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Backpacking Europe winter 2010...Help

Travel Forums Europe Backpacking Europe winter 2010...Help

1. Posted by AdamP91 (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

Hey all. Going to be backpacking Netherlands, Germany, Prague, Belgium and France with a mate, we plan to stay for roughly 2 months. This will be the first time backpacking. So really any help and or pointers would be great. Also is it easier to purches tickets for trains ect online or to do it there?

Thanks a bunch Adam.

2. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 7y

Hey Adam,

It would probably be better to purchase your tickets there, seeing that you will be in Europe during the off-season. It's pretty simple. You go to the central train station of the city you are in, get in line, and buy your ticket. Sometimes you have to reserve seats or a cabin/couchette to sleep on if it is a night train, and you do that when you buy your tickets. Try to get there early, though . . . . But trains rarely fill up during the off-season, so you can pretty much hop on and off.

Another downside to booking ahead and online is that you loose the flexibility to go where you choose, when you choose. If you happen to not really like a place, or you have a bad experience and want to leave, or if you really like a place and want to stay longer and explore more, you can't. You're chained to a schedule. And that can suck, sometimes.

HTH Fire back with any specific questions you may have. :)

Steph

3. Posted by AdamP91 (Budding Member 2 posts) 7y

Thanks Steph, that is what i was thinking also just wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do. As it will be winter do you know if the shops and towns close early due to not as much activity and what not?

Adam

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Some advice regarding train tickets:

Look at a Eurail pass and decide whether it is for you. See www.eurail.com.

Since you will be going in winter also look at a Eurolines bus pass, in off-season this pass can be significantly cheaper than the Eurail pass. www.eurolines.com

Aside from using these passes consider point-to-point-tickets. They can work out cheaper or more expensive, depending upon what you do. It will be best if you write up a rough initiary and compare.

Mix train, bus and plane for max efficiency. www.skyscanner.net is a good search engine for budget flights in Europe, www.jizdenka.cz and www.bahn.de are the sites to play around with for train fares and train schedules.

If you opt for point-to-point train tickets keep in mind that you can get special offers if you book in advance over the internet. Buying point-to-point at the train station as bluewaav described can be very expensive, especially in Germany and France. Go for the special offers! I live in Germany, frequently travel by train and I haven't paid full regular fare in years. Post your planned initiary here and you will get tips on how to get the cheapest fares.

Netherlands, Germany, Prague, Belgium and France with a mate, we plan to stay for roughly 2 months

Doable timeframe for these places, but a bit rushed depending on what you plan to do. Again I suggest you post a rough initiary.

5. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 7y

Hey Adam,

In my experience, cities and towns close at the same time all year. Sometimes, though, attractions and the front desks of hostels will keep reduced hours in the low season.

Quoting t_maia

If you opt for point-to-point train tickets keep in mind that you can get special offers if you book in advance over the internet. Buying point-to-point at the train station as bluewaav described can be very expensive, especially in Germany and France. Go for the special offers! I live in Germany, frequently travel by train and I haven't paid full regular fare in years. Post your planned initiary here and you will get tips on how to get the cheapest fares.

Actually, I wasn't impyling that you should buy point-to-point tickets. Sorry if I wasn't very clear. A Eurrail Pass is very useful in more expensive countries like France, but in cheaper countries it can be a waste of money, especially if you know where all the special offers are hidden! For example, back in 2002, there was something called a 'Weekend Ticket' in Germany, where five people could get a ticket for 25 euros- for all five of them. It was an amazing deal if you just travelled on weekends. However, I'm not sure (heard somewhere that it's not) if it is offered anymore. So I guess the object of the game is to be smart about how you travel, do some research, and post an intinery here and let the experienced travellers on this site help you out. The sites that t_maia posted are good starts for figuring out how much you might spend in a country on train tickets.

HTH

Steph