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Before med school- Europe?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by nightowl, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. nightowl

    nightowl Senior Member
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    So, before med school I was thinking about trying to take a trip to Europe. I don't have infinite funds. I was looking at a Eurorail pass that allows you to visit up to five bordering countries and they all seem to be less than $500. I was wondering- those of you who have done something like this or looked into it- how much a person would have to take to spend 1.5-2 months backpacking in Europe? If I do it, I'm planning on not spending a lot on food and staying in hostels...

    Also, I'm a girl, which sort of concerns me. I don't think traveling alone would be a good idea...

    Anyone ever done this? I'd love some feedback/advice on money, best places to go, etc.
     
  2. justskipee

    justskipee Senior Member
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    I'm planning on doing the same thing this summer with two of my friends. cool.
     
  3. allisonbk

    allisonbk Senior Member
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    i plan on doing the same thing in june before med-school. i originally was planning on doing a grand tour, visiting 5+ countries, but after a little research, i think i only have enough time and money to visit about 2. i have decided on an italy/greece trip. PM me if these countries are on your list- maybe we can share info...
     
  4. daviddamoore

    daviddamoore UK fool
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    You won't have problems travelling alone through Europe - though it is more fun if you have someone with you. The majority of hostels I have stayed in have been single-sex dorms, so that isn't an issue either.
    The Eurail passes are good for making long distance trips as they are usually based on the number of days you travel (usually around 4-8 days out of 2 months). While it seems very little, it can be a really good money saver. You can hop off in some places (i.e. Napoli to see the ruins of Pompeii) and then hop on again in the same day and go to Rome.
    Some countries are a lot more expensive e.g. Switzerland, and some are a lot cheaper e.g. Greece, so it is hard to come up with a dollar amount for your trip. However, be prepared for it to be quite expensive - at least $50 a day. If you find someone to travel with, then budget hotels become more attractive as you can split the costs. Don't book ahead apart from your first few nights as your itinerary will change like crazy once you are there. However, take a Lonely Planet so that you can call up hotels/hostels in places like Venice and book them once you know when you will be there.
    Often Paris is one of the cheaper cities to fly in to, so maybe you can start your trip there. One more tip - a lot of my friends and family take advantage of flights from England to various European countries that cost 1 pound plus tax. Crazy prices and I don't know how it happens!
    Have fun there - my wife and I are hoping to go to France and Italy next summer. She has never seen it, and I have been in the US for three years now and am starting to get homesick!
     
  5. RunnerMD

    RunnerMD Senior Member
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    #5 RunnerMD, Dec 16, 2005
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  6. masterMood

    masterMood Membership Revoked
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    If you feel insecure in going by alone, it would probably be in your best interest (and the other person) to bring someone along.


    If all else fails, you bring a taser and/or pepper spray. Definitely gets the jobs done...for real.
     
  7. angietron3000

    angietron3000 *black magic soul power*
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    I went to Europe for a few months after graduation and ended up staying a year and a half! I went by myself and met so many rad people. If you're worried about money, I know working on your trip is a drag but a lot of hostels will let you stay for free if you help out a bit during the day, maybe contact a few ahead of time and find out..

    I'd say definitely go & have a good time, you'll never forget it!!
     
  8. TheMightyAngus

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    Europe is overrated. It's turning into Disneyland. Lonely Planet is just a map guiding you to Paris-World, Amsterdam-Land, London-Toon-Town, etc. It's just missing Mickey Mouse. Head to South America or Asia. Less tourists, and your $$$ goes further.
     
  9. daviddamoore

    daviddamoore UK fool
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    Europe is not over-rated. It is developed, yes, and if you are looking for wild adventures then perhaps try RD Congo! However, there is a lot of great things to do, see, and experience there. Given a couple of months, you will be able to start to get into the European way of life, which is very different from the US. Coming from England, I feel a lot more comfortable in France than here in the US, showing that there is a cultural difference between Europe and here.
    Regarding Lonely Planet, it is great for what it is. There are a bunch of people, some of whom have just read The Beach, who believe that once Lonely Planet reviews a place it is no longer "cool" to go there. Whatever they may say, Lonely Planet is a great concise guide with maps and hotel/hostel addresses that are invaluable when trying to find somewhere, anywhere to sleep at 2am.
    There are PLENTY of places in Europe that you can get off the beaten path – exploring Greece would be a great one. One word of warning, if you venture too far East, or too far South, then you will start to think about how close Africa and the Middle East are, and you could well end up forgetting that you are supposed to return for medical school!
     
