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Thread: Travel to Europe...

  1. #16
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    I have been to Europe twice and am going to Italy over Thanksgiving. I have hit a couple of cities twice (Rome and Interlaken, Switzerland) but still enjoyed them a second time around. The other cities I have been to are London, Paris, Munich, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice, and St. Andrews Scotland. There still are many other cities that I eventually want to travel to its just a matter of finding time and money.

    As for advice pick a region and stick to that region. It really is impractical to start in London, head down to Spain, and then over to Italy. It is doable but you will spend a lot of time on the train or in airports traveling. For example its pretty easy to maneuver your self around a set of coutries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy by using the euro rail. No rail trip is longer than 4-6 hours and you are able to hit a bunch of very cool cities.

    I would bookend your trip with two different cities. Start at one place, do your traveling, and fly back home out of a different place. It is more difficult to travel throughout Europe and then have to short circuit your travels by making it back to your original city. As for a Mediterranean cruise I have always wanted to do that, just don't know about the state of Greece right now. I have also heard Athens has great land marks but itself is a dump.

    I assume your an American. You will look American. No matter how much you try and fit in your still going to look American. I wouldn't worry about that too much. I have never had much of an issue being an American over seas. You just need to be a little more watchful of your personal belongings.

    If you don't already have one, get an American Express card. They don't charge to convert currencies, most places accept it, and they offer travel insurance. Credit card is the easiest way to pay for many things as long as your card doesn't charge a currency conversion.

    Finally enjoy yourself. Do find time to stay in a place for 2-3 nights and have a relaxing day or two. There are too many things to see in Europe and you will run yourself ragged trying to do so. Find some time just to relax, maybe a beach or lake town fits the bill. You will appreciate that.

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  3. #17
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Take a few guidebooks, attempt to speak the local language, don't expect everyone to speak English and no speaking louder does not make them understand it more.

  4. #18
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    She laughed and told us not to wear shorts no matter how hot it was and try to wear dark colors
    Good advice anywhere. Shorts are for the beach.

  5. #19
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    The cities I'd recommend would be: Berlin, Zurich, Bilbao (had friends there, though), and Cinque Terre.

    I agree with SunDeck's advice as well. Less is more when traveling Europe. I'd much rather get an intimate feel for a couple of cities than a rushed glimpse of a dozen.

    And as for sticking out as an American, I had little to no problem. But just like over here, there's a certain number of jerks in every crowd.

  6. #20
    RaisorZone Raisor's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Watch the movie EuroTrip. Study and take notes.
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."

  7. #21
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Gotta visit Kazakhstan if you're going to Europe
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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  8. #22
    Member klw's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
    Watch the movie EuroTrip. Study and take notes.
    Great advice.

    bucksfan also gives great advice. If you try to do to much you will get to feeling ragged. A cruise would mitigate this but I imagine you would get less of a feel for the place. I would skip Paris and go to London istead. The lines are shorter and the museums are free. The National Gallery is incredible and I always try to see Freidrich's "winter landscape" whenever I go to London. Go to the countryside somewhere. Maybe go from Geneva to Vienna, hitting the Alps. You could then shoot down to somewhere in Italy- Florence. so much of it depends though on what you like and are interested in. If you like sports try to go to something there like a Premier League match. If you don't like big cities make sure you are not trying to go to all of them. Is this a once in a lifetime trip or a scouting expedition? Do you like mountains or beaches? I would also suggest going in the spring as airfare and other costs will be much lower, fewer crowds, and the weather should be nice.

