Yes, it depends on what you like of course. And also on the kind of person you will be staying with. Some might have their own life and just give you a key or tell you a time when they will be around or something, others might just ask you to come along with him/her and leave it up to you and you will probably have the type that wants to be the perfect host and drag you around the city all the time
Well, I normally prefer hotel/apartment over shared accommodation as well, just do my own thing at my own time but I do think it is an ideal solution if you really want to go to a certain city but just can not afford spending on expensive accommodation all the time. And also when you want to stay in smaller cities where you can´t find a lot of regular accommodation.
Yay! Another independent Viet girl travelling around Europe
I think October is a good time to go - not as expensive as in the summer. I was in Rome and the locals said October is the best time to visit - not too hot/cold & less crowded (although I was there in the winter and still very full of people everywhere).
I agree with the previous poster - you definitely should visit Florence, especially if you're interested in art. Not as exciting for nightlife but beautiful art.
London is another fantastic city - nightlife and art!
I'm planning a similar trip this Aug/Sept (haven't decided yet). I also have around 3 weeks and I'm also looking into travelling by train. I found this site: www.seat61.com - fantastic site for comprehensive information about train travel around Europe. I'm using this site & a book to help me plan my route. I'm looking into London, Brussels & Bruges, Amsterdam, Luxemburg, Prague, Budapest, Vienna & Salzburg and possibly Paris. I'm afraid I will also have to narrow down & reduce the number of cities I want to visit. I'm not sure about travelling in Austria/Czech Rep./Hungary as a solo Asian female so I'm going to do more research - there were accounts of racism/attacks towards visible minorities and I'm just trying to decide if it's safe for me or not.
I think your budget of $2000 USD is fine if you don't include flight ticket to get to Europe. I'm hoping to travel for as little as possible and I'll let you know if I find any good deals. Sorry I don't know about the visa but good luck with the research.
[ Edit: Edited on 27-Apr-2009, at 15:55 by canadiank ]
OHannemarie, I just signed up for the CouchSurfing site. It is very helpful so far. There are many good tips on how to travel alone as a woman. I'm planning to get to know the site and the ppl up there a little better before deciding if I should do it or not. It definitely sounds fun, for sure. But like you said, it also sounds risky.
I will add Holland to my list. Don't want to miss the beautiful tulips country with all the nice ppl like you guys.
Canadiank, are you Vietnamese too? I feel very motivated to know someone is doing the same things with me at this moment. Making travel plans is very frustrating sometime... No wonder ppl pays a lot of money to go on tours.
Do you guys know what should I put down for the addresses or can I leave them blank? I'm applying for UK, Ireland, and Schengen visa. That means, 3 addresses...
Would you carry all the cash with you, or wire it to the local bank and take it out whenever you need?
Thank you all for your advices.
As long as your US bank is part of the worldwide ATM pool, you can withdraw cash from any European ATM as and when you need it. Call your bank to verify that they are an ATM pool member (I'd be surprised if they weren't).
Avoid withdrawing cash using a credit card though because these incur quite high bank charges.
Nice that you signed up! And a good idea to hang around the site for a little before you go ahead and decide to use it. If you use it do let us know afterwards how it was because I recommend this to more people and am curious if it is as fun as I have heard so far and if you felt safe or not.
I would never ever take all my cash with me if I were you. Especially when you are travelling around so much. Actually when you go into the bigger cities take the least amount possible so that IF something happens you don´t loose all your money.. I don´t want to scare you because the chance that something happens is really small but especially in the bigger cities you have to watch your stuff.
Great that you added Holland to the list, unfortunately the tulips will not be around in october.. you might be able to find them in shops but the flowerfields are around now and not in autumn. Bring an umbrella with you if you go there, Dutch weather can be windy and wet around that time of the year (or actually, can be like that all the time in Holland ) but if you are lucky you will catch the last sunny days before autumn really kicks in.
Of course you should go to Amsterdam, check out the red light district (just don´t go into the small alleys and you´ll be fine, lot of people around anyway), the dam, the anne frank museum, the Jordaan district, the Waterlooplein market and the canals.
If you have enough time you could also check out the smaller villages like Volendam or the beautiful small cities like Leiden, Delft and Haarlem.
If you are into modern architecture you can go to Rotterdam since this city was bombed during WW II and completely rebuild afterwards, the maritime museum here is worth a visit as well.
These cities are all pretty close to each other, never more then 45 min by train, and if you go outside the cities for a bit (maybe do it the Dutch way and rent a bike?) you can see the stretched fields and windmills.
Which European countries are you thinking of going to?? There are many.
To give you a better idea on what things cost:
The ultimate minimum budget for travelling around Europe is 50 EUR per day and person. This is the amount visa officials will ask for when you apply for your Schengen visa. (Yes, they will want bank statements!)
This breaks down to:
15-30 EUR for a hostel bed in a dorm
5-15 EUR per day for food (buying everything at the supermarket, no eating out at all)
10-20 EUR per day for transport
So 50 EUR per day are enough so that you do not have to beg for food or sleep on the sidewalk.
With your 75 EUR per day you'll have about 25 EUR per day to spent on fun things to do. You can use them to go out, pay for entry to a museum or get yourself a single room at a hostel. Your budget should be ok as long as you do not stay in hotels and do not eat out more than once or twice a week. ("Eating out" includes going to McDonalds and other fast food chains, it is much cheaper and healthier to make yourself sandwiches than to eat pizza or burger.)
Some more prices: Entry to big museums is usually around 10 EUR and a day pass for local inner-city transport is between 5 and 15 EUR. Going out to a club with drinks can easily be 50 EUR. Tickets to the movies in English range from 5-15 EUR. A meal in a cheap local restaurant starts at 15 EUR, for a meal in a medium-priced restaurant with drinks and dessert expect to pay around 30 EUR.
Apart from the Eurail Global Youth pass take a look at the Eurolines bus pass. The Eurolines pass is cheaper than the Eurail pass and can be a good idea if you only want to visit the big cities.
Hope this was helpful.
P.S.: If you crave some real Vietnamese food come to Berlin. Berlin has some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in all of Europe.
[ Edit: Edited on 29-Apr-2009, at 13:21 by t_maia ]
A hostel in (for example) Paris will cost you around €30 a night, just for a matress. A hostel in Sofia with breakfast and dinner will cost you around 1/2 that. Different countries, different prices by a mile.
The continent of Europe is more diverse, at times, than Africa.