NT: Looking to go on an European vacation, gimme advice!!!!

1,374
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Joined Sep 20, 2006
Looking to go to Europe next summer. I have a lot of spare cash and only envision myself getting more spare cash. 
However, I would like to do this in the most efficient way as possible. 
I would imagine it is best to fly into a place that isn't one of the main attractions to save a little money. Then take public transportation to Italy, Spain, France etc.

What would be the best place to fly into?

Also, i've heard of sites, places, and people who will let you stay with them for free if you do some odd jobs? Any info on that?

Also, best places to stay if the above isn't possible? Hostels?

What are "must do's" and "must don'ts"? lol. 

Place to eat, see, do, go?

Is it hard to find things?

Anything is appreciated. I've never been on a ***$*!# plane, or out of the country. Can't wait!

Thanks in advance.
 
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Joined Mar 8, 2009
I'm going to England next year so this thread so be of some help to me too.
 
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Joined Sep 20, 2006
Hi, 
I'm TroyMcClure, you may know me from such user names as ChiefWiggum and FrankReynolds lol.

My buddy took a trip to Macedonia to visit his sister in the Peace Corp...he said Prague was pretty cool. Will def have to check it out.

Looking forward to your info Pook.

Anyone else?
 

PatRiley

formerly heirjordan15
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1,725
Joined Dec 26, 2004
Fly into either Dublin or Amsterdam if you're flying from the East Coast (Boston or NY)..they're the two cheapest places to fly into usually

Use RyanAir once in Europe. Don't plan ahead, just find cheap flights to great places (i.e. 8 euros to Barcelona)

If you're truly trying to save money, don't eat at restaurants. Buy baguettes, sliced meat, cheese, and a bottle of mustard. Make it last.

Western Europe is must more expensive than Eastern Europe: Czech>Italy

Plenty more info, will post later
 

kdawg

Staff member
7,948
6,909
Joined Jun 25, 2003
Originally Posted by heirjordan15

Fly into either Dublin or Amsterdam if you're flying from the East Coast (Boston or NY)..they're the two cheapest places to fly into usually

Use RyanAir once in Europe. Don't plan ahead, just find cheap flights to great places (i.e. 8 euros to Barcelona)

If you're truly trying to save money, don't eat at restaurants. Buy baguettes, sliced meat, cheese, and a bottle of mustard. Make it last.

Western Europe is must more expensive than Eastern Europe: Czech>Italy

Plenty more info, will post later
That's good advice on where to fly to - the big hubs are generally cheaper to get to than small airports - but once you are in Europe you can often get good cheap flights to the alternative airports - but then you're often 60 miles from where you want to be and have to pay to get there.
 
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Some nice places to go are Prague, Split, Rome, Sorrento, Paris and London. Obviously there are more but depends how many places you want to go.
 
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Joined Sep 20, 2006
Thanks for the info on the flights. When is it best to book tickets. I am looking at ticket prices now for next summer and they are at around $1600. O_O. I know there has to be some at half that price, just WHEN is the best time to book?

Also I plan to spend most of my time living cheaply in the East and the last few nights be a baller on the West side!
 
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Joined Aug 25, 2005
I only have limited experience traveling in Europe, but I'll try to help.

If you are planning on criss-crossing across the continent, look into getting a Eurail pass and travel by train. In the US, I never really had much experience traveling by train (subways dont count) so it was a welcome new experience. Also saw some interesting/entertaining stuff while I was on the train. This larger black woman (looked like a local) was trying to punk this little tourist Japanese woman, but the little one wasnt havin it. Next thing you know, the Japanese woman just starts throwing BOMBS and all the male passengers around them had to get up and restrain them.

Everyone has their own opinion on cities and countries, so its hard to tell what you will like and wont like. Personally, I disliked parts of Italy, in particular Venice. Venice is just a stinkhole of rude shady people trying to squeeze every last euro out of the tourists that come through. I couldn't wait to get out of there. Rome is kinda cool from a historical perspective, and the shopping there is pretty good (if you got $$$$$$). The thing I didnt like about Rome is that it feels like friggin Disneyland. I was there in the late spring, but I imagine its similar year round. That place is crawling with tourists, and it seems like most things (atleast in or around City Center) caters to the tourism industry. It was difficult to get a real feel for the city or its locals while there. Florence was actually one of my favorite cities in Italy. It is still kinda touristy, but not nearly as much as Rome. Florentine food is also leaps and bounds better than Roman cuisine (personal preference), and the surrounding area of Tuscany is stunning (as is the wine if youre into that).

In my limited travels, my favorite place in Europe is Barcelona, Spain. That city is awesome and it has a little bit of everything. Great food, great people (everyone was really friendly there), easy to get around, good nightlife (bars, clubs), beaches and mountains, etc... If you are into soccer, you can try to plan your visit around a home game at Camp Nou to watch Barca play.
 
