 1st class and you buy a 1st class ticket at the station for roughly what a 2nd class ticket would cost from a travel agency.

If you have a set itinerary, you could try to buy and book everything at once soon after you arrive, then logistics only shoots 4 or 5 hours out of your trip as opposed to a couple of hours every second or third day.

Lon35
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Thanks oldlady… I figured it was the busy time but hope that catching things at the end of the month I will be good. I did book my hotels for Budapest and Prague today. I used priceline and always get hotels that I can cancel…. I also noticed every hotel had a discount going on so bookings may be down for the season.

As far as overnight trains I do have a friend in Warsaw(my first and last stop) who can probably buy my first overnight ticket for me.

thanks

I am leaving from Wasaw and traveling for 16 days
Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Cieszyn, Kraków, Warsaw
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
oldlady
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Quote:
As far as overnight trains I do have a friend in Warsaw(my first and last stop) who can probably buy my first overnight ticket for me.
A good idea.

Lon35
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I would like to hear from anyone who has done or is doing the train route Budpest to Prauge via Bratislava.

I am thinking of stopping off in Bratislava for the night. Is Bratislava worth a day/night stop before continuing on to Prague. Thinking of dropping one night off my Budapest leg.

Going around Aug 28, end of hight season. Anyone else going that way… I know not the best dates but what works for me.

I am leaving from Wasaw and traveling for 16 days
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Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
TheComish
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Lon35 wrote:
I would like to hear from anyone who has done or is doing the train route Budpest to Prauge via Bratislava.

I am thinking of stopping off in Bratislava for the night. Is Bratislava worth a day/night stop before continuing on to Prague. Thinking of dropping one night off my Budapest leg

I’m going to be doing the same trip, but backwards on my trip. I’ll be going from Prague to Budapest with a day in Bratislava in between.

I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA, USA with $3000 for 21 days
Frankfurt, Munich, Prague, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London
I am traveling for 20 days
London, Paris, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich
I am leaving from LAX and traveling for 20 days
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I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA with $2800 for 23 days
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oldlady
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I really like Bratislava, but it’s pretty compact, so a day and a night (generally good and relatively cheap night life) is probably enough. 1 1/2 or 2 days would allow a side trip to Devin Castle if castle ruins are your thing and perhaps the chance for a few more relatively cheap beers.

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School starts on Sep 1 everywhere, so last days of Aug will also be the time when most KIDS return from their vacations. It really is one of the busiest times in the year, only Christmas means more moving people at the same time.

Plus, I don’t know if you are familiar with it, but August may be cold and rainy in that part of Europe. Septembers are usually sunnier, but the evening temperature doesnt allow short sleeves anymore.

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

tablavik
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hello papyr,

i am considering my first eurotrip. i plan to visit 15 days and see london,amsterdam and central europe.

i plan to travel starting july 26 from london to amserdam via euro rail to vienna,zurich,prague,paris and then take chunnel train back to london.

i would apprciate any advise. i bought europe on a shoe string book by lonely planet. any advise and budget,train bookings and other tips will be greatly appreciated.

thanks.

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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tablavik
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is late july early august too crowded for seeing tourist attractions in these major cities. too many crowds,high prices etc?

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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oldlady
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Quote:
is late july early august too crowded for seeing tourist attractions in these major cities. too many crowds,high prices etc?
It will be crowded, but “too” crowded depends on how you feel about waiting in line, etc. Prices will be highest in August, but not a lot different than prices any time from May through September for most things. I wouldn’t let lower prices determine my plans unless I was willing to travel in winter.

