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8 replies
October 2012 Supertrip
nano2e
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Good day all! First off this is a phenomenal tool so if any of the staff or creators are reading this, hats off.

http://www.eurotrip….

Ok so I’m trying to plan a trip for October of this year and take Europe by storm. As you review my trip you may think, “holy crap, this is too much,” and it might be. But I want to pretty much do a survey of as much as i can get in and I would love to get some insight on some “must-see” sights so I can throw in the really great stuff. So let’s get started…

I have no travel companion, which is a little disappointing but this is a once in a lifetime trip and I don’t see me getting another full month off work for quite awhile. The cost I have listed should be about right after the airfare and europass. I’ve selected 13 major cities that I want to visit for at least 2 days each, travel by night train most of the time to save on room and board, and save a little time at the end of the trip so I might have some wiggle room if I find a city particularly enthralling.

I want to fly in by way of Copenhagen (just to get one more city in) to Bucharest because for some reason the prices there have been exceptionally low and fly out from Lisbon for the same reason. I have very good friends in Stuttgart so I will be hanging out there for a bit of their Oktoberfest (I’ve just rolled that time into Munich). I also have planned a few road trips (Transfăgărăşan by car, German Alpine Road by supercar, and the Basque Circuit by motorcycle), so any information on driving in any of those countries is appreciated. Finally for now I suppose, I am from the US so any info on permits or debit cards or monies etc.

Thank you in advance for any help.

I am leaving from Romania with $3400 for 32 days
Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Munich, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon
nano2e
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Oh what do you know, they posted my trip in my thread…this utility gets better and better!

I am leaving from Romania with $3400 for 32 days
Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Munich, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon
luv_the_beach
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nano2e wrote:
As you review my trip you may think, “holy crap, this is too much,”

Ding ding ding. You got that right.

Not only is it too much, but you’re also all over the place.

It’s up to you to decide which countries interest you and which you should visit on this trip. My advice is to narrow it down a bit. You don’t have to have a geographically-contiguous itinerary, IMO. The beauty of air travel allows you to include two countries on the opposite ends of Europe into a single itinerary. However, unless you want to spend your entire vacation/holiday in airports, airplanes, trains, train stations, ports, ferries, buses, bus stations, and hotel/hostel lobbies waiting until 2PM at the front desk check in, then you better reduce the amount of places you plan to visit. You have 12 major cities on your list, plus one mid-size city (Dresden), plus a village-with-UN-status (Monaco), and you want to take a roadtrip/drive somewhere in Germany, as well as Spain’s Basque Country. Seriously reduce it, and drop Monaco altogether. If you’re interested in southeastern France, do a search…I and others have written a lot on this region.

nano2e wrote:
I have no travel companion, which is a little disappointing…

I know how that feels. Traveling with someone and traveling alone both have their positives and negatives. So, go, and make the best of this trip. You will come across other solo travelers. There will be many others.

nano2e wrote:
…but this is a once in a lifetime trip…

Never think of a trip as a “once in a lifetime trip”. That mentality can ruin your trip…the entire time you’ll be thinking “gotta do this, gotta do that”…trying to do everything that you “must” do, takes all the fun out of it. Of course, you don’t want to travel thousands of miles just to bum around, sleep all day, and do nothing. Definitely take advantage. But don’t overdo it, and don’t overplan. You’ll take the fun out of it. Europe will still be there….it ain’t going anywhere.

nano2e wrote:
and I don’t see me getting another full month off work for quite awhile.

But you will be getting week-long or perhaps two-week long vacations here and there, no?

Where are you from? Just out of curiosity.


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nano2e
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Well noted Luv. And I get exactly where you’re coming from; I realize this is quite a bit. However, it’s more of a survey trip than anything else. I know I’ll be going back to Europe again (I’ve already been to England and Italy, each for 2 weeks), but seeing as how I’m currently have the money, time, and health (and don’t expect to have that trifecta again for a while) I really don’t have an issue saying that a trip of this scope really is a once in a lifetime event. The cons to such a trip are obvious, but a major pro is this: I can be more selective and intimate with locations when I return.

