Eastern Europe Trip Questions
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Dec 7, 2012 5:22 AM Last Post By: miami99
Nov 11, 2012 7:31 PM
Eastern Europe Trip QuestionsHey everyone,
A friend and I are studying in Russia and are considering traveling through eastern europe during our winter break (mid december to early january). We are open to pretty much anything but looking at a map I am thinking maybe a Austria -> Czech -> Poland -> Belarus -> back to russia trip or something similar but in the south like Austria -> Hungary -> Romania -> Ukraine -> back to russia. Does anyone have any thoughts about either of those?
Also, since we are new to travelling in europe, are there any good resources yall could recommend? Is there one source with information like which countries we (americans) need visas for, etc?
Traveling, would you recommend train, plane, etc?
Hostels and stuff, do you usually book them in advance or is it easy to find a place to stay after you get there?
Thanks for all the help!
Nov 12, 2012 4:13 AM
I am also travelling during winter break in a few countries in Eastern Europe. If you decide to go with the first option, make sure to get a visa in Belarus beforehand, because I have read a lot of negative reviews about Americans getting charged pretty excessive fees for not buying their visas prior to going to the Minsk airport. I will be going to Amsterdam->Czech->Hungary->Russia during the Winter, and will be travelling through the Minsk airport in Belarus, which still requires a visa simply to transit. I am also American and just looked up the visa reqs for USA citizens on wikipedia first: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_requirements_for_United_States_citizens#Europe
I also booked most of my hostels beforehand and noticed some of the prices for these hostels are getting more expensive as the weeks go by, (maybe $4 USD a night difference within 3 weeks or so) so it might be cheaper to book them once you figure out where you want to go.
Nov 12, 2012 4:19 AM
2Hi - and welcome to Thorn Tree.
Whether you travel by plane, bus, train or otherwise is obviously entirely up to you.
I use a choice of rent-a-car, budget airlines and trains (never buses) while within Eastern Europe.
Both budget flights and trains are cheap. It depends also a lot on your available time.
For instance, a train might take in excess of 24 hours (they rarely, if ever, go in a straight line).
From/to the same two cities by plane, might be achievable in about an hour.
I never book hotels or hostels in advance, unless I have a late evening arrival, but instead just find one.
Rail Europe is often slated here (which is justified) for it's high fares.
However if you sign up to it's e-newsletter, there are often a few fares that are cheaper than normal tickets.
Check out all the train operators websites and.... http://www.bahn.com
Looking for visa advice is easy. there are numerous websites that have all the advice you need.
I take it that you've done your homework into 'Local' prices.
For example, Romania is cheaper than Austria, Ukraine is generally cheaper than Hungary.
Back to your homework again.... You also know that it will be very cold and dark early.... Of course you do.
I've been to many parts of Eastern Europe in mid-winter and it's been way down in the -30c.'s.
A few lines from me, for sure others will be along soon with more.
Best of luck with everything.
Nov 13, 2012 3:09 AM
3Given that you are talking about 3 weeks when it will be cold and miserable in most of Europe and for the last week to 10 days (from december 25- january 6th) lots of places will be closed or on holiday schedules, I would be VERY careful about choosing where to go.
I would probably fly to Berlin or Munich, see the christmas markets there and which is cheaper) and then take the train back stopping along the way in Prague, Krakow and Warsaw. I would be sure to get a Belarus transit visa and try to spend a night in Minsk on your return or avoid Belarus and take a bus to Riga and then the train from there to Moscow or Petersburg.
Dec 7, 2012 5:22 AM
4I am pretty sure you will need to have get a visa to go through Belarus.
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