Hello everyone, I am in the beginning stages of planning a 1-2 week trip with my sister for next August, and I think we’ve decided on going to Europe (we’re from America, Boston area). We are both 20 something’s, and was wondering if any of you wonderful people had any suggestions/ideas/advice/anything you would like to add. Thank you!!
@ijesuschrist, hell yeah I’m going to London. Probably gonna go there for a few days before heading into the rest of Europe. I’m wicked excited for the night life seeing as in Boston pretty much everything shuts down no later than like 12:30
@smortlur51, Nice choice, I just went on a trip to Germany, Czech and Austria a few months ago. Amazing food everywhere, try goulash w/ dumplings and the wiener schnitzel in Vienna. Not to mention the beer lol. Czech is the beer capital and Germany close behind.
Lots and lots of castles in the area if youre into that.
Also Southern bohemia in the czech republic is extremely beautiful. And Prague is overrated imho. Go to Kutna Hora and visit the ossuary instead, they have a giant chandelier made of real skulls
@smortlur51, For starters, congratulations! You are going to have the time of your life. What exactly are you looking for out of the trip? That is key to knowing what advice to give! Are you backpacking? If you’re going to Germany/Czech Republic/Austria route, in October I went from Berlin-Prague-Vienna-Germany and then back to Bulgaria where I’m temporarily living. There is a Czech transport bus line that is pretty inexpensive especially for students that I recommend. From WITHIN the Czech republic, you can buy last-minute bus tickets at the station for like 1/2-1/3 of the price listed online. The downer is you might miss the bus and have to catch the next one.
If you are a student (I think they accept under 26 as well) look into STA travel. These have some of the best rates I’ve found for traveling between the U.S. and Europe.
Really random suggestion: consider getting a shammy towel. They sell them at sports stores for swimmers. They’re like a sham-wow but for bodies. This keeps you from having to lug around a damp towel or rent a towel from a hostel. Sometimes hostels charge 5-10 euro for a towel rent!
Another random suggestion: do NOT buy weed off the street in Prague. I can almost guarantee it will be fake. Learned this the hard way
One thing I am concerned about for you is wanting to do 5 countries in 1-2 weeks. Unless you want to spend almost all your time with your backpack on your back and either waiting for transport/on some kind of transport, you’re not going to get to all 5 countries in 1 week. Period. You might in 2 weeks. I did the Berlin-Prague-Vienna thing in 10 days and it was kind of exhausting. You get to see more but you rush through every city. I wish I had been able to stay in each place for longer.
I am a strong advocate of Eastern Europe. Bulgaria can be hard to navigate but it has some really great natural beauty. I’ve never been but a lot of my friends say Budapest was one of their absolute favorite cities. You will save so much money… SO MUCH MONEY by spending time in Eastern Europe. I spend 3-5 times less on food in Bulgaria than I did in the more western countries.
Anyway, let me know what your biggest goals are and I can help you out. Like keeping cost down, seeing as much stuff as possible, what you’re most interested in (culture, museums, architecture, nightlife, nature, big cities etc.) and anything else you can think of. I’ve been to 10 European countries in the past 4 months so I know my way around a bit. I’ve also been to 4 of the countries you mentioned so I can give you hostel and activity advice :)
@smortlur51, London is hella expensive, but it depends what you want to do there, you can find cheap places to eat if you don’t mind eating unhealthy. Also if your drinking try and find student places otherwise you’ll be spending a small fortune every night. On the other hand though there is loads of cool events on if you put the time into searching or speaking to people. There’s loads of cheap flights to Europe from London too, check out this site adiso.com
@emmaclaire, Haha thank you! Well initially me and my sister were planning on going out to the west coast of the US, but then we were like screw it lets really do some traveling. For both of us this will be our last really free summer, so we wanna do something special. I mean I just really want to travel, I have never been out of the US so I just want to be able to experience other cultures. Haha so all those things you listed (culture, museums, architecture, nightlife, nature, big cities) really interest me, so I guess that narrows it down a bit. But I’d say architecture, big cities and nightlife and my top three.
