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The Travel Thread

FoxyM

TRIBE Member
jasmyn said:
Foxy,

if you plan on visiting the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia, it's best to fly into Siem Riep as opposed to Phnom Penh. The drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Riep is about 4 hours and at times the roads are not too great. You could probably catch a bus tour from Phnom Penh, but keep in mind you will be using the roadside as toilets as there are no washrooms along the way.

That said however, it is definitely worth visiting Angkor if you are in SE Asia. Unfortunately the temples are deteriorating at a fast rate, due to the thousands of tourists and lack of restoration efforts by the Cambodians.

Phnom Penh is worth seeing as well since it is the capital of Cambodia. Lots of crazy traffic, lots of markets for cheap shopping but beware of the moto taxis and tuk tuk drivers, always bargain prices with them to make sure they don't rip you off cuz you're a foreigner! same goes for in the markets --majority of shopkeepers now know some english.
That's exactly what I was planning (taking a flight probably from Bangkok to Siem Riep and staying there for a couple of days while I visit Angkor.)

I'm going to need to learn how to bargain and fast because I have a feeling I'm going to get ripped off a whole lot!
 

starr

TRIBE Member
i know this isn't as glamorous, but i'm waiting for my ex-intern to let me know if i'm good to visit her over easter weeked. i want to book the rental car NOW!

yay montreal!!!
*crosses fingers*
 

kate manus

TRIBE Member
Has anyone here been to Iceland? I've seen some ads advertising inexpensive 4-5 day trips and I'm definitely intrigued. Not high on my travel list this year but maybe in 2009.

As an aside, not so much travel related, but this weekend marks exactly one year since I took a chance and moved overseas! I can easily see myself here for another 5-10. :)
 

MeL_Roc

TRIBE Member
Travelling alone was the best. I worked as an English teacher at a kids summer school in Barcelona, Spain during summer of '06. As I worked, I also did some travelling on weekends and after my contract was done (end of August). I travelled around Spain- Valencia, Madrid, Seville, and IBIZA (I went w/ a friend though). I kept a journal throughout my whole trip! So worth doing b/c i always end up forgetting things that happen anyways! ;)

I would travel alone again in a heartbeat. I always had a fear of flying alone, staying at a hostel/hotel alone etc. and now I'm confident I can do it again! I plan on doing it soon. Just be safe and watch your back!
 
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starr

TRIBE Member
MeL_Roc said:
I worked as an English teacher at a kids summer school in Barcelona, Spain during summer of '06. As I worked, I also did some travelling on weekends and after my contract was done (end of August). I travelled around Spain- Valencia, Madrid, Seville, and IBIZA (I went w/ a friend though).
Oh my gosh, this sounds like something I would LOVE to do. Did you have to have anything special to teach English in Spain or was a university degree enough? DETAILS PLEASE!!!
 

MeL_Roc

TRIBE Member
I am a teacher but a university degree is enough! You MUST enjoy working with children ages 4-16. The pay was not that great but I didn't care because I was in Spain and went swimming at the beach after teaching!! Food and accomodation was paid for as well. You can choose to teach for two, three or four week terms. I chose to teach for the whole summer. Knowing a little Spanish would help too because I was a tad bit lost when it came to communicating with the little ones especially.
 

starr

TRIBE Member
Awesome! Was it through a particular program/school/how did you get hooked up with that opportunity?!? I would love to teach for the summer.
 
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Puma

TRIBE Member
tess said:
i did a lot of thinking about the backpack vs. rolling bag, and think i'm going to go with the rolling bag.
It might seam like the rolling bag is an easier way to go but once your there you will soon realize what a mistake you have made. I would strongly advise you against this and go with a backpack. There is a lot of shity narrow stairs and coble stone roads. It is not going to be easy draging that thing. If your going to rent a car and drive around then it makes sense but other wise if your gona use the train its going to be hard.

when you pack your bag put all the stuff you want to take into the backpack when your done take half of the shit out and your good to go.
 

sarafina

TRIBE Member
any backpack recommendations? I need to buy two - one for me, one for the boy (he is already over there but didn't know we would be traveling after his work so he has a suitcase right now)
 

