Hi guys, hope I posted this in the right place!
I'm planning to try travelling solo for the first time in my life, on a pretty tight budget. Any advice (interesting places, cheap ways to travel, and anything else good for novice travellers) would be really appreciated!
I have been trying to hunt down good ways of getting from south UK to Paris to Berlin, probably over about three weeks. I'd like to travel overland if possible as it sounds more interesting. I don't mind flying so airline suggestions are most welcome too.
I'd be very open to other interesting places to visit too, or even completely changing the route- I was vaguely considering taking detours on the way but am a bit swamped by possibilities. So far I considered shoehorning in Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, or the Czech Republic too.
So far I've been told RailEuropecan be cheap if you get the £30-odd one country pass, or the global pass (both here) Has anyone else tried this method, and how easy is it to organize? I also heard it is cheaper to book via German sites but I keep getting entangled in the Babelfish translator when I try to figure them out
I've tried Googling various Q&A threads, but most are quite fragmented in terms of content and a bit confusing for people like me who aren't very familiar with the various mainland European train options and companies.
Unfortunately I don't speak much French and no German at all so I'm somewhat nervous about actually finding the right connections when I'm there, but I still really want to try it.
As for dates I would be travelling around 23 Sept to 14 October, for three weeks. (changing the dates a few days either side is fine for me though)
[Summary for the fatigued I'd really appreciate:
- Any general advice on organisation, safety, and panic-avoidance for first time solo backpackers (specially for women).
- Recommended cheap ways to get from Paris to Berlin via the UK, by train or by air
- ...or recommendations for overland European travel in general
- My total travel budget is low, ideally no more than £400 for travel fares
- Any recommendations for interesting places to visit which could be roughly accomodated within this route
- Bear in mind I don't speak much French and no German so English-language sites are easier for me!
- Travel dates three weeks in mid-Sept to early Oct 2012, probably 23 Sept to 14 Oct, but can be flexible
Thanks in advance for anyone taking the time to read!
[ Edit: Edited on 27-Apr-2012, at 14:34 by ladylazarus ]
For a trip in this close of proximity you might want to experiment with the Euro rail. You can take the train from London to Paris and to Berlin and experience many places in between.
If you would rather be in the air I would begin mapping out your travel plans now.
You can use easyjey.comor Ryan Air and find flights for dirt cheap!
If you cannot find any cheap airplane or train tickets you could still concider joining someone driving the same route by car. Sorry, I don't exactely know how it is called in English. Basically there are sites that get people together who want to travel to a specific destination so that they can share the car expenses. I often use the german site "mitfahrgelegenheit.de" which is very convenient and completely free. You can contact the drivers by phone or email and since almost all germans speak English, you shouldn't have any problem. Driving by car is more tiresome than taking the plane or train but it's almost unbeatable when it comes to the costs.
Try using Rome2Rio.com for getting your routes sorted. In my opinion they are the best at this.
Here's what their train recommendation is for Paris - Berlin
Eurostar from London St. Pancras International to Bruxelles-Midi Eurostar
duration Approx 2hrs 05min, every 2 hours
Thalys from Bruxelles-Midi to Köln Hbf
duration Approx 1hrs 48min, hourly
ICE train from Köln Hbf to Berlin Hbf (tief)
duration Approx 5hrs 05min, hourly
Are you flying into Paris?
It would seem slightly better to fly into London, then catch the train to Paris and from there the train to Berlin. Not a huge difference, but maybe an hour or so less travel time and I think slightly cheaper too (didn't check prices though).
If you really want to save money - get a bicycle and ride it Beautiful way to see Europe at a rock-bottom price.
For the Paris to London leg, you should definitely take the train in my opinion. It's the fastest option available when you take into account travelling to airports, waiting around, etc..
You can also look into buses, because they will generally be cheaper than trains, though they also take longer.
I have a schengenstaten type C for 90days duration.is that possible to use for tourist in france?pls help me
Thanks for your help everyone!
Niels: Interesting, I hadn't thought of carshares as I don't drive (too inept to be trusted with wheels ;p) and thought it might bug people if I couldn't do my share of the driving! but it sounds like a good idea otherwise.
Peter: I was thinking of either flying or trying to go by train, a bicycle sounds like a lovely idea though...thanks for the website link.
Belfast1- Not sure about the type C I'm afraid!
[ Edit: Edited on 03-May-2012, at 09:35 by ladylazarus ]