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25 replies
My first trip to Europe... Hostels or Couch Surfing???
pdquintana
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So this is my first trip to Europe… There’s not much planned at all. I just graduated college and figured I’d wait out the job market by going traveling… so I’ll be going alone for the most part.

As for the trip, I don’t need much structure; I figure that I’ll probably want to play a lot by ear. That way I can stay places that I like for longer. I posted a tentative itinerary, and haven’t solidified anything. I’ve listed some specifics of my trip below. I’d appreciate ANY information on hostels, transportation in between cities, hot spots to see as well as quaint locations, best cities to fly in and out of… etc. And I’m planning to be in Germany (Munich) for OCTOBERFEST, so if anybody has helpful information on that, I’d appreciate it.

Trip Specs:
2 months (Late August to October)
Eastern Europe
$3500-$4000 budget

Need Info On:
Hostels
Transportation
Locations
ANYTHING

Thanks in advance!!!

I am leaving from Denver with $4000 for 42 days
Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vatican, Barcelona, Madrid, Granada
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
aether1515
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Well I always start it off with a congratulations, so congrats on a trip that’ll change your life. Go to hostelworld.com and bugeurope.com to find hostels that you want. They both have reviews and that way you can figure out what best meets your needs for each country. Honestly, this is pretty vague for us to give you advice right now. What kinds of things are you interested in? Architecture, partying, history, art? Keep in mind that Oktoberfest starts in late September, not October like most seem to think. There was a post a few days ago about Oktoberfest so you should be able to do a search on Eurotrip.com or google for info on that. $4000 is not a ton to have for two months, but it IS doable; you’ll just have to spend money wisely. For the most part you’ll be traveling in the off season so things should start cooling down and prices will be getting cheaper as your trip goes on.

You’re itinerary is actually pretty reasonable. Most people pick too many places but you haven’t done that so job well done! I’ll make some basic suggestions though on what I would change. First, I’d take off one of your days in London and plan on seeing a smaller town in Ireland than Dublin. You shouldn’t need more than two (full) days in Dublin. The small towns are the coolest part of Ireland (in my opinion). So if you’re in Dublin for three days and you take one day from London, you’ll have three days for a small Irish town. You should be able to see Venice in ONE full day. Most agree on this as it is crazy expensive there and it is overrun by tourists. Definitely worth seeing, but hardly worth staying. Two days is a good bet for Florence but I’d maybe take the two days I recommend you take from Venice and go to Cinque Terre in Italy. Munich is one of my favorite cities so enjoy that, especially during Oktoberfest. There is no doubt in my mind that you’ll need three days at the Vatican. It’s really not that big and can be seen in a day. That gives you two more days to add somewhere else. Hope that helps!

Keane1jl
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Hey there! just wanted to let you know that I’ll be traveling this year August-October as well and plan on making a stop to munich in Sept for Oktoberfest!

I am leaving from Detroit, MI with $5000 for 62 days
Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Paris, Bruges, Frankfurt, Prague, Vienna, Munich, Geneva, Milan, Venice, Rome, Corfu
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
pdquintana
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Wow! I’m so surprised as to how amazing people are on this website… I’m looking forward to all the great advice I’m going to get.

aether1515… Thanks for all the input. I updated my trip a little bit. I shrinked it down to around 6 weeks, and the $4000 dollars I estimated is very conservative. I’ll have closer to $5000. As for the 5 days I scheduled for Dublin, I will definitely make my way to a smaller town for 2 or 3 days… That’s great advice. I also changed my time in London to only 4 days.

I also cut Berlin entirely out from my trip… Does anyone think I shouldn’t do that? I just wanted to make sure I was in Munich on September 18th in time to welcome Oktoberfest! I also have an extra three days to play with, so there’s some flexibility wherever I go…

And as for what I’m interested in:

Architecture and History
Museums/Art
Drinking/Night life
Touristy places (i.e. Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, etc.)
Home town hospitality… small moms/pops places

Does anybody have any information on whether couch surfing is better than hostels and how they are different? I assume people know the pros and cons…

Thanks to any responders!

I am leaving from Denver with $4000 for 42 days
Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vatican, Barcelona, Madrid, Granada
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
aether1515
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$5000 should give you a lot more flexability. Obviously try spending closer to 4k, but you’ll have options. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a small town around Dublin to go visit for a few days. I’d give you some advice but I’ve only been to Western Ireland. London is a cool city but crazy expensive. Almost all of my favorite museums in Europe are in London. Berlin is a tough call. I really enjoyed it but thought Munich was much more my speed. There is tremendous history in Berlin and there’s a great walking tour you can take. It’s eight hours but it flies by and is jam-packed with history. Great way to see the whole city. I’d still try to spend a couple days there because it is definitely a cool city, but don’t regret it if you can’t make it this trip…because you will have others!

Kifler
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I would suggest mixing it up. In the more expensive cities use Couchsurfing and Hostel it in the cheaper areas.

Why not mix it up?

radu
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I was about to suggest a mix, so I second Kifler.
This way you’ll save some money in the expensive places, save some time, but also you’ll be able to relax better on hostels and eventually do some laundry.

all best,
Radu

Kifler
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You might want to stay in a hostel in smaller cities and then do some CSing if you can’t find anything to do.

IE If you are in Florence and get bored/have seen all the sights people have talked about, then hit up a free couch. Chances are your host will know alot more about the city. Locals often know the better places off the beaten path.

Killerswellsbrah
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Don’t skip out on Berlin, so far, it has been my favorite place in Germany. (I’ve lived here the last 6 months)

I agree to try and use CS for certain places, and hostels for other. People from CS will know what is fun and interesting to do in certain cities. Plus, it will save you some money for other expensive cities.

