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Traveling to Europe alone

SarcasticDwarf

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2001
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I'm continuing to make my plans for traveling to Europe in late December between semesters. Right now I will leave either ~December 14th or January 3rd and return about the 28th of January.

Plans:
Go direct to Amsterdam. A friend of mine will pick me up there and I will stay at his place for a week or so. After that I want to get a rail pass and travel around. Ideally I would like to visit Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, and maybe an eastern country). In the end I would leave out of Amsterdam.


I have never been to Europe and do not know any languages, so I am thinking that it would be kindof cool to travel with someone. Unfortunately, I do not know anyone interested in traveling there around that time. Would a place like travbuddy.com be a good start or what?
 

GreenGhost

Golden Member
Oct 11, 1999
1,272
1
81
Unless you go south, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, it's not really worth it. You do Europe walking and using public transportation. Do you walk much in January in Wisconsin? My sister was in Portugal 2 weeks ago and she had to buy a heavier coat. Unless you're in the interior, it's not that cold, but it rains... all the time.

Many places/attractions remain closed until March.

Travelling alone is okay, depending on what you like to do. During the winter it's hard to "hook up" with someone during the trip. In the summer it's pretty easy because there thousands of young people travelling.

Spring and Fall are the best seasons because it's cool & comfortable. Summers with no A/C are not for me anymore.

I did a big month-long tour using railpass (March/April). Pretty good. I ended up seeing many countries because being alone most of the time, I'd get fed up easily.

During winter, a better proposition would be to study a language for a month or so. It really works, you make friends quickly, and you get to learn more. I did this in Paris during the winter. It was great.
 

Wreckem

Diamond Member
Sep 23, 2006
8,822
268
126
Originally posted by: GreenGhost
Unless you go south, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, it's not really worth it. You do Europe walking and using public transportation. Do you walk much in January in Wisconsin? My sister was in Portugal 2 weeks ago and she had to buy a heavier coat. Unless you're in the interior, it's not that cold, but it rains... all the time.

Many places/attractions remain closed until March.

Travelling alone is okay, depending on what you like to do. During the winter it's hard to "hook up" with someone during the trip. In the summer it's pretty easy because there thousands of young people travelling.

Spring and Fall are the best seasons because it's cool & comfortable. Summers with no A/C are not for me anymore.

I did a big month-long tour using railpass (March/April). Pretty good. I ended up seeing many countries because being alone most of the time, I'd get fed up easily.

During winter, a better proposition would be to study a language for a month or so. It really works, you make friends quickly, and you get to learn more. I did this in Paris during the winter. It was great.
Im hoping you're right about the summer hooking up thing. Ill be in Spain for slightly over month during Spains peak travel season.
 

SarcasticDwarf

Diamond Member
Jun 8, 2001
9,574
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Originally posted by: GreenGhost
Do you walk much in January in Wisconsin?

It depends. I have no problem walking a mile or two as long as it is not much below 0.




As far as going during the winter goes, I may have some things I have to do this summer, so that will not be an option.

 

davestar

Golden Member
Oct 21, 2001
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Originally posted by: SarcasticDwarf
I'm continuing to make my plans for traveling to Europe in late December between semesters. Right now I will leave either ~December 14th or January 3rd and return about the 28th of January.

Plans:
Go direct to Amsterdam. A friend of mine will pick me up there and I will stay at his place for a week or so. After that I want to get a rail pass and travel around. Ideally I would like to visit Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, and maybe an eastern country). In the end I would leave out of Amsterdam.


I have never been to Europe and do not know any languages, so I am thinking that it would be kindof cool to travel with someone. Unfortunately, I do not know anyone interested in traveling there around that time. Would a place like travbuddy.com be a good start or what?
Greece is a fair bit removed from the other countries you mentioned. you might want to stick to Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. maybe add France on your way to Germany from Amsterdam.
 

Sheep

Golden Member
Jun 13, 2006
1,275
0
71
Originally posted by: davestar
maybe add France on your way to Germany from Amsterdam.
France isn't exactly on the way from Germany to the Netherlands. :)

Anyhow, I did a similar trip last October hitting 7 countries (Denmark, Germany, Czech, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and England) in a month having never been to Europe before. It was a great time, but I don't know if it would've been as fun in colder weather considering I walked and took metros EVERYWHERE, and I'm a great big wussy when it comes to the cold.

The first three countries in your list sound good, but Greece might be out of reach if you opt for the shorter of the two trip options you mentioned.
 

davestar

Golden Member
Oct 21, 2001
1,787
0
0
Originally posted by: Sheep
Originally posted by: davestar
maybe add France on your way to Germany from Amsterdam.
France isn't exactly on the way from Germany to the Netherlands. :)

Anyhow, I did a similar trip last October hitting 7 countries (Denmark, Germany, Czech, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and England) in a month having never been to Europe before. It was a great time, but I don't know if it would've been as fun in colder weather considering I walked and took metros EVERYWHERE, and I'm a great big wussy when it comes to the cold.

The first three countries in your list sound good, but Greece might be out of reach if you opt for the shorter of the two trip options you mentioned.
the nitpicking on ATOT is terribly productive...

my point is that france is a good time and it's quite close to other countries that this guy is going to visit, whereas greece is not convenient at all.
 

xanis

Lifer
Sep 11, 2005
17,576
7
0
Here are some quick points to consider from my limited European travel experience:

- Hardly anyone in Spain spoke English and those that did spoke it very poorly. I'm told Spain is the exception and most other European countries are a lot better.
- Everything is expensive. Prepare to get shafted on the exchange rate as well.
- A Eurail pass is pretty expensive IIRC. Last I checked it was over $300.
- When I went to Spain I got lucky and the temperatures were in the mid to high 70s. Expect central Europe to be very cold in the winter.

Hope this helps.

 

Sheep

Golden Member
Jun 13, 2006
1,275
0
71
Originally posted by: davestar
Originally posted by: Sheep
Originally posted by: davestar
maybe add France on your way to Germany from Amsterdam.
France isn't exactly on the way from Germany to the Netherlands. :)

Anyhow, I did a similar trip last October hitting 7 countries (Denmark, Germany, Czech, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and England) in a month having never been to Europe before. It was a great time, but I don't know if it would've been as fun in colder weather considering I walked and took metros EVERYWHERE, and I'm a great big wussy when it comes to the cold.

The first three countries in your list sound good, but Greece might be out of reach if you opt for the shorter of the two trip options you mentioned.
the nitpicking on ATOT is terribly productive...

my point is that france is a good time and it's quite close to other countries that this guy is going to visit, whereas greece is not convenient at all.
I actually agree with you--Paris was my favorite place on my trip. It's just that if the OP goes with a three-week trip, squeezing in France in addition to the other places he listed (even removing Greece) might present a bit of a tight schedule unless he doesn't mind spending only a relatively short amount of time in each place. If he opts for the longer trip, I wholeheartedly endorse going to France.
 

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