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Old 05-19-2008, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default Itinerary: Version 4 (of 10?)

Hey all,
Alright, I am just going to be continually adjusting my itinerary as your fine suggestions and helpful hints keep pouring in. This is my old and extremely confusing itinerary. I have decided to try out a new mentality for planning: less is more.

Basically I plan on being in Europe for approximately 4 months and hitting approximately 10-20 countries. I would like to keep my Itinerary as free flowing as possible, so I can adjust it on the fly. However, with a departure time of mid-late July, I would like to avoid the high prices and hustle/bustle of Western Europe in peak. With that being said, I plan on camping out in Eastern Europe until the end of August or start of September, then I should be able to roam Western Europe in (relative) peace.

Step 1:
I will make my way to Toronto and fly to one of these cities as they are pretty much the cheapest flights to Europe of anywhere I would want to go.
Glasgow, Belfast, or Edinburgh ($360CAD)
Munich or Frankfurt ($480 CAD)


Questions:
1. Once I get to one of these cities, what is the best way to go East? (Plane, Bus, Rail?)

2. Should I just go to Germany because it is closer to Eastern Europe (and it is only $120 more to fly there)?

Step 2:
After 5-7 days stay in aforementioned location, relocate to Eastern Europe for 20-35 days. Countries I am interested in:
Czech Republic
Poland
Croatia
Slovakia
Hungary.... maybe?

Questions:
1. Which country should I begin my travels in? Coming from the UK or Germany? Keep in mind, I will be back in Germany in fall, when it is quieter.

2. What is the best way to get around these countries? What transportation system do I use? Eurail passes are no good here.

3. What is the food like in Eastern Europe (I am conservative, very, when it comes to food, and am a little frightened!)

Step 3:
That should take me to around September 1st. Where I plan on hitting these countries in some type of order to be decided;

YES!: Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain
HOPEFULLY YES!: Sweden, Finland, Austria, Belgium,
Maybe YES!: Morocco, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Netherlands

AKA I hope to figure this out in summer, not right now. Also some of it on the fly if possible.

Questions:
1. From what I know, Western Europe is like a nuclear reactor of activity in July and August. Will it be fairly chill in September?

2. At this point of the trip, it may be worthwhile to buy a Eurail pass?


Step 4:
Am I sick of travelling? Do I come back to Canada? Work overseas? Do I have money left (more travel?) Who knows!!!



THAT's it for my questions for now. I am going to call Airmiles tomorrow and see what dates I can get my butt to Toronto in July and then maybe book my first ticket.
Thanks a lot for the help!
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:36 PM   #2
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I won't have a ton of country specific info, but I can help out with some of the details and the more experienced members can fill in.

As for the eurail pass, that might be your best bet for when you get to Western Europe; however, it is my understanding that you cannot purchase them while in Western Europe. Your best bet is to figure out your point to point ticket costs and if a Eurail pass makes sense, make sure to buy it before you leave for the first leg of your trip. You do not have to validate this pass until 6 months after the purchase date. If you buy it 2 weeks or so before you leave, you should be fine.

I feel like someone posted something in another post about the bus system being pretty good in some of the Eastern European countries. You can always just buy your rail tickets point to point as well if the bus system isn't good.

Good luck refining the itinerary, it sounds like it'll be a fun trip.
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Old 05-19-2008, 06:51 PM   #3
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If you're coming from the UK best option is to check out the low cost carriers into Eastern Europe. Aer Lingus, Centralwings flies out of Dublin and Belfast. Wizzair flies out from UK. Ryanair of course from Ireland and UK. You get the idea. If you fly into Germany you would prob have to take the train out of the country which is mucho euros. Like for example I just looked it up on the Deutsch Bahn website...Frankfurt to Prague...80 to 100 euros. But between the exchange rate against the pound and spending a week in the UK, the flight, etc, the costs could balance out.

So if you come in from Germany you will either start in Poland or Czech. If you start in Prague you can go from there into Poland and do a little loop down thru Slovakia and into Hungary, then down to Croatia and up thru Slovakia. From there you can jump off to Austria or Italy and the rest of the west. But you might find a spectacular fare to say Warsaw and plan accordingly.

Generally best way to get around are trains. Unless its an overnighter I'd say you'll spend $20 on a ticket for each leg. Sometimes it could be more and sometimes it could be less. Ask local students or hostel reception if the bus is a better option for the next leg of your journey.

I can describe Eastern European food for you in three words: meat, potatos, beer. Nothing to be freaked out about, but you can always grab a Mickey D's, Subway, or a doner if need be.
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:11 AM   #4
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Eurail Pass should be bought before you leave, then use it starting on Stage 3 of your trip.

Any reason why you're not hitting either London or Paris? Those are two of the most famous cities in the world, main European hubs, and are beautiful in their own right. Just curious...

But I do agree, as in most cases in life, less is more...
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Old 05-20-2008, 08:01 AM   #5
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TP,
any particular reason why I should purchase the pass before I leave?

And London and Paris, several reasons why I am not hitting them; extremely expensive, very popular, everyone does them, etc. At least... in my perception .

Muchos Gracias!


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Originally Posted by travelpunk View Post
Eurail Pass should be bought before you leave, then use it starting on Stage 3 of your trip.

Any reason why you're not hitting either London or Paris? Those are two of the most famous cities in the world, main European hubs, and are beautiful in their own right. Just curious...

But I do agree, as in most cases in life, less is more...
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:15 AM   #6
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I'm pretty sure you can't buy the pass in Europe, so that's why Tony mentioned that you'd want to buy it before even leaving Canada. As I mentioned above, you can buy it and you just have to validate it within 6 months of when you bought it. Just make sure not to validate it until you hit Western Europe.
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offhegoes03 View Post
I'm pretty sure you can't buy the pass in Europe, so that's why Tony mentioned that you'd want to buy it before even leaving Canada. As I mentioned above, you can buy it and you just have to validate it within 6 months of when you bought it. Just make sure not to validate it until you hit Western Europe.
Why can't you buy the pass in Europe?
Can someone in Canada buy it for me while I am over there and then send/transfer it to me?
Seems crazy.....
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:18 PM   #8
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I think it's because the rail pass is only intended for nonresidents. So they don't sell it over there, and I doubt you can have it shipped to any countries in the EU. But since you can validate it up to 6 months from the purchase date, even if you bought it a few weeks before your trip, you'd be fine. This info is just from a bunch of research and not necessarily from experience so some of the other tpunks could probably explain it better.
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:07 PM   #9
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You can buy it in Europe but there's like a 20% markup.

Also apparently you can have it shipped to you in Europe according to eurail.com. I'm not sure if there will be the 20% markup on these...the website isn't too clear. You could call customer service.

Another thing which is kind of risky is buy the pass while you're in Europe and have it shipped to a friend or family member in Canada and have them mail it to you in Europe. But the Eurail pass is like cash, so it would be like sending $300+ in the mail.
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