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Old 02-18-2008, 11:41 AM   #1
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Alright, I hope this is in the right section of the message boards. I came here two years ago and got some awesome advice about a trip to Ireland with my brother. I forgot about this site for a while and I recently remembered about it and have been lurking recently as I've been planning a trip.

A little bit of a background. I have been teaching for this past year, but I am quitting at the end of this year and possibly going to grad school. If I get in to grad school, I definitely want to travel for a month this summer because I have no clue if I'll have to do research for the next couple of summers.

I'm looking at going to Spain, France, the Netherlands (most likely just Amsterdam, but any other tips would be great), Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. I can always cut out either the Netherlands or Switzerland, but I'm thinking of going for 30 days total and maybe only spending 2 days in the Netherlands and Switzerland and longer in the other areas. I just got a bunch of guide books from the library, so I'm going to start doing more research.

A couple questions. I was looking up airfare and it looks like it's about $1300 or so to fly into Spain. It's maybe $1100 for Amsterdam. It looks like it's much cheaper to fly into Ireland ($800) and I could always take a ferry to France. Any of these options sound better or worse? This is only my preliminary research, so I could probably find cheaper flights.

When I went to Ireland, I used the bus system almost exclusively. For mainland Europe I'm looking at getting a Eurail pass, probably one of the youth flexipasses. I'm going back and forth between the 10 and the 15 day in 2 months passes. Any advice for this? I've been looking at a lot of stuff on Rick Steves's website and it's really helpful.

Anyways, I'll be doing a bunch of research in the coming months, but I just wanted to get some advice as I'm starting to look at things. I'm also planning on going alone and really looking forward to it. Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:49 AM   #2
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Wow, sorry I thought the message boards had changed because I couldn't find any of the travel specific ones. Anyways, someone can move this thread to the correct location if necessary.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:58 AM   #3
 
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I would say start off in Ireland. It's a good place to start, and budget airlines can get you to Spain for much cheaper than the extra $500 it would cost you otherwise.

Then you can do a eurail pass from there or whatever you want.

Depending on cities you want to visit, for 30 days I think you could definitely do all of those countries. Visiting the major cities and such. If you want to cut it down a bit, this allows for flexibility and seeing things most tourists never get to see.

What I always do is research and then start to plan what cities/sights I want to see. And go from there.
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice so far. Well once I get an idea in my head, I totally obsess over it, especially when it comes to traveling. I went to the library on my day off of work on Monday and picked up 7 travel guides to start planning out my trip. I'll also be talking to some co workers and friends with some European traveling experience.

Here's a rough itinerary. It's definitely subject to change and I'm going to be flexible with my time when I get over there.

Option 1:

Fly into Dublin on the 11th of June.

# of days / country / cities I'll be visiting

1 / Ireland / Dublin
5 / Spain / Barcelona, I'd like to go to Toledo and Sevilla too*
5 / France / Paris, Nice
4 / Germany / Not sure what cities
3 / Switzerland / Interlaken and then straight to Gimmelwald
5 / Italy / Venice, Florence, Rome
1 / Ireland / Dublin

Fly back to the States on the 9th of July

*That would mean going backwards and then having to go from Sevilla to Paris . Not sure if that would work well with my time constraints.

Plane cost: $787 BWI to DUB + $60 ryanair DUB to Barcelona + $90 Rome to DUB = $937

Option 2: Same rough itinerary, but fly straight into Barcelona. Plane Cost = $1148

This is a very rough idea. Obviously I'll adjust the days. This will give me 27-28 days in Europe. The days in Ireland are just there b/c I'll have to catch a ryanair flight that day, which leaves a couple extra days in there.

Nothing's set in stone, so let me know if you think I need to adjust anything. My only big trip under my belt was my trip to Ireland, but at most it takes 6 hours to travel from one side to another by bus. This will be a much bigger adventure! Check out this hostel in Gimmelwald I found out about in Rick Steves' book: http://www.gimmelwald.com/pics/gimme...Hostelview.jpg


Also, is there a moderator I can contact to move this thread to a better section of the forums?
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:36 PM   #5
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I didn't go up the gondola to Gimmelwald, but I hiked all around the area. The valley below is known as Valley of 2000 waterfalls, or something like that, and its insanely beautiful.

