Mode of travel and where to stay for a month

Travel Forums Europe Mode of travel and where to stay for a month

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1. Posted by jkmt (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi,
I'm an Australian and my family of 4 (including 10yo and 7yo boys) are planning to spend up to 5 months in Europe from June 2012. Our trip will take us from the UK to Turkey (or vice versa), stopping at various countries along the way. I'm aware of the 90-day Schengen visa rule. While we are in the early stages of planning, I have two questions I would appreciate help with:
1. What is the best means of transport for a family of 4 (buy or lease a car/campervan, or use rail/air between major cities coupled with short-term car hire when needed)?
2. We are planning to spend about a month renting an apartment in a non-Schengen country. I will need good internet capability there. We are thinking of either Croatia or Turkey as they are outside the Schengen zone. Obviously budget is important, but we also want it to be somewhere attractive and which will expose us to a different community life from what we are used to.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

2. Posted by butafly (Budding Member 51 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hey,

the type of transport you choose depends on how much time you want to spend travelling from one place to the next. If you'll be travelling a lot, I'd guess buying a car would be the cheapest option. Then again, petrol prices have been pretty high and they are on average about 150 % of what you have to pay in Oz because of taxes.

A campervan would only work if you started in the north and worked your way south. Temperatures drop well below zero in winter in Western Europe and it would get VERY uncomfortable. I don't know if you have ever experienced that kind of cold, it can get almost painful. In the mediterranean countries, the temperature is usually still between 10 and 20 degrees in winter (similar to Sydney weather) so you might still be able to go camping. Bear in mind that it is illegal to camp outside of campgrounds in most countries (which obviously doesn't mean that you'll necessarily be fined) and that there are pretty much no cheap or free camp grounds like the ones you have in Australian national parks. The well-kept tourist camp grounds are actually quite expensive for a family of four.

If you have lots of time and want to see mostly major cities, it might work out cheaper to catch (local) trains. In Germany, each state has its own train ticket, e.g. the Lower Saxony Ticket, which is valid for one day for up to 5 people and usually costs between 28 and 30 euros. For shorter distances, they are perfect, but if you're thinking about going from Munich to Hamburg in one day, I wouldn't recommend them. I don't know much about train ticket prices in other European countries but if you book ahead, you can usually save a lot of money. Of course, this also leaves you less flexible. There's also Eurail, this might be an option if you choose the country passes.
The faster trains are usually quite expensive in comparison but you won't be stuck on a train for 9 hours when you're travelling larger distances.

Flying could be an option but is less scenic and only gets you to major cities. Ryanair has really cheap deals if you book early but they tend to fly to airports in the middle of nowhere so make sure you keep in mind you still have to pay for transport to the nearest city. For example, if you fly into "Frankfurt"-Hahn, it's a 1.5 - 2 hour bus trip to the actual city of Frankfurt which costs 12 euros per person. They also charge for checked-in luggage and for online bookings and there is no food on the planes, similar to Jetstar but even stingier. Other cheaper options are Air Berlin, Easyjet and German Wings. Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways sometimes have 99 Euro return deals to major European cities.

Croatia's islands are beautiful, especially during autumn (that's October and November) as it is still warm but not as packed with tourists. Also, it is not as far east as Turkey so depending on where you want to travel before and after, it might be easier to get to and from. Internet shouldn't be a problem in tourist areas; I was there five years ago and the internet connection was pretty good. If Turkey is to be your final destination, it'd be kinda impractical to use that as a place for a "break" since you'll have to travel back. Istanbul is probably an amazing place to live for a while though.

Hope this helps, I know I'm not really an expert but just my two cents. :)