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First Trip to Europe

Travel Forums Europe First Trip to Europe

1. Posted by Phobos (Budding Member 25 posts) 10y

This spring when the semester comes to a close, my friend and I are planning on taking a trip to Europe. This is the first trip out of the US for both of us. We are planning on flying into London. Then we want to go see some things in the rest of England, Scotland, maybe Wales, and we definately want to check out Amsterdam. We only plan on stayin for 2 weeks. We want to travel by train and stay in hostels. My first question is; Is it possible to visit most of the castles and sights in England and Scotland traveling by train or do we need to rent a car? My second is; How much do you think it would cost for a 2 week stay? I have 5000 skymiles through American Airlines, would this be enough for a round trip ticket to London from an airport somewhere in Pennsylvania(really any airport in PA)? I don't really know how skymiles work... Do you have any other tips that could help us out?

2. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 10y

Hey there!

first off 2 weeks is not somuch time to cover all that ground.
Ide say 2 weeks is barley enough for England and Scotland.

Is it possible to visit most of the castles and sights in England and Scotland traveling by train or do we need to rent a car?

Good question.
Yes a car is ofcourse best...but i wouldnt rent one. I live in Scotland and have been to some of the greatest Castles here but only because my girlfriend had a car. Sometimes just driving, once on the road to Oban, we saw a Castle on the coast of a loch that you could hardly even get to by foot thru the swamps.

So a train may get you to the tourist Castles like Stirling, and Edinburgh Castle, St Andrews, but the best will take a bit more effort - local buses maybe a better choice. Use the www.historicscotland.com site for this info. I cant help much with England.

How much do you think it would cost for a 2 week stay?

In the UK - very pricey compared to the USD. Ide say for 2 weeks - to enjoyurself - u need about $1000 per week - Trains are VERY expensive here.

I dont know anything about airmiles tho - sorry

3. Posted by Phobos (Budding Member 25 posts) 10y

alright thanks for the reply

4. Posted by Cbppc25 (Full Member 75 posts) 10y

You should be able to check what your skymiles are worth on the airlines website. I doubt you can do anything with 5000 though, as I think you need upwards of 20,000 - 40,000 for a free flight.

Check out ryanair, easyjet, skyeuropre, etc for flight between england and amsterdam.

5. Posted by Desiree (Inactive 157 posts) 10y

Quoting Cbppc25

You should be able to check what your skymiles are worth on the airlines website. I doubt you can do anything with 5000 though, as I think you need upwards of 20,000 - 40,000 for a free flight.

Check out ryanair, easyjet, skyeuropre, etc for flight between england and amsterdam.

or take the bus, 3 times a day from london to amsterdam ..

and the bus can be a good option in the UK, because sometimes they are almost as fast as the trains, *don't know why, but that is what I noticed* only a bit less confortable.

strange that you wouldn't recommend hiring a car, I been to scotland this summer and it frustrated me, that some castels or lakes, weren't possbile to visit by public transport and I would loved to have a car then.

6. Posted by kenner85 (Budding Member 15 posts) 10y

2 Weeks in the UK is gunna cut it fine, I think you should save up a bit more money and spend at least 4 weeks in Europe. Giving you time to spend 4 or 5 days in London, then 2 or 3 days in places like Edinburgh. Amsterdam for backpackers and young people is a real must and you should give your self at a min 2 days. When in Amsterdam, stay at the Flying Pig. Will add to the experience.

cheers

chris

7. Posted by yolandac8 (Respected Member 159 posts) 10y

2 weeks for England & Scotland is not that much, taking into account that you will spend at least 2 days in Edinburgh and 3 days in London, that makes already 5 days (minimum) and you have a total of 15. So, bare in mind your top choices, or things you want to definitely see. Then forget about amsterdam, or drop off from your list some other thing you want to see in the UK and take a day trip to Amsterdam... I am not joking, if flight fares work well, you can get a flight very early in the morning and take the last one at night. This can be a bit too much, but if you really really really want to do it...

My advice: just spend those 2 weeks in England and Scotland, and leave Amsterdam for the next time. Focus on the things you really WANT to see... do not try to see everything, or every castle. Take a rental car. It may work more expensive, but it will definitely save you time and will give you the freedom to reach places that aren't accesible with public transport.

Good luck!!!!

8. Posted by CathyMacD (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

If you only have 2 weeks and want to see some great parts of Europe,
and don't want to bother with renting a car or be restricted by taking the train, which isn't cheap, Check out taking a tour.

We've taken tours on Globus, ricksteves, and Europe Along the Scenic Routes and Europe Along Scenic Routes out does both the others hands down. The first two are too rushed, check in and out almost every day and too much time on a bus. Typical of most tours.
Europe Along the Scenic Routes was way more comfortable, the groups are small 4 - 8 people, and we were received and treated better everywhere we went because of that.
These tours are also alot more affordable (it is a Canadian company, all prices in Canadian funds) once you calculate the exchange it is about $500.00 less than a ricksteves tour. And you get alot more meals, welcome basket, free bottles of wine and Champagne. Friendly Canadian guide and we stayed at charming hotels located in the center of classic towns and villages. A far different and more personal trip than the large bus tours.
We took Tour B last year and we are taking Tour A this spring.
Check them out as an alternative.

www.alongscenicroutes. com

Catherine, in Seattle

P.S. an extra note is that as a single you have to pay a single supplement with all the companies..... Another good reason to consider Europe Along the Scenic Routes. Once you factor in the supplement it is still cheaper than the basic cost (based on Dbl occupancy) with the other tour companies. A savings of $570.00 for us in the U.S.

Catherine

9. Posted by Phobos (Budding Member 25 posts) 10y

I will have aprroximately $2000-2500 USD saved up for this trip, that has to include airfare. Is that enough money to accomplish what we want to do? How much does the bus cost that travels from London to Amsterdam cost and how long is the ride? I thought about doing a tour, but we just want to go along at our free will, but thanks for the suggestion...

10. Posted by Phobos (Budding Member 25 posts) 10y

I was also wondering if it would be worth it to buy a eurail pass if it is only for 2 weeks worth of traveling? We definately want to check out Stonehenge is it accessible by train or bus? What other sights would you recommend seeing?