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Great info everyone. Mojo, good looks on the cities. I can picture them being money hungry tourist feeders in those places now! I will probably do a walk through to get the historical feel.

I plan to go with a few buddies. Had a gf for two years, but that's a wrap. It would be a lovely experience to share with a female counterpart. Maybe I will meet one by then. If not, I will meet a few over there.

Actually, how is that aspect? The women pretty open and friendly?

I just have a few questions:
best time to book a flight?
best site/company to book with?
is it difficult to get your hands on..cannabis?
 
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Joined Jun 5, 2007
Originally Posted by kdawg

That's good advice on where to fly to - the big hubs are generally cheaper to get to than small airports - but once you are in Europe you can often get good cheap flights to the alternative airports - but then you're often 60 miles from where you want to be and have to pay to get there.

You can get really cheap flights but you have to make early decisions.You can fly from Hamburg and I mean Hamburg ! for 19 euros to Paris, London, Dublin and other places.
Be careful if you read Hamburg-London with HLX , easyjet or Ryanair you've to know it's London Stanstead for example.
You can stay at hostels for cheap.London and Paris are expensive.beter look for a "3 pounds for all"-restaurant or buy your food at a supermarket.
In Germany we've to kinds of supermarkets, normal ones and discount supermarkets (Aldi / Trader Joes in USA).


What are "must do's" and "must don'ts"? lol.    Which country ? Which city ?

Is it hard to find things? What for things ?


 
 
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Joined Feb 12, 2003
We're looking to utilize AirBnB (bad press aside). Flights for us are limited coming from SF. My wife, whose a photographer has a shoot in North Carolina on our return journey.

Ideally, we'll fly into Venice. Our breakdown is:

SFO to ATL onto Venice (Marco Polo Airport). Spend 3-4 days in Venice before heading to Rome. Rome will be a day longer than Venice. From Rome we'll go to Florence. The idea in Florence is to do day trips to other places (Lucca, etc).

When we leave Italy to go to the South of France we're planning on driving. Nothing can be as bad as driving in Greece I figure.

Flights are running $1,300 or so for all that we need...I'm tracking them to get a feel for price movements.

Depending on the months (high, low season) will dictate price on places to stay and flights certainly. May is right before Europe's high season and September is when it winds down.
 
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Joined Aug 2, 2011
If you get the chance, head into Germany and spend some time in downtown Frankfurt, where this is located:

It's an expensive hotel, but near it is a HUUUUUGEE shopping district with a gigantic mall and a plethora of stores. I saw some footlockers and euro fashion stores w/ clothes, shoes, etc. It's really worth visiting.
 
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Joined Aug 25, 2005
Originally Posted by LazyJ10

We're looking to utilize AirBnB (bad press aside). Flights for us are limited coming from SF. My wife, whose a photographer has a shoot in North Carolina on our return journey.

Ideally, we'll fly into Venice. Our breakdown is:

SFO to ATL onto Venice (Marco Polo Airport). Spend 3-4 days in Venice before heading to Rome. Rome will be a day longer than Venice. From Rome we'll go to Florence. The idea in Florence is to do day trips to other places (Lucca, etc).

When we leave Italy to go to the South of France we're planning on driving. Nothing can be as bad as driving in Greece I figure.

Flights are running $1,300 or so for all that we need...I'm tracking them to get a feel for price movements.

Depending on the months (high, low season) will dictate price on places to stay and flights certainly. May is right before Europe's high season and September is when it winds down.
just curious, were you planning on getting a rental car in Venice and then driving it to Rome -> Florence -> France?  Why not just hop the train?

OP - unfortunately I cant tell you what the women are like as I was there on my honeymoon so obviously wasn't tryin to spit game.  Cannabis situation I didnt bother trying cause again... honeymoon, not tryin to end up in some foreign jail over some buds.  I could go a couple weeks without it.  That being said, I cant imagine its that difficult to find if you are at a club or whatever.  Hell, just walking around the beaches of Barcelona I smelled/saw multiple people just puffin away.

  
 
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u def need to plan a little bit ahead but inner europe travel is cheap. if u book flights couple weeks ahead on ryanair/easyjet it should be like 8 euro->20-25 euro after taxes n fees to fly country to country. went to ibiza from madrid like 15$

hostel it up and u can stay for pretty cheap. check bing.com for rates-i went lax to madrid for 800 back in june.

as for herb, lol u have to resort to the locals at the metro stops, usually jamaicans. lil pricey, and wacker quality (coming from ca)
 
12,093
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Joined Feb 12, 2003
Originally Posted by Mojodmonky1

Originally Posted by LazyJ10

We're looking to utilize AirBnB (bad press aside). Flights for us are limited coming from SF. My wife, whose a photographer has a shoot in North Carolina on our return journey.