  10. Zoom-Zoom

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    I went to spain for 30 days and spent about 3 grand, but I think about 1k was for airfare alone. We stayed in hostels and had a great time. I would allow yourself at least $50 a day just to get by. You'll find that most hostels are around $20 a night which leaves you with just enough to get by on food and some drinks ;) Obviously, you'll need money for traveling around and souveneirs, musuems, etc. so...yeah it can get pretty expensive even if you do it "cheaply".
     
  11. badlydrawnvik

    badlydrawnvik Senior Member
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    i'm personally hoping to go to the world cup, anyone else? i didn't get tickets the first round, but i'll probably trying again.
     
  12. medworm

    medworm Senior Member
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    Most people travel by train with their backpacks, but I wouldn't have traded my roadtrip through Italy for anything else!! I rented a hatchback and drove through the hilltowns, from Venice to the lakes in the north to Cinque Terre to Pisa, Siena, Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi coast, and a few other places. Absolutely loved zipping around hairpin cliffs! No cops, all pleasure! And it's not that expensive, I think the stick-shift rental was about $300 for 10 days.
     
  13. daviddamoore

    daviddamoore UK fool
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    I'll second the Cinque Terre too - beautiful places to stay - though maybe just do one of them as they all seem pretty similar! As a train advocate (sorry medworm!), I will point out that the trains do go past them!
     
  14. DrMike24

    DrMike24 eat, drink, and be merry
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    I am planning on going backpacking in Europe this summer with my gf and another couple. My tentative itinerary is as follows: 4 days in England, 4 days in Paris, 3 in Amsterdam, 2 in Germany, 3 in Switzerland, 5 in Italy, 3 in Greece, and 7 in Israel. We will be doing the 15 day eurorail pass, starting when we leave Paris and ending after the ferry to Greece. Any suggestions?
     
  15. daviddamoore

    daviddamoore UK fool
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    suggestion - pay for a cabin on the ferry to greece - otherwise it will be the worst night of your life!
     
  16. Unemployed

    Unemployed Senior Member
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    I have about $3000 in my savings. Parents are paying for the plane ticket and eurorail. Do you think I can survive in Amsterdam (3weeks) and Barcelona(9weeks) with occassional weekend getaways to French Riveria, Italy, Monocco? I can live cheap. I plane on living with my cousin in Amsterdam and renting a cheap 300Euro/month flat in Spain. Do you know if anyones gotten a job to help pay for living expenses such as busing tables, etc? I want to immerse myself into the Spainish culture and just enjoy life there for 3 months with no worries and no purpose.
     
  17. Bobblehead

    Bobblehead Senior Member
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    Travel while you can. A trip to Europe is likely one of the best uses for your summer before med school. Aside from the time between 1st and 2nd year it's the longest time you'll have off for a while.

    Pack light, no matter where you go. This site has incredibly helpful suggestions: www.onebag.com Particularly if you want to visit multiple places you should pack as little as possible. If you're staying in western Europe it's pretty much like travelling in the US and you won't need to prepare as much as if you were going someplace less used to US amenities.

    If you're looking for a bag I'd give the MEI Voyageur from the onebag.com website a chance. For touristing it's superior to the Red Oxx Air Boss as the backpack straps will make your life a lot easier in the end.

    Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door website has some good suggestions, especially on the graffiti wall. I'm not a big fan of the bags he sells, preferring the MEI Voyageur that's listed through the onebag.com website instead. If you don't have a daypack already the Rick Steves Civita Day Bag is a pretty decent option. The L.L.Bean Stowaway pack may be a better option though: http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?page=stowaway-pack&categoryId=40214&storeId=1&catalogId=1&langId=-1&parentCategory=4520&cat4=2913&shop_method=pp&feat=dp50
     
  18. Minion677

    Minion677 Senior Member
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    i filled out an application for tix for US vs. Italy in the round robin. hopefully i'll be living in italy next spring and summer so i can head over there.
     
  19. NapeSpikes

    NapeSpikes Believe, hon.
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    I backpacked through Europe for one month several years ago--for the entire trip spanning five countries, including Eurail, hostels, food, airfare from L.A., gifts for folks at home, etc. it was about $1100. For two months, $1500 should have you covered. (This was in '99, before the Euro and all, so maybe costs are different now?)
     
  20. drlalchick

    drlalchick Member
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    I traveled with one friend through Europe last year, and it was one of the best experiences of my life, so I definitely recommend it! Instead of getting a Eurail pass for 500 Euros, however, I flew from country to country. Not only did this save me time during my travels, but it turned out to be cheaper than a Eurail pass. I spent only about 350 Euros for the traveling (including the trains I took when I traveled within a country), and I visited seven countries. I recommend checking out RyanAir and EasyJet....you can find flights that are just 3 Euros! Also, I recommend traveling with someone. Hostels are a great way to meet people on your travels, but they aren't always very safe. So see if there is a friend with whom you can share this incredible experience!
     
  21. guv_garfunkel

    guv_garfunkel guv_garfunkel
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    You should totally do it! I lived a couple years in Italy and since then have returned and backpacked around for a little over two weeks. The experience was amazing!
    $50 a day is about right, but depends on how nice you want to go. If you eat out of grocery stores and stay at cheap hostels or camping areas you can do it for less (hostels.com is a good place to get ideas lodging).
    I also recommend getting a lonely planet book. They are usually very comprehensive and educational. The maps they have are really great too.
    Definitely fly to a main hub like London first and then go through European carriers if your flying anywhere else. You'll save a lot of money if you can find the deals online.
    About safety. I think you should definitly be careful and go with somebody if possible. I can only speak for Italy, but having lived there for so long I saw some bad areas where you wouldn't want to be alone.
    If you do take a trip into Italy don't miss Cinque Terre, Almalfi coast, or Assisi (the town). Those are some of my favorite places. Of course, you'll want to go to Rome and Florence. If you do make it to Italy don't be afraid to talk to the natives and take in their culture. They are really some of the nicest people there are. Go hang out in their pizzarias and shops. Maybe you'll get invited over for dinner! Have fun in Europe!
     
  22. riceman04

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    I studied abroad in england during my senior year and then backpacked through parts of europe with a Eurail pass. The most expensive part for me was the pass itself (that is...once I got into europe, england included). I think you should take over $1000 just to be on the safe side. Just think about how much hostels will cost perday on average (hey do you already have the website where you can access all of the hostels?). You want to be on the safe side just in case something unexpected comes up. Also, the bad thing about hostels is that they sometimes mysteriously lose your reservation (so always have enough $ for alternate housing).
    Groceries- no prob...they are everywhere...(if you can find ASDA...WALMART owns it...then you are good to go for food).
    Eurailpass- try to take trains where you will only get charged for one day rather than two (this depends on the time your train departs and arrives).

    How many countries are you trying to visit?
    I got the pass that allowed me to travel throughout France, Spain, and Italy.
    Finally, be careful. Being that you are a female, people over there will try to take advantage of you (I hate to say it, but especially dep on your ethnicity).

    Have fun,

    John

    I just read what Napespikes said about the euro: Take around $1800 for 2 months. The euro sucks!!!!! I lost sooooooooo much money while over there b/c of the conversion.

