Traveling alone without a plan trip - does it work?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Aug 24, 2012 12:36 PM Last Post By: fernweh87
Aug 21, 2012 12:55 PM
Traveling alone without a plan trip - does it work?Hi everyone,
I'm a girl and I'm planning to travel alone around Europe for a moth. I really like the idea of choosing only my first destination, which may be Berlin or Amsterdam, and then just take each day as it comes with no farther plans. I will see other cities and I wanna travel by train. Has any of you done it before? Do you recommend such a trip? How should I buy train tickets in this case?
Aug 21, 2012 2:03 PM
1On the one hand, what you want is fine, most of the year. Some routes get booked out, especially for example Berlin to Amsterdam sleeper trains.
However, European train travel operates on long haul on a first come cheapest served ticket basis in general. Tickets go on sale 90 days in advance for most trains - for Eurostar it's more. If you want to do this ad hoc on a whim style, you'd be best to get a rail pass, as you'd be immune from last minute premium priced rail tickets. Refer to http://www.seat61.com for general info ref trains and passes, and http:///www.bahn.co.uk for train timetables.
Aug 21, 2012 2:26 PM
Aug 21, 2012 3:35 PM
3unplanned travel is always the best way to go if you can. As said above often buying train, bus or plane tickets on the spot, means to pay more than 1 or 2 months in advance for example. But other than this issue there isn´t any problem. Even if you travel complete unplaneed it is always a good idea to do some smaple itinaries and have some information beforehand.
Aug 21, 2012 5:10 PM
4As above...unplanned travel is the best way to go.
For the trains you have 2 options...buy a railpass,or just pay as you go.Pay as you go will cost more than buying in advance in many countries but if you have the budget,it is well worth it for the extra freedom it gives you (compared to advance purchase tickets).
The railpass may or may not be worth it...depends where you go and how much you use it.
Don't forget there will be other options like buses in many cases...they can be cheaper or more convenient than trains.Again it depends exactly where you are going....
Aug 21, 2012 10:40 PM
Aug 22, 2012 3:50 AM
This creates a dilemma. If you want to save money, travel as cheaply as possible, visit a few widely separated cities in a short period of time etc, then advance booking is the way to go. However advance booking shoots down any aspirations a person has to play it day by day.
Even only 10-15 years ago this wasn't such an issue, since there were not many options for advance booking on high-speed trains.
It is still possible these days to go to a train station in the morning and buy a ticket on a regional train, and travel a shortish distance (e.g., 2-4 hour jumps). Only rarely are there any discounts on these sorts of trains anyway. So you can avoid the advance booking conundrum and keep your planning flexibility.
Really, it comes down to whether or not you want to fret and fuss about your budget. Some of us take-it-day-by-day types started out with the money we had and just tried to make it last as long as possible. We didn't have a fixed time line. So compromising between money and a fixed amount of time was never an issue.
The one other not-unrealistic alternative, suggested above, is to price a train pass. If you figure on hopping around a lot (trains can be used to make day trips from a base -- not only long-haul A to B jumps) then this settles the travel budget and you don't need to worry about plans. Of course, don't worry about the high-speed trains and everything else that requires reservations and supplements either.
People have travelled the length and breadth of Europe by train and bus before the advent of rush-rush high-speeds everywhere. It works, it's possible.
Aug 22, 2012 4:54 AM
7Every guidebook has a chapter on Security While Travelling, or such. Read all you find.
They all say money belt or something like it. They help organise too. Not all oldtimer travelers use one. But you're dealing with pro theaves. Stealth driven.
In Europe at least they don't use guns. They use skill and a henchman to hand the goods off to. He disappears into crowd. So nothing can be retreaved or proven. Cops can't do a thing for us.
Nothing to be paranoid about. Just new road rules.
Aug 22, 2012 9:01 AM
Traveling without a plan it´s very fine, but it doesn´t mean you have to be ignorant 100% about where you are or where you like to visit. What I mean is that you can have an open agenda, but you should check beforehand and invest some time about cities or places you will like to see if possible. This means, I arrive in Berlin, but some interesting places are Postdam, or Amsterdam, or Prague, or Paris (random examples), so if you feel like moving around, you have some idea about which direction to take at least.
Be smart and have options in mind, it´s useful in any case. And be realistic, in a month try to arrive from Berlin to Athens and then to Madrid, it´s just crazy. And don´t forget your common sense at home
Aug 23, 2012 2:06 AM
Aug 23, 2012 12:35 PM
10Thank you everyone! Great advises here!
I've found a Global InterRail pass: 10 days trip - within 22 days (flexi) £339. It seems to be perfect for this trip. It feels really good to hear your experiences, as I said this is something I have never done before, feels a bit scare but also very excited!
Please keep posting =)
Aug 23, 2012 2:30 PM
11Those passes are worthwhile if you are making a lot of long distance trips......
10 days of travelling in 22 is a hell of a lot though...that is leaving you basically 2 days in each place.Minus travel time....
Which cities do you think you can see well (or even partly) in only 2 days? Not Berlin,nor Amsterdam.......where else are you thinking of ?
Aug 24, 2012 12:36 PM
12If you live outside of Europe, you can't get an InterRail pass... you have to have lived here for at least 6 months! Your alternative would be Eurail, which is more expensive! Sorry... But you should still consider doing this trip, it's a great way to travel!
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