I am going to europe for 2 months on march 1. I am traveling with a eurail global pass and plan on taking 2 bags. I luggage and one llbean travel pack.
1. Luggage- narrowed it down to 3, are these too big or can I manage?
2. I am planning out an itinerary right now, should I book the hostels and eurails before I leave or while I am there?
3. How are hostel stays, is it safe and nice in March-April?
4. Getting from Italy to Greece sounds like a pain, should I do a tour of greece?
My budget is $8,000 is that enough for 2 months
1. Only one of the URLs work and the roller case it was advertising had 7000 cubic inches of space which is nearly 115L. I got by this summer backpacking in Italy with a 45L pack for two months. That thing is way too large.
2. If you're getting a Eurail pass you must get one before you even head overseas. I'd only book hostels for your first few nights in Europe. You can and should book the rest while you're there. You don't want to get caught in a tight schedule so I'd advise that you give yourself an 'open' itinerary. Don't try to be too precise, it never pans out the way you plan.
3. It'll still be nippy in the north but milder to the south. For me, this is great weather. You won't run into as many crowds as you would in the summer. If you book hostels through sites such as hostelworld check the customer reviews. They are a great measuring stick of how good a hostel really is. As long as you keep aware, safety should be no problem in most places.
4. Personally, I consider Greece a "must". If you make a list of places to be in Greece, Mykonos and Santorini should be on the list. There are plenty of ferry connections between Italy and Greece. Most people depart from Bari (Largest city in Southern Italy) and Brindisi is also a well used port (Not ideal for sightseeing though).
$8000 is more than enough for two months. Safe travels!
So a 29" would be too large? I am a guy and lift weights, ect and am in shape...i know its still sucks to carry but I can do it. I have never really packed for myself and looking online it seems like 29" is like 2 and 1/2 feet. Does not seem too high. I am looking at the Samsonite X'ion 29" Upright Spinner. If you can google that you can get a picture. It has 4 wheels. What do you guys think?
Alright, so I am kind of afraid of eurail and not knowing anything. I purchased europe by eurail 2008, let's go europe, bunch of AAA books, Rick Steve's best of europe, art & history 101, and europe on a shoestring. But what happens if its late at night and I cant figure out where to go and no knows english? How can I make reservations if no one knows english? If I took a tour these things I would not worry about but if I am in Italy and miss my train to Bari or in greece and miss my ferry it is going to stink!
So If I stay in Paris, should I make my train reservation a day or two before to go to spain? What number do I call or is it better to do it online.
How safe are hostels? I mean can I leave my bag with passport there and go out at night with a few bucks in my pocket? I am planning to bring TSA locks, masterlocks, and maybe buy a wallet with a chain that connects to my belt. I am purchasing a LL Bean Quickload Travel Bag but I can not take that with me out to a club/bar. I am just kind of confused as what to do.
Hostel Bookings..i should know the best hostels to go to. When arriving i will most likely have to take a taxi to the hostel...do most taxi drivers speak some english, or should I have the address written down and just point to it? Thanks all.
Everyone has their own preference with luggage. I pack little because I only take along essentials. Although I am quite muscular and could easily carry a large load, the stealth I get with a smaller pack is worth leaving behind an extra pair of jeans or shoes. If there's something you don't really need, leave it. However, some people can't be swayed such as those females who refuse to travel without a dozen pairs of shoes. Naturally they'll need a large suitcase (Last summer I remember helping out quite a few girls @ train stations and hostels with their iron-heavy cases ) If you don't mind carrying your luggage then that's fine. You just might regret it when you're at the bottom looking up at 750 steps that you have to climb lol.
For the most part, making reservations at hostels are done online on sites such as hostelworld or hostelbookers. You can choose to contact hostels directly as well. As they are businesses that cater to tourists, most will have staff who are english speaking. If you book hostels a couple days ahead of time there shouldn't be any problems with having a place to go. If you end up in a city with no place to stay, the first place to go is to the tourist center (Signs are plentiful throughout Europe and almost all cities have one) or you can attempt to book @ a internet cafe. It's best to be punctual if you don't want to miss your train or ferry. Even if you do, just remember that it's not the end of the world. You'll just have to adjust your plans a little. This past summer I mistimed my trip from Perugia to Brindisi badly + I had nothing booked. This all happened because I had too much of a good time in Perugia and ignored my responsibilities. First off I was 2 hours late for my train and it was about a 10 hour trip to Brindisi. When I finally get on the train, it overheats right before Ancona so I'm stuck there for another 90 minutes. It's about 6 PM when I get to Ancona and I still have 8 more hours till my destination so I attempt to book a room in Ancona (Unsuccessful) so I went as far as I could go (Pescara) since there were no trains running to Brindisi till the next morning. I spent the night hanging out @ a cafe in downtown Pescara talking with locals till 2AM. Afterwards, I slept on a train platform till 4AM when my train arrived. I still had to sit through a 7 hour ride afterwards (I couldn't sleep at all) and was miserable for the rest of the day (It was 105 F in Brindisi).... Hmmm, I got a bit off topic with my story lol but it serves as an example of what you may go through if you don't manage your time well although if I could go back in time, I wouldn't have changed anything. Nothing at all
Train reservations are done @ the actual train stations. When you purchase a eurail pass they will also send you a map of all the routes/countries they cover as well as a timetable. Use this timetable to determine which trains you want to catch and plan your trip accordingly. During summer in popular cities, it may take up to 45 minutes or more (waiting in lines) to get a reservation so if you want to take a train that leaves @ 11 AM, get there about 90 min early at the least (If you need a reservation)
Good hostels will always have somewhere to store valuables. Having locks is a must; bring a few. If there aren't lockers available in your room there is likely a safe at reception. Stay away from hostels that provide you with NO safe place to store your things. This is why reading up on hostels is important as some of them mislead or simply lie about the information they post. Like you said, you don't want to be carrying all your important stuff with you when you're trying to go to a discotheque! I usually bring along a little spending cash and a COPY of my passport just in case. Everything else I lock up @ the hostel. Oh, you should take a look into purchasing a money belt. They're quite handy! Visit the travel gear forum as I see a few questions here that apply to travel gear.
Once you book a hostel they'll give you directions (write them down or print out). Usually it'll be just a bus/metro ride away from the train station + a short walk. If you have extra cash, take a taxi but it's sooo much cheaper using public transportation.
You don't have long till you leave, only a little over a month. Do as much research as possible. The questions you've asked are usually asked at least a few months in advance so you're short on time. I don't mind though. I'm sure you'll be fine
Don't forget that there are a ton of cheap airlines in Europe. You could fly from Italy to Greece and save a lot of time (and probably money too). I would check out www.harefares.com as they let you choose multiple origin and destination airports and then show you all the airlines that fly those routes. Good luck!