Booty Bits

TRIBE Member
starr, my parents are going to teach english to businesspeople in Spain this summer.
similar thing...the school puts you up, you teach for a few weeks, and then you can go and travel on weekends or after your contract is finished.

i will ask them the name of the school when i speak to them next.
 

angelsole

TRIBE Member
Booty Bits said:
starr, my parents are going to teach english to businesspeople in Spain this summer.
similar thing...the school puts you up, you teach for a few weeks, and then you can go and travel on weekends or after your contract is finished.

i will ask them the name of the school when i speak to them next.
hey lady, can i get this info to? sounds too good to be true and a great way to see places.
 

erika

TRIBE Member
Puma said:
It might seam like the rolling bag is an easier way to go but once your there you will soon realize what a mistake you have made. I would strongly advise you against this and go with a backpack. There is a lot of shity narrow stairs and coble stone roads. It is not going to be easy draging that thing. If your going to rent a car and drive around then it makes sense but other wise if your gona use the train its going to be hard.

when you pack your bag put all the stuff you want to take into the backpack when your done take half of the shit out and your good to go.
I've travelled to a ton of places (overland to india twice, indonesia/malaysia/thailand, brazil, mexico etc..) and have never used a backpack, always a duffle bag.
Regardless of which one you use, DO NOT take something with wheels (unless you're spending your time going from airports to all inclusives, but that doesn't belong in this thread, does it): the structure of the wheels adds way too much weight, and they don't go up subway stairs, on dirt roads etc...
 
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MeL_Roc

TRIBE Member
^^
Omg...i learned that the hard way while I was in Spain. I took a huge suitcase with wheels and learned quite quickly that it was a very bad idea!! Getting it on the escalators and trains by myself was nightmare. I'm not talking about subway trains but the ones where you have to climb up to get on. Lugging it up a big flight of stairs in the blazing heat (30+) also wasn't fun either...I wanted to cry at times hahaha. I'm surprised the wheels didn't break off. Dufflebag/Backpack is definately the way to go!
 

sarafina

TRIBE Member
ok so i pretty sure i'm going on my trip...but still haven't planned anything really! I definitely need help. I'm flying to London, spend a couple of days there, then go to France (Paris, ????) for a couple of days, then Spain (Barcelona, ???) for a couple of days, then Italy (Rome, Venice, and Abbruzzi), then Rotterdam/Amsterdam. Then back to LOndon to fly home.

1) What places do people recommend going to (cities within countries? attractions within cities?)
2) What are the best ways to get around? I've looked at eurail passes, but I wonder where do I find info about individual train trips? I want to see whether than would be cheaper than the 6, 8, 10 trips in 2 months with eurail. And what are sites that have flights within europe?
3) I posted above about packs - I'm only going for 3 weeks, so I don't need to bring a bunch of stuff, but I wouldn't mind getting a pack that I could use for camping, etc as well. Don't want to spend a TON of money on this, 200$ max?
4) General sites/books with info that you found useful? I'm on eurotrip message board already, any other recommendations?

Please help!
 

Reflex

TRIBE Member
Hey Sara,

I have a backpack recommendation for you, but I'm at work so I'll check when I get home and post it today or tomorrow. I got it at Mountain Equipment Co-Op for a 6 week Europe trip. The sales staff recommended much larger bags to me, but I got a medium/smallish one that worked just fine, held lots of stuff and was super easy to carry around. Always make sure you try the bag on the store though and walk around in it for about 10 minutes so you make sure it's the right one for your posture and build.

Another tip to make your load lighter and to fit more things into your bag - Roll all your stuff. It takes up waaaaay less space that way.

Your trip sounds awesome, I'm excited for you! I hope you decide to spend more than a couple of days in some cities though. You need a bit of time to really experience these places. I would suggest choosing the cities you definitely want to go, and then making a loose travel schedule with dates. This will give you a starting point and then you can adjust it as you go along. You may get there and decide you love a place and want to spend more time in it, or you may arrive in a city and want to leave the next day. So come up with a schedule to start you off but be ready to be really flexible with it so your trip becomes more about the experience than figuring out how to get from location to location.
 

Reflex

TRIBE Member
Oh, also hostelworld.com is excellent for researching and booking hostels.

