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Old 08-13-2004, 04:54 AM   #1
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I am going to Western Europe for a month. Should I make reservations at hostels online or just find them when I get there? I'm just scared that they will be expensive when I get there. What's the best advice for timeliness and cheapness at the same time.

London 5 nights
Amsterdam 4 nights
Paris 5 nights
Venice 1 night
Florence or Milan (which one)? 1 night
Rome 3 nights
Barcelona 1 night
Madrid 5 nights

Help???
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Old 08-13-2004, 05:17 AM   #2
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the general advise is to boo your first 2- 3 nights, that way when u arrive u dont have to worry about finding a place to sleep when your all jetlagged.
If its the busy season u will want to book in advance esp if there are big events on at the time (eg pamplona, olympic games)
other than that u should be able to get away with booking a place the night before (use the internet)
so that u can still keep some flexibility in your plans.
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:21 AM   #3
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Like the previous post mentioned, depending on when you go will determine if it is better to book ahead or just show up. I would say a city like Florence or Venice you should book ahead because they don't offer too many hostels. Also, why only one night in Barcelona? There is so much to do in the city and I think you would enjoy it more adding a couple days there and subtracting a couple from Madrid. Madrid is a cool city, but very modern, while Barcelona still retains more of it's past.

If you don't like to smoke, you might want to cut a night off of Amsterdam as well. I love the place, but a lot of people hate it. Three nights is enough to take in most of the famous sites.
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:41 AM   #4
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Am planning on going September 24th - October 24th.
The reason why I wanted to stay inMadrid a little longer is because I wanted to try to go to Morocco for a day or two. Do you think that is possible or is it crunching it? So how many days do you think are sufficient in Barcelona?
And between Vennice, Milan and Florence, which two should I see? And how long should I give myself?
As for Amsterdam, I smoke, but if that's really all there is to offer there than maybe I should cut the trip to 3 days. Let me know.
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:42 AM   #5
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And also, I am going for a month. Do you think I need one of those crazy expensive, huge backpacks? Or do you think I can do with a rolling one from K Mart? This might be a stupid question but I have no idea. When I travel, I usually over pack with make up, clothes and accesorries. So this is all new to me. Thanks.
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:58 AM   #6
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the backpack suitcase question normally depends on how much time u expect to be walking with your luggage.
according to you itternerary u need to pack and move 8 times, the question is how far do u need to walk with your stuff? if its a matter of hailing a taxi, or popping onto the bus out the front of the hostel than u can probably get away with a suitcase, if its a 2hr trek up hills or cobbled streets each time, u will prefer a pack.
u could try getting a cheap second hand pack from a disposal store or so, or depending on how much gear u have, u might be able to get away with a large sports bag, if u dont want to splash out on a pack.
hope that helps

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Old 08-15-2004, 08:36 AM   #7
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I would suggest two-three nights for Barcelona. I did hit up all of the key sights in one day, so if you have other places to be then maybe the two night idea is for you. But there is certainly enough to do in the town for three nights if you want to stay that long.

If you want to shorten the distance from Madrid to Morocco, you could stay a day in Sevilla. This is an excellent town and very different from Madrid and Barcelona.

Between the three cities in Italy you mention, I would choose Venica and Florence. I have not been to Milan, but have not heard too many good things about it. Venice is a city unlike any other in the world and Florence is very nice (not too big). I would say two nights in each is good enough.

As for Amsterdam, there is more to do than smoke, but I ran out of things to do there last time when I spent four days there. I used to live near there and know of most things you can do. Within the three nights you could cover things like Heineken Museum, Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, canal ride, and a day trip to Utrecht or Haarlem.
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:36 PM   #8
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Well I already booked my hostel for Amsterdam. So I guess 4 night it is.
Do you suggest any cool, cheap hostels to stay in Venice, Rome, Barcelona and Madrid?
I think we have a place to stay in London and Paris. But I don't know yet.
Do you also know if it's expensive to get to Morroco. I would love to check it out for a night or two.
And many days are sufficient for the city if Madrid?
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Old 08-16-2004, 06:10 PM   #9
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For Barcelona, a good hostel is BCN Backpacker's Hostel. It it a small hostel and you will know everyone by the end of your stay. Very friendly help also. It is located right near a metro stop and is not too far out of the center of town if you want to walk. It does fill up fast so book ahead for that one. It is a little more than some of the other hostels, but there are a quite of bit bad cheap ones.

I only stayed at one in Madrid, Ole International Youth Hostel, and it was not very good. Crammed and hot, and rude help. I have mostly stayed at hostals instead of hostels in Madrid. I believe it does not cost too much to take the ferry to Morroco, and Morroco is very cheap.