You almost have me convinced to remove Monaco (I really just wanted to go to the Monte Carlo and blow some cash there just to say I had). As I would really, really love to go there for the Grand Prix some day, Monaco may well be the first city I cut since I will likely almost certainly be visiting there another time.

Also, I may be adjusting my trip through the Germany portion. I believe it may be more time saving to (after Vienna) rent a car in Salzburg and drive the Alpine road to Stuttgart, visiting Munich (maybe, my buddy wants to take me to a soccer game) and Zurich on day trips. Then I could continue on to Prague from there.

I am from the USA and am a military officer and engineer. I don’t mean to disregard your insight and am very much interested in hearing more of what you have to say.

I am leaving from Romania with $3400 for 32 days
Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Munich, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon
clevelandbrown
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I think night trains are overrated as a way to save money. Most novices think you crawl into your bunk (for which you have paid extra) in one city and wake up in the morning at your destination. There may be trains like that, but it is more common that the train stops and sits at some intermediate stations, and often you have to change trains along the way. I think it is better to take a fast train during the day and enjoy the scenery (which you can’t see at night).

I would check the cost of renting a car in one country and returning it in another. I think the general rule is that such rentals are expensive.

The cheapest way to get local money is with an ATM card, but be certain to notify your card issuer of your itinerary, so they won’t think your card (and your credit cards) have been stolen when a charge comes in from another country.

I can understand a whistle-stop tour just to get the lay of the land and find out where you later want to spend more time, but you have to understand that you will be unable to see most of the interesting things on such a trip.

As a GI, you might look into the possibility of a military hop, of staying in VOQ’s, and of staying at the military resort in Germany. http://www.armymwr.c…

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oldlady
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A couple of “dittos” here…

I fully agree with Luv that thinking of this as “once in a lifetime” is a mistake. If you enjoy yourself, you WILL find a way to get back and “I have to see this and do that because I’ll never be back” is a very stressful way to travel.

I also agree with Cleveland about night trains. A berth in a 6 berth couchette costs about the same as a bunk in a hostel dorm. Unless you happen to take a train that has cheaper reclining seats available AND you can comfortably sleep that way, you’re unlikely to save appreciable money. You often don’t get a good night’s sleep on an overnight train for the reasons Cleveland mentioned. It’s disorienting to arrive in a strange city at morning rush hour when you’re exhausted. Often you can’t check into your hostel until late afternoon and finding breakfast and a place to stash your pack can be surprisingly difficult when you’re exhausted and all you really want is a shower and a nap. My rule of thumb is to limit overnight trains to an average of about 1 a week with no more than 2 in any 5 day period. For your fast paced (and thus tiring) trip, I’d plan on a max of 4.

As for cuts, you haven’t picked any place I’d suggest avoiding and all are good visits if you have a specific reason you want to go there, but several of your cities are not favorites for me. Why Zurich and Vienna? Neither is in the Alps although both have the advantage of being major transportation hubs and being easy to get to/from. It’s actually easier to get into the Austrian Alps from Munich than from Vienna, so think about cutting Vienna (or at least staying in Bratislava instead) and adding another day for a day trip to Salzburg or Innsbruk to Munich. Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. I’d either go for a smaller city/village in the Alps (and enough time to get there and actually enjoy it) or cut Switzerland. Why Bucharest? It’s out of the way and other parts of Romania have more to offer.

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nano2e wrote:
Well noted Luv. And I get exactly where you’re coming from; I realize this is quite a bit. However, it’s more of a survey trip than anything else. I know I’ll be going back to Europe again (I’ve already been to England and Italy, each for 2 weeks), but seeing as how I’m currently have the money, time, and health (and don’t expect to have that trifecta again for a while) I really don’t have an issue saying that a trip of this scope really is a once in a lifetime event. The cons to such a trip are obvious, but a major pro is this: I can be more selective and intimate with locations when I return.

