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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 06-14-2006, 11:12 PM   #1
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First off, I'm a newbie. Never been to Europe before, never had to plan a trip before, and so on...
I've read a lot of great info on here - everyone is so helpful and courteous! Now all I can hope is that a few of you will take pity on me.

I have decided that I need to quit my job and see Europe before I settle into a career. I just graduated college, and realized that this is my best opportunity to do so, and I need to take it. I plan on working through the summer to earn some extra dough, then quit, and head off around October. I will be going with my girlfriend. We have spent some time attempting to plan this all out. After figuring funds, we are looking at somewhere near 25 days abroad. We would like to stay longer, but I can't assume that I will make the extra money to do so. That brings me to my first question:

-We are unsure as to when and how we should buy our airfare. I would hate to buy now only to earn enough money to stay longer, and be forced to leave by a certain date. The prices seem to be climbing by about $15 a week. Will prices continue to climb, or will we be safe waiting a couple months?

-We honestly expected hostels to be cheap, but some are more than hotels! Also, I figured October would be a bit cheaper as it isn't peak season, but it isn't. We would prefer private rooms but aren't against dorming part of the time. It's crazy that some dorms are $30+. What gives? Would it make more sense to not book and just wing it that time of year? I would like the freedom.

-I am a minimalist at heart. I first thought I was going to have to lug a huge backpack around, but I think I might be able to get by on a much smaller one. Anyone else in the same boat as me? I only like to take the bare necessities - just enough to get me by. I really don't want to take a huge pack and a daypack. I'm thinking a midsize pack and nothing else.


Thanks to anyone and everyone who took the time to help me out! I am open to any and all suggestions or insights. Thanks again!
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Old 06-15-2006, 12:07 AM   #2
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Hi there, welcome!

First of all, it can frequently be cheaper to stay in small hotels when traveling with one or more other people. So don't rule that out, but staying in hostels can be a lot of fun.

Second of all, prices depend entirely upon where you want to stay: $30/night for a hostel bed in London isn't outrageous. In Bratislava it's highway robbery. Dig? The bigger cities are always more expensive. It just kinda sucks that way.

Take whatever size backpack you want! There's no rule saying you must bring a particular size pack, regardless of the length of your trip. Just make sure you have what you need.

Ticket prices, well... What city are you departing from and what are the dates you're planning to go? Fall is a little less expensive than summer but it's not as cheap as winter or early spring. That's just the way it is. Also, big gateway cities like London or Amsterdam are usually going to be at least somewhat cheaper than if you fly straight into someplace like Rome or Athens.
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Old 06-15-2006, 12:27 AM   #3
 
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welcome to the boards young sir
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:00 AM   #4
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Well, you are certainly planing this which is good. Yeah as SV the fall is cheaper and it means you can make more money because you will be at home. It also depends on where you go. It sometimes might be worth going to another city to get a better deal on a flight. Whatever you do though don't skimp on what you think you will need. By all means pack as light as possible but there are things you will need-make sure you have space for them and a little extra space for stuff you might want to buy in Europe.
Enjoy Europe
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Old 06-15-2006, 08:46 AM   #5
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Everyone's pretty much got your questions answered. It's tough to determine when to book flights, because prices do fluctuate. You may want to look into flying into Dublin or London to save money, and then booking a cheap flight (Ryanair, Easyjet) to wherever your destination is.
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:37 AM   #6
 
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Hey dude welcome! Well personally I don't enjoy travelling with my GF, cause stuff tends to happen I perfer just going around with my crew case you know that if anything you can split and meet up at any point! Then again what type of travellin' are you planning on doing?
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:38 AM   #7
 
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Oh besides the gettin' laid part is not so cool when you have a your GF around, but if she is ultra cool like. . . nevermind.
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:44 AM   #8
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If you're leaving from Canada, you can wait until the end of summer to buy your plane tickets. Agencies usually offer then low airfares to either Paris, London, or Brussels for October-November. Maybe that's the same from the States, I don't know.

Regarding packing, if you're thinking of doing a lot of different cities and countries, and since you're mininalist by heart , aim for less than 30-35 lbs. Do weigh your stuff a few days before leaving, it's incredible how fast the weight increases with tiny things... You can still buy stuff abroad, or borrow from other travellers.

Where in Europe are you going ? The choice of countries will affect a lot your budget. As SV said, there is no comparison between the cost of a room in Western and in Eastern Europe. Same for food and the difference is even more considerable with transport ! And if you try smaller towns, you could find in some countries private rooms, and there, you can bargain the price and number of meals included.

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Old 06-15-2006, 11:15 AM   #9
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The story goes as far as I know - If you buy your airline tickets through orbitz, cheap tickets, etc... 3 months to the day before you want to leave, the rates can be 30-40% less. Worked for me this summer. I bought my ticks to A - dam like that. I watched Orbitz for a month prior to buying, the ticks were very high. On the day I bought them, the price dropped from $1200. to $730. per tick. the time frame is e.t. 12 midnight to 5:00 a.m.. Apparently the airlines issue ticks to the travel sights 3 months in advance, and then they are nice for about 5 hours, and then jack the rate up. Good Luck. Def. look for the bigger cities to fly into
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Old 06-15-2006, 01:17 PM   #10
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Thanks for all your help, everyone. I live in Los Angeles, and will be flying into Heathrow. So far ticket prices are around $750 - not too horrible. Unfortunately for my bank account, we plan on staying more on the western side: London, Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, then back to London. Anyone been in those parts around October? I'm curious what it's like - weather, etc. Can I get away with not booking all my hostels/ hotels around that time of year?
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:57 PM   #11
 
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http://www.concierge.com/destination/europe?mbid=google Enjoy! :greenguy:
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Old 06-16-2006, 04:35 PM   #12
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Switzerland is expensive. So is Paris. Book your hostels in advance and have a great time!
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