    Of course you do not have to take this all in cash. Take traverlers checks. And if you are a member of American Express then go to an AMEX store and buy some (get some in euros and some in american dollars). The good thing about AMEX is that they have stores worldwide...so you can just stop in to their stores for more if necessary. You can also purchase euros and pounds from those stores too (here in america I mean).

    have fun,
    john
     
  23. nicholasblonde

    nicholasblonde Senior Member
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    EURORAIL IS A RIPOFF. www.ryanair.com and www.easyjet.co.uk are the best ways to do it. Period. Taking the train only makes sense if you are using it for short distances. Get your transatlantic tix at www.studentuniverse.com (assuming you are still a University student).

    And for anyone who wants to know how to backpack around the world without having much cash, might I suggest the following:

    1) Go to South Korea and teach English for 3 months on a C4 (90 day) work visa. You don't need anything but native English and a college degree in any subject. They'll at least pay one-way airfare to SK, and provide an apartment. You'll come out of it w/ about $1600 per month savings...which, along with the base of expatriate friends you'll make (lots of Brits, Aussies, & Canucks there) you can use to continue travelling Westward....hit up Bangkok, China, and maybe even India/Vietnam. Buy ****loads of electronics & counterfeit watches in China, and keep it for later.

    2) Take the Trans-Siberian railway (2nd class or above only) for ~$200 one-way from Beijing, through Ulan Bataar Mongolia, Irkutsk (Lake Baikal) Russia, and up to Moscow...take a jaunt up to St. Petersburg for some culture.

    3) Take the night train from Moscow to Berlin...go to berlin.craigslist.org, where you can find a cheap (250 euro/month) 2-3 month sublet. Set up your base of operations in Berlin. Now that you're in Europe, hawk your Chinese goods for a 50-60% profit...with $600 worth of stuff you should generate the money you need for your flat in Germany (or france, wherever you want it).

    4) Using www.airberlin.com, www.ryanair.co.uk, www.volareweb.it, and www.easyjet.co.uk, travel all over Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East (I think Air Berlin goes to Israel).

    5) Go down to Nice, Marseille, or Barcelona, and hang out at the docks every freaking day for 2 weeks or so....find someone, somewhere, who is taking a boat to the Carribbean (or at least the Canary Islands), and offer to work as a deckhand in return for the trip. You should make it back alive unless the captain is incompetent/alcoholic...I've been on a ship with a drunken Irish woman who was a little senile...my friends and I jumped ship in Nassau...watch out for the Irish!!!

    Nick Blonde :)
     
  24. mercaptovizadeh

    mercaptovizadeh ἀλώπηξ
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    I suggest going to just one European country and really taking the time to savor it. I spent 8 days in Greece and it was way too whirlwind and not enough time. I saw Prague for just one night and it was a real "teaser". For a smaller country like Czechia, Holland, Hungary or Ireland, I suggest 3-4 weeks. For a medium country like Greece or Portugal or Poland, I would suggest 5-7 weeks. And for the bigger countries like France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Britain, or Spain, I'd suggest 10+ weeks. Giant countries like Russia, something like 3-4 months.
     
  25. Ladedah

    Ladedah Junior Member

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    I'm planning on backpacking around Europe with my bf before med school (for 6 weeks). We're looking at going through Ireland, London, France, Switzerland, and Italy, staying in hostels and camping in the Alps. BUT... I don't have enough money. I'm willing to take out a loan now for a few thousand and pay it back with all the other loans we have to pay later, but I don't know how to go about getting the money. Should I just go through a bank?? Do I try and get a student loan now or borrow money from parents and try to get a loan as a med student to pay them back. I've tried asking different financial aid ppl but no one is that helpful. Can anyone tell me how to get money for this summer!!!

    Thanks so much!
     
  26. daviddamoore

    daviddamoore UK fool
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    You are crazy - keeping loans to a minimum is the name of the game right now. Get a job and save the money to go. If you take out loans, in the 8 years it will take you to repay you will be out a significant amount. 6 weeks in expensive England (I never ate out until I came to America - HUGE difference in prices) and other places will probably cost over 5k all told.
     
