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3 replies
Open-ended airfare/Eurail opinions/Destination Search: A small novel
zachwright151
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How’s it goin, my name is Zach. I’m 22 and planning to graduate college in June and take a great big post-graduation trek through europe. As of now, the idea of the trip is to “not have a plan”. This is an idea somewhat a product of the idea that I am in search of destinations that one may be unlikely to find via typical research. I love spontaneous travel, living in Salt Lake for four years I’ve done my fair share of unplanned traveling across the western states. I would love to setup a WWOOF experience, or two. I want to travel for as long as I can and I’ve got a bunch of questions for you folks. I want to spend at least three months traveling.

I’ll start with my flight plans. The one certain piece of my trip is that I’ll begin in Amsterdam from the New York City region with my brother who has been saving vacation time to experience the city and fall in love with local girls for about two weeks. with that being said, I’m interested in the rest of my trip being directed south through Belgium and Germany to Switzerland, and then head east to the regions of Europe typically left unexplored. With the latter end of my trip being a mystery, I’m interested in your knowledge of “roundtrip” tickets with open-ended return dates. Are these easy to acquire? Do they hinder one’s ability to travel freely among states? I know many states want to see return travel information, how does this work?? Are they much more expensive? Any information on this or other flexible return travel ideas would be ideal.
My current idea is to purchase a round trip ticket via AMS to save $$$ and “simply” find a “cheap” ryanair-esque flight from wherever I am in Eastern Europe to Amsterdam a few days before my departure. Are there holes in this plan that I can’t see?

I know that I’ll receive better advice if I give more information about myself, my trip idea and my interests. After Amsterdam, I’ll be traveling alone, which doesn’t worry me, but deeply intrigues me. I am not necessarily an introvert, but I love self-reflection and plan to do a lot of journal-style writing through my travels. I don’t want to be tied down by a specific itinerary; if I meet fellow travelers or locals who have genuine suggestions as to where I may enjoy traveling, I want to have the freedom to redirect my trip in order to do so. I’m really searching for culture and nature. My home is 30 minutes from New York City in New Jersey and I rarely venture in, but if I have the opportunity to go camping somewhere I always take it. With that being said, I love small towns and villages where people are just themselves, in comparison the social pressures of a towering city. I might not be using the right words to express myself here, but hopefully you can understand.

This leads me to my next question concerning my method of travel among Europe. Being that I’m looking to have little itinerary and will be planning as I go, I’m thinking a Eurail Global Pass for every day of 3 months may be my best option, but I’m really not sure. I’m planning to be in Amsterdam by 12 June, do my two week tripabout with my brother, THEN activate my 3 month rail pass. If I end up finding a WWOOF opportunity and spend 2/3 weeks at a farm, that travel period would be left not worth paying for. I’m thinking the environment, climate, and people of slovenia would be an ideal place to spend some time doing a wwoof stint. Maybe I should find a wwoof opportunity before I purchase my rail pass? Does buying individual train tickets match my idea better? What about travel via airlines like Ryanair? I haven’t read much about traveling via bus either, is it worth checking out? (this option doesn’t entertain me nearly as much as locomotion)

I’ve never planned a trip like this and it’s a pretty daunting task. I’m confident that regardless of where I end up, I’ll be enjoying myself, because that’s how my life has always been. I’m just naturally a happy person, I don’t mean to brag, but it’s true. What are your best suggestions as to finding destinations I’ll be interested in? I find that I become attached to a way a place feels (architecture, environment, friendliness/happiness of people, etc.) When I read of destinations, it’s typical for guides to focus on the amount of bars or museums or other faceless observations, how can I research and find a place that I will love? I know this question is near impossible to answer, but any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

So, to wrap up this short novel…
Roundtrip tickets with open-ended return dates…

  • Are they easy to acquire?
  • Do they effect the ease of traveling among nations?
  • Are they more expensive? how much?
  • Where can i find them? I like using STA travel so far..

