Lot's of Questions About Travel in Eastern Europe!
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jun 20, 2012 7:43 AM Last Post By: aimeemia
Jun 18, 2012 8:36 PM
Lot's of Questions About Travel in Eastern Europe!Hello all! I'm going to be a study abroad student next Spring of 2013 in Cannes, France. I've never been to Europe, let alone Eastern Europe or anywhere else outside the United States! That being said, I'm a little apprehensive about travel, mainly about making plans! I have a few questions for anyone willing to answer or give advice!
1.) I plan to visit lots of countries: The United Kingdom/Scotland, France, Czech, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy, and Greece. All subject to change mind you. I have absolutely no idea what train pass I should buy, or should I even buy one? It will mainly be weekend travelling so I know that flying makes more sense, but keep in mind that I AM a college student, so the cheaper the better! What I'm really trying to get at is what is a good itinerary to travel between Cannes, France and Poland? I know I want to stop in Prague for sure!
2.) Also, how much money should I bring to spend on travel and what not? (Keep in mind that I'm only there 4 months and I won't be traveling constantly!) I plan to bring $5000.
3.) Just as a bonus if you want add in any places along the way from Cannes to Poland that you've enjoyed. Especially in Czech and Poland!
Jun 19, 2012 12:28 AM
1don't buy a train pass - you won't get nearly enough value out of it if you only travel now and then. France has ridiculously expensive train travel, as does England and Germany, but in Italy and all of Eastern Europe, trains are affordable.
if you can only travel on weekends, ryan air, wizz air, lot and other low cost carriers will be your best friend. It makes no sense to travel from france to poland by train if you only have two days, as you will spend longer on the train than in the destination country.
there will be ferries running from marseille, for eg, to spain and italy.
R.e. being nervous about travel - there is no need! There will always be someone at the other end to point you in the right direction. If you get lost, pop in to any hotel and ask for directions.
so no need to stress :P
Jun 19, 2012 4:02 AM
2I agree. You're in for the best experiences of your life. Prague is amazing. I also recommend that you see Albania on your way to Greece.
Some of the best places and opportunities will happen outside your plans so be flexible. You can make your money go a long way even though you'll be going from dollars to euros. The key is to look where the locals go, not the tourists.
Jun 19, 2012 5:32 AM
3You have plenty of time to look into possibilities - that is very good. First some basics: Check out bahn.de for train schedules for most of Europe. This will help give you a sense of what is realistic for a weekend. You can also buy tickets there for travel to or from Germany. Yes, walk-up ticket prices for trains in France, Germany, and UK can be very expensive; the key is to buy advance-purchase tickets. You can typically buy as far as about 90 days in advance.
Low-cost airlines in Europe are different from the ones in the US. The biggest difference is that many do not offer connecting flights on one ticket. This will limit your options. Buying two tickets to reach somewhere else has risks and complications (which I am to lazy to type up right now) so in many cases, especially short weekend trips, it is unadvisable.
You best chance to get to Poland for a weekend may be OLT Express, which starts service from Marseilles to Gdańsk in November. Otherwise, booking ahead on network carriers (which do offer connecting flights) such as LOT, AIr France, Lufthansa may offer some special deals, perhaps from Nice, but you will need to do your homework to find them. Wizzair won't be much help since they only fly to Paris in France.
I agree with #1 that a pass is probably not a good option for you if you can only use it at weekends.
Apart from the weekends, will you have some kind of break in your studies so that you can make a longer trip? This may be your best chance to see other places in Central Europe, such as Prague or other places in Poland.
Hope that helps a little.
Jun 19, 2012 7:02 AM
4Return ticket from Nice to Warsaw on Polish airlines (www.lot.com) costs from 100 USD. If you want to travel around Europe you should know 2 biggest low cost airlines:
www.ryanair.com - the cheapest
www.wizzair.com is also popular in East Europe.
Normal airlines may also be cheap if booked in advance and difference in quality is really big.
For places worth visiting I suggest that you search in this Forum, there is a lot of advice in previous posts.
Jun 19, 2012 7:25 AM
Jun 20, 2012 12:43 AM
In my opinion it could be interesting to visit eastern Poland (Mazury lakes district, Białowieża national park, Białystok city, Bieszczady mountains, Biebrza national park, Lublin city etc.).
The places are quite 'exotic' compared to main cities (Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan...) which are similar to other European cities (but also worth visiting!).
In the other parts of country you can see huge Malbork castle, Torun city, Wolsztyn steam engine depot (only one in Europe that regularly serves trains passengers with steam engines)...
I also think that if you going to be in eastern Poland you can also (should!) visit Lithuania - I've been in Vilnius and Trakai - they are great!
Jun 20, 2012 7:43 AM
7I will probably not be visiting Poland on a weekend as that seems nearly impossible and I'd like to spend at least 4 days there! I have a few odd weeks where I'll be off school here and there.
Thanks for all of the suggestions!!
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