  9. #23
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Quote Originally Posted by WMR View Post
    Don't advertise the fact that you're American.
    I think this is a fair statement, but not in the way you might think. Of course you will likely stick out as an American even if you try to look "Euro." It took me a good year in Austria before strangers didn't automatically think I was American. However, I think it is important for Americans traveling to Europe (or any foreign destination) to be somewhat self-aware of how you might be perceived in a foreign context. Most Europeans will be very friendly with Americans they perceive as nice, but no so much with people they deem obnoxious. Here are some tips based on my experience:

    1) Always remember that you are a guest in their country. If you wouldn't do something when invited over to someone's house, don't do it in someone else's country. However, don't feel like you need to hide being an American. I've met some of the most interesting people who wanted to talk to me simply because I was an American. You'll meet jerks as well, but that can't be helped. Every place has its jerks.
    1a) This is not Disney. Just because someone is wearing traditional dress does not mean that person is there to entertain you. For example, if visiting Salzburg, Austria, don't comment on how the locals are dressed up just like the "Sound of Music Kids" or ask them to sing "Edelweiss."

    2) Don't talk so loud. Nothing says "Here come obnoxious Americans" more than a group of tourists speaking English so loud you can hear them 1/4 a mile away on a crowded street.

    3) Learning "please" and "Thank you" in each language goes a long way.

    4) As has been said earlier, it's best to save the shorts for the beach. The reason being that if you are checking out museums or churches, shorts are considered inappropriate.

    5) Leave the sneakers in your bag unless you're taking a morning run. Instead, wear comfortable shoes with sturdy soles. You will be doing a lot of walking and cobblestone streets can be murder on your feet if you don't have the right footwear.

    6) Keep your head on a swivel, especially in Train Stations, Metro/Subway stations, and large public squares. While you probably won't run into terrorists looking to take you down, you will probably run into pickpockets and thieves. Gypsies are real and you will run into those who fit the stereotype, especially in Southern and Eastern Europe. Rome was the worst in my experience. Avoid groups of children hanging outside the train station, aggressive female beggars in pairs or more, and don't let crazy people on the metro distract you. Don't be afraid, just be aware.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

  10. #24
    Member klw's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Unless you buy a whole new wardrobe and likely change your body type, people will have a pretty good idea that you are an American (though you could probably fake it as a Canadian (have we annexed them yet I forget)). When I was in India, years ago, you could usually easily pinpoint where travelers were from by their appearance. For some reason, Germans were usually identifiable by their socks. Each country has its own identifyers and giveaways- what we have is not always something you would consider but would be easier for someone from outside the US to describe.

  11. #25
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Quote Originally Posted by klw View Post
    I would skip Paris and go to London istead.
    Really? I can't imagine going to Europe and not seeing Paris.

  12. #26
    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    I have been mistaken for being Dutch, German, Greek, French and English. Americans don't stick out.

  13. #27
    Member klw's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Really? I can't imagine going to Europe and not seeing Paris.
    I have enjoyed Paris (other than some imbecile dropping fireworks right next to me on New years Eve) but it depends what you are hoping to do on the trip. I think if I were going to Europe for the first time and had a limited amount of time I would choose London due to less congestion and lost time in lines. For a variety of reasons, I have spent a lot more time in London that in Paris so I am somewhat biased in favor of London and have a great comfort there. Plus I am cheap and the museums in London are free for the most part.

  14. #28
    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Italy.

  15. #29
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    Quote Originally Posted by klw View Post
    I have enjoyed Paris (other than some imbecile dropping fireworks right next to me on New years Eve) but it depends what you are hoping to do on the trip. I think if I were going to Europe for the first time and had a limited amount of time I would choose London due to less congestion and lost time in lines. For a variety of reasons, I have spent a lot more time in London that in Paris so I am somewhat biased in favor of London and have a great comfort there. Plus I am cheap and the museums in London are free for the most part.
    I don't see London as being any less congested as Paris. The free Museums are good but then outside of the Louvre there are a number of places around Paris which are not too costly and not too crowded. Admittedly they are smaller. Paris you get the diversity and I think with the limited time and the convenience of Eurostar one can do both.

    I managed to check out both in 3 days getting to see all the sights (admittedly I didn't actually go into the Louvre or the Tate).

  16. #30
    Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Re: Travel to Europe...

    I am planning on going to Norway, Sweden, and other areas next March.

    I have been to Italy and Portugal. I loved both. The Italians were overall extremely nice and helpful I thought.
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