Europe is used to hordes of tourists in the summer. It’s like going to Disney World — you don’t notice much difference between the busiest day on record and a normal day. Again, unless you’re willing to go off season (late September to early May), you probably won’t notice much difference.

tablavik
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would london tourist attractions require 2 hours wait for each one i.e. :London tower etc? I want to do sightseeing and see icons in major cities mostly and perhaps take some day excursions.

how busy is in vienna,zurich and prague? would i be able to get room in hostels? should i get a select eurrorail pass?is it safe on night trains and travelling by myself for the first time? where can i buy a money belt here in usa?

any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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tablavik
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first time eurotrip travelling. is there a list of things i should get?

would london tourist attractions require 2 hours wait for each one i.e. :London tower etc? I want to do sightseeing and see icons in major cities mostly and perhaps take some day excursions.

how busy is in vienna,zurich and prague? would i be able to get room in hostels? should i get a select eurrorail pass?is it safe on night trains and travelling by myself for the first time? where can i buy a money belt here in usa?

any advise will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Smile

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

Smile

tablavik
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how much luggage should i pack? i am taking 1 big suitcase and a smaller carry on and regular book toting backpack do i need a proper backpacking backpac for this trip? i want to leave most of my luggage in london and then travel next 10 days with the carry on and smaller bag. any advise?

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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oldlady
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I doubt you will have to wait too long at the tower of London — particularly if you buy a British Heritage Pass which gives you free admission to most attractions, and no lines. It may only provide a reduced admission price at Tower of London, but I think it was a much shorter line. There are almost always ways to avoid lines like buying tickets in advance from the website or investing in a pass good at multiple attractions. Invest in a guide book designed for budget travelers and spend some time on the websites for the attractions you want to visit and reading travel website comments about visiting them.

I would try to book hostels a few days to a week in advance.

You don’t need to use a backpack, but most budget travelers find it easier. Do some serious walking around and walking up steps with your fully loaded carry-on and smaller bag. Then decide whether or not to invest in a backpack.

A select pass for France, Switzerland, Austria and point to point tickets for your trip to Prague will probably be best. 4 country select, adding Czech is also an option.

tablavik
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thank you.

i am confused about itenary. i want to visit london-amsterdam-munich-zurich-prague-paris and then back to london via chunnel train. 2-3 days at each city. i might substitute vienna for prague. what do u think? would i be able to get train tickets reservation if i have a eurorail pass. it is the peak season and all. i think paris-london tickets are the toughtest to get in advance. please some advise? where i can buy a money belt in usa is which store?

thanks in advance.

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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oldlady
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I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting reservations. I would try to buy overnight train reservations 3 days to a week in advance. I would not buy reservations for day trains unless the specific train you choose to take requires reservations. Buy day train reservations at least a day in advance. You can buy all your reservations at once at the station in Amsterdam or buy the reservation for the train when you’re leaving a city before you leave the train station when you arrive to save a trip back to the station. (Buy the reservation for the train from Amsterdam to Munich before you leave the station when you arrive in Amsterdam).

You’re right that Eurostar, the chunnel train, is probably you’re biggest problem — particularly if you’re traveling on a weekend. How are you planning to get from London to Amsterdam? I would buy the Eurostar tickets at www.eurostar.com as soon as you’re sure of the dates. Eurostar isn’t covered by your railpass. Your railpass will give you a discount on Eurostar but you can usually find cheaper tickets on the website.

You’ve got some pretty long train rides here. Have you looked for cheap flights for some of them?

tablavik
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overnight ferry to amsterdam from london. i can sleep and wake up refreshed in morning

u know how much the london hostels charge for stowing away luggage for 10 days?

what u think of my itenary so far? i will buy a select pass for 5 countries. u think the train trips are too exhausting?

can i use my usa credit cards in europe? do they charge me a surchage for using them there/

which store here i can buy a money belt?

any more good advise?

thanks in advance.

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
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Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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Lon35
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When in the summer are you doing the route? I might do same… just dependent on meeting a couple of friends when there are avail in southern Poland.

I am leaving from Wasaw and traveling for 16 days
Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Cieszyn, Kraków, Warsaw
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
Lon35
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tablavik wrote:
how much luggage should i pack? i am taking 1 big suitcase and a smaller carry on and regular book toting backpack do i need a proper backpacking backpac for this trip? i want to leave most of my luggage in london and then travel next 10 days with the carry on and smaller bag. any advise?