We’ve also been looking at some sites that provide tours and such. One site, contiki,com, has a package for 9 days costing roughly $1200, going starting in London and then Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna. What are your thoughts on that? And thank you for responding and all the advice :)
@smortlur51, Okay it seems like big cities will be best for you. This is a good thing given the time because they are the easiest to get to. A lot of kids our age are opposed to the tour thing because they don’t want to be “tourists” but the fact is that if you’re going to a different country for a few days, you ARE a tourist no matter what. I’ve been on a few short tours and there are positives and negatives. Positive: you don’t have to arrange your own transportation and (most of the time) room and board which is such a big stress reliever. The major downside is that you lose a lot of freedom and, let’s face it, the stress can be part of the adventure and learning experience. It depends on what you want. I’ve had a great time on tours but I’ve also had a great time buying a flight a week in advance and arriving in the country without a hostel booked or any kind of plans. You will definitely see more on a tour but you might lose a little freedom.
Let me give you a brief overview of each country as I experienced it.
Berlin: Great city. Very young and progressive. Good for nightlife (try your luck getting into Berghain, I didn’t have time) and museum island has soooo many great museums. You can buy a day pass for pretty cheap, I think 6-9 euro as a student which is crazy cheap. Easy to navigate with the underground/train system
Prague: I think this was my favorite city out of all the ones I visited. This might have been because I spent a lot of time here. I was able to party, see a lot of amazing architecture, try some amazing beers and also spend some time in nature. You can get it all within the city. I am a nature freak and I had a blast in the castle gardens. You can also hike up to the observation tower which is a beautiful hike in itself. Getting into the observation tower is pretty cheap and you can also play in the house of mirrors which is fun. Definitely go to the beer museum and get the small 15 ml sizes of beer. They have 30 to choose from and they’re all really unique.
Vienna: I can say barely anything about this city. I spent less than 48 hours here and my partner and I were trying to save on money. Basically all I did was get really lost, party and go to the naschmarkt and then cook some food. Oh, and I also went to see the large gravesite on the night of halloween which was really surreal and creepy. Beethoven is there.
London: Expensive. But there is so much great architecture and old buildings here! In Westminster abbey you can see the graves/memorials of sooo many famous people like Darwin and Lewis Carrol. If you look hard enough you can get fish and chips for 5 pounds but you will be hard-pressed to find meals cheaper than that. You have to go to Bailey’s Fish and Chips. The portions are so big and the staff is really friendly. And it’s cheap. If you can, try to make a trip to Stonehenge. It’s pretty close. I took a day trip tour to Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath and I loved it. The underground is killer expensive. Don’t buy the one-way ticket if you can help it. It’s 4.5 pounds! It’s 8 pounds for a day pass which is a much better deal. I never used it, but I’m pretty sure the oyster card is the best deal on this.
Tips for all cities: your wallet and your passport are your life. Do not lose these. Bring a padlock and lock up your valuables. Don’t keep your phone or wallet somewhere people can get them. I had someone actually unzip my jacket pocket on the metro to get my phone, so even jacket pockets aren’t always safe. Just be aware of your surroundings.
If you’re backpacking, don’t overpack. The things you need least are clothes. Rewear them and do laundry at least once if you’re doing 2 weeks. If you are not doing a tour and need transportation, if you need to fly go easyjet or wizzair. Easyjet’s free carry-on is almost the perfect size for a hiking backpack. For wizzair you will probably have to pay a little extra unless your bag is really small. If you fly wizzair more than a few times, get into their discount club.
This might be more information that you even want and you don’t have to take all of it but hopefully it helps! No matter what you do you’re going to have a great time. I’m really happy for you! Traveling when you’re young is one of the best experiences you will have.
If you have any interest at looking at my pictures, you can add me on facebook. Let me know if you want to and I will give you my facebook url.
@emmaclaire, Thank you for taking the time to type all that out, I appreciate it! I think we’re going to go the tour route, my sister doesn’t feel that comfortable doing everything on our own, and I don’t care that much either way. But we’re gonna spend a few days beforehand in London and then stay a few days later in Vienna, so I guess it kind of evens out. I’m just super excited for this, I’ve always known I’ve wanted to travel, I’m glad I’m finally going to do it. Thanks for the help!