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Planning a cross Europe trip. Please help!

Travel Forums Europe Planning a cross Europe trip. Please help!

1. Posted by Ryder77 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Hello,

I am planning a trip through Europe, from west to east, and I need as much help as you can offer. I am trying to make this a cheap but nice trip. What I mean by that is that I don't want to stay in a hostel with a bunch of strangers because I am going with my fiance and friends. I don't want to spend a ton on transportation so I can spend more money in the countries I visit. I looked into a Eurail pass but the 21 countries pass is too expensive and the 6 countries one doesn't go everywhere I need. This trip actually started out as just a trip to Chernobyl, Kiev, and Moscow but we decided to go see all of Europe. I had some plans for some countries. We plan to land in Madrid and go up to the Running Of The Bulls. I don't know if I got a Eurail pass if they would count traveling to another city in the same country as using one of my country passes because some countries I will visit 2 cities. My plan was this: Land in Madrid, go up to Pampalona for the bull run, Dublin, London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Berlin, Krakow, Kiev, Chernobyl, and finally Moscow. I want to see Amsterdam if I could fit it in but the cities I said would be how we would visit them, in that order. I want to find decent but cheap hotels not far from tourist areas, maybe around like $40 or less if possible. I found one in Madrid. In Berlin one thing I want to do is try to meet Rammstein. In Kiev I want to also try to meet Nastya Kamenskih. I will call their record companies ahead of time to ask about meeting them. I know some Russian and German so I can get my group around there just fine, we know Spanish and English, and between us we know decent Italian to get around. If anyone can help me with the traveling I would really appreciate any tips. I don't know if flying to each country would be cheaper than a Eurail pass but either way I think I am stuck flying to Kiev. A 6 country pass is about $350 so if flights to all those countries are cheaper that would be great. I found some cheap airlines but they don't fly to Kiev. Another problem we have is that one of our group members is not from the U.S. so we have to find out how they can come with us. We will only spend about 2 or 3 days in each country or city so I don't know if they will need a visa or not. They are from Peru. If you need anymore information please ask so that I can get the best possible tips and make planning this trip less stressful on me. I know I am planning a year in advance but this isn't something to just plan for a few days or even weeks.

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

What I mean by that is that I don't want to stay in a hostel with a bunch of strangers because I am going with my fiance and friends. ... I want to find decent but cheap hotels not far from tourist areas, maybe around like $40 or less if possible.

If you are going with a group and want it cheap you got two options:

Private room in a hostel or holiday appartment. A private room in a hostel will be easiest to find, you can usually find a room just for yourself and your friends if you book long enough in advance.

I don't know if flying to each country would be cheaper than a Eurail pass but either way I think I am stuck flying to Kiev.

Flying can be very cheap if you travel light and put up with the ridiculous extras of Europe's budget airlines. Play around with www.skyscanner.net and www.whichbudget.com to get a feel for what goes where and how much it costs.

From Berlin to Kiev, going on to Moscow and wanting it cheap I would take the train though. It will work out cheaper than flying. Look at http://citystarticket.blogspot.com/ and www.seat61.com

Another problem we have is that one of our group members is not from the U.S. so we have to find out how they can come with us. ... I don't know if they will need a visa or not. They are from Peru.

Yes, they will need a visa. Several in fact. They will need one for the Schengen Area (multiple entry, very hard to get), one for Ireland, one for the UK, one for the Ukraine and one for Russia. That is going to be a real pain. You might end up planning your trip around the visas your friend manages to get.

We will only spend about 2 or 3 days in each country or city so

That is completely nuts! To have one full day in a city you need to spend 2 nights there. If you move every 2nd or 3rd day you won't see anything, you'll just race around from place to place. It is a complete waste of time, money and effort. I very very strongly advice you against this plan. For each of the big cities on your list (London, Berlin, Paris, Moscow,..) you should have at least 5 days. So scratch out some destinations or forget it.

I looked into a Eurail pass but the 21 countries pass is too expensive and the 6 countries one doesn't go everywhere I need.

