13 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2013 12:23 PM by yanushkevich

    European Travel

    Canoejh

      Finally booked a Danube River trip as our first vacation in Europe.  We are excited about our tour and plan to begin in Budapest and finish up in Nuremberg, with a side trip to Prague.  Any tips on European travel?  I plan to bring Euro's, pack light ( one bag) and enjoy the ride.  We like to walk, browse and enjoy the architecture of Europe.

      What are we missing?

        • Re: European Travel
          ldgpangeo
          Live the cliche: "when in Rome, do as the Romans do".   Enjoy the local wine, beer and cuisine of each area you visit.

          For more specific advice.  

             1.  Take along plenty of spare memory cards for your digital camera and take lots of pictures.  I found it handy to shoot signs as a way to anchor the other pictures.  After your fourth palace or cathedral it's so easy to get them confused.

             2.  Keep a daily diary.  It helps you to remember where you saw something, the local names for ....   and so many other details that easily get confused when you try to recall them later on.  It makes a great memento in later years.

            • Re: European Travel
              Canoejh

              Thanks for the great advice.

               

                • Re: European Travel
                  ldgpangeo
                  BTW,  we did our first river cruise (the Rhone River) last October.  It was a wonderful experience that we are eager to repeat.  We particularly appreciated:
                     a.  More relaxed than bouncing from hotel to hotel.
                     b.  Meeting and chatting with the other passengers during quiet moments.
                     c.  Very well informed local guides who were very helpful.
                     d.  Great food.  We saw how fresh produce was delivered daily.
              • Re: European Travel
                Bret
                I have lived in Budapest for 20 years and have traveled all over Europe.  Trains are a good way to get around.  The is good service in Austria, Germany and Czech Republic.  You don't need to carry a lot of cash since there are ATM machines every where and they accept Visa and Amex cards.  My best advice is to use the ATM's at banks.  Don't use your cards for restaurants but instead pay cash.  There have been several scams where unscrupulous waiters us a gadget to record your card's information.  Bring your laptop since there is internet available everywhere.  Use Skype to call home since it is much cheaper.  A must try for dinner is the Three Ostriches in Prague but you probably will need to book in advance.
                • Re: European Travel
                  aelwell
                  You'll love Budapest. I've been there 3 times. Be sure to visit the Market in center city. All kinds of crafts and foods.
                  • Re: European Travel
                    Samantine
                    Check out books by Rick Steves -- he's the best for wonderful, frugal yet rewarding travel!
                    Samantine
                    • Re: European Travel
                      I enjoy knowing history of the places I visit, so first thing I do is get and read the guide books of the places I am visiting (Frommers for instance), read the TripAdvisor recommendations, and read some history books on the regions where I am going. We are big on castles and churches, so I always read up on those. Our 25 cent tour of Prague was "walk from the train station through Wencelas Square to the Old Town square (fascinating astronomical clock there, you can see it on the Internet) over the Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) up the hill to the Prague Castle." The Charles Bridge might be the coolest bridge ever.
                      • Re: European Travel
                        LeeAnn
                        What I have always found most helpful for European travel is something called Travelers' Helpline within the Rick Steves website.  Go to RickSteves.com (it will probably bring you to something called Rick Steves' Europe) and click on 'Graffiti Wall'  On the next screen, click on 'Travelers'  Helpline' (it's in red).  From there, you are able to choose an area in Europe you're interested in.  Once you open that area, you will see questions asked, and the many answers/opinions related to that question.  I learned quite a few money savings tips on the best way to rent a car in Italy and how to avoid fines in areas I was totally unaware of.  I also count on this area of Rick Steves' website for reliable recommendations on apartment rentals throughout Europe.  Take time to take a look at the Graffiti page as well.  As you will see, there's a full list subjects you'll find useful - this isn't a question and answer forum like the Travelers' Helpline, but it covers many travel related subjects you wouldn't even think to ask about. 
                        • Re: European Travel
                          Don't buy more than a cab fare as the exchange ate in the US is nasty.  We get all our euro when we land in the destination country.  Take your Debit card with you and get the Euros that way.  Cheaper.  Capital 1 supposedly has the cheapest rate.  the euro:dollar rate can vary daily, so you want to play the odds that it will be cheaper when you get there.  Don't forget the service charges.  don't forget to notify your banks that own your card that you are traveling in Europe and the countries you will be visiting.  If you don't they can block you from using them.  Make a copy of your passport and carry that instead of your real passport.  Lock yours away in the on board safe/ hotel safe.   Prague is great.  again, we used the debit card to get the kronos.  Use the trolleys they are great.  I am sooo jealous.  Wish we could go back.  Turkoisern
                          • Re: European Travel
                            MikeD
                            The first time I went to Europe l brought Euros. Now l just bring my mac card and only take out cash as needed (usually two to three hundred). Also,get a credit card with a low exchange fee. I found Capital One to be the best but you should call around just to check. If you convert usd to euros at your bank they may charge a fee. Most important, the euro may drop after you exchanged your dollars and then you are out. Enjoy your trip.
                            • Re: European Travel
                              timmer77
                              I agree with a couple of previous posters, your debit card will get you the cash you need from an ATM, usually right in the airport.   Also Capital One, as I understand it, doesn't tack on a currency conversion fee, which most of the other cards do.
                               
                              I would recommend letting your bank and credit card companies know where you will be travelling and when.   Also you might consider increasing the allowed amount per day on your debit card.
                               
                              We travelled throughout Scandinavia in 2005.  I bought a prepared telephone card for about $7 there that was good everywhere we travelled.   I also, in advance, figured out how to change the language on the web browser so that if I went to an internet café, I could figure it out in the native language.
                               
                              I'd also say that the Rick Steves books are very accurate and helpful, assuming it is a current edition.
                               
                              Have fun.  I hope you like beer - Prague has some great beer from what I hear.
                              • Re: European Travel
                                yanushkevich
                                You must be on a one week tour, probably Viking, we plan to do the return trip, but 2 week long, from Amsterdam to Budapest, we wanted to see Prague, heard lots of good about the city, but the 300Km road trip on a bus just is not our cup of coffee -:) so we shall stay on the same boat all the way, I have been to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria with a trip to Budapest in between, it is all interestin.

                                My druthers is not to listen to the guides who narrate history and culture, that can be done just as easily by viewing videos and/or reading books, we much prefer to walk the streets and breathe the aromas and culture of every day folks, including window shopping, just for fun, it is definitely different from any Stateside city or town, and if you are going to make the trip over the Atlantic, then do something you cannot do at home!  Have fun