Plans for Europe this summer? Congratulations! My roomate is heading to France, Turkey, and Poland (lucky girl!) and I was putting together some ideas that might help her plan her trip....thought I'd share - I found them really helpful!
Here are a few websites to keep in your back pocket:
- Kayak.com - This is a great website that gives you the pricing for several discount travel providers and regular airlines. It doesn't give you the pricing for Expedia.com, which I'd also check out.
- Venere.com – For booking hotels - With this, you pay in person when you check out of the hotel. They take your credit card number online to reserve the room , and you pay when you check out. This was always easier, especially if my plans weren't confirmed.
- Tripadvisor.com - Once I find a hotel on venere.com that I like, I like to look here for comments, travelers' ratings and more photos. They tell the truth!\
- Studentuniverse.com – GREAT for university/college students who are travelling
Also, check craigslist.com in case you’ll be in a place for more than 3 or 4 days – it might be worth exploring to see if there’s an open apartment that someone is renting out. I did this twice in Italy , and it was SO much cheaper.
And I’d really encourage you to build a profile on http://www.couchsurfing.com/. Even if you don’t need a couch to surf, check it out, as there are always postings of what is going on in a city; plus, you can do searches and find someone in the city to show you around. That was ALWAYS such a great experience. When I went to Munich, I made arrangements to meet with 4-5 people a day!!! First, I’d have breakfast with someone, visit a museum with someone else, take a walking tour, go to a beer garden, do lunch, enjoy a soccer match – all with friendly European couch surfers – it was great!!!
You probably already know, but just a few pointers to really drive home:
- BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE!!!! Remeber the ash? It's still there. Also, for your transatlantic flight, check out the airline's policy for covering flights that the airline has to cancel.
- Pack light, light, light!!!! European airlines have lesser weight standards for baggage, and they charge way more if your bags are over the limit.
- Everything’s more expensive – just be prepared for sticker shock.
- Look around for some concerts now – all the best artists are on tour during the summer! I was
close to getting tix for an Erykah Badu concert in Paris . It was a soldout show, so we caught the International Jazz Festival there instead :)
- No need for heels – Paris was ok, but other European cities with their historic cobblestone and fancy stonescapes can (and will) kill your shoes.
- Don’t buy the Eurorail Pass. It’s a rip off. You’ll do SOOOOOOO much better with just getting a regular train ticket like the rest of the European population.
- Take the train instead of flying if you can. It always puts you in the center of the city.
- If you take Ryanair, just know that most of the airports that they use are way outside of the city (and you can’t pack ANYTHING bigger than a backpack).
That’s all I can think of for now - be sure that you take great pics! Will look forward to your traveling posts soon!
ciao for now!