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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 08-26-2006, 05:22 PM   #1
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hi everyone, this is my first post on the site, i found it just earlier today when i was discussing my travelling ambitions with a friend.. anyway i apologize if i posted this in the wrong place.

so basically i am a 20 year old student living in Los Angeles studying Graphic Design, and i graduate in march '07. i have never been out of the United States, and upon graduating it is my plan/dream/hope to at that time spend about a month travelling Europe (and i would, of course, like to do this for as little money as possible). i intend to book a roundtrip flight to London from LA, spend a minimal time in England, and then take the chunnel to France. after that, i don't really have any clue what i'm going to do until my return flight out of London. here are the main cities i would ideally be able to visit:

Paris
Madrid
Rome
Prague
Amsterdam

and here is where my many questions start flowing...

is it possible to spend a decent amount of time in each of those cities in just a month? if i were to narrow it down, which ones should i eliminate from my itenerary? if i were to book a roundtrip flight from LA to London right now for march, it would only cost apprx. $550; but eurail passes are what seem to be so expensive -- $634 for a month long pass? is there a cheaper way? also i've been reading that it's wise to factor on spending about $20 a day on food and $20 a day on hostels, but that seems unrealistically cheap. can it be done?

i have about 6 months to plan this trip, but i would like to purchase the plane ticket to London as soon as possible to ensure that i get a good fare. so basically i need to get my ass in gear and start planning this trip out! since this is my first time to travel Europe i am very excited/curious/anxious/clueless and therefore any answers or additional help would be EXTREMELY appreciated!!! i thank you all profusely in advance.

hoping you are all in good health,
naomi
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Old 08-26-2006, 05:43 PM   #2
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Firstly welcome to TPunk

5 cities in a month isn't overly rushed, it is generally accpeted here that around 3 days is the minimum amount of time to spend in a place. 5 cities gives you a rather comfortable 5-6 days in each place. Travel at night to save to save on hostel costs and not waste any daylight.

I think $20 a day for food is achievable as long as your cooking your own food/shopping at supermarkets but I would definetly over budget in that area as you may want to eat out occasionaly. The hostel costs seem a little optimistic IMO but someone will give you some prices soon I'm sure.

Always overbudget: It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have.

I'm not sure about the value of the Eurail pass however they are popular here if that's any indication to go by. Someone else will have more details

I'm sure you'll get some much more specific answers from some else here but that'll get you started.

good luck





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Old 08-27-2006, 11:11 AM   #3
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Hi first off welcome to the boards!
Well I think you pretty much already have a great grasp of what you are getting into here! Eurail passes are glory yes it looks a little pricy but trust me in the end you are gonna save some cash, I wouldent go for the whole 1 month unlimited thing instead take the Eurail Flexipass. It allows you to travel for a certain number of days in a alloted time frame for example you wanna go to Paris from Madrid, you get on a train and then they come by and stamp your pass. Well there you just used a day, you have 24 hours to ride as many trains as you want and that will count as 1 ''day''. If you get 15 days thats 15 days you can travel trains in a 2 month time frame....get me?? If you dont go to:
www.Eurail.com

that will clear it up

I think money wise you hit it on the head. look for about 20 euro a day give or take 5 for accomodation and 20 to eat, I would eat from supermarkets and make sandwiches sometimes, this way you can bank some money and really splurge on some fine local cusine!!! Check out www.hostelworld.com or the TP hostel guide to find some hostels in that price range your looking for. I would say if you had 1500 in spending money that would allow you a very fun time!!!

As for the cities I would say this
Paris 3 or more days
Amsterdam 2 days max, Adam gets old fast trust me you dont wanna overstay
Madrid, I would say 2 or 3 days depending on how much you like museums and art and archetechture
Prauge 2-3 days I would come here on the weekend cause its a party town and its soooo cheap that its worth to stay and have fun
Rome no less then 3 days there is so much to see you could spend a week and still scratch the surface

If you have more time then this other places I would reccomend in checking out if you have time would be

Barcelona 2 days
Munich 3 days (spend one going out to Schloss NeuSwanstein)
Berlin 2 or 3 days (eaither German city is a good weekend stop for parties)
Venice 2 or 3 days (I would like to stay longer but its not a cheap town)
Piza day trip

I dont wanna lay your trip out for you here cuase its yours those are just some ideas that are on your general trave route and if you get a flexipass then you have some time to check them out

I would reccomend that you get night trains all the time you can find a seat sleeper where you have to sleep in a reclyning seat for like 3 euro reservation and in some countries like France and Spain you can get couchette sleepers for about 15 euros give or take a couple. So you save accomodation and you get into town with a whole day too see the city. Sometimes I would get somewhere see the city in a day and take a night train out again.
Other times my mate was getting low on funds so we took night trains between 2 cities and literly see 2 cities at once.....just every othe day hahaha

Anyways have fun in Europe and let it blow you away, Im there right now and I spent the last 4 months traveling and working around so if you have anything else feel free to send me a messege or simply post it!
Have fun
wills
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:07 PM   #4
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naomirtuh, welcome to the boards. I'm gonna be in Europe during that time also, you''ve come to the right place.

hey thewills great advice! So with the eurorail pass 15 days would not count as 15 days in Europe, but would count as 15 times on the train?? If so that is awesome. What kind of work are you getting over there, I'd like to get some work also.

Thanks.
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:29 AM   #5
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Yeah man thats the case its 15 times on the train, however that ''time'' counts as a 24 hour period so once you get your ticket stamped you have 24 hours to ride as many trains as you want and you can then do that 15 times in 2 months..... Right now I would say the place to work is indeed Ireland because the jobs are a plenty, Im doing some work in a fastfood joint, I gotta admit its kinda shitty although I got offerd 2 more in some decent restuarants but since Im only here 3 more weeks there is no point in me takin up such work. I would say any type of work in hospitality and tourism, or just a record shop, cloathing shop, that kinda work. Anything a student would do at home!

You shouldent have a hard time finding work over here, and the wages are brillient so its a good place to hunker down and work for a few months and save heaps of cash and then head out again to whever, IM gonna maximise the euros and go to Thailand lol....
Whatever you do just have fun doing it and take care mate
wills
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:17 PM   #6
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wow this is all such helpful info! thanks to all of you who took your time to offer some help. i'm sure i will be posting more questions soon -- kind of overwhelmed with exams at the moment though :/ anyway thanks again, love this site!
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:45 PM   #7
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Welcome. Sounds like you've got a great start on this trip. Be sure to be fair to London. Its a great city, and a very easy transition into Europe from the US. When I was there in March, I think I paid about 20-25USD a night for a hostel right across from the British museum. London was definitely the most expensive city I visited by far. As someone said, you could spend a week in rome, and still have a lifetime of things left to see. The Beehive hostel was amazing and I think it was $22 a night. If you have some time to spare, I would recommend Cinque Terre. There is a ton of info on it on the boards- this is where I first heard of the amazing villages.
Good luck with exams. Happy planning, and ask lots of questions-there are loads of great people with so much wisdom to share. I am humbled by them.
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