I stayed in Grindelwald, very near by, and the mountains around there were just insane. There's something bone-chilling about the sounds of glaciers colliding, usually you can't even see where its crushing. Or if you can it looks so small because of its overall size, but it sounds insanely huge.

Oh I miss that part of the world. I loved Switzerland. But insanely expensive. What are you interested in doing/seeing in Germany? A basic theme or something? I could give you all sorts of ideas.
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Old 02-21-2008, 02:05 PM   #6
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I'm gonna move this from General Discussions to "Europe: Western" in the "Where are you going?" forum, okey koke! :D
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:49 AM   #7
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Lauren: thanks for moving the thread.

Legitikick: After reading about it and looking at Switzerland, I knew I had to check it out. It sounds amazing. As far as Germany goes, I'll look around at some cities that I might want to go to Rothenburg and Munich. I could then take a train from Munich into Switzerland.

How much do you think this whole trip will cost? I already have a backpack, passport, and a lot of stuff from my other trip. I'm thinking the plane tickets will cost $937 if I go with the Ireland option and then use ryanair flights. Eurail pass will probably cost $700-$800 dollars depending on the option I choose. I was thinking about doing the 15 days in 2 months pass and then buy any cheaper tickets along the way. I'm trying to budget around $75/day. Obviously some places will be more expensive than others. This will work out to be about $2100-$2200 for everything else. This would mean my trip would cost approximately $4,000, but probably a little bit more. Does this sound realistic? Yes, I did factor the shitty exchange rate into my plans, so things could change a little bit. I spent about $1200 in Ireland 2 years ago for 2 weeks and I'm pretty sure Ireland is a country that is more on the expensive side.
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Old 02-26-2008, 02:41 PM   #8
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Where do you guys sign up so that the airline notifies you that the prices are changing? I want to buy my ticket soon, but I'm waiting to hear about a grad school fellowship before I buy. I'm hoping that I won't have to do any orientation stuff for grad school until the end of the summer. Then again, I don't want to get stuck with a more expensive plane ticket because I waited too long.
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Old 02-26-2008, 02:50 PM   #9
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Plane tickets can and do change continuously, based on how many tickets are left on a flight and the time before the flight as well as other factors. The airlines spend a lot of money programming their systems to ensure tickets get booked at the highest price they can get based on all these factors of demand, so there is no way to be notified of rate changes. They can even vary based on who you're booking through for the same ticket. The only way to guarantee your price is to book it.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:40 PM   #10
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If you look around on the airline homepage, you can usually find a link to deal alerts. Travelocity and the other major travel websites have it, too. Before I shell out $$$$ on airfares, I usually spend a few days/weeks getting accustomed to the routes, compulsively looking up prices for surrounding dates, etc. Then I generally go to an STA office and tell them what I've found. Almost every time they've found me a better price, even after all that work on my part (Or perhaps because of it...). I flew from the Texas to W.Europe (Amsterdam) last year for $500 inc. tax...

Just a thought on flying into a place you aren't all that into re-visiting for cheaper flights... Have you factored in the cost of staying in Dublin in your ticket price? I had a friend who recently went to UK, France and Portugal, flying into London and out of Paris, even though Portugal was the last on the itinerary. Between flying back to Paris, getting back to the city, staying there for one night, she'd actually not saved much money at all and had caused herself unnecessary complications.

The other thing is, since you're going at the height of the season, you'll need to hurry up and book or the prices are just going to skyrocket. I really doubt there will be any drops in price from now to then.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offhegoes03 View Post
Lauren: thanks for moving the thread.

Legitikick: After reading about it and looking at Switzerland, I knew I had to check it out. It sounds amazing. As far as Germany goes, I'll look around at some cities that I might want to go to Rothenburg and Munich. I could then take a train from Munich into Switzerland.

