Thursday, October 20, 2011

I want to make a BUDGET FRIENDLY trip to EUROPE ... Any suggestions?

I want to go to maybe france or italy or maybe even travel around... How can I save money: on food, hotel, plane ticket, transportation, etc.. I'm a college student so I don't own a fortune. I want to save money but have still have an enjoyable experience. If you have been to Europe. where do you suggest i go? Thanks

Answer on I want to make a BUDGET FRIENDLY trip to EUROPE... Any suggestions?

I started backpacking and Eurailing around Europe shortly after graduation and I didn't have any money either. Now I teach a university seminar on how to travel around Europe if you've never done it before. Here are some ideas, based on my experiences: Open a separate savings account just for traveling. Any "extra" money, such as money earned for outside work, goes right into that account. Set aside a set amount from each paycheck and put it right into that account. Eliminate some "fun" stuff, such as eating out, buying stuff you don't really need, etc., and apply that money to your trip. Do your homework for your trip. Get a copy of Let's Go: Europe to plan what to do and see and make the best use of your time. Get the International Student Identity Card (www. myisic. com) for great savings on admission to cultural sites, climbing church towers, etc. It will pay for itself in the first several days. For food, many European restaurants offer "daily menu" at lunch time that includes a couple courses. Eat well at your midday meal and eat light at dinner time. Buy bread, cheese and sausage at a local market and have an urban picnic in a park or square and people-watch. Plane tickets will be expensive during peak travel period (summer). Consider going at an off-peak season, such as spring or fall. I personally love Europe in winter, right after Christmas. Lines are non-existent, everybody's in a merry holiday mood, and prices are down. Get a Eurailpass to get around. A Selectpass is a big money saver, valid for a pre-determined number of travel days within two months. Visit www. raileurope. com to learn all about the many pass options available. Hostels are great places to stay in which to meet other young travelers, make new friends, and swap tips about places to see and things to do. But "pensiones" (B&Bs) are great places to meet other Europeans and get great insiders' advice, and can be as inexpensive as a hostel. Allow yourself a couple great splurges, such as a night in a castle overlooking the Rhein. As for favorite places: the German Rheinland; Interlaken, Switzerland, gateway to the Alps; London; Berlin; Bologna and Ravenna, Italy; Bozen, Italy; Stockholm, Sweden (my absolute favorite city in the world); Menton, France (on the Mediterranean, not far from Nice, but friendlier and less hectic); Noirmoutier, France (way cool, hospitable island in the Atlantic); Paris; Prague; Salzburg; and my second-favorite city, Munich. Use Munich as a base to explore Bavaria. Use your guidebook, a calendar, and German Rail's Web site, www. bahn. de (click the English language option) to plan your trip. Bon voyage!

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