travel advice & savings
 
SAVE on RAIL PASSES LOWEST PRICES / FREE SHIPPING on orders over $449!
Now use the Trip Planner to:
  • Find and Buy Rail Passes
  • Find and Book Hostels
Already know which Rail Pass you need?
Click here and buy now!
Special Eurotrip Member Savings!
9 replies
First timer
kaflynn
kaflynn's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 22
Member: 26869
Joined: 06/18/2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 26 weeks ago.

I am planning a trip for May-June 2011 with my cousin. We will both be graduating and turning 22 right around this time. We both want to party and site see. I am wondering a few things. I am a huge planner but I don’t want to plan everything and end up missing out on other opportunities. But I also don’t want to leave everything in the air and have no direction. With that being said, here are my questions.

1. I hear that hostels book fast especially in the spring/summer, should I book my hostels in advance? If I do book them all, what would happen if I decided I really liked one city and wanted to stay longer? If I don’t book them and they end up being full what are some alternatives for sleeping? Has anyone had to sleep outside or anything?

2. Should we purchase our plane ticket home in advance? My cousin is way more of a “lets see what happens” carefree girl. I am to some degree, but the thought of getting stuck in Europe is a little unsettling. We both are thinking 3 weeks is a good time frame for us, but what are the pros and cons of booking a plane ticket home in advance and what do most people do?

3. It is super important for me to see the historical sites, experience the night life, as well and experiencing the culture the tourist miss out on because they are tourist. What suggestions would you guys have to experience all three of these aspects of traveling to Europe?

4. Whats the best way to meet people? We love people and meeting new people.

5. Whats are somethings we should pack that you would never think of?

6. And finally, when you guys go do you bring your backpack on the plane as a carry on or check it? I wear contacts and I believe you cant carry the solution with you.

Thanks in advance!

I am leaving from Boston with $2200 for 20 days
Dublin, Cork, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Prague
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
oldlady
oldlady's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 15
Member: 778
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 2 weeks 6 days ago.

1. You run very little risk of not finding anyplace to stay. You risk 1) spending more time and energy than you’d like traipsing around looking for a place 2) not getting in at the popular place you wanted to stay. Book 1st night in advance (so you don’t arrive jet-lagged, sleep-deprived, culture-shocked AND homeless) and book last night at least a week in advance so you can work out plans A and B for getting to the airport to catch your (usually early morning) flight home. After that, you can either “wing it” or try to book a few days to a week in advance by internet or phone. If you arrive in a city by mid-afternoon the tourist information or hotel booking kiosk in the train station will find you someplace to stay.
2. Read the stickys and some old posts on the “cheap flights” forum.
3.

Quote:
3. It is super important for me to see the historical sites, experience the night life, as well and experiencing the culture the tourist miss out on because they are tourist. What suggestions would you guys have to experience all three of these aspects of traveling to Europe?
Don’t try to visit too many places. If you want to do history, night-life and experience the culture you’ll want to spend at least 3 days in each city — 4 or more in places like Rome, Paris, London.
4. Staying in hostels. Spending time in parks, non-tourist pubs and cafes. Buying food in local shops.
5. Swiss Army knife and small pen-light flashlight
6. Can’t take the Swiss Army knife in carry-on, but if you can fit all your stuff in a pack that meets the carry-on requirements, then go for it . You can carry 3 ounces of any liquid as long as all liquids, gels, etc. are in a 1 quart, clear zip-loc bag. Either transfer your solution to a less than 3 oz bottle, buy a “travel kit” or ask your eye care professional for a “starter kit” as those usually have 2 or 3 oz bottles. You can buy contact lens solution in Europe, but if you have to have a specific brand it’s best to take it with you as it might be hard to find your brand.

clevelandbrown
clevelandbrown's profile picture
Nomad
NomadNomadNomadNomad
Eurotrip Points: 490
Member: 688
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 days 22 hours ago.