  27. Punkinhead

    Punkinhead Member
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    OMG, that is the truest statement ever...I went all around Meditteranean Europe this summer with my best friend after graduation, with the last leg from Brindisi, Italy to Greece by ferry. We slept in the freezing night on the top deck, near the pool. The plastic chair-benches were so awful, but we definitey did not miss sunrise. DEFINITELY, get a cabin, it's only funny in retrospect.

    You must go, it will probably be the greatest experience of your life, so far. Plus, the next chance you may get to go will probalby be in about 7 years. Don't worry about going alone, you will meet tons of people at hostels. Also, it will be about $50.00 a day, but more if you want to eat some real restaurant meals, like 3x a week. Getting bread and cheese, plus local market stuff is the best cheap way to go. I'm getting daydreamy just thinking about it...
     
  28. okayplayer

    okayplayer Senior Member
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    So I too am joining the ranks of people going to Europe this summer before I start med school in the fall. I am graduating the first week of May and am headed off soon after that with one of my best friends from high school.

    Luckily money is not much of an object (thank god I have a $6k savings bond from my Grandma coming up soon!). I obviously want to be careful about what I am spending, plan on staying in hostels, etc. I am planning on a 5-6 wk. trip.

    Anyway, I have some questions for people about where to go, what to do, how to get there, etc:

    1) After going, what are your list of must-see, must-do places/things? What countries and cities must I visit? (I know the guy I am going with has lots of family in the UK so we will stay with them there I'm sure. As for what we want to do: lots and lots of museums. We're both really into history and art).

    So far my list of places I definitely want to visit includes: London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, and Berlin. These are the places I am very interested in visiting: Madrid/Barcelona (heard Spain is a blast), Monaco, Vienna, Prague, Copenhagen, Athens (not sure it is practical), Istanbul (not sure it is practical), Jerusalem (DEFINITELY not practical I am guessing). Can you guys comment on any/all of these cities? Worth visiting, best things to do, etc.

    2) (given the list of cities I want to visit above) Please comment on Eurail vs. flying on those crazy cheap European jets (like Easy Jet). It seems like Eurail is pretty expensive and the flights are cheap, but I have heard those flights are only cheap if you book way in advance, which means you lose flexibility. I had always been planning on Eurail but recently was told I should just fly to many places. I know that's what we'll have to do to get to the UK from the mainland.

    3) Where is the cheapest place to fly into in W. Europe? London, Paris, Madrid? Any good travel websites? What should I expect to pay for a roundtrip flight (from Seattle/Portland)? Also anyone know what the best days of the week are to fly for the cheapest fares? We are incredibly flexible on dates..

    4) Any good websites to recommend to help me prepare?

    Cannot wait to go! I am going to have a blast I think!

    If you'd prefer, send me a PM with your responses. I just can't wait to go!!! I am so amped.

    Thanks so much for the help guys.
     
  29. dsherida

    dsherida Senior Member
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    Went over to Europe last summer and had the time of my life. I went with my girlfriend and hit up France, Italy, and Greece in a span of 3 weeks. I think with flight and Eurorail pass we each spent just under $3k. Mind you that I was staying in hostels as often as I could, but it was nice to be alone at times as well with the lady. I think you could do it cheaper if we had stayed in dorm room style hostels the entire time. I think it is completely worth it though. One thing that surprised me is that you still end up paying about 20 euro each time you ride the train because you have to book your ticket ahead of time. This isn't that bad though! Send me a message if you have any questions and I can try to help out. The places I went though and saw I will remember for the rest of my life like St. Peter's, The Acropolis, The Coliseum, Versailles, etc...
     
  30. fenixwbp

    fenixwbp Junior Member
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    I'm graduating this spring with my BS in 3 years. I'm planning on taking the money I saved dropping a year of college plus the money in my savings to take an 8 month solo backpacking trip from London, England to Bangkok, Thailand. I start salivating just thinking about it.
     
  31. Ladedah

    Ladedah Junior Member

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    I have been looking up flights to Europe and found it was cheapest to fly into Dublin Ireland ($500-$600). I was flying from the east coast, Baltimore or New York, and checked almost every big city, London, Paris, Berlin, Venice. (They were a few hundred dollars more). If you're not interested in going to Ireland, you can get cheep commuter-like flights out of Dublin for under $100. That's the product of my current research, if anyone has any better ideas!!....
     