Is it ignorant to plan on finding a “RyanAir-esque” flight back to Amsterdam 2/3 days before my return flight?

Is a Eurail Global Pass (3 months of daily travel for $1323USD) “right” for me?

  • Are the any other suitable options??

Thank you SO much to those who took the time to read this thing, I’m not even sure if this is the correct place for a thread like this. This is going to be a life-changing trip for me, and any of your input will get me one more step closer to it becoming a reality. Feel free to private message me if you want to help me out more intimately. Once again, thank you thank you THANK YOU.

Zach

zachwright151
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I just called Iceland Air and they don’t offer any open-ended airfare Frown guess i’ll just have to time my trip right and if i don’t, pay the consequences. I’ve only recently started searching airfare, is $675 a good roundtrip price for a 3 month stay? Flying JFK?AMS…

oldlady
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Open ended tickets have some problems: they can be expensive. Also, if you don’t have a set return within 90 days you can have some visa issues since you’ll be flying into the Schengen zone. A cheap Ryan Air ticket out of the Schengen zone can provide the needed “proof of onward travel” but you’ll still have to do some figuring to not end up overstaying your 90 days within any 180 day period in the Schengen zone.

Look into an “open jaw” ticket (say into Amsterdam and back out of Rome or some other major city for starters, then check returns from smaller cities if that would work better for you). Use the multi-city option on flight searches. The ticket may be very comparable in price to a round-trip, particularly when you figure the cost of getting back to Amsterdam.
If you don,t get great answers on finding cheap flights here, re-post your flight questions on our “cheap flights” forum.

You won’t know which, if any, rail pass is best for your trip without a pretty exact itinerary and a lot of tiime consuming research. IMO a consecutive day global pass is usually not the best option financially. Others, most notably Rick Steves, disagree. Figure a major train ride every 3 or 4 days and A couple of global flexipasses, or two 4 or 5 country select passes for 10 or so rail days each are probably a better deal. The cheapest option is usually a less comprehensive rail pass or two, some point to point train tickets for shorter (cheaper than a day of the rail pass) hops, plus the occasional cheap flight, ferry and bus. If you end up spending a lot of time on a farm, just buying point to point train tickets may be your best option.

Don
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Check the post pinned at top of our Cheap Flights Forum next-door: Nifty Visa-checking tool. Then familiarize yourself with the term “Schengen border.” Google and wiki should be sufficient.

You’ve pretty much got it right — 3 months max stay, but non-Schengen countries have their own tourist-allowed days. Like OL said — 90 in/ 90 out, to max of 90 in a continuous 180 day period starting on date of first entry to Schengen. The “other” countries TBD could extend that; depends which ones.

In/out of AMS with 90 days max stay could work well. Also consider in/out of LON, DUB, DUS, MAD, PAR, BCN, BRU, FRA, BER, MUC, MIL, ROM — as these also have good possibilities for cheap onward flight hops with low cost airlines. Really pretty much anywhere you get a great deal would work, but there won’t be as many low-cost options out of, say LIS or BRU, vs. say LON or DUB.

Check Skyscanner.com for flight prices over a month. Enter the airport, to “Everywhere”, and select an entire month, one-way, to get a good overview of flight prices out of there.

I also like OL’s suggestion of “open-jaw” aka “multi-city” flights — if they’re cheaper, and/or make sense. You might arrive AMS and return from WAW, for example. Consider the costs—including time and extra lodging and daily expenses—when comparing going back from AMS vs. going back from a hub in eastern Europe, for example.

Again, I agree with O.L. — you won’t know which pass is likely best until you nail-down flights. Railsaver.com will help you get rough estimates of which pass or combination of pass + point-to-point tickets, might best suit your situation.

Are you students and/or under 26 by chance? .edu email address by chance?

Feel free to post specific flight questions next door in our Cheap Flights forum .