There are exceptions, but generally a round-trip (or even an open-mouth, where you arrive in one place but return from another) costs far less than two one-way tickets, and when you arrive they are more comfortable at immigration control if you have proof that you are returning.

I was told years ago that Europeans consider a wash cloth a personal item, like a toothbrush, so often lodgings don’t provide one. My wife and I always carry one, but haven’t needed it in recent years.

European electricity differs from ours, so anything you take that runs on electricity should either be battery powered, or be wired for 100-200, 50 and 60 cycles. Chargers and plugs are labeled to show this.

We do extensive research before each trip, then decide how much time to spend in each location. I plan vacant days, to allow flexibility. Have a list of absolutely everything you might want to see in each location, and when they are open. Have more on your list than you can see, and pick your visits after you arrive; anticipate that you will not be able to see them all.

Most new travelers don’t realize how long they will spend getting from site to site and checking in and out, so they cram too much into their plan and end up tired and grumpy. Its more pleasant to take your time; you can always add items from your list if you have extra time (the list is so you don’t have to spend time looking up what to see, as you will already have that information).

I am leaving from Cleveland and traveling for 12 days
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Cleveland and traveling for 15 days
Madrid, Toledo
Requesting help with Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Cleveland and traveling for 15 days
Dublin, Dingle, Dublin
Requesting help with Transport, Sights
I am leaving from Cleveland with $5000 for 16 days
Requesting help with Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from CLE with $6000 for 19 days
Bruges, Ardennes, Bastogne, Brussels
Requesting help with Transport, Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Cleveland with $7000 for 13 days
Requesting help with Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Cleveland with $7000 for 10 days
London
Requesting help with Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Cleveland with $7000 for 23 days
Charleville-Mézières, Reims
Requesting help with Food, Sights
Don
Don's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 28
Member: 59
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 27 weeks 4 days ago.

1. If being really flexible and resourceful freaks you out, then you should book most, if not all, hostels in advance—esp. if you want to stay i popular hostels. With good planning, knowing your alternatives, and the ability to keep a good attitude if you take a chance and can’t get available beds, you should be fine. If you want to wing it, then know your options. I think it’s a good idea to at least book the first couple of nights in each must see location.

2. You need to be able to show proof of onward travel within 90 days of arrival to Schengen border, and within 180 days of arrival in UK. A flight receipt is the normal and customary proof. Check at top of our cheap flights forum for “nifty visa checking tool” link to find details on your entry requirements.

Let the start and end date of your trip be the bookends, and everything inbetween can be as flexible as you can tolerate.

3. Good planning. The popular travel guides such as Let’s Go, Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, etc. can fill you in. Your nearest library or bookstore has all or some of these. There are even some travel guide vids online, such as the Rick Steves channel on Hulu.

4. Hostels.

5. Dryer sheets.

6. Check it. Take a smaller carryon for valuables and contact solution. Bottles max 3.4 oz. / 100 cl are fine, albeit TSA reportedly have not been enforcing liquid rules in recent months.

Feicht
Feicht's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 1242
Member: 3972
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago.
Don wrote:
2. You need to be able to show proof of onward travel within 90 days of arrival to Schengen border, and within 180 days of arrival in UK. A flight receipt is the normal and customary proof. Check at top of our cheap flights forum for “nifty visa checking tool” link to find details on your entry requirements.

You know, I’ve HEARD this before, but I have never been asked to physically show anyone proof that I’m going to be moving along; if anything, they just ask how many days I’ll be staying…

I am traveling for 51 days
Bath, Haltwhistle, London, Füssen, Freiburg, Stuttgart, Speyer, Nördlingen, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Salzburg, Rome, Ostia Antica, Athens, Delphi, Athens
Don
Don's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 28
Member: 59
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 27 weeks 4 days ago.

