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SPATCH
12-24-2010, 02:19 PM
I'm planning on flying to Europe and backpacking for a while sometime in August or September.

Anybody know any good sites for cheap international flights?

Also, does anyone have any general advice on traveling in Europe? Should I look into riding trains to get around once I get there? Hostels? etc.

Rain Man
12-24-2010, 02:34 PM
I just use orbitz myself. I think the bigger variable is finding a cheaper city to go into. I think Frankfurt is a particularly inexpensive city. Your other option is to see if there's a cheaper flight from an American city like Boston, where you might save money by flying to that city and then taking off. I think finding a cheap destination city is probably better than finding a cheap departure city, though.

You're going to have a great time. Where are you going?

Bearcat
12-24-2010, 02:37 PM
I found a $500 roundtrip ticket to London on statravel.com a few years ago (it's a student travel site, but I didn't claim to be a student when I booked).

Yes, travel by train.

Yes, stay in hostels or try a site like couchsurfing.com.

Third Eye
12-24-2010, 02:40 PM
Honestly, most of the travel sites are going to give you comparable rates. I would suggest playing around with the dates though. Sometimes you can save a couple hundred dollars by leaving on a Tuesday instead of a Wednesday.

As far as travel once you are there, it depends on where you go. In many places bus travel had surpassed train travel as the mode of choice. Don't picture greyhound either, these buses are actually nice. Hostels are a must if you're doing this on the cheap, but make sure you do some research on them, hostels are not all created equal. In many places B & B's are also a decent thought.

Most every city of even decent size will a tourist bureau or city information center. These places can be invaluable in helping plan your travel and accommodations. They know the hostels well and can even help you book them for minimal charges and that can be very helpful when you're trying to book 6 or 7 different places at once.

MIAdragon
12-24-2010, 02:43 PM
I'm planning on flying to Europe and backpacking for a while sometime in August or September.

Anybody know any good sites for cheap international flights?

Also, does anyone have any general advice on traveling in Europe? Should I look into riding trains to get around once I get there? Hostels? etc.

Whats your budget?

Fritz88
12-24-2010, 02:44 PM
Where are you heading?
Make use of trains. Buy in advance in some areas to get good deals.
Use booking.com it is by far the best I found for that part of the world.
If you plan on being in France or Italy then learn some French or Italian.

SPATCH
12-24-2010, 02:47 PM
I just use orbitz myself. I think the bigger variable is finding a cheaper city to go into. I think Frankfurt is a particularly inexpensive city. Your other option is to see if there's a cheaper flight from an American city like Boston, where you might save money by flying to that city and then taking off. I think finding a cheap destination city is probably better than finding a cheap departure city, though.

You're going to have a great time. Where are you going?

We're planning on visiting standard places like Paris, Barcelona, and Rome.. we're going to try to pepper in some less popular destinations along the way.

We wanted to check out Germany so Frankfurt might be a good place to start :thumb:

chiefqueen
12-24-2010, 03:16 PM
Whatever you do -- AVOID FLYING INTO HEATHROW!!! That is one messed up airport.

Talisman
12-24-2010, 04:13 PM
We're planning on visiting standard places like Paris, Barcelona, and Rome.. we're going to try to pepper in some less popular destinations along the way.

We wanted to check out Germany so Frankfurt might be a good place to start :thumb:

Here are some day trip recommendations from major cities:

From Paris, you have to spend a day in Normandy. I recommend booking a tour guide. You can do a half day tour pretty reasonably and they drive you right to all of the main sites (German cemetery, American cemetery, Omaha Beach, etc).

If you make a stop in Florence (highly recommended), some out of the way places to check out are Lucca and Orvieto. Both can be done as day trips by train and both were highlights of our trip to Europe.

From Barcelona, Figueres/Cadeques was a nice get away. It's a Dali-themed excursion with the official museum of his work in Figueres and his house being located in the coastal town of Cadeques. It works as a day trip, but it's tight. You get the train from Barcelona to Figueres, do the museum, then take a bus out to Cadeques to tour the house, then back again. Makes for a long, but always interesting, day.

If I think of some others, I'll post them.

BigRedChief
12-24-2010, 04:15 PM
Get a Eurorail pass and stay at Hostels. Their train system between countries is excellent. I traveled around Europe for practically peanuts. Just be careful in some of the hostels.

JD10367
12-24-2010, 04:20 PM
We've only flown into Barcelona and Oslo. Our experience has been to buy ASAP because the tickets usually go nowhere but up. Be flexible when you search, and you might save a few hundred by going a day or two earlier or later. Non-stop internationals usually leave from someplace like Newark; if you fly from Newark, you might pay, say, $650 roundtrip, but if you fly from KC you might pay $850 roundtrip and you end up connecting onto the same plane in Newark anyway. Last time we went (Oslo), instead of paying the extra to fly from Rhode Island we took Amtrak; cheaper, and we didn't have to worry about missing the connection flight.

In Europe, the trains rule. You can get anywhere, and they offer various passes. Connecting may be confusing (from a city metro, to a regional commuter train system, to the overall Eurail system).