I got tired just reading how much luggage you are taking…. take as little as possible. Wear the same sets of cloths… take a nice shirt for evenings out, pair shots and long pants. I assume you are going to be staying in London longer. ie the big suitcase. The weather may be hot and also rain so good walking sandals and light rain coat too. Just remember you are going to be getting on and off trains with small aisles and doors…. walking a lot to find places to stay. Take a couple of good books, your music or movie player and just be out going in chatting people up… have fun.

As far as reservations I personally don’t use hostels any more…I have an adult job and can afford a hotel and use priceline-europe to make my reservations. I also make reservations I can cancel same day or day before.

hope this helps.

I am leaving from Wasaw and traveling for 16 days
Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Cieszyn, Kraków, Warsaw
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
Lon35
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oldlady wrote:
I really like Bratislava, but it’s pretty compact, so a day and a night (generally good and relatively cheap night life) is probably enough. 1 1/2 or 2 days would allow a side trip to Devin Castle if castle ruins are your thing and perhaps the chance for a few more relatively cheap beers.

Thanks for that tip on the castle and cheap beer. Can you (or anyone) give me a recommendation on 2-3 star hotel in Bratislava?

Currently I have reservations in Budapest and Prague.

thanks

I am leaving from Wasaw and traveling for 16 days
Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Cieszyn, Kraków, Warsaw
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
oldlady
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All my stays in Bratislava were negotiated by locals who frequently worked with foreigners so probably had some bargaining chips to get good pricing…. I’ve stayed in the “Devon” (interesting throw back to the Communist era — maybe it’s changed by now, but overpriced), the Tatra (good choice, but perhaps on the high end) and on the “botel” Gracia — a boat anchored in the Danube. The botel was probably the best choice in terms of overall value. All are well located.

oldlady
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Quote:
overnight ferry to amsterdam from london. i can sleep and wake up refreshed in morning
This would not be my choice. There’s a lot of train or bus, advanced check-in for ferry, etc. involved in this. If you get a cabin (so you can actually sleep) it may well be more expensive than flying or taking Eurostar to Brussels and train to Amsterdam.
Quote:
what u think of my itenary so far? i will buy a select pass for 5 countries. u think the train trips are too exhausting?
Not sure I understand your exact itinerary, try putting it in as a Eurotrip so we (and you) can see the actual time involved. First timers almost always try to fit too much stuff (either too many cities and/or cities that are too far apart) in too little time.
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can i use my usa credit cards in europe? do they charge me a surchage for using them there/
Yes you can use them and yes, there’s usually some sort of minor transaction fee. I calculate the “price in dollars” using the exchange rate posted that day at the exchange places — it usually comes out to almost exactly what my credit card is charged, including any transaction fees, so the fee works out roughly to the loses/costs involved in exchanging currency. A budget traveler really can’t work with “credit card only.” The markets, street vendors, etc. where you’re likely to eat might not accept credit cards. Not all hostels accept credit cards. You’ll need a debit card for cash as getting cash advances on your credit card is way too expensive.
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which store here i can buy a money belt?
Check first at Walmart, Target, etc.

tablavik
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thanks for the advise.

i have published my eurotrip itenary. can u look at it and give me some suggestions? i am planning to buy 5 country selct eurorail pass from netherlands to france. i would appreciate especailly if i am planning the best route,trains running between these cities and budget.

Thanks.

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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tablavik
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i have postponed my trip at this moment to september 1st-17th as of now. i want to avoid the rush and airline ticket prices also. any feedback..

I am leaving from amsterdam with $1500 for 17 days
London, Amsterdam, Munich, Zürich, Vienna, Paris
Requesting help with Transport, Budget, Itinerary

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oldlady
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September will be a great time. Your itinerary is workable.

Lon35
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Can someone remind me the travel time on train between Prague and Budapest?

I am leaving from Wasaw and traveling for 16 days
Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Cieszyn, Kraków, Warsaw
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
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Lon35 wrote:
Can someone remind me the travel time on train between Prague and Budapest?

7 hrs 2 mins by any of the three daytime trains, 10 1/2 hrs by night train.

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.