Ideally, we'll fly into Venice. Our breakdown is:

SFO to ATL onto Venice (Marco Polo Airport). Spend 3-4 days in Venice before heading to Rome. Rome will be a day longer than Venice. From Rome we'll go to Florence. The idea in Florence is to do day trips to other places (Lucca, etc).

When we leave Italy to go to the South of France we're planning on driving. Nothing can be as bad as driving in Greece I figure.

Flights are running $1,300 or so for all that we need...I'm tracking them to get a feel for price movements.

Depending on the months (high, low season) will dictate price on places to stay and flights certainly. May is right before Europe's high season and September is when it winds down.
just curious, were you planning on getting a rental car in Venice and then driving it to Rome -> Florence -> France?  Why not just hop the train?

OP - unfortunately I cant tell you what the women are like as I was there on my honeymoon so obviously wasn't tryin to spit game.  Cannabis situation I didnt bother trying cause again... honeymoon, not tryin to end up in some foreign jail over some buds.  I could go a couple weeks without it.  That being said, I cant imagine its that difficult to find if you are at a club or whatever.  Hell, just walking around the beaches of Barcelona I smelled/saw multiple people just puffin away.

  

No, we're not getting a vehicle till we're about to leave Florence. We'll use trains, public transportation and our feet for Italy as a whole. My wife isn't keen on flying and is a photographer, therefore driving along the coast of Italy into France is something she'd really like.
 
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so much to add.... I've never used RyanAir or the other local airlines. I've used the EurRail heavily and the EurRail Pass can be handy in the more popular countries. Just hop on and off at any major train station... just be sure to make 'reservations' a few days before locally. If you don't mind the trains you'll get a much more authentic feel of Europe because the stations are 99% in the heart of the cities.

The airlines are available, but I'd rather not deal with all the security and waiting at the gates. Another thing to remember is that most airports are a long taxi ride away from most downtown areas. So that's another expense and headache you have to worry about.

I personally stayed away from ALL hostels and booked 2-star or 3-star hotel rooms. They're inexpensive and you get to keep your privacy.

If you can, maybe plan your trip for May which is right at the edge of the high season. Heck, you could pull it off, I'd try traveling early-mid Spring when prices are even lower.

OP - Eastern vs Western Europe.... there's no 'cheap' country per se. So you might want to rethink your plans and stick to the major cities for a good time.
 
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Joined Feb 17, 2011
Besides Paris I recommend Munich, Germany. Lots of breweries and you can tour the BMW Factory as well.  Bavaria is very scenic and you're only 2 hours away from Salzburg, Austria as well.  I enjoyed my time there.
 
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Joined Nov 30, 2000
Florence is great, I just got back last week from a week there.  I went for a wedding which was in Tuscany (by Arezzo) and that area is so beautiful.  Made it out to Pisa for one day to check out the tower and surrounding sites, it was easy to get there via train.  Train travel is pretty easy in Italy, except the occasional stuck exit door (added 1 hour to our travel)  Florence itself is easy to walk around and is touristy, but not as much as say Rome or Venice.  I loved the food, and there is a cool marketplace that has every leather good you could want.  The real experience was the Tuscan hillsides, we stayed a couple of nights at a vineyard/villa and had an experience that was not typical of touring Italy.

I was in Rome and Venice two years ago and had lots of fun. Rome is super crowded but has almost too much stuff to check out.  I could spend a day in the Vatican Museums alone.  The nightlife by the river is pretty dope.
People talk badly about Venice, but I loved it there.  It was extremely expensive to do anything, and the food is terrible (I looked forward to eating at the Hard Rock there LOL) but there is just something about Venice that is amazing.  It's laid back and luckily for us wasn't as crowded as it usually is.

Good luck, definitely use the train system to get around, like everyone said RyanAir and EasyJet are super cheap ways to go country to country.

As far as hotels, my GF is really picky so we stay in 4 or 5 star hotels which are ridiculously expensive (and not to the level of 4 or 5 stars in say NYC or SF)

BTW stay away from Frankfurt Airport.  Avoid connecting there, place is insanely huge!
 
5,974
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Joined Aug 25, 2005
^ damn im jealous. would love to get back to Florence but even moreso, travel out of the city. When I was there, I took 1 day trip out to some wineries and the scenery out there is like the stuff you see on postcards. Absolutely gorgeous.

Besides the tower, was there anything else worth seeing in Pisa? I actually flew home out of Pisa (my last stop in Italy was Cinque Terre and Pisa was the nearest Int'l Airport) and that airport is a hellhole
 
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