If I was doing a quick tour like you then I would hit up the big cities. Definitely do Paris with your boy and go to the Rodin museum! Holy crap it's amazing.

Get a little map of each city, one that has attractions marked on it. I bought travel guides for research before I went, then I ripped the maps out and left the books behind. Folded and carried them in my pockets in case I needed a guide - but it's also fun to just wander and get lost. In London and Paris as long as you can find a metro/tube station then you can easily get your bearings if you become confused.

I don't know if a Eurail pass is worth it for you. I doubt it. It sounds like you may end up flying to places since you're doing big cities in different countries. If you were going to be travelling more within each country I would look into it, but I doubt you would end up using it enough with the trip you're planning. Instead, look into Ryan Air flights, some of them can be as cheap as $0.01! But usually they are around $40 or something to fly country to country last minute and they fly into most if not all of the cities you are talking about.

Flying is a way better option than taking the new underground super-fast chunnel train from London to Paris, so don't bother with it. It's crazy expensive and always booked in advance, though it is a good option if you can get a deal and it takes you straight into heart of Paris.

Also, talk to other travellers while you are over there. They will have advice and suggestions on all sorts of things from where to get good cheap eats to what attractions are best.

I usually passed on tours because I wanted to explore on my own and save money. The only one I did go on was in Paris and it was very much worth it. There is a great free walking tour there that happens daily at 11am and last for about three hours. GO ON THIS. It's a great way to get your bearings in the city and the guides will tell you a LOT about the history of Paris. I found easy to explore the city on my own once I'd had this little orientation. Paris is easy to get lost in with all winding streets.

Also, pack light. You won't need as much as you think you do, and you will appreciate being able to move around easily and having space in your pack to bring things home.
 

Bean

TRIBE Member
sarafina said:
ok so i pretty sure i'm going on my trip...but still haven't planned anything really! I definitely need help. I'm flying to London, spend a couple of days there, then go to France (Paris, ????) for a couple of days, then Spain (Barcelona, ???) for a couple of days, then Italy (Rome, Venice, and Abbruzzi), then Rotterdam/Amsterdam. Then back to LOndon to fly home.

1) What places do people recommend going to (cities within countries? attractions within cities?)
2) What are the best ways to get around? I've looked at eurail passes, but I wonder where do I find info about individual train trips? I want to see whether than would be cheaper than the 6, 8, 10 trips in 2 months with eurail. And what are sites that have flights within europe?
3) I posted above about packs - I'm only going for 3 weeks, so I don't need to bring a bunch of stuff, but I wouldn't mind getting a pack that I could use for camping, etc as well. Don't want to spend a TON of money on this, 200$ max?
4) General sites/books with info that you found useful? I'm on eurotrip message board already, any other recommendations?

Please help!
Flying out of Paris is cheaper than flying out of London (lower taxes). You might want to consider this for your trip back to Canada (would save you money in terms of flight taxes, but also the cost of flying *back* to London and then to Canada). The city in which you land does not have to be the city from you depart.

If you're doing that many countries in 3 weeks, a Eurail pass might be the way to go. They have overnight trains, which would possibly save on a hostel and you wouldn't eat up a day travelling (I suggest getting a 15 day unlimited pass or something similar, since you're only there for 3 weeks). Also, you don't have to activate the pass the day you land. If you start in London and then fly to the mainland, activate it there, either the day you arrive (if you're boarding the train that day) or when you leave the city in which you land from London.

By taking the train, you can also soak up the countryside. Train stations are generally located in the centre of the city, whereas airports can be quite a way out and might cost a bit to get you to the city centre. A lot of the times, discount airlines don't land in major airports, but rather smaller ones, which might pose even more difficulty in getting to the city centre.

I recently picked up this pack for an upcoming trip:



Why I bought it:

- It's simple (not too many pockets and not too flashy)
- It's a side loader (easy access to your stuff)
- It has a detachable smaller backpack (great for day-tripping)
- You can zip up the straps for check in (straps won't get caught on anything)

It also was the least expensive bag ($109) that MEC carried that met my criteria (above).
 
