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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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I recently went to the Bavarian region of Germany and it was wonderful! Munich has great beer houses and an even greater old 1600s market full of crafts, local meats/cheeses/fruits and little restaurants, the beer gardens Hitler did his speeches in to rally people to his Nazi party. You can go to the medieval towns (Rothenburg is a must) and see the beautiful Schweinstein Castle. Easy and not very expensive.
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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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I have travel with Road Scholar, Grand Circle Travel and others but the best European  trips I have had is using a travel agent company based in the country I am visiting. They will base the itinerary on your budget and needs. It will save a lot of money. Our last two trips were the Greek Islands and Spain. We also mixed in Air B&B then we wanted. The overseas agents allow a lot of flexibility. In Greece we had our own private tour with two drivers, one a chef and one with knowledge in history. The chef took us to restaurants he knew and ordered for us and to a local farmers mot, where we got to sample wares and took marvelous pictures. We also used Rick Steve's downloads when we wanted. In Spain, we never had to wait in line to see the sites and even traveled by train to get to a monastery in the mountains. All with help from local travel agent. Communication was simple by phone and email. Found these online beginning with tripadviser.com

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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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You have received much good information.. I will add just a couple of things not mentioned.  I love to travel Europe by train!  Train travel takes you to both large cities and small villages, you can get off and spend your time anywhere you like on their route.  Often we find somewhere to stay for several days (so we don't have to drag our suitcases everywhere) and take daily train trips out and come back to our "home away from home" in the evening.

 

Your plans will be determined by how long you are able to be in Europe.  Then you cand decide what area you want to see.  I try to stay a week in each area I want to experience.  If you choose to go to a country that english is not first language, learn a few phrases in that language.  People appreciate that you attempt to speak in their language.

 

My adult children and I are going to Ireland and Scotland this year.  That is where our ancestors came from.  If you know where your ancestors originate, that is a wonderful experience, especially if you are able to find a distant relative.

 

I am excited for you, make this the beginning of your travel.  There is a great big world out there.

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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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I lived a long time in Munich. Upper Bavaria is just beautiful, everywhere you go. I'd also recommend Switzerland, again, anywhere you go, and Croatia.

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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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Hello "Orlando.."

Here are a couple of thoughts.  I liked the response suggesting a river cruise.  But it that doesn't "float your boat", then may I suggest a couple of places that we've really enjoyed.  The Cinque De Terre region of Italy was fun.  The brightly colored houses on the steep cliffs were beautiful and you could hike between towns, then grab a beverage at a small cafe and people watch.  We also enjoyed the seacoast town of Santa Margherita - from there you can go by water taxi to towns like Portofino.  And of course there is Rome, Florence, and Venice.  But beware if you choose to drive - Italians were agressive drivers compared to other countries.  A second country we really enjoyed was Spain.  We hit the Costa Del Sol in late January including the little town of Nerja where the spectacular Cave of Nerja is located.  The coastal towns in this area are spectacular and prices were very reasonable.  The city of Barcelona was a highlight as well - we stayed at a hostel (not a youth hostel but a small hotel) and enjoyed exploring this beautiful city  Driving was easy and the Spanish people were polite and pleasant.  A third region was Portugal and the Azore Islands.  The Azores are a relatively short flight from the east coast of the US and are temperate year round.  While a little laid back, there is some great hiking and/or walking in these islands.  The people were friendly as well.

 

One thing that didn't seem to be mentioned in other posts was the time of year that you travel.  Many European cities and sites can become VERY crowded during high season.  That's why we typically travel in the shoulder season.  In addition to being less crowded, the prices are a bit lower and the lines are much shorter.  While we use the Rick Steves travel guides, we also don't rely on them 100%.  For example, Rick rated the caves of Nerja quite low, but we found them to be a highlight of the trip.  Be aware that everyone has their own opinion.  It is a great time to travel to Europe as the US dollar is strong which makes the prices more reasonable.  

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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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Too broad a question. Impossible to answer. Everyone has their own idea of what a fun or interesting destination or trip is. You'll have to narrow down your interests and how you travel: solo, group, plan your own, tour, walking, cruising, etc.

   I go to a different part of the UK every year. I like it --- others might think it boring or uninteresting, at the least.


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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Yes, river cruises have different level of activities for passengers of different mobility and interests. We love Uniworld with their all inclusive costs and local guides (with excellent English) at every port. With 100-120 people on each cruise you can easily make lots of new friends!
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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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If you have never been to Europe before, figure out what area you might like to visit and then look for a river cruise in that area.  The advantage of a river cruise is that you never have to unpack, once you are on the boat, but get to explore many different areas during your stay. The length of time in each area may be short, but you can then decide if you might like to come back to the area and spend more time there at a later date.

A few more advantages: most meals are include, but if you are docking overnight, the ship staff is happy to make suggestions or even reservations on where you might go in town to eat; you have other travellers exploring with you, arranged tours in each stop, or the alternative of exploring on your own; enough free time to either socialize or have some me time.

AAA travel has a number of river cruise companies that they deal with, so you sgould contact them.

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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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Hi @OrlandoM857500, Welcome to the travel forum. Congratulations on your first trip to Europe--very exciting! A few questions for you to answer and I'm happy to provide a few destination suggestions based on your responses:

 

1. What type of activities do you like to do/what interests do you have? (Do you like beaches, shopping, museums, cultural activities, festivals, nature, food, something else?)

2. Do you like to explore big cities, small towns, or a mix?

3. What part of the year will you be going and for how long?

4. What places have you been that you have really enjoyed? Why?

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Re: Newbie looking for some travel advice!

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Particularly in foreign countries, grab some hotel business cards and carry with you. Comes in handy if you forget where you’re staying, or language barrier makes it difficult to tell someone where to take you.

 

If you don’t already have, set up a hotmail account. Mail yourself your full itinerary, all contact phone numbers, phone numbers and last four digits of all credit cards. This way in an emergency you can access all important things anywhere you can access the internet. You can also make PDFs of all transportation tickets, driver’s license and passport and then email to yourself. Easily deleted when your trip is over. When traveling in 2nd or 3rd world countries make sure to have phone numbers and addresses for your countries in country embassy and consulate. US, British and Canadian embassies have reciprocal lists of of local physicians trained in their countries. I once needed to see a physician in Rome and the American embassy gave me the name of an Italian doctor trained and licensed in NY.

 

safety.    

Not matter how safe a place appears, be aware of you surroundings, men should carry a card case in one front trouser pocket and carry money in your other front pocket. Fold bills with smallest denominations on the outside. Women should carry cross shoulder bags with bag to the front and hand on the strap when walking on the street.  Ash should be kept in a zipper comparment in the bag.

 

When in crowded areas, street, bus, subway, keep you elbows out to avoid other from getting to close. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Distraction is used to grab you valuables. One person drops something or stops to engage you, while his/her confederate grabs your valuables.

 

only travel with jewelry that your wouldn’t be upset to lose. 

 

 

 

 

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