Your itinerary looks pretty good, enjoy!!

Peoples
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A mix of both is good, but use cs.com primarily, it is absolutely the way to go with travelling! And $4000 in two months, especially with frequent cs.com use, is more than enough… the fact that you want to use cs.com tells me you’re the type of person who’s not inclined to be spending much of it. There’s no “smart” required for making it work, it will be more than enough, so have a blast!

renagel
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i would vote for hostelling the whole time
hostelling lets you meet other travellers that you may want to go on trips around that city, you’re going to get lots of info at the hostel whereas on the couch, you get only that person’s advice….in my city i don’t know the details of the places the tourists want to see….but the people at the hostel probably do
plus with hostelling you can find people to go out to find eats……hostelling is a very cool experience…..i would pony up the money

I am leaving from Palo Alto with $123 for 22 days
London, Paris, Tours, Caen, La Rochelle, Annecy, Genoa, Venice, Florence, Rome
finnegan
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Hhmmm…tough choice. Snoozing through Berlin’s museums or having the geatest time of your life at Oktoberfest in Munich…I’ll go with Munich!!!!

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

Cil
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I saw a cool place in Nantes that I never would have seen if I had not been Couch Surfing.
I agree with mixing it up with hostels and CS.
Must it be Berlin OR Munich? I enjoyed Berlin. IMHO it’s more than just museums.

radu
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Cil wrote:
I saw a cool place in Nantes

Which is the place ? I know Nantes a little as I lived there for a while.
Radu

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Berlin is more than just museums about as much as Vegas is more than casinos. I find Berlin dull (though lots of folks here love it- go figure). If you love to drink lots of beer, dance with tons of grils, stuff your face with great food and then do it all over again, then go to Munich. If you like to look at dusty museums and boring monuments go to Berlin

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

Anders
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What was a good website about coach surfing?

I have budgeted $1000 for 3 days
Riga, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Kayling05
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Anders, > try couchsurfing.org. You must create and fill out a profile before many people will accept. Also, they may ask you to verify your identity first (you donate a few dollars to the website and they verify you through your credit card).

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
London, Salisbury, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Inverness, Edinburgh, London
Requesting help with Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Rouen with $1500 for 15 days
Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
I am leaving from busan, SK with $1000 for 13 days
Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Bangkok

2008—Language study abroad in Paris, France
2009—Archaeological field school/dig in Lau, Fiji
2010— Birthday UK trip!
2011— Teaching English in South Korea
2012— ????

Anders
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? aa ok i didnt know that i need to pay something. but ok i will go and take a look Smile

I have budgeted $1000 for 3 days
Riga, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Cil
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radu][quote=Cil wrote:
I saw a cool place in Nantes /quote]
Which is the place ? I know Nantes a little as I lived there for a while.
Radu

Radu, I am sorry, I never saw your question.
The place is called Trentemoult. It is a small artists’ colony across the river.
Anders, you don’t have to pay any money.
I have hosted, and been hosted, and never paid any money to be verified.

Anders
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ou thats nice Smile thanx
and where did you travelled? how all that couch thing works? want to know from those who had experience? Smile

I have budgeted $1000 for 3 days
Riga, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Cil
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Anders, the best thing to do is visit the Couch Surfing site.
We were in France when we surfed. I had contacted our host about a month in advance, but not everybody plans that far ahead.

Kayling05
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Oh, I didn’t mean to imply you HAD to pay. Just that to verify your identity (which some hosts prefer) costs money. I have couchsurfed in America when I went to Chicago, and I found it a great way to meet people, see local neighborhoods (which are usually further away from tourist attractions and thus the throng of tourists), and have a free place to stay. I hadn’t originally planned to couchsurf there, I was going to book a hostel, but I had a problem with my credit card and by the time it was sorted out, there wasn’t any more availability at the hostel. So I decided to CS because I had already booked my flight. I’ve never CSed in Europe, but would like to. There are more active participants in Europe than anywhere else (over 10,000 in Paris alone!)
People usually prefer you to contact them about 1-2 weeks ahead of when you plan to be there, sometimes more. There are groups on CS for people who need an “emergency couch” where you can request, as little as a day before arriving in the city, for a couch (there are different groups for different cities). But this is to only be used when you can’t find one after searching in advance.

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
London, Salisbury, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Inverness, Edinburgh, London
Requesting help with Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Rouen with $1500 for 15 days
Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
I am leaving from busan, SK with $1000 for 13 days
Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Bangkok

2008—Language study abroad in Paris, France
2009—Archaeological field school/dig in Lau, Fiji
2010— Birthday UK trip!
2011— Teaching English in South Korea
2012— ????

Anders
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Thnx for sharing Smile
only two weeks ahead, thats interesting Smile

I have budgeted $1000 for 3 days
Riga, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Kayling05
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well, unless they announce way ahead of time “yo, I’m going on vacation, no couch”. but i mean, how often do you know exactly what you are doing more than 2 weeks in advance at home? it’s the same for them. I have f-all idea what I’ll be doing in two weeks besides probably working some.

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $1200 for 14 days
London, Salisbury, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Inverness, Edinburgh, London
Requesting help with Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Rouen with $1500 for 15 days
Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
I am leaving from busan, SK with $1000 for 13 days
Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Bangkok

2008—Language study abroad in Paris, France
2009—Archaeological field school/dig in Lau, Fiji
2010— Birthday UK trip!
2011— Teaching English in South Korea
2012— ????

Jayson
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Hey guys i m also a couchsurfing member. So Anders tell now you have become a member of that?

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” (Keep traveling).

Anders
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Yes i agree, i even dont know what im dong tomorrow after job

I have budgeted $1000 for 3 days
Riga, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.