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Europe trip to celebrate my quarter of a century birthday

Travel Forums Europe Europe trip to celebrate my quarter of a century birthday

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1. Posted by Nera84 (Inactive 6 posts) 7y

I'm planning to celebrate my quarter of a century birthday with a Europe trip in October, 2009. (Or should I pick a different time to save money?)

Don't have much preference at this point beside one advice that I should get the Eurail Global Youth Pass. Any other suggestion would be greatly appreciated. :)

I'm Vietnamese nationality, and live in the US with green card. What type of visa should I get in order to travel to Europe?

I have been to Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, HongKong, Puerto Vallarta, and lived in Vietnam for 17 years.

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 7y

I'm 99% sure that you will need to apply for a short-stay Schengen visa on account of having the Vietnamese nationality. Your US residency afaik is irrelevant.

As to the EUrail pass, beware that it is not necessarily worth it. It depends on how much you are planning to travel, and in which countries. In eastern Europe, you will almost certainly be off cheaper if you just buy local train tickets.

As to time of travel: Europe is expensive the year round. October is the least bad period, and the weather still might be agreeable.

3. Posted by Nera84 (Inactive 6 posts) 7y

I did some research this morning about the Schengen visa. The UK and Ireland is not on the list. I really want to visit London in this trip. Also, when I looked up visa for UK, they require address in the UK and itinerary. Hmm... Should I purchase the plane ticket and book hotel before I even apply for the visa?

These are all the places I have been thinking alot about: Ireland, Dublin, Birmingham, London, Amsterdam, Brussel, Hamburg, Paris, Bordeaux, Milano, Roma, Napoli, Venice, Tuscany, Provence, Athena, Minya. I'm taking 3 weeks off work. Do you think I would be able to cover them all? If not, which ones should I eliminate? What order should I use to cover them?

Should a 24 years old girl travel alone or should I find someone to go with me. I have no problem going by myself, since I came to the us when I was 17, just that it's worried my friends a little. :)

As to the EUrail pass, beware that it is not necessarily worth it. It depends on how much you are planning to travel, and in which countries. In eastern Europe, you will almost certainly be off cheaper if you just buy local train tickets.


--->With all the places I wanted to go see, would it still not worth it? It cost around 475 for 15 days for a youth pass.

Thanks so much for your help.

4. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Hi Nera84,

bentivogli is correct in saying that you need a Schengen visa which will allow you to travel within the borders of 23 of the 25 EU member states.

But as you quite rightly pointed out, both the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen area agreement even though both countries are EU members. This is because they both used an opt-out clause in the Treaty of Amsterdam which allows countries to maintain their own border controls.

This means that you're going to have to obtain a Visa for both the UK and Ireland in addition to the Schengen Visa.

As regards travelling alone, you mentioned that you've been to a number of other Asian countries already, so I would imagine that you're an experienced traveller by now and would be able to judge people pretty well. You're not planning to visit countries like Bulgaria or Romania, so you should be OK as far as your own personal safety is concerned.

Whether you'll be able to cover them all in the 3 weeks you've planned for the trip is another matter. You've listed 16 cities which is quite a lot to see in just 21 days. If I were you, I'd miss out on Birmingham (nothing of interest there at all) and go to London. Take an Easyjet flight from there to Amsterdam (where I live) and then pick up your train again. Miss out on Hamburg which is in the North of Germany and replace it with Munich which is in the southern half and easier to reach from Amsterdam. From there, you can hop across to Paris, but skip Bordeaux (unless you've got a passion for wine). Skip Milano and go to Venice instead (you should definitely go to Venice, it's just so romantic), and from there, go to Florence (another Italian city well worth visiting but not on your itinerary) and finally to Rome. If you want to include Dublin, you could consider using that as your initial destination airport.

Forgot to include a map of the Schengen countries, so here it is: Schengen countries

Also, some Visa info which you might need: EU Visa policy

Oh, and the Youth Pass sounds like a good deal. I doubt if you would save anything by buying individual tickets.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Apr-2009, at 09:31 by Blinq ]

5. Posted by Nera84 (Inactive 6 posts) 7y

Thank you so much Bentivogli and Blinq for your help so far. I am going to apply for all the visas next week. It looks like 17 cities are wait too much for 3 weeks, lol. I'll try to squeeze down to less than 8.