For Madrid, three nights is good, and a couple extra if you want to take days trips to Toledo or Segovia. Try to get to Madrid for a weekend to experience the night life there.

Can't help you with the other towns as I was in hotels for those.
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Old 08-16-2004, 07:46 PM   #10
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hey there, I just returned from Spain and Morocco. I don't mean to outright discourage going to Morocco, but if your entire trip is only a month, it really would not be worth it to only have day or so there. My trip was over two months and I ended up having only six days in Morocco and was really frustrated because I barely got to see anything. Tangier is not really "Morocco"; it is just a big city. If you only have a day or two, you would likely not even be able to get out of Tangier and see any other place because of the country's infrastructure. Getting anywhere takes forever; I went to this nearby place that would have taken less than an hour to get to had there been a highway, but it took over four hours. Plus, you would need to get to either Algeciras or Tarifa in Spain where the ports are to take the ferry, which costs about 26 euro. Both of these places are about a 3 1/2 hour bus ride from Seville, so quite a hike from Madrid. Basically, if you leave in the morning from Seville, you will not be in Morocco until late afternoon/evening, and so it takes basically a day to get there. Plus coming back from Morocco you lose two hours because Spain is two hours ahead of Morocco, so it takes a day to come back. Anyway, food for thought. I loved the country, the tiny bit I got to see. I definitely left thinking that I need a good couple weeks to see it! If I were you, I would spend more time in Spain and get to Morocco when I had more time....Seville is wonderful, as well as Granada....there are so many wonderful places in Spain! Or you could quick head into Portugal and hit up Lisbon.....let me know if you have more specific questions.

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Old 08-31-2004, 05:10 PM   #11
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The time period you will be going shouldnt be too crowded so I would reccomend winging it, or booking the night before you get there. Much more freedom that way and everyone I know who has booked everything in advance has regretted it. Morrocco can definitely eat up some time, so unless there are other things in the area you care about (like Gibralter for me) I would say dont bother with the little time you have. Definitely subtract from Madrid and add to Barcelona.
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Old 09-02-2004, 01:47 AM   #12
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Do you think I should stay in Barcelona two days and then stay in Madrid for 4 days and maybe wander off to a nearby city (any suggestions). Or subtract a day from Madrid and add to Barcelona and don't bother with the nearby city?
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Old 09-02-2004, 09:46 AM   #13
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Barcelona! Barcelona! Barcelona!

Ok, I'm biased because I freakin' wanna live there, but given a choice between more time there or Madrid, I'd pick the one by the ocean!
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Old 09-02-2004, 09:22 PM   #14
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If you want to add another day to Barcelona and subtract a day from Madrid I don't think you will regret it. I like Madrid, but honestly there are more things to see and do in Barcelona. Now if you do want to take day trips, Madrid offers more close by than Barcelona, but make sure Toledo and the other nearby cities are ones that you really want to see.

If I was in your shoes, I might do three nights in each and you could still probably do a day trip to Toledo one of those days in Madrid. While Madrid does offer some nice museums and a couple of other worthwile sites, it really comes alive at night. Two days will allow you to see most of the important sites and then you can do your day trip. As long as you are back for the night life in Madrid, that is what is important!
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Old 09-03-2004, 05:14 PM   #15
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My goodness! Let's not get so specific with numbers of days and such.

I'm not sure how much of an issue convenience is for you but I say just figure it out when you get there!!!

Are you traveling in a group?

P.S: Do NOT overpack with clothes and accessories. You'll just burden yourself. Embrace your inner hippie and just GO with it! I did 6 months of travel rotating the same 3 shirts and two pairs of pants! It's a character building experience

just take plenty of undies.
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Old 09-05-2004, 06:39 AM   #16
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My problem is that I am a "planner" and I am really anal about it. I figure I only have one month there and I want to see as much as I can and make sure I get the right amount of days in there. I tried to go there with just winging it. But I can't. Hopefully I won't regret it while I am there. But I figure I won't be going back there any time soon since I have further plans for other continents, so I want to make the most of it. Do you think I am making a mistake?
I will be packing light. That's for sure.
Any suggestions for hostels in Rome, Barcelona and Madrid?

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Old 09-06-2004, 09:45 AM   #17
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Hi,

I think your idea of splitting time between Barcelona and Madrid is a good one. I think one, two days at most, is enough to see the sights in the capital city. However, there are tons of great day trips out of there. My favorite was Segovia, followed by Toledo.

You'll find Barcelona an extremely expensive city, hostel wise, I think. It's great, though, and people are much more likely to speak English (if you don't speak Spanish) there than Madrid. In Madrid, they try to pretend that pilgrims and tourists haven't been coming there for thousands of years, and that EVERYONE speaks Spanish...

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