  32. -Goose-

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    that would be absolutely AWESOME! too bad i'm too freakin' broke. how expensive are tickets?
     
  33. okayplayer

    okayplayer Senior Member
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  34. TIGIBedHead

    TIGIBedHead Fever to Tell
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    Do you recommend the eurorail pass, or trying to get cheap plane tickets? I will be in France, and I want to visit Italy for sure, and maybe a few other places in western Europe.
     
  35. TIGIBedHead

    TIGIBedHead Fever to Tell
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    If you are a student, try studentuniverse.com for cheap tickets.
     
  36. anystream

    anystream Senior Member
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    does studentuniverse.com work if you are in between schools?
     
  37. TIGIBedHead

    TIGIBedHead Fever to Tell
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    I needed to send in a copy of my schedule and my student ID to verify my student status. If you took classes in the fall, that should work.
     
  38. okayplayer

    okayplayer Senior Member
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  39. nicholasblonde

    nicholasblonde Senior Member
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    Yeah...because 5K really makes a freaking difference when your aggregate debt is going to be ~$120-150K after med school/undergrad. Oooooo I borrowed $155K instead of $150K over 8 years...and got to see/do/experience stuff I'll tell my grandkids about. In light of how much money most of us will be borrowing over our lifetimes, and in light of how much of our 20s we're devoting to studying, I would recommend getting a credit card if you have to.
     
  40. nicholasblonde

    nicholasblonde Senior Member
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    yes and no-- if you have a ".edu" e-mail address when you set up an account with them, you are golden. Even if your edu-address stops working a few days after you sign up on studentuniverse.com...you can still login, and you can have your e-tickets e-mailed to a different address (which doesn't have to be .edu)....PM me if this is confusing.
     
  41. nrddct

    nrddct carlover
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    after reading this thread, I wanna plan a trip too! I'll be going alone though since none of my friends are free. To those that went to Europe alone, did ya'll meet alot of single travelers? I'm a little introverted so I don't know how much I will enjoy traveling by myself.
     
  42. drmota

    drmota 2K Member
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    its been impossible trying to find tickets and i don't think we'll have any luck. for the first round 95% of the tickets went to native Germans and the rest went to people around the world that probably had some sort of connection. and worse yet, each ticket has the buyer's NAME on it so there's no scalping that'll be going on (unless you devise a pretty elaborate scheme). 2 of my cousins live in Hamburg and have tickets to 3 games, the lucky f*cks. so i'm probably gonna beat one of them up for one of the tickets and pretend i'm 18 and go. either way i plan on being in germany for the world cup nonetheless, its gonna be a hell of a time even if you're just at a bar down the streat from the stadium packed with crazy germans. if you actually end up coming through drop me a line, we'll meet up for drinks.

    -mota
     
  43. funshine

    funshine at the fateful hour
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    I'm planning to go through France very thoroughly: Paris, Loire Valley, Brittany, Provence, Corsica??...still looking at various sample itineraries to organize my own trip. If you have ideas, PM me! Then we're heading to Rome for 3 days, and hopefully fly to Vienna. We only have ~2 weeks though, so I may have to cut some stuff out. Oh, and no idea where the money's gonna come from :oops: . Oh, and neither of us speaks a lick of French, so the whole idea's kinda far-fetched, but I have plenty of time to learn!
     
  44. Minion677

    Minion677 Senior Member
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    anyone want to live with me in rome starting in march?
     
  45. funshine

    funshine at the fateful hour
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    have you found a place already?!
     
  46. Minion677

    Minion677 Senior Member
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    no, just looking to get out of here once interviews are over.. craigslist has a lot of places for rent and i know some people in rome who can help me find a place when the time is right
     
  47. Ladedah

    Ladedah Junior Member

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    for all of you who have already been to Europe or are planning to go..