Where should I stay during this trip? I know I can't afford to have the luxury of stay in hotels the whole time for sure. How much do pack pack ppl normally spend on lodging per stay?

I know EU is expensive. Would $2,000 be enough to cover all the transportations and food?

6. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Quoting Nera84

Thank you so much Bentivogli and Blinq for your help so far. I am going to apply for all the visas next week. It looks like 17 cities are wait too much for 3 weeks, lol. I'll try to squeeze down to less than 8.

Where should I stay during this trip? I know I can't afford to have the luxury of stay in hotels the whole time for sure. How much do pack pack ppl normally spend on lodging per stay?

I know EU is expensive. Would $2,000 be enough to cover all the transportations and food?

Currently, $1 = 0.759131 Euros, so $2000 is only €1518 which is only €75 a day. (I calculated 20 days rather than 21 to allow for time zone differences between the US and Europe). Deduct €25 a night for accommodation and another €30 a day for food and you'll see that you don't have much left to play with. So either reduce the amount of time you propose to stay, or increase your budget.

You can check worldwide hotel prices easily enough via Hotelscombined Fill in your destination/dates and then when the results page loads, click the "Price" column header to sort them by cheapest first.

7. Posted by OHannemari (Budding Member 44 posts) 7y

Hello Nera84

Actually I think that €75 a day is quite a good amount of money to have with you. Just don´t expect to be able to visit museums and sights (where you have to go in) all day because that will be expensive. Blinq speaks about €30 a day for food which is true if you eat out every day but I think you can keep it to around €20 average a day if you buy breakfast and lunch in the supermarket and take take away (asian / pizza / kebab etc) for diner.

As for accommodation: I think you should check for hostels instead of hotels. First of all because it is usually cheaper (around october you will be able to find hostels for around 20 euro) and second, because you meet a lot more young people in there to have fun with or travel with then in hotels.

This is one site with hostels I like, of course there is more to be found :) http://www.gomio.com

another accommodation option that is gaining more and more popularity is chouch surfing. You can contact people in the cities you are going to who have some place on the couch / aero bed / matrass in their house. Usually you stay for free, you can have cheap home-cooked diners and you will be staying with someone who knows the city and can show you around or at least give usefull information. On the website you can read reviews to see what the people are like and if they are thrustworthy.

http://www.couchsurfing.com/

The last tip that is given a lot on the forums and is indeed useful is trying to catch as many nighttrains as possible when going from city to city, it saves on accommodation and it is very nice to fall asleep in one country and wake up in another!

OHannemarie
(Oh-Holidays)

P.S. Is it a coincedence that apparently everybody answering your question is Dutch (or at least living in Holland)? Maybe it is a sign that you should not skip Holland in your initiary :)

8. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

That couchsurfing site you suggested looks like a cool idea OHannemarie. Have you had any experience of staying with somebody yourself?

9. Posted by OHannemari (Budding Member 44 posts) 7y

Hi Blinq

To be honoust, no I have not done it myself yet, but know people who have and from them (and reading on the internet etc.) I have heard mostly positive stories.
Next to the free accommodation and the possibility to cook your own food (or be cooked for) I think this is just great because you will be staying with people who actually know the city. And most of them are quite willing to show you around and take you along drinking/dancing so you will really get to the best things of the city instead of only seeing the touristy things.
I know it is quite popular in Holland (just look at the amount of couches offered) and if it was not for the fact that my house in Holland is really tiny I would offer a ´couch´ myself.
The only negative point is that unfortunately there are people in this world that use these kind of websites to abuse people´s trust. I have heard stories where someone was robbed while they were sleeping and these sort of things. So like usual as a traveller (since this happens in hostels as well) you have to keep your guard up especially if you will stay with someone who has no reviews on the website and make sure that you keep an eye on your stuff. Good thing that this website has a thight system where you can ´give someone trust´ and well.. sometimes you just have to take a little risk to have a lot of fun.

OHannemarie
(Oh-Holidays)

[ Edit: Edited on 27-Apr-2009, at 00:46 by OHannemari ]

10. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Hi OHannemarie,

Yes, I noticed they have a trust system.

I don't know really, it sounds a good idea, but I think I prefer to be independent. By that I mean that staying at someone's flat kind of ties you to that person for however long you stay with them. I kind of like wandering around on my own a lot in that respect.