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One Month in Europe

Travel Forums Europe One Month in Europe

1. Posted by mikeprosg (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Hi I'm going to travel Europe over my college winter break (roughly a month) but i have never been. I was thinking of going to Amsterdam-->Berlin-->Prague-->Vienna-->Zurich-->Paris, is it too much for just one month? Thanks!

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Yes, it is a bit too much. With 5 days per city it is basically ok, but the whole trip would be so much better if you visited more than just the capitals. Winter break just screams for some snow fun in the Alps.

It is as if a European would go Ottawa - Washington - Mexico City - Santo Domingo in a period of 20 days. That is no way to enjoy a continent!

What are you particularly interested in? And when is your winter break? March or December?

[ Edit: Edited on May 19, 2008, at 4:49 PM by t_maia ]

3. Posted by Mikkimac (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Unless you are an experienced International traveler, and speak several languages well enough to ask for help, directions, etc., you are in for a culture shock. Even going to Great Britain was a culture shock for me.

Pick one or two countries that are in your area of interest and stick with them. Have you seen or heard of Rick Steves, and his PBS programs, Travels Thru Europe, or Europe Thru The Back Door? He can help you avoid the tourist traps. Head to your local library and get some travel books on where you plan on going.

He has some excellent ideas and suggestions on how to travel cheaply as possible. Remember the US dollar is weak and the Euro will cost you about $1.50 US for each 1 Euro, were you going now. Airfare is cheaper from Nov thru March and there are cut-off dates when travel will apply, especially if it is a USA holiday.

You should talk with experienced travelers and ask for their suggestions and ideas. Plan on buying your ticket 3 to 4 weeks before departure, and apply for a passport now, not a month before you go. Be sure to take out travel insurance when you buy your ticket. If you wake up ill the morning of departure, you lose the cost of your plane ticket as most are nonrefundable, non-exchangeable.

Don't buy a bunch of junkie trinkets to bring home. Years from now you'll end up tossing them out. Find one or two things and ship them home. There are UPS and post office rates that are costly but reliable and insure them if you ship or mail them home. Make sure there is someone at home to accept delivery and sign for them.

Pack lightly, pack for the climate. Buy clothes that are wrinkle proof and you can hand wash and dry over night. Laundromats over there are expensive.

Vist France and Italy, or France and Germany. Buy a Eurail pass BEFORE you go, as train travel is cheapest way to travel. Also orient yourself with the city subway as taxi's are expensive and bus routes are not always easy to use.

You might also consider renting a bike, as many students use them for transportation. You might find you can rent one in one area of the city where you are staying and can drop it off at the train station when you leave to head on to the next city.

Buy a GOOD pair of walking shoes/boots and break them in for 6 weeks before you leave. You will be doing a LOT of walking.

If this doesn't help you, please see an experience travel agent. There must be someone at your school who has been or is an exchange student and can help.

Don't sweat the small stuff. You will have a memory of a life time and when you are old and sitting in your rocker on the porch, you will have memories and photos, postcards to look at. If you don't go, you'll be sitting on your porch wishing you had went!

Good Luck! Have a great trip!

4. Posted by mikeprosg (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Thanks for the advice. My break runs in december and as much as i would like to say that i want to see as many museums as possible i'm 19 and traveling with a friend. as for experience, i have spent a year in argentina and backpacked around south america with the same person who i will be going with this year, but never been to europe so i'm not accustom to how to travel around there. rick steves is definitely the man and i used a lot of pbs shows to help me decide where to go. I have heard some about the Eurail pass and it seems like the the best way around europe. what im wondering about is where exactly i should go, like i said i think that it would be a must to go to the netherlands, i have family in switzerland, and i would love to go to france. since i will be there for the new year where would be a good place to be? Thanks for all the advice!

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

You got some very good advice here.

Welcome Mikkimac!

Best place to be for New Years is IMO Berlin Brandenburg Gate. (It is similar to Times Square in NYC.)

Try to hit the Christmas markets in Germany, Switzerland or Austria just before Dec 24th. I can especially recommend the one in Salzburg.

In Switzerland Bern is nicer than Zurich, so unless your relatives live in Zurich head to Bern.

It is hard to say whether Eurail is a good deal, it would take some math to work that out compared to all options of transport. Rick Steves is an idiot - he always compares to regular train ticket prices but completely ignores special discounts and neglects bus and flight tickets.

What museums are you interested in? Art? History?

If it is art I would go Vienna - Venice - Florence - Switzerland.

[ Edit: Edited on May 19, 2008, at 10:39 PM by t_maia ]

6. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

if there are some places that you really want to go, but are kinda outta the way, consider budget airlines. sometimes you can fly plces for as little as €10... but you have to get in quickly to get a price like that! i would do some reading, find out where you really want to go, and then see about the transport - if you book some flights now youll save a shitload of money, than if you decide last minute that you want to go somewhere! i would also sometimes pay the little bit extra for a sleeper in a night train - you get the transport and accom in one and you get somewhere without wasting your day (youre sleeping at night anyway!).

for a month, you do have a tight schedule... youll be rushing around and spending alot of time in a train/in an airport. its meant to be a holiday... so take it easy!

amsterdam is good fun at NYE - at midnite ppl are at the Dam square which is packed out, but they have concerts and stuff there - and everyone sets off fireworks for ages afterwards... its like being in a warzone sometimes haha! but i had a grea ttime, the city is a smokey and lit up from the fireworks, partying in the streets... good fun :)

7. Posted by Natachat (Budding Member 5 posts) 8y

I agree, it's too much. Better to stay within one and the same country. Once I made German cities, from south to north and back, within two weeks. That was the trip! Highly recommended ))