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March 16, 2007

Travel Suggestions?

Filed under: General — martin @ 3:09 pm

My brother and I are thinking of traveling overseas for a few weeks sometime next month, but we’re having trouble figure out where to get started.  I know some of you - Matt in particular - have done this before, so I was wondering: any advice?  Is it better to plan it yourself or use an agent?  We’re looking at either Europe or Japan, mainly.

4 Responses to “Travel Suggestions?”

  1. Matt Says:

    Well, first of all, make sure you have your passports. Just read in the paper that they are taking twice as long (even expedited are taking four weeks) due to huge demand right now.

    Anyway, you can use an agent if you want, but that takes the fun out of it. :) We never did.. for Europe, purchase a Eurail pass before hand.. you get some special discount for getting it before you enter the EU and its good on any train (which is the best way to move around any distance in Europe) sleeper cars are still extra as I recall. Try to plan where you want to go and how many days to spend there. Grab a couple travel guides to help in planning. Any major city can use up as much time as you want.. As for lodging, I’d suggest the local hotels as they are pretty cool and not too expensive either. Otherwise, just depends on want you want to see.. London, Paris, Rome, its all good. Just note things take time.. (waiting in line at the Louvre, just exploring St. Peter’s Cathedral, etc.) Tours are cool for the history.

    As for Japan, I stayed a bit in Hong Kong and then Japan. Very interesting place.. little harder to get around. Local things are harder to get/find. You could be walking 30 feet away from the best restaurant but you wouldn’t know it. Trains are crazy fast. Tours are much more helpful around here, but even those you can book from your hotel.. no need to do so ahead of time unless you like being locked in. :)

    Anyway, any more specific questions, just ask. Otherwise I’d plan on not planning too much unless you really want a locked in schedule that will seem way too tight once you get there. Plus its easier to figure out what you want to do once you are there.. loads of fun any which way.

  2. martin Says:

    Thanks for the advice, it helps a lot knowing someone else did this and didn’t… Well, die in a gutter somewhere. After some discussion, we’ve decided on a whirlwind train tour of Europe.

    We both have our passports. My brother’s has a pic that makes him look like James Bond, while mine makes me look like Cartman in that episode where he pretended to be retarded. No justice.

    We grabbed a Eurail pass (booking together got a bit of a discount) and picked up some travel guides from Barnes & Nobles. We’re arriving/leaving in London and will be there for just over two weeks. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. ^_^

    We figure we’ll hit the major cities: Paris, Berlin, maybe Rome I guess, but just pace ourselves based on how it’s going. From what I’ve read, given that we’re traveling in the “shoulder” season, we shouldn’t have too much trouble scheduling or reserving everything else on-the-fly.

  3. Matt Says:

    Cool, it’ll be fun. Don’t forget to pick up a set of power adapters somewhere here first (much cheaper than airport or overseas). They use 220 (or 240?) out there so most thing you have that have a power adapter will work (laptop, chargers, etc) but make sure it says 240 on the box first. Each country has their own outlet so you’ll want a set of them for where you plan on going.

  4. martin Says:

    Good point, thanks. Though I’m thinking of leaving our laptops behind. I see a lot of people warning that they’re not worth the extra weight to lug around between trains and such. I’m not sure how valid that is, though, since a lot of these guides seem written for hippie seventeen-year-olds backpacking across the country, and that’s not quite the angle we’re coming from.

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