I am beyond excited to be going to Europe for my first time this September for 22 days. I plan on traveling solo (I'm a 25 year old guy), and my idea of travel has always been to experience the local flavor and avoid tourist areas.
Here would by my ideal trip: Copenhagen / Malmo > Stockholm > Amsterdam > Cinque Terre > Grimmelwald > Munich > Vienna > Prague.
I personally don't have much interest in seeing art museums, or local churches. Instead I have the most interest in just planting myself in another city / town and 'living' there for a few days, and going on side-trips (such as to Auschwitz from Prague). I want to experience local bars, nightlife, party scene, etc.
I've read the handbook Europe Through The Backdoor, and I have a couple of questions for European travelers.
Wing it and go with no plan, or go with a complete plan? I've talked to a few friends, and they say to travel one day at a time. But in some cases do plan at least a few days in advance in reserving a hotel, such as in Amsterdam on the weekend. Reason is that's how some of the best experiences are made, meet local people, go do something completely different off the beaten path not previously considered, spend a few nights with a new friend. Perhaps meet a friendly European girl on my travels, spend time with her family, etc. Yet in the book, Rick recommends to have a Plan to make it more budget friendly. I personally really like the idea of spontaneity and traveling one day at a time, but would like to hear stories of how this has been a disaster or a life changer.
Fly within Europe, take the train, or Both? I've been comparing prices from my destinations, and I've discovered flying is more economical and faster in most cases. Granted I can't fly to Cinque Terre or Grimmelwald, and would need to take a train (perhaps fly to a nearby city first to save time). Amazingly the Select Pass ($544 for 4 countries) is more expensive than the Eurail Global Pass ($528), Point-To-Point tickets are pretty expensive, so if I'd use a train at all - I may as well get the Global Pass. Assuming I get a Global Pass, how soon in advance would you recommend making a train reservation for my destinations in September (Shoulder Season)? Is a reservation even necessary? What do you like more about taking the train vs flying, or vice versa? I really like the idea of flying from far away places to save time (such as Prague to London), and train in closer cities (such as Munich to Vienna) to experience Europe in another great way. I also like the idea of stopping in train stations off the beaten path and experiencing a local village, perhaps for longer than just an afternoon (where the spontaneity of having no plan would be a big plus)
Thanks for reading my novel.....happy traveling! :)