Im a first time traveller and to be honest haven't got a clue where to start! Im living in the UK looking to travel Europe, Only problem being is my trip duration can be 2 weeks max Because of this I only want to go to France / Paris, Germany / Berlin and Italy / Rome. Now I aint a keen flyer and don't really fancy a bus. So looks like its going to be a train, I'v checked out a EU rail pass and it looks pretty cool but I'm worried if its going to be like your only allowed on certain trains at certain times in certain stations. As far as accommodation is concernd, I ain't looking for 5* Hotels, I been looking at hostels and was wondering is a dorm a good idea? Like I say this is my first time so any tips or advice would be great
Judging by the quality and the little response to things European on this forum, you can have my thoughts.
It is not less than 8 hours by train Paris to Berlin. Not less than 18 Berlin to Rome. Not less than, who knows, from Rome to wherever in the UK upon return. Plus factor in time from stations to and from accommodations in unfamiliar surroundings. I suggest this puts a hole of 3 site seeing days in your 2 weeks. You will halve, at the very least, that time if you learnt to fly, never mind the money saved. Most especially, booking in advance.
Rail Passes - read this starting at the black type -
and use the rest of this hugely comprehensive site on train travel.
'was wondering is a dorm a good idea?' - What do you need? Why hostels, when you seem to be able to afford expensive rail travel? How many sleepovers have you had with your mates? Did you sleep? Will you trust the rest of the dorm not to thieve? But, do you want to listen and learn from similar or more experienced travellers?
Do they still have libraries where you are?
Let 'google' be your friend.
I agree with WomBatt - travelling by train will really cut down your time in each place and all of the places you mention are big cities with lots of tourist attractions and things to keep you busy. If you live in the UK, do you really need to do all 3 cities in one trip? It is not so far to travel from the UK that you could not have another holiday in Europe later. You could just do 1 of these cities this time and save the other two for future holidays. Particularly as you don't like flying, this will give you more time to really enjoy and experience the places you visit.
As WomBatt says, in a dorm you have to be trusting of your fellow travellers. Although if you travel without any valuables it can be a great way to meet people and share experiences. An alternative that you may not have considered is holiday apartments. You can get some really cheap studio flats which save you money in comparison to hotels particularly as you can cook for yourself and so save money on food. http://www.ferienwohnung-24-berlin.com/english.htm has a range of holiday apartments in Berlin that you could look at - there are smaller, cheaper ones as well as more expensive ones. And I am sure a quick google search would find you similar portals for Paris and Rome.
well, due to short period you have I'd rather decide for low cost flights.
From uk you can easly catch one of the hundreds special offer to South italy.
From there (Apulia is the mother land of western europe, former colony of ancient greek empire) go to rome (via Napoli, a must to see).
From rome fly to prague, one of the most beautiful city in europe.
by train to berlin.
Dorms and hostels are the best idea, if you travel solo and if you want to make friends and have fun!
Let me know if you need any info about italy (i'm italian) and czech rep (I spent 8 years there).
Aboyt the hostels issue:
I am familiar with hostels in Europe, although not your specific destinations. In general I think if a hostel is more travelrs that tourists, party oriented or not or whatever, it's usually very easy to find this out before hand . Just "reading the lines" below their own website description will give you a clue, but reading reviews on the net/guidebooks, or talking with other travelers if you are on your way wil help you to decide if a particular hotel suits you or not....
Many hostels are relaxed places and although sometimes people traveling on a large group usually tend to stick with their own company, solo travelers or people traveling in smaller groups are usually keen to meet other people. People on a trip are usually more openminded, social and interested to new cultures, attitudes and fellow travelers, so there is generaly a welcoming/feel good ambiance in hostels. Of course there are always some bad apples out there, but I believe they are a minority... Some commons sense applies as with everything/everywhere else.
The most important creteria for how intruding/respectful/friendly/annoying other people might be, is usually your very own attitude though.Lots depend on your own "vybes" : )
All that said, I find the whole "You have to stay in hostels to meet fellow travelers" thing sort of overrated. First of all not all people want to meet other travelers. I am absolutely happy with my very own company, this is why I travel solo anyway. Secondly, if I have to meet someone, I prefer to meet local people and learn a bit of their culture and lifestyle rather than hung around with visitors like me. Third, when I feel like it, I am open to meet fellow travelers, but not necessarily similar traveling style/similar budget to mine. I like to meet people with different backgrounds and way of thinking. Fourth,if I want to meet whatever type of traveler, even people staying in hostels, it is very easy to do so just visiting bars/restaurants/sites/areas that those travelers visit too, or join a walking tour or a day tour or whatever. No need to stay in a hostel per se.
I stay in hostels every now and then for budget purposes and 99% of stays are uneventful, but yes, I much prefer to have a private room and my own space rather than sleep in a dorm with 10 other people. I find that a private room in a hostel does not make much difference cost-wise to a private room in a nice cosy local guesthouse or a small B&B hotel, so if I have to chose between hotel or private room in hostel, I go with hotel. This is a personal thing though.
It is up to you to decide how you want to travel, what you feel comfortable with... And it is hard to know without trying. You may want to try for example a males only dorm for a start, maybe a 6-8 people's one rather than a 16 people's mixed sexes dorm and see how it goes.
Or in case you feel comfortable with women, in a small mixed dorm. I find women experienced travelers more keen on conservation and helpful to not so experienced travelers, as far as you approach them with respect and treat them as fellow travelers, not as possible love adventures. I can not help with specifics of your trip, but I guess it is not necessary to prebook everything in advance... So if you try a hostel and you do not like the experience, you can always look on something else for your next destination....
Whatever you decide to do, Have a great Trip and Let us know how it went !!!
Hello! If you are set on traveling to those three cities, don't get the EU rail pass. You will run into a ton of problems and will probably end up spending more than you had to. Train travel can be great though, but that really is quite a distance for you! As far as accommodations go, check out airbnb or hostelworld. Airbnb has more variety for private rooms, but hostelworld also has a lot of cheap hotels and B&Bs available on their site. I would suggest staying at a youth hostel if you are looking to meet people while you travel. They can be pretty reliable, but make sure you have a lock and don't leave any valuables. Safe travels!