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Skipper

TRIBE Member
sarafina said:
ok so i pretty sure i'm going on my trip...but still haven't planned anything really! I definitely need help. I'm flying to London, spend a couple of days there, then go to France (Paris, ????) for a couple of days, then Spain (Barcelona, ???) for a couple of days, then Italy (Rome, Venice, and Abbruzzi), then Rotterdam/Amsterdam. Then back to LOndon to fly home.

1) What places do people recommend going to (cities within countries? attractions within cities?)
2) What are the best ways to get around? I've looked at eurail passes, but I wonder where do I find info about individual train trips? I want to see whether than would be cheaper than the 6, 8, 10 trips in 2 months with eurail. And what are sites that have flights within europe?
3) I posted above about packs - I'm only going for 3 weeks, so I don't need to bring a bunch of stuff, but I wouldn't mind getting a pack that I could use for camping, etc as well. Don't want to spend a TON of money on this, 200$ max?
4) General sites/books with info that you found useful? I'm on eurotrip message board already, any other recommendations?

Please help!
Personally, if I only had a couple of days for each of those cities, I'd nix London and fly directly into Paris and start there. I loved Paris - spent 4 nights there and wasn't ready to leave (whereas I'd been satisfied with 4-5 nts in other european cities...with the exception of Berlin, maybe). London was too americanized. it's a cool city, but I probably wouldn't have stopped there had I not had family to see.

Barcelona was great as well, when are you going?
 

starr

TRIBE Member
Please do!

Booty Bits said:
starr, my parents are going to teach english to businesspeople in Spain this summer.
similar thing...the school puts you up, you teach for a few weeks, and then you can go and travel on weekends or after your contract is finished.

i will ask them the name of the school when i speak to them next.
 

bArHo

TRIBE Member
squirrely said:
going to vegas in april! yaaaaay vegas!!
Going in october hopefully *crosses fingers*
My friend and I were trying to plan out our trip to Mexio last night we got sidetracked and now we've begun talking about Vegas for a late birthday trip. woooooooo!

Speaking of Mexico and travel, can anyone recc. places to stay in Cancun? This will be my first trip ever to Mexico and I don't care where I go in the M, and she really likes Cancun so we're just trying to find the best bang for our buck.

I've been on lots of travel deal sites but maybe i'm missing some. help!
 

jasmyn

TRIBE Member
Reflex said:
Get a little map of each city, one that has attractions marked on it. I bought travel guides for research before I went, then I ripped the maps out and left the books behind. Folded and carried them in my pockets in case I needed a guide - but it's also fun to just wander and get lost.

Once I arrived, either by plane, train or bus, I would go to the tourist office and ask for a map, there is always one located at those stations. It is usually free, lists all major tourists attractions and some are pretty detailed enough to use to navigate the city.
 

sarafina

TRIBE Member
Skipper said:
Personally, if I only had a couple of days for each of those cities, I'd nix London and fly directly into Paris and start there. I loved Paris - spent 4 nights there and wasn't ready to leave (whereas I'd been satisfied with 4-5 nts in other european cities...with the exception of Berlin, maybe). London was too americanized. it's a cool city, but I probably wouldn't have stopped there had I not had family to see.

Barcelona was great as well, when are you going?
Ya, I'm starting to think about trimming it down a bit. Going to look into flights to France to see how much cheaper that would be. The reason for going to london is that is where the boy will be when he finished working may 2nd. But if it's cheaper for him to just meet my in Paris then I could do that. London isn't at the top of my priorities, but he does have friends there we can stay with...
Starting to think also of skipping Barcelona possibly...not that i don't want to go there, but it is sort of far out of the way, and skipping it would give us more time other places. Honestly, I don't REALLY care where I go or what I see. I just want to go! I could go to some small town in Italy for the whole time and be happy :) So if we do Paris, Nice, Rome, Abruzzi village (stay with family), then Amsterdam/Rotterdam (stay with friend), I would be perfectly ok with that.
I'm looking online at backpacks, I'll post two options tonight...although I know I need to go look at them and try them on. I like the idea of a zip off daypack, even though I don't NEED one (boy has a backpack there we could use for day trips), it would be good to have a carry on that then attached, instead of a backpack + carryon backpack.

Thanks for the replies so far!
 
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