How about combining the 6-country pass with some point-to-point tickets, has that occurred to you? You got the choice between bus, plane and train and rental car, surely you'll find a way.

In Berlin one thing I want to do is try to meet Rammstein. In Kiev I want to also try to meet Nastya Kamenskih.

And when I go to L.A. I would like to meet Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie - but it is not going to happen, no matter how often I call their management.

Your best chance of seeing Rammstein is attending one of their concerts, check out their website http://www.rammstein.de/ for performances.

3. Posted by Ryder77 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Quoting t_maia

What I mean by that is that I don't want to stay in a hostel with a bunch of strangers because I am going with my fiance and friends. ... I want to find decent but cheap hotels not far from tourist areas, maybe around like $40 or less if possible.

If you are going with a group and want it cheap you got two options:

Private room in a hostel or holiday appartment. A private room in a hostel will be easiest to find, you can usually find a room just for yourself and your friends if you book long enough in advance.

I don't know if flying to each country would be cheaper than a Eurail pass but either way I think I am stuck flying to Kiev.

Flying can be very cheap if you travel light and put up with the ridiculous extras of Europe's budget airlines. Play around with www.skyscanner.net and www.whichbudget.com to get a feel for what goes where and how much it costs.

From Berlin to Kiev, going on to Moscow and wanting it cheap I would take the train though. It will work out cheaper than flying. Look at http://citystarticket.blogspot.com/ and www.seat61.com

Another problem we have is that one of our group members is not from the U.S. so we have to find out how they can come with us. ... I don't know if they will need a visa or not. They are from Peru.

Yes, they will need a visa. Several in fact. They will need one for the Schengen Area (multiple entry, very hard to get), one for Ireland, one for the UK, one for the Ukraine and one for Russia. That is going to be a real pain. You might end up planning your trip around the visas your friend manages to get.

We will only spend about 2 or 3 days in each country or city so

That is completely nuts! To have one full day in a city you need to spend 2 nights there. If you move every 2nd or 3rd day you won't see anything, you'll just race around from place to place. It is a complete waste of time, money and effort. I very very strongly advice you against this plan. For each of the big cities on your list (London, Berlin, Paris, Moscow,..) you should have at least 5 days. So scratch out some destinations or forget it.

I looked into a Eurail pass but the 21 countries pass is too expensive and the 6 countries one doesn't go everywhere I need.

How about combining the 6-country pass with some point-to-point tickets, has that occurred to you? You got the choice between bus, plane and train and rental car, surely you'll find a way.

In Berlin one thing I want to do is try to meet Rammstein. In Kiev I want to also try to meet Nastya Kamenskih.

And when I go to L.A. I would like to meet Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie - but it is not going to happen, no matter how often I call their management.

Your best chance of seeing Rammstein is attending one of their concerts, check out their website http://www.rammstein.de/ for performances.

Rammstein doesn't come to the United States and don't doubt about someone you want to meet, if you try hard you can do it. If you want to do it then you can find a way. I can't rent a car because I am not 25. I don't know what to expect from buying point to point train tickets as far as prices go. I found some cheap hotels and the private hostel room is a good idea. I do agree with staying longer at some cities, some are ok for only staying 2 or 3 days but others I want to stay for a while. I will need to spend about 5 or so in Kiev so I can have time to ride out to Chernobyl and look around and see Kiev. If you can show me where I can find visa requirements for them I'd appreciate it.

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

I can't rent a car because I am not 25.

There are some car rental companies that allow you to rent a car as long as you are over 18 and have got a driver's license. Get an international one from AAA and you'll be fine. Watch out for international charges, it can be very very expensive to rent a car in say, Germany and drive it across the border to Poland and drop it off there.

I don't know what to expect from buying point to point train tickets as far as prices go.

Then look them up on the web on the national rail websites. www.renfe.es, www.tgv-europe.com, www.bahn.de, www.trenitalia.it, etc. www.jizdenka.cz also works, but the estimates there are usually 10-20 % too low when it comes to the highspeed trains.

www.skyscanner.net gives you prices for flights and www.eurolines.com will connect you to the bus companies.

