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Thinkin' Europe...when, where, how?

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by Quadman2, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,337
    Considering a trip to Europe and tired of going over the pamphlets/brochures and talking to the many experts who have never been there...so wondering from this crowd the following:


    WHEN would be the best time to go. I think avoiding the kiddie days might be best as the numbers might be reduced, and staying away from the wet days or blazing sun as can be found around the Med countries.

    WHERE of the group of European countries might offer te best in hospitality, cost factor, things to see, food and all that goes with a certain region? My French is rusty, my German fractured and my Spanish reduced to the very basics. However, I hear that English is still understood for the most part.

    HOW should you see the place? In select smaller groups, larger ones, or rent a vehicle and doing it solo? Then there's the river cruises as apposed to the bus tours and of course the train, but I hear it ain't that cheap anymore. Then there's the plan of renting cheaply, and using the place as a hub to come back to. All inclusive or a partial plan?

    I know due to the overall cost of going there, it isn't the getting there that is expensive, and that the food/accommodations are a lot more than on this side of the ocean, but will have to bite the bullet, esp in the Scandinavian countries.

    Enlightement on this subject would be helpful and there's prob others who would benefit from others' travel experiences to this part of the globe.


    Q
     
  2. hi*ball

    hi*ball Records & Coffee Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,659
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    As far as the When, I would recommend mid September. The kids are back in school, families have finished vacations and it seems to be a quieter time of year. You also get some great weather.

    I haven't been to Europe in 20 years, but we did just do Ireland this past year. The west coast was amazing. You can also get flights from Ireland into Europe dirt cheap. Something to think about...
     
  3. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

    Messages:
    38,243
    Location:
    Hertfordshire, UK
    School holidays in the UK begin in mid-late July and go until early September, I think it is pretty much the same in other European countries. (always assuming you regard the UK as part of 'Europe' of course ;) )

    Hoping this helps.

    I'll let others profess on the other questions. :)
     
  4. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,337

    As per today...don't forget the significance of it...St. Patrick's Day :beerchug:TODAY!

    Thanks for the mental jog.

    Q
     
    hi*ball likes this.
  5. pdm4606

    pdm4606 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,567
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    We went to London the last week of Sept. in 2015. Very nice. We stayed in the west end area around the Hyde Park/ Marble Arch area. Very easy to get around. We took tour buses around town as they offer several days get on/get off along set routes through the city for very cheap. Also good restaurants in that area. All in all it was very cheap and rewarding. It rained the next to last day as we were taking our first cab ride to the theatre to see Jersey Boys. Next day we saw Mousetrap at a theatre. We did the London Eye, city bus tours, Tower of London with Crown Jewels and many other sites.
    Only one problem, our debit card didn't have a chip device in it. Regular debit cards no longer usable. Our debit card bank provider never heard of this issue. You can use a regular credit card to get cash but it cost us big time. Our biggest win was the 2nd cab ride in pouring rain would have cost around $50 but the driver's card reader setup crashed so he could not issue a receipt so no receipt, no charge per city rules.
    Don't think of driving yourself. London is very,very busy at all hours and really not worth it. We also went to Harrod's for lunch but got there too late so we got lunch elsewhere.
    We saw a giant JBL setup in the window shopping window but found out it was on a prearranged appointment only($$$) to see it in action.
     
  6. darg

    darg When in doubt, C4

    Messages:
    485
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Can only talk about Germany at the moment but weather isn't stable over the last 10 years. Some summers were set, some brutally hot. I would target either may or September since that seems to be better from own experience and my parents living in berlin.
    If you want immerse yourself really well, get on trains. If you do city vacations get on public transportation, parking is virtually non existent and expensive.
    If in Italy, US driving rules do not apply :) the French aren't better.
    Would be good to know more what you are interested in.
     
  7. MacNoob

    MacNoob dazed and confused

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    Location:
    Longitudinal Center of Canada
    Heading to Germany in June (again).

    First trip - bus tour Austria/Switzerland. Expensive but hassle free - they do everything for you. Very regimented though - you're on the tour company's schedule. Our hotels were way nicer than we would have booked ourselves. No lineups at tourist areas - you bypass any lines and go in as a group. Plus you have to go everywhere the tour goes even if there are places that you're not that enthusiastic about. You get to do a ton of stuff in a short time - no time wasted figuring out where to go/how to get there/where to eat/where to stay/etc.

    Second trip - Germany on our own, low budget. Stayed in a student apartment for 250 euros for the month. Basic bedroom + shared bathroom/kitchen space. But that's ok because we weren't there much. Used that as a base to explore. Took trains all over the place other than renting a vehicle for three days. Got pretty good at navigating the transit system! We stayed one night in a hotel while we were there. Spent more time travelling as we always had to get back to base at the end of the day. So we did a lot more 'regular people' stuff rather than 'tourist' stuff. Did our own shopping/cooking etc the majority of the time.

    June trip - Frankfurt. got bargain flights so booked them! Haven't decided yet what we're doing. Might do a motorcycle tour. But we're not bored with Germany yet.

    Cost of transport, accommodation, and food we found to be very reasonable. Especially if you're set to do your own shopping and cooking - likely cheaper than Canada.
     
  8. HarmanKardon

    HarmanKardon Tubes still smell funny Subscriber

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    Location:
    Schwarzwald, Deutschland
    a1a.jpg

    I would like to recommend the Black Forest in Spring and Autumn.
     
  9. MacNoob

    MacNoob dazed and confused

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    Location:
    Longitudinal Center of Canada
    ^ I know that's on our list!
     
  10. unfairlane

    unfairlane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Norway
    Italy, South France (Limousin), coast of Norway.. don`t try to see it all, pic a few laces that appeals to you
     
  11. KevinJS

    KevinJS Super Member

    Messages:
    2,436
    Location:
    Canada
    My favourite areas:

    Germany, Rhein/Mosel. Koblenz is a good centre to strike out from.
    France, Dordogne. The town of Carcassonne should be on everyone's bucket list.
    Italy, Tuscany. Look for "trattoria" rather than "ristorante". Way cheaper eating.
    Spain, I'd look at the Basque region (Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona) rather than the usual Mediterranean tourist haunts.

    UK. The currency is in the toilet right now, so it is at least cheap for N American tourists.
    Eastern Europe is probably still reasonably cheap. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic could be worth looking at. Never been to Poland, so no opinion, but apparently it's quite pleasant.

    Pay for everything with Visa, rather than pulling cash with it. You get a better exchange rate and avoid commissions.
    Don't forget that European prices include tax, so the price you see is the price you pay.

    I know nothing about public transport. I did Europe as a trucker.
     
  12. hi*ball

    hi*ball Records & Coffee Subscriber

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    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    Make sure that you have a credit card that has no fee for international transactions. Those can really add up!
     
  13. usedto

    usedto Lunatic Member

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    15,605
    Location:
    Central Moonbeamia
    Make sure your health insurance covers you in Europe.
     
  14. sKiZo

    sKiZo Hates received: 8641 Subscriber

  15. Quadman2

    Quadman2 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,337
    All great suggestions and some valid starting points to follow up on.:thumbsup:

    Q
     
  16. nasadowsk

    nasadowsk Biker

    Messages:
    873
    Location:
    West Milford NJ
    I've found typically, if your trip is structured enough, book the train travel ahead of time for some serious savings. Remember that European rail systems are NOT like Amtrak, and you'd be pretty surprised at the price performance points. Last time, I did Amsterdam to Paris (3:45 or so) for 89 euro - first class. What's that like? Think first class on an airline, but with bigger seats. They don't lie flat though, you don't need it when you're doing 186mph between stations!

    Instant way to find Americans on board, their phones look like this:

    IMG_1240.PNG

    Also, car rental - hope you can drive stick!
     
  17. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad Subscriber

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    Location:
    Ligne Maginot
    Automatic trannies are becoming much more available, esp where SUVs and mid & large sedans are concerned. But don't expect to find an auto tranny in a Twingo, Clio, or similar econobox.
     
  18. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad Subscriber

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    Location:
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    I wouldn't put much stock in using English on a wide basis in France UNLESS the local community is rife with Arabs (Maghreb), whose English-language skills are generally in excecess of the "French reguluhs".

    Germans got English down very well, as do the Dutch, Belgique, and Luxembourish.

    English-speaking among Spaniards is again a rarity unless one is in certain Mediterannean resorts or (select) portions of Barcelona. Madrid? Forget it.

    Lotta anglaise spoken/understood in Suisse, if you can stand being there.
     
  19. sKiZo

    sKiZo Hates received: 8641 Subscriber

    Language? They got an app for that ... I imagine most of those are at least as good as the typical Chinese/English technical manual ... <G>

     

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