How much do you think this whole trip will cost? I already have a backpack, passport, and a lot of stuff from my other trip. I'm thinking the plane tickets will cost $937 if I go with the Ireland option and then use ryanair flights. Eurail pass will probably cost $700-$800 dollars depending on the option I choose. I was thinking about doing the 15 days in 2 months pass and then buy any cheaper tickets along the way. I'm trying to budget around $75/day. Obviously some places will be more expensive than others. This will work out to be about $2100-$2200 for everything else. This would mean my trip would cost approximately $4,000, but probably a little bit more. Does this sound realistic? Yes, I did factor the shitty exchange rate into my plans, so things could change a little bit. I spent about $1200 in Ireland 2 years ago for 2 weeks and I'm pretty sure Ireland is a country that is more on the expensive side.
I'm so sorry for the delay. I've been . . . well, its a long story, and I'm about to make another post about that. But anyways, here I go . . .

$75/day spending cash not including transportation will be plenty, more than enough if your sorta frugal. That's enough to live well, see all the sights, etc. Of course you could spend much more or much less. I don't know too much about train prices because I didn't take the train much, only short distances or to special (expensive) events like Oktoberfest, etc. I never had a Eurail pass. Keep in mind that Ryan Air isn't always a good deal when you have to pay for transportation to/from those remote airports, and the hassle. Also their baggage policy recently changed, I've heard that they charge extra for even one bag now. I think $4000 is more than enough.
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Old 02-27-2008, 03:15 AM   #12
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Cool, thanks for the advice so far. I knew there was something along the lines of deal alerts on some travel sites. I thought there might be some hassle with ryanair, so I'm thinking I'll do some more research, but I might just fly into Barcelona. Looks like I better get moving soon or the ticket prices will go up. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:48 AM   #13
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Last year I waited until sometime in April to buy my airline tickets from Philly to London. I checked Orbitz basically everyday and once in awhile it would drop. It finally hit like $700 so I grabbed them (they were hovering around $1000) before that. So you still have some time left
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Old 02-27-2008, 02:12 PM   #14
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Alright, I'm looking on Orbitz and it looks like the cheapest flight for Barcelona is $1131. Does that sound like a typical flight to Europe for peak season? I'm trying to fly out in the middle of a week in June (June 11th) and fly back July 9th. I can wait a little bit, but I'd hate to see the price jump even more. Thanks guys, I didn't take care of the tickets last time, so I don't want to wait too long.
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Old 02-27-2008, 05:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offhegoes03 View Post
Alright, I'm looking on Orbitz and it looks like the cheapest flight for Barcelona is $1131. Does that sound like a typical flight to Europe for peak season?
It's probably so high because of the connections. I think you're on the right path by finding the cheapest transatlantic fare, then using Ryanair, Easyjet, or some other lowcost carrier to get you to where you really want to go...

Go to all the transatlantic carriers, I recommend (both foreign and domestic). Sign up for their e-savers alerts, where they e-mail you daily, weekly, whatever, with their sales. I get about a half dozen a day. That'll give you some ideas...

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Old 03-09-2008, 04:38 PM   #16
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Thanks guys for all of your help. Well, I've kind of changed my mind as far as what I'll be doing this summer... I was looking for hostels for trips to grad school and I decided to start looking up other hostels in cities that I've always wanted to visit here in the US. I've started planning a month long road trip that will take me out to Cali and then back. Once again, thanks for all the help with the Europe stuff, but I'm now planning on doing this roadtrip this summer. I will definitely keep you guys updated with things as my itinerary progresses.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:55 PM   #17
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If I were you, I would buy your flights or anything that is quoted in Euro's now since the dollar sucks ass. Obvoiusly if it is an American Airlines, it won't matter much... just a thought.

I was in Interlaken for 4 days and it was amazing. Stay at Balmers for a good old american experience but bring lots of cash. There is a hostel in GImmenwald I heard about that has a huge hot tub that overlooks the Alps. I saw pics and if I remember the name, i will get it to ya.


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Old 03-30-2008, 06:11 PM   #18
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the only thing i can recommend is getting out of Dublin as much as possible, its only a three hour bus ride from the Dublin airport to Galway city and its well worth it.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:05 PM   #19
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I posted a couple posts back that I had changed my mind and was going to be doing a roadtrip in the US this summer. I just got an e-mail from Orbitz announcing a pretty low price ticket to Barcelona ($814), so I just booked it. I will be flying out of the country on June 10th and will be in Europe until July 9th. I am so excited right now for this trip! I will be sure to start asking more questions and start planning some of the details.
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