Hostels are supposed to be very good there, too (despite the horror films), as they get a lot of students. Expect small rooms, shared bathrooms.

sodcat
12-24-2010, 04:50 PM
Since everyone already already covered the airlinr ticket portion, I'll give you a site dedicated to backpack travelers:
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/us
The,n at the top of the page click on the thorn tree forums, this is broken down by different areas of the world in which you may be interested in. I have used both their books and website extensively while traveling and find it to be the best for the backpacker/budget traveler. Have fun and good luck!

Talisman
12-24-2010, 05:01 PM
We actually flew more than using the trains, but we were staying in areas for longer periods of time, so the railpass wasn't the best option for us. Using EasyJet and RyanAir, we were able to book short one-way flights for $60-$80 most of the time.

The one thing you have to watch out for with those economy airlines is that they are very strict with the weight restrictions which can be as low as 33 lbs per bag. But if you are backpacking, that shouldn't be as much of an issue.

Msmith
12-24-2010, 05:51 PM
Have you seen the movie The Hostel?

BigRedChief
12-24-2010, 06:22 PM
Have you seen the movie The Hostel?When I was in Poland circa 1985, I heard rumors of a "real" hostel about 50 km from krakow on a farm. Always wondered if they made that movie based on those rumors?

SPATCH
12-24-2010, 07:52 PM
Whats your budget?

I was thinking up to $3000 or so.. would like to keep it below $4000

Thanks for the info so far guys.. good stuff

HonestChieffan
12-24-2010, 07:58 PM
Great beer in all areas you said you are going. Trains are great...hostels can be ok to really crap..

SPATCH
12-24-2010, 08:24 PM
I found a $500 roundtrip ticket to London on statravel.com a few years ago (it's a student travel site, but I didn't claim to be a student when I booked).

Yes, travel by train.

Yes, stay in hostels or try a site like couchsurfing.com.

I've been checking out statravel.com, and the cheap round-trip flights are only offered for flights within the next few months... flights in late August are significantly higher. Not sure how the site works

SPATCH
12-24-2010, 08:25 PM
is there a good place online that you can find reviews of hostels?

Rain Man
12-24-2010, 08:36 PM
How much do hostels cost? We all have different travel goals, but I've never thought it'd be fun to sleep with a bunch of other people in a room, so I've always gotten a hotel. Depending on the place and the time period, hotel costs will vary, but in the past I've found cheap and nice rooms in Paris and Frankfurt. In London I had to get a mortgage for a hotel room.

SPATCH
12-24-2010, 08:50 PM
How much do hostels cost? We all have different travel goals, but I've never thought it'd be fun to sleep with a bunch of other people in a room, so I've always gotten a hotel. Depending on the place and the time period, hotel costs will vary, but in the past I've found cheap and nice rooms in Paris and Frankfurt. In London I had to get a mortgage for a hotel room.

The average prices I am seeing for hostels is ~$18 per night

Rain Man
12-24-2010, 08:53 PM
The average prices I am seeing for hostels is ~$18 per night

That's cheaper than a hotel, but I figure you knew that.

The last time I was in Paris was in about 2006, and the tourism market was horrible. I got a nice hotel room with a view of the Eiffel Tower for less than $80.

Third Eye
12-24-2010, 09:33 PM
I've been checking out statravel.com, and the cheap round-trip flights are only offered for flights within the next few months... flights in late August are significantly higher. Not sure how the site works

Considering that summer is peak travel season, prices are definitely going to be higher.

SPATCH
12-24-2010, 09:55 PM
Considering that summer is peak travel season, prices are definitely going to be higher.

but these tickets that i found in late May were so much cheaper. I would think that May and September both kind of skirt the peak season... idk

BigRedChief
12-24-2010, 11:31 PM
is there a good place online that you can find reviews of hostels?Find a site for reviews for sure, there are serious differences beween hostels even in the same area and price range.

KurtCobain
12-25-2010, 12:26 AM
That's cheaper than a hotel, but I figure you knew that.

The last time I was in Paris was in about 2006, and the tourism market was horrible. I got a nice hotel room with a view of the Eiffel Tower for less than $80.

That's fucking sweet.

Talisman
12-25-2010, 03:13 AM
If you are going for a while and will be staying in major cities for a week or more at a time, you should look into apartment or flat rentals. We used them almost exclusively when we traveled in Europe. They work out to be cheaper than hotels and you get a kitchen which can save you a ton vs eating out all of the time.

They are usually more in the residential areas rather than the touristy ones, but it really gives you a feel for what living there would be like. We found almost all of the listings on the local version of Craigslist. Most of the people speak English pretty well because they rent a lot to Americans/Englanders.

We stayed at an apartment near Florence for a month for $900 or about $30/night. It had a full kitchen with all the utensils, free wifi, and a killer view of the countryside. The lady we rented it from even picked us up from the train station.

Good luck on your trip. You'll have a blast.

HonestChieffan
12-25-2010, 08:49 AM
Lots of hostel dwellers dont bathe. Sorta like sleeping in a room full of raider fans and leftover dregs from a free the climate rally.

Param
12-25-2010, 09:31 AM
I was thinking up to $3000 or so.. would like to keep it below $4000

Thanks for the info so far guys.. good stuff

Raise your budget. If you have 9 months to plan, RAISE your budget.

Also, how long do you plan on going?