Feicht, check the visa checking tool link on cheap flights. Member countries have some discretion in their interpretation, but generally, this be ‘da rules, and the penalties can be harsh. As long as you don’t look like a tramp and have enough baggage that they think you’re probably relocating, you should be fine in most cases… but that’s no guarantee. For someone who really wants to enter on a one-way ticket, I think it’s better to book a very cheap one-way Ryanair flight out within the allowed days. It might cost you $10, but having this Ryanair receipt on you could help avoid a lot of hassles. There’s still risk after that, of course.

Feicht
Feicht's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 1242
Member: 3972
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago.

That’s interesting… What if I brought my documents for my residency permit in Salzburg? That’s still just weird to me though. I mean, I know that technically you need to verify you’ll be leaving at some point, it’s just the most I have ever been asked is how long I planned on staying, which is usually “3 days” or something, and it’s just left at that…

But anyway, what about like a receipt for the boat from Oslo to Copenhagen? Would that work instead of buying a plane ticket I don’t need?

I am traveling for 51 days
Bath, Haltwhistle, London, Füssen, Freiburg, Stuttgart, Speyer, Nördlingen, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Salzburg, Rome, Ostia Antica, Athens, Delphi, Athens
Don
Don's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 28
Member: 59
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 27 weeks 4 days ago.

DK and NO are Schengen, so that doesn’t show proof of leaving Schengen border. I’m guessing your school told you to just show up with something like a notarized birth certificate + passport + school confirmation letter, and present it to the local police dept? Amirite? In your case, the plan is clear and can be easily verified, so I don’t think you’d have much to worry about. However, if your school advised you to get your visa ahead of time, then of course you should do that.

Feicht
Feicht's profile picture
Eurotripper
EurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripperEurotripper
Eurotrip Points: 1242
Member: 3972
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago.

Nah, we don’t need visas if we’re staying more than 6 months, apparently. We just have to apply for the residence permit in Salzburg once we get there. But yeah, we are to bring like a police report, several copies of birth certificate, etc.

I am traveling for 51 days
Bath, Haltwhistle, London, Füssen, Freiburg, Stuttgart, Speyer, Nördlingen, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Salzburg, Rome, Ostia Antica, Athens, Delphi, Athens
papyr
papyr's profile picture
Nomad
NomadNomadNomadNomad
Eurotrip Points: 422
Member: 7365
Joined: 03/23/2008
User offline. Last seen 43 weeks 2 days ago.

kaflynn wrote:

2. Should we purchase our plane ticket home in advance? My cousin is way more of a “lets see what happens” carefree girl. I am to some degree, but the thought of getting stuck in Europe is a little unsettling. We both are thinking 3 weeks is a good time frame for us, but what are the pros and cons of booking a plane ticket home in advance and what do most people do?

Do it according to yourselves, not according to “what most people do”. There is no statistics what people prefer, anyway. Pros: might be cheaper, will not sell out. Cons: if you decide to stay a bit longer, you’ve wasted your money.
Quote:
3. It is super important for me to see the historical sites, experience the night life, as well and experiencing the culture the tourist miss out on because they are tourist. What suggestions would you guys have to experience all three of these aspects of traveling to Europe?

Move to Europe, live there for a couple of years, make new acquaintances, learn the language, blend into some local collective. You’ll become a local and you’ll know exactly what tourists miss
Quote:

4. Whats the best way to meet people? We love people and meeting new people.

Start talking to them on trains or in pubs.
Quote:

5. Whats are somethings we should pack that you would never think of?

If I’d never think of it, how do you expect me to list it?
Quote:

6. And finally, when you guys go do you bring your backpack on the plane as a carry on or check it? I wear contacts and I believe you cant carry the solution with you.

Backpack, into the cargo. Contact lenses and their liquid, into the cabin. I’m sure there is a volume limit, yes, but I don’t think they will forbid to take the contact lens liquid onboard. If they do, don’t worry, believe me, every town in Europe sells contact lens liquids.

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.