Rick Steves has a good time and cost map. http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/

If you can show me where I can find visa requirements for them I'd appreciate it.

Embassy websites.

Since you are entering Schengen Area in Madrid check the website of the Spanish embassy in Washington DC website for the Schengen Area visa. You want a multi-entry C visa.

For Ireland you want the Irish embassy, for the UK the British embassy, etc.

You might be send to a consulate website depending on where in the USA your friend lives.

As U.S. citizens everybody of you will need visa to go to Russia. See www.waytorussia.net

5. Posted by Ryder77 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Quoting t_maia

I can't rent a car because I am not 25.

There are some car rental companies that allow you to rent a car as long as you are over 18 and have got a driver's license. Get an international one from AAA and you'll be fine. Watch out for international charges, it can be very very expensive to rent a car in say, Germany and drive it across the border to Poland and drop it off there.

I don't know what to expect from buying point to point train tickets as far as prices go.

Then look them up on the web on the national rail websites. www.renfe.es, www.tgv-europe.com, www.bahn.de, www.trenitalia.it, etc. www.jizdenka.cz also works, but the estimates there are usually 10-20 % too low when it comes to the highspeed trains.

www.skyscanner.net gives you prices for flights and www.eurolines.com will connect you to the bus companies.

Rick Steves has a good time and cost map. http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/

If you can show me where I can find visa requirements for them I'd appreciate it.

Embassy websites.

Since you are entering Schengen Area in Madrid check the website of the Spanish embassy in Washington DC website for the Schengen Area visa. You want a multi-entry C visa.

For Ireland you want the Irish embassy, for the UK the British embassy, etc.

You might be send to a consulate website depending on where in the USA your friend lives.

As U.S. citizens everybody of you will need visa to go to Russia. See www.waytorussia.net

Oh wow that is alot of train websites. Thank you. But about the visas, I was needing them for non-US citizens. I can get into Russia because I have an invite from family. Should I contact the embassy and ask them about non-US citizens?

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

Oh wow that is alot of train websites. Thank you.

As a rule - every country you travel to has its own website for trains, in some cases there are 2-3. You have to check all of them. www.seat61.com has the links sorted by country.

But about the visas, I was needing them for non-US citizens.

U.S. citizens or not, everybody will need a visa to go to Russia. Check the website of the Russian embassy in Washington, no need to call them.

I can get into Russia because I have an invite from family.

Unless you are a Russian citizen you will need a visa to Russia. The invite is not enough, it is just a preliminiary step. See www.waytorussia.net

Since only you will be able to get an invite from family I would suggest that everybody in your party (you included) gets a simple tourist visa. It will be a lot less hassle with the paperwork for your relatives and for you.

7. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

Take careful note at what t-maia says.... You 'Must' have a Russian visa, regardless of family, invites etc. No visa - no Russian entry. Apart from that, there's very little to add to t_maia's already comprehensive reply.
Perhaps just to say - take a look at Wizzair for your Eastern European leg of the trip. You say you cant find cheap flights to Kiev. Wizzair fly there from several cities in Germany and from Katowice in Poland - oh and from Venice too. So which ever way you plan your route, you should be able to get a flight there. They are a budget airline that concentrate mostly on Eastern European destinations, but do have flights to and from the west also. Their fares are very cheap and the only extras are a little credit/debit card fee and they also charge for hold baggage. They'll still be a lot cheaper than the flag carriers though.
Perhaps just a few words about your planned visit to Chernobyl. It's almost 25 years since the fall-out and the region is still very much on it's knees. Don't under any circumstances drink locally processed/produced liquids (tap/bottled water, milk, beer etc). I don't want to sound downgrading or patronising in any way, so that's all I'll say on the matter. I've been to the region twice recently and it's still in a terrible mess.
You should have time to squeeze in Amsterdam. There are are excellent services by train from Germany and France, that take well under half a day from either country to the city.