    I'm planning to get a eurail (Youth Flexi - 15 days travel over 2 mo. time span in any of the supporting countries), but there are a few things I don't understand. When it says "days" does that mean that I can do as many transfers as I want in one day to get from one place to another and not have to pay extra? What about England and Wales? I know they're not on the eurail but some give discounts. Does anyone have experience with that?

    I'm planning on taking 6-12 days to hike in the Alps and want a shorter trip in England, Wales, Ireland area. Does anyone have any good suggestions of places to go and how to get there? Ideally, I'd love to camp, but hostels are fine too. I've found lots of trails, but haven't found any good maps of them so that I can find out how to get there/where to stay without buying a book, which I don't want to do until I decide where to go!!

    anyone who has gone before - did you feel like you needed to book hostels in advance. I'd like to keep some freedom and not book them (except for the first few days).
     
  48. sanford_w/o_son

    sanford_w/o_son locl jnky-gota thred man?
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    not to give away my age, but i did italy and greece in college back in the winter of '96 with two friends. it was a great trip, and i too will be heading back before med school to check out more of europe.

    i did eurail pass in italy, but in greece we took mostly buses and this worked out fine (we had been warned by a guidebook ahead of time that greece's train system was worse than its bus system). i forgot if we used railpass or just bought cheap ferry tix to go from brindisi, italy to larissa, greece. by the way, i highly recommend southern italy for its charm and friendlier, less tourist-weary people. i had the most off-the-beaten-path, "authentic" experience in brindisi (i don't doubt that there are more such experiences in asia, africa, and latin america, but if you're more into checking out western culture from the roots up (like i am) then europe comes first). i recommend italy in general if you like great cities. italy at the time was maybe a little cheaper than the u.s., and greece at the time was a good bit cheaper than both.

    last i knew, flying into london is cheapest, but paris and frankfurt aren't too bad (it's also going to depend on where in the u.s. you're flying from). we got all tickets through www.counciltravel.com. get an international student i.d. card and hostel card before you leave for discounts.

    once there, i'm not sure about the suggestion to just take planes, as i believe travelling short distances is the rule in seeing europe and so i'm inclined to think you get your money's worth from eurail and buses. but it probably depends on how many cities and how far apart. eurail pass now covers ireland (and the ferry there).

    $50 per day sounds just right to me. it's the max budget i'm planning on, so i expect to be under $50 on average. last time i went, we went to restaurants only occasionally. i ate a lot of bread and cheese from little grocery stores. hostels are not only cheaper than hotels, but highly recommended for the solo traveler. many folks from all over who are also going solo, and so instant friendships, exchange of information, and group outings abound. highly recommended. i went in the winter, when nothing needed to be booked in advance and everything was a bit cheaper. i would be reluctant about going into the bigger cities (paris, london, berlin, etc.) without a reservation in the height of summer.
     
  49. allisonbk

    allisonbk Senior Member
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    has anyone taken the bari-patras italy/greece route? This was the one I was planning to do. It is free if you have a italy/greece eurail pass.

    Also- if you took advantage of this deal- what sort of accomidation do you get for free- I am assuming it is the deck or dorms. I think I would like to upgrade to a cabin. Can this be done when I get there or does it need to be done way in advance?

    Thanks!
     
  50. sanford_w/o_son

    sanford_w/o_son locl jnky-gota thred man?
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    again, go to hostels. i'm a bit introverted, too, but i promise you that when you're hanging out in the common rooms with other solo folks from around the world (many of whom, fortunately for you, speak english), you will have plenty of questions to ask about their homes/travels and they will have plenty of questions to ask you about yours. conversations will come pretty easily, and it's often just a matter of time before someone suggests a pub/restaurant/club/etc. outing. at least that's been my experience in various hostels.

    when i was in europe, there were times when my friends and i went off solo. there is something about being in a group of fellow-foreigners that makes natives reluctant to approach you for conversation. going solo may be a bit more lonely overall, but you will have more opportunity to meet those from other cultures. you also get to go where you want. personally, even if i had friends able to go with me summer after next, i would still prefer to go solo this time.
     

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