i and my sister are travelling to europe for the first time at the end of this year (end of nov and december)- very exciting! So we were looking for any tips for our trip. We've heard the trains are great, and being a member of a hostel is good. We are going to go to Switzerland (any good suggestions for a place to visit for a few days) and paris, london and italy. Any ideas would be great-also as to how much time should be spent at these places. Thanks
What to see depends on how long you're travelling. Some general remarks:
- trains are a good option, especially in Switzerland they're fun. Look into buying a EUrail pass, it's probably cheaper than loose tickets, but bear in mind that there are other discount possibilities as well. Else, Eurolines (bus transport) is an acceptable way to travel longer hauls. Flying should always be the dispreferred option when travelling intracontinentally, but especially in Europe, ground transportation wins on all counts (money, time, reliability, environment).
- make sure to take an international student card with you, or at least a card of your own university. It gets you very good deals in museums, (opera) theatres, exhibitions, etc. Especially Germany is good for discounts
- book your hostels in advance whenever possible. If you travel peak season (which december is), lodging fills up quickly, especially in places like Florence, Amsterdam, Barcelona. Avoid non-branched lodging, since it is usually a rip-off. No big deal, but it could spoil your fun.
- in the eternal backpack-suitcase debate, I'd recommend opting for a backpack :-)
- cooking your own meals is a huge money-saver, so look for hostels with kitchen facilities
- stay in the cities; you can do the countryside when you have more time. Because of the season, I'd start out south; northern-european cities like Amsterdam, London and Cologne still are nice places when it rains, but maybe Barcelona, Rome, Madrid and Florence will give more satisfaction :-)
Benti's got it pretty much covered, but I would disagree on one minor point - flying can be ok (and sometimes cheaper) if you don't mind skipping out bits. Do a google search for Ryanair and Easyjet and see if anything appeals.