And that’s all good, nano, but the problem is that your itinerary is logistically impossible. And we’re speaking from experience. I usually suggest to people to pick few countries, and explore more of those countries than just the big/capital city. You don’t have to do that, of course, but packing too many destinations into your itinerary means that you’ll be doing a “survey” of airports, train stations, bus stations, and hostel/hotel lobbies, and not of Europe. Look, if you plan, say, 15 “cities” in a 30-day period, that’s “2 days per city”, but that doesn’t take into account the time needed to travel between cities. Just as a warning. Smile

It’s easy to look at a map, and think to yourself “oh, I wanna go here, and here, and here” …but when you’re actually there, it doesn’t quite work out that way. There might be a city-pair on your itinerary that looks like a small distance, but there may not be a direct train between them…it may require one, even two, train changes. Like, for example, traveling between southeastern France (Marseille, Nice, etc) to northeastern Spain (Barcelona), will take much longer than the distance would otherwise suggest…let alone Basque Country which will take a very long time to get to from southeast France. The city-pair you’re traveling may not be a popular route for locals, so there may not be a direct train. Or, there may be geographic barriers in the way…such as moutain ranges, which you don’t see on a political map (a map that only shows national borders, as opposed to a topographic relief map). You can fly, of course (Monaco is served by Nice’s airport), but for air travel, basically add 2-3 hours on each end of the flight (because you have to consider getting to/from the airport, baggage claim [if needed], checking in, security, all that).

Even if you’re comfortable with spending only one full day in each destination, and traveling every other day, you still need to cut it down a bit. Your road trips in Germany and Spain? You can forget those. (Based on your last post, it looks like you did).

nano2e wrote:
You almost have me convinced to remove Monaco (I really just wanted to go to the Monte Carlo and blow some cash there just to say I had). As I would really, really love to go there for the Grand Prix some day, Monaco may well be the first city I cut since I will likely almost certainly be visiting there another time.

Those are good reasons to visit Monaco. I tought you just wanted to go for the sake of going. A lot of newbies include Monaco only because they’ve heard of it, because it’s supposed to be glamorous, and because they don’t know better alternatives (there are other, more specactular towns to visit on that coast). You actually have valid reasons to go.

That being said, Monaco is literally just a village with UN status. It doesn’t have its own airport, and is not a rail transportation hub either. There is a rail line that passes through, connecting Monaco with towns in southeastern France (like Nice), and Italy. So, look at train schedules in order to coordinate this. Here’s a German website where you can actually look up train schedules across Europe.

nano2e wrote:

I am from the USA .

You seemed to me like an Australian…because they’re the ones that tend to do month(s) at a time. Dude, talk to any Australian….they envy how close we are to Europe.

On night trains…I agree with the above. IMO, I don’t see a problem using them here and there to save time. But…you’re going to want to shower at some point, and a place to leave all your stuff. Some hostels/hotels allow you to leave your stuff there if you arrive early in the morning [too early to check in], but if you’ve got two back-to-back night trains, where are you going to leave your stuff after the first night train? Also, while it’s not rife by any means, theft can occur on a night train. Don’t believe the stupid urban legends about thiefs gassing a train and robbing everyone…but theft can occur while you’re fast asleep…something to keep in mind if you’re traveling with, say, a DSLR or iPad. It happens on rare occasion.


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nano2e
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I am not cutting the driving. If I have to adjust everything else I will, but driving is my passion and the earth has some pretty amazing roads. I’ve looked at military hops and it’s a fabulous idea to save money, however, I don’t want to by a ticket to New Jersey and then get stuck there because the flight to Ramstein got filled. So I’ll have to purchase a ticket there just to be safe and I’ll almost certainly have to purchase a ticket home to solidify my return date. If I do a hope my whole itinerary will be changed since I’ll be landing in Germany, but that’s no problem. I have no interest in staying at a resort, I can do that when I’m old.

I think I’m cutting Zurich now since I really would like to hike there but my schedule needs to breath. As I mentioned before, Bucharest is the cheapest to fly into Europe that I’ve found. Plus, it’s close enough to my short drive into Transylvania which, as I mentioned, is an absolute must for me. Still, there are some definite sights I want to see there, even if it’s only for a day or two (cathedral; princely court; and of course, the palace).

I am leaving from Romania with $3400 for 32 days
Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Munich, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon
nano2e
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Oh, also, I’ve been looking at your consideration of train travel and I think I’m going to be readjusting my itinerary so that I can fly about half the time on Wizz.

I am leaving from Romania with $3400 for 32 days
Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, Stuttgart, Munich, Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon