Location: Places >> Europe
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First trip to Europe - Questions
Posted December 12th, 2012 - 10:12 pm by from Chicago, United States (Permalink)
Hello world.

I'm planning my first trip to Europe this Spring and I'm looking for some feedback and insight. I'm an American living in Chicago and here's my plan:

Trip length: 17 days
Logistics: Chicago > Prague > Munich > Zurich > Chicago
Lodging: Hostels (preferred) or Couch Surfing in Prague and Munich, staying with a friend in Zurich
Budget: $3,000 - $4,000
When: April or May

I'm a pretty easy going guy and like to go with the flow. I'd love to do this trip with nothing planned other than my flight from Chicago to Prague and my flight from Zurich to Chicago. I'd like to keep other arrival/departure dates & times open and flexible. For fun, I like trying new food, seeing some music, and meeting new people. I also love nature and would love to see what Europe's landscape has to offer, especially in Switzerland. I don't plan to make any huge purchases, just looking for a good traveling experience.

1. From this information, does a $3,000 - $4,000 budget seem possible for 17 days? I've been working some numbers and it seems feasible to me but I'm curious what others think.

2. I've been planning to use the train to get from city to city once I'm in Europe - is it pretty easy to use, and is it something you can do without much planning ahead? Is there a packaged/multi-location or multi-day ticket?

I'm also open to ride sharing or car pooling to cut down on expenses - what are some of the options in Europe for this? (Please provide specific links to websites/apps).

3. This is my first time traveling internationally - other than a passport, what is required in the locations I plan to visit? Are visas necessary? Anything else?

4. I'm a minimalist. I asked for a 30 liter pack for Christmas for my trip… is this too big? I stayed 5 days in NYC with my college backpack.

Thanks in advance for any responses. Any other thoughts, suggestions etc, please let me know!

Cheers from Chicago!

Posted December 13th, 2012 - 12:47 am from Graz, Austria
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Posted December 13th, 2012 - 3:57 am by from Chicago, United States (Permalink)
Thanks Michael, I appreciate the message.

My target $3,000 - $4,000 budget would include transportation, lodging, food etc. Between the two flights and getting from city to city via train or carpooling, I estimate my transportation cost at around $2,000.

I'm not sure I understand your last comment about 'stations' near where I'm planning to go - can you clarify?

Posted December 13th, 2012 - 8:27 am by from Gladstone, Australia (Permalink)
Is that 4 grand before or after flights and in USD or Euro? Cause for 17 days you are going to live like a bloody king! I have 8000 Euros for 8 months and had a friend who did 6 months with 4000 Euros easily without any stress

That is more then enough for 17 days, don't stress!

Posted December 13th, 2012 - 12:26 pm from Hamburg, Germany
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Posted December 13th, 2012 - 1:35 pm by from Algiers, Algeria (Permalink)
my friend you want in europe with 3000euro
you can live like a king you can go streaptease redlight district ( amsterdam) and many manyyyyyyyyyyy dancing club
enjoy you'r travel

Posted December 13th, 2012 - 3:41 pm by from Chicago, United States (Permalink)
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Sounds like I'm in good shape :)

Posted December 14th, 2012 - 5:18 am by from Tandil, Argentina (Permalink)
hey! I'm a argentinian also plans his first trip to Europe! ... maybe we are on the road ... beginning in Frankfurt the first days of March and in principle I think I'll go down to Italy, without plans. Greetings and good luck on your journey!

Posted December 17th, 2012 - 6:04 pm by from Chicago, United States (Permalink)
Thanks Flor! Same to you, have a great trip!

Posted December 19th, 2012 - 5:43 pm by from Casablanca, Morocco (Permalink)
certainly Maddy davis ! i m aggre and if anyone who want come to north afriqua i m her , in Morocco :)

Posted December 19th, 2012 - 9:56 pm from Merano, Italy
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Posted December 20th, 2012 - 9:40 pm by from Chicago, United States (Permalink)
Anyone ever been to Iceland? Would it be crazy if I flew to Iceland first for a few days then to Prague?? I've always wanted to go to Iceland, seems like such a beautiful place. But I have no idea how easy it is to travel there or much about it at all.

Posted December 21st, 2012 - 6:29 am by from Chennai, India (Permalink)
Hi Jacke,

Iceland is one of the best counties in the world. Suggest not to miss visiting.

Check the airfare and then decided when to fly and from whee to fly.Since you have 17days holidays, you can decided the time of visit.

People speak English and so you will have no problem at all.
You can spend at least about 2-3days in the capital Reykjavik and a few more days outside the capital depending on the availability of time. Places outside Reykjavik are superb.
You can see pic of Island in my profile.
There are good hostels too or you can stay with CS members.
Only problem i faced was that even the capital city, very few internet cafes exists.

About tavelling in Europe:
Get suggestions from your local hosts who can advise you the best way to travel economically within their country or near by countries.

One single Schengen visa is needed to tavel in most European counties but suggest you to check the website of each country you visit.As an American citizen, there seems to be some relaxations.
Enjoy your tip and best wishes,

Posted December 23rd, 2012 - 10:45 pm from Recife, Brazil
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Posted December 13th, 2012 - 9:36 am by from Brunswick, United States (Permalink)
Hey jake,

I've been traveling Europe for the past 2.5 months on 20€ a day budget.. I've been doing a lot of couchsurfing.. the Zurich hostels will be expensive so I would encourage couchsurfing for at least that city. Also Munich is only a small train ride away from Salzburg, Austria I'd encourage you to go there for a day or 2. Also, if you can travel around a bit more in Switzerland, just to see the views of the mountains, that is something I would suggest.. my friend and I flew into Geneva, didn't stay lol, but ended up taking the scenic train down to Brigg and then to Interlaken where we stayed for a few days. Then we hit Zurich, Salzburg, then Munich.

There is something called the Eurail Global pass.. it's for citizens outside the EU (you and me) and if you are planning to travel by train most the time (which between those places, I would encourage that) I would get it.. I'm sure they have something like a 5 day pass within 30 days or something like that. I ordered them off the internet and they were sent to me within a week or 2.

I didn't bring a college student ID, but I would really encourage it.. there are a lot of things students can get discounts on out here.

All you need is a passport.. and you don't have to pay anything extra.. just go and get the stamp.. also they won't check it in every country because of the shengen agreement.

Also.. if you open a credit card that will give you frequent flyer miles.. that can help save on costs.. I got my ticket to London for free and paid nothing but the $5.00 tax because I opened my chase mileage plus card. Maybe look into that.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


Posted December 30th, 2012 - 12:32 pm by from Jakarta, Indonesia (Permalink)
Hi Miranda

i have plan to traveling across Europe about 45 days start and end in Frankfurt from early May - middle Jun

i only have like 1500 USD excl air travel to and from Frankfurt

i manage to take Euroline Pass for a month, so this is how i explore city by city.

seeing your experience spent only 20 Euros per day, was it all your accommodation? meals,hostel etc? can you tell me more about that?

thanks so much
cheer from Jakarta