Four adults and two children want to go to Germany next year. Does anyone have any tips on frugal traveling overseas? Tips for the best airline? We want to fly into one city and leave from another. Please share your tips with me.
Gisela from Rolla, MO
I found a great consolidated fare website for European travel. You do need to buy you tickets in advance and might not get the most ideal flight times, but the prices are good!
You might want to check out the network of youth hostels (for example http://old.web02.djh.de/international/html/index.jsp ), depending on how open you are. There is a great deal of variation as far as quality goes, but all are very affordable and offer very affordable meals. All you need is to rent your linens at each hostel.
You are guaranteed to meet many friendly travelers who can give you tips and ideas for other things to see and do as well as what to avoid. Another idea is to check at each town's information office (denoted by their giant red "i") to find bed and breakfasts or even families who rent out their spare rooms as "Gaestezimmer". The prices are usually very good and the best part is the way you really get to know the people.
As far as tips on eating cheaply: sample Bratwursts (and other grilled items) from the stands. Each state has it's own special variation/spices that are in the sausage, buy fresh bread, cheese, and veggies to make your own sandwiches on the go, and be sure to check out the Doeners (similar to Gyros- kind of) sold at Turkish restaurants and stands. They are always a bargain for the amount of food and flavor that you get.
As far as traveling within the country, I would recommend getting a EuroRail Pass (eurail.com), however it really depends on how long you'll be there and how many stops you intend on making. You can rent a car, but keep in mind that parking in any large city is a hassle and can be expensive, not to mention it can be stressful sharing the road with Germans. I can say this from experience and I'm married to one. (01/15/2007)
You might want to check out Ryan Air. They are a great discount airline that I believes flies mostly European routes. Also, go on the travel boards on AOL. People who have already been there can give great tips and great warnings on what to avoid, when and where to get tickets, etc. (01/16/2007)
A very good friend invited us to visit him in Germany when he was working there in 2002. It is truly a beautiful place with great food and beer, but there are several things you should be aware of.
In Germany, if it is not forbidden, it is required.
If you are going to be driving in Germany.
We've been there three times to visit our daughter. I don't know your interests or your children's ages, but here are a few ideas:
In most areas, you will not have much trouble finding store clerks, etc. who speak English. But it would be considered very polite if you at least attempt to speak a few words of German, such as please, thank you, etc.
Most museums, art galleries, etc. offer children's or student prices. If you don't see them listed, ask.
Public transportation is much more widely available in Germany than in the US. In Berlin, we purchased a "total pass" for a set price that gave us unlimited rides to anywhere on the subway system, city buses, and trams (sort of like cable cars). This pass was available for one day, a weekend, or a week. It was a much better bargain than purchasing single fares for each portion of the journey!
I agree with the previous post about eating at the wurst stands and the doenners were terrific! You will also find many familiar fast food places such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut, if your kids refuse to try the local food (which would be a shame).
Many hotels in Germany include a breakfast buffet in the cost of the room, not the same choices that most Americans are used to, though! There is usually some sort of cold cereal and milk, but be warned that their milk tastes very different from ours, due to the different processing method. Your kids may not like the taste. The breakfast typically features a few types of rolls, different cold cuts and cheeses, fruit, yogurt, and sometimes eggs. We usually just made ourselves sandwiches from the rolls and meats.
Just like in the US, if you are going to touristy areas, you will be much better off buying film, batteries, sunscreen, first aid supplies before you go and carrying them with you. I also carried a bottle of water everywhere and refilled it at water fountains and restroom sinks, as paying $2-$3 for a bottle of water several times a day really adds up! Its is usually cheaper to buy a glass of the local wine or beer at a restaurant, than to buy a coke.
Have a great trip! (01/22/2007)
By Becki in IN
European discount airlines are the way to travel. The rule with discount airlines is that the earlier you book, the cheaper the flights. Here is a list of some of the top discount airlines in Europe:
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