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I want to take a Eurotrip

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by Crown Royal, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal Insulin Beware

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    From DFW to someplace in Europe (I'm not picky). Any tips on how to organize this for myself? Good cheap airline, place to go (7-10 days)? I've never really booked a vacation for myself, and definitely not one to overseas.

    I'm also open to south america, africa or asia/australia/new zealand, but I kind of assumed those would be more expensive.
  2. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    Invest in a good guide book to start with, once you know where you want to go. As far as average expenses go, South America is on the cheap end, Australia is affordable because of exchange rates (though not as good as it used to be) BUT the plane ticket will cost you around $1500-$2000. Ditto with countries in Central or Southeast Asia. Africa is also expensive, sadly, just because reliable transportation and good, clean, safe beds and food will cost you.

    Europe isn't cheap, but the plane tickets are more affordable and you can travel easily between places. With your age you can get good deals on hostels. I think through STA (student travel somethingornother) you can get an ID card that qualifies you for a bunch of discounts at hostels throughout Europe. For a bit more $$ you can stay in bed & breakfasts (b&b's) at a reasonable price and, obviously, a good breakfast in the morning. By calling around you can find the cheapest rates and figure out which cities you can stay in.

    Eurail is a good deal, too, since you can visit several countries at one base price. If you time it right you can take an overnight train and sleep on the way and save the price of a room.

    Also through STA and other places you can get bulk deals on museums and stuff like that and save a lot of money.
  3. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Join the Army or Navy and see the world for free :D
  4. Mavs Man

    Mavs Man All outta bubble gum

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    In the Navy you can sail the seven seas.
  5. lspain1

    lspain1 Active Member

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    CR, I have been to a few places in Europe as a member of the military and on business. My wife accompanied me on one of these trips (to Paris). Depending on what you want to see, Paris has a huge concentration of museums, cathedrals, and other attractions well worth the time. The food is magnificent there as well. I came to understand what the words "French Bread" really mean while I was there.

    Another city worth considering is Rome, also containing a huge concentration of historical and cultural attractions with great amenities. I was awed by the Vatican and the Roman ruins.
  6. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Several of my friends have gone to Prague in the last couple of years. They say it is a great place to go.
  7. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    I have some experience with this - and enjoy it a great deal.

    Planning one of these things is like anything else, you could put a lot of time into it and turn it into a hobby (which can be fun) or not put nearly as much time into it.

    If you don't have a passport, you need to get on that quickly. Apparently there is a backlog.

    You can book your flights via the various popular websites (such as Orbitz). Check 'em all... Pay attention to fight times and layovers. If you can get to your destination nonstop or with only one stop (with a reasonable layover), that's worth an extra 100 to 200 dollars to me. The really long flights (with multiple layovers) are exhausting - and require more recovery time (at least for me).

    Think about going to 2 to 3 different locations (cities). I prefer to take a train between these destinations. They are comfortable and you see so much along the way.

    There are a bunch of really good tourist travel guidebooks for sale at your bookstore. Some are more general (European cities), others, much more focused (The Greek Islands). If you don't know where you'd like to go yet, pick up a general Europe guidebook and see what interests you. Once you decide on where you want to go, pick up a couple of more specific guidebooks (for each of the countries you plan to visit). To me, if I'm spending the bucks to fly over, what's another $100 to $150 in guidebooks?

    Many of these guidebooks have exactly the kind of information that you'll need to decide on which hotels to pick (price range, location, reviews, etc.). You can (and should) book your hotels before you go over. The majority of the hotels have some sort of reservation by e-mail / website (with URLs provided in the guidebooks). The guidebooks also recommend options for sites to see as well as where to eat. I like to avoid tourist traps - and this is where the guidebooks can be especially helpful.

    Check the foreign transaction fees for your various credit and debt cards before you start booking hotels and before you depart (to identify which method of paying costs the least). Check to see if your bank / credit cards can be used in all of the areas / countries in which you intend to use the cards (sometimes they aren't). And you need to let all of your debt / credit card companies know when and where you'll be - so that the companies don't decide to deactivate your card because of suspicious foreign activity. Figure out how to use the cash option on your credit card too (even though it is more expensive - it is a safety net, just in case).

    I don't mess with travel checks. I bring cash, exchange it at the U.S. airport before taking off, and use it with a combination of credit cards and cash from ATMs.

    There is no right place to go, of course. It depends on what interests you and what you want to do. London, Paris, and Zurich tend to be expensive but are great places depending on what you want to do. Munich is nice and has a nice train system. Athens is an adventure. Nice metro train system. Different alphabet. It isn't "the 3rd world," but it'll remind you of the third world - especially when you go to the markets. Florence is very nice. Rome, not so much. Prague has great press, but I've never been.

    I like to stay in the center of the cities that I visit - usually in the least expensive acceptable alternative. Better to be in a great location in a room that is too small and sort of worn than to stay in a great room that is located out of the action. I'm not there to spend my time in a hotel room anyway.

    Pack light. Bring some detergent so you can wash some clothes in your sink (if need be). Use travel size toiletries and pack 'em in ziplock bags. Take one suitcase and use a backpack for your carry on.

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