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2 replies
Help with Planning Trip to Europe
tkgons
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I am 23 years old planning on going to Europe during October-November on a budget. I’m trying to cut costs on major expenses such as transport and housing. I know the Euro Rail exists, but it is a bit confusing between the different countries/days. I am looking for the different affordable forms of transportation to get from country to country.

I am considering traveling to the following cities: London, Paris, Munich, Prague, Vienna, and Israel (Tel Aviv most likely).

Any advice at all about how I should be going about this would be extremely helpful. I’ve never planned a real trip before, and I’m a bit over my head on this one.

Thank you

I am leaving from NJ/NYC with $4000 for 37 days
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Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
oldlady
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London to Paris, “best” is definitely Eurostar, the chunnel train. It’s faster and way more comfortable than any other option. Look for cheap leisure fares and other specials on the day you want to travel at www.eurostar.com If you find a deal, book it as soon as you’re sure of the date. If you can’t find a cheap fare, then second choice (often cheaper) is flying — just remember to add the costs of getting to/from the airports into your cost comparisons. See our “cheap flights” forum — particularly the “new user” thread for help finding the best flight deal. Train or bus-ferry-train or bus would be my last choice. It takes a full day and it’s seldom cheaper than the best flight deals.

Paris to Munich — this train ride is over 6 hours, but that’s only about an hour slower than flying when you figure in time to get to/from airports (most cheap airport transportation leaves from the train station) and 2 hour check-in time. Look for special train fares on the French ( www.sncf.com or www.tgv.com ) or German ( http://reiseauskunft… /bin/query2.exe/en? ) national rail company websites. Just make sure the train you pick has an e-ticket option or there’s a way to pick up the ticket at your departure station. A cheap flight is another option. The special internet fares are almost always non-refundable and often can’t even be changed for a different train.

Munich-Prague-Vienna, train is best. Look for advance purchase specials on the national rail company websites. The links are in a sticky at the top of the “transport” forum and
under “transportation” on the “travel tips” tab.

Buy train and plane tickets as soon as you’re sure of the dates and they go on sale (usually 60 to 90 days in advance for train tickets although Eurostar tickets are sold up to a year in advance). The cheap seats on planes and trains sell out first.

I don’t think a railpass will be a good deal financially if you’re willing to commit to the non-refundable internet special fares in advance. If you want more flexibility then a 3 country (France, Germany, Austria) train pass for 5 days and point to point tickets for the rides in Czech Republic might save a little money over just buying the tickets at the train station. Did you make some changes in your itinerary in the trip planner? The recommended railpass makes no sense as it includes Italy and Greece.

clevelandbrown
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You can probably save some time and cost by buying a multiple destination airticket and flying into London, but returning from Israel.

Buses are usually the least expensive transportation, but they are so slow few tourists use them.

I don’t usually recommend low cost airlines. They have multiple onerous conditions (primarily a severe limit on the size of your luggage with high fees if your have to much), and they usually fly from secondary airports, so it takes more time and money to get to where you really want to go. They are faster for long trips, and in your case I would look into flying to Israel from continental Europe.

Trains are relatively fast and perhaps the most comfortable way to travel, and the stations are in the towns, not in some nearby field. You can save by getting second class tickets, and by bringing your own food and drink (train stations often have grocery stores). Advance purchase of some tickets on high speed trains (such as from Britain to Paris (the train doesn’t actually leave from London) can save quite a bit, but if you miss the train, you usually lose your money. You can total up the cost of buying point-to-point tickets and compare it to the various passes offered. But I think a pass is usually not advantageous unless you are taking a train every day or two

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