Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Advice for Euro travel

  1. Apr 12, 2007 #1
    Amsterdam, Florence, Venice, Rome, Madrid, and Barcelona

    May25-Jun 10.

    Any advice on hotels vs. hostels? or recommendations for hotels/hostels?

    I am going with 3 other people, so if we split the cost of a hotel room it will cost almost the same as a hostel and we get our own bathroom.

    I am planning on bringing $2000 in cash. How should I carry this around? Traveler's checks? Should I just take only a small amount and take out money over there? Can you even use your ATM card there?

    Should I use a credit card for everything? I have been told you get the best exchange rates when you use a credit card. I was thinking about applying for a 0% interest for 12 months credit card.

    Any recommendations for sites to see in those places besides the obvious ones?

    know of any good places to eat?

    We are flying everywhere, so the only trains that we need to take are between the cities in Italy. Anyone know who has the best and cheapest trains rides?

    What are the best night clubs in Spain? I hear Spain is crazy about nightlife. I want to go to the biggest baddest place in Madrid or Barcelona that plays Euro trash music until 6 AM.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2007 #2
    Why fly? Travel through France inbetween. You want Euro Trash nightclubs? go to Marsailles.
  4. Apr 13, 2007 #3
    Cash may not be a good idea, especially not in Venice. Credit cards are widely accepted. Master Card, American Express should be okay

    I would also google some hotel rates for instance:


    and do some planning. That might prevent some surprises. Otherwise there is way too much holiday left at the end of your money.
  5. Apr 13, 2007 #4
    Yes you can, it depending what system you are using. IF its maestro (Mastercard debt card solution) then it wont be a problem. I would NOT carry that kind of cash around with you. These cities you want to visit are big, and you are not local, just be careful.

    In Amsterdam there are many hostels, if you want to meet people its an idea to stay at them, if you just want to be on your own then get a hotel.
  6. Apr 13, 2007 #5
    What is a eurotrash night club?

    Marsailles is the origanal Greek City of France :wink:
  7. Apr 13, 2007 #6
    Cash is fine, and is always excepted, just dont carry 2 grand around...

    ATM Cards will work around the EU. Just check what branding they are first. The EU will be moving to 1 solution for all electronic ATM systems soon anyway, and I believe it will be Maestro.
  8. Apr 13, 2007 #7
    Buy a lonely planet of western Europe!
  9. Apr 13, 2007 #8


    User Avatar

    First thing, don't bring $2000 in cash! -- particulary if Amsterdam's the first stop on your list.

    Go to your bank and make sure you can use your debit card in the ATMs over here.

    Booking stuff out of Lonely Planet is good advice -- although I prefer the Rough Guide series -- imo, it's better for younger people.

    Also, make sure you book now! eg. Amsterdam's already been full of tourists for the past month.

    What's your budget for places to stay?
  10. Apr 13, 2007 #9


    User Avatar

    It also depends how classy they want their stay to be -- most hostels in centrum look like the places where young trippers just crash on a camp-bed after over-indulging in the red light district :wink:

    I'd stay in a hotel for the calming factor -- plus bathroom and security for my stuff -- there again, I have hit the big 3-0 :wink: :biggrin:
  11. Apr 13, 2007 #10
    Yes I know, like the meeting point. Amsterdam and hostels typically means you will meet some wackos on some sort of drugs :smile: But you will defo meet people :wink:
  12. Apr 13, 2007 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Learn a little bit of the language aswell. You will find that when you travel in europe this gets you a long way than just blundering in English or another foreign language other than the country you're in. Even if you only know how to say please, thank you and a few other phrases such as how to order food and drink.
  13. Apr 13, 2007 #12


    User Avatar


    :wink: :biggrin:
  14. Apr 13, 2007 #13

    However when you are in Netherland dont say s'íll vous plait or Merci.
    When in Italy dont go Dank u
    When in Spain dont go grazZie...

    To be honest as long as you stay way from the francophones you will typically be ok in English, heed J77's advice however.
  15. Apr 13, 2007 #14


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yeah you will be ok in English but not as good an experience as if you speak in their own language. I've travelled a lot around Europe and almost anywhere you go and you make the effort to speak their language you get treated much better. To be honest its only common courtesy that you should try and do so. It shows the people you're interacting with a lot of respect and as I say you rarely need more than a few phrases.

    For example, I was in Italy for the first time two years ago and I'd learned a few italian phrases like how to order food and drink and asking directions etc. There was this one restaurant in Sorrento we used to go to all the time because it was the best pasta I'd ever tasted. It was a tiny place with only about 8 tables for 4 people. There was another group of English tourists on the other side of the room one night and they were only speaking in English, whereas we were using Italian. The difference in service that we got compared to this other group was unbelievable. They had been there before us and yet we were served our 3 courses and drinks before they had had theirs. So I asked the waiter why we were getting preferential treatment and he said to me that the other group expected to come to Italy and everyone to speak English for them and they had shown no respect, whereas our group speaking even the tiniest bit of Italian had shown respect for the Italian people.

    That is what many find strange about Europe, but its also rather beautiful. So I'm not suggesting you learn an entire language but just a few bits that you might need. Try not to get the languages and countries mixed up though. :wink:
  16. Apr 13, 2007 #15


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Hah, the other day I was walking through Amsterdam on a busy day (Easter) and there were two American ladies standing on the street. Guess what one said: "Noone says 'excuse me' over here".. Duh.
  17. Apr 13, 2007 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You can probably use your ATM card, but check with your bank. The number of digits in your PIN can be a problem. Also, if you can use it, you should let them know, otherwise if they suddenly start seeing lots of spending in a different continent, they might think your card has been stolen or something. I wouldn't recommend using an ATM card though, because the fee per transaction is probably high. When I went to Europe, I took travellers' cheques and never used them. Might be good to have a few just in case, but that's up to you. For cash, fit what you can in your wallet, and keep the rest in a locked suitcase in a locked hotel/hostel room. I used a credit card for as much as possible. When you take cash, you lose some money in exchanging dollars to Euros, and for whatever you bring back, you'll lose some in exchanging Euros back to dollars. Using credit card you only feel the exchange rate once, but then again I would assume the exchange rate on a credit card is not as good as the rate at the bank. But I used credit card as much as possible because it should help you build a credit rating.

    I was in central Europe though, so I wasn't in any of the countries you were in.
  18. Apr 13, 2007 #17
    I heard now they have basically cards that act as traveler's checks. Anyone know what kind of fees those things have? AKG that is a good point about losing money twice on the exchanges.

    I would like to stay in a hostel in Amsterdam to meet all the crazy people from all over the world. That is just another experience from Europe that I can write about. How safe are your belongings though in a hostel?

    I have $2000 for spending money, so over 10 days that averages out to $200 per day on stuff like food, bars, souveniers, etc. I will be putting my hotel/hostel fees hopefully on a credit card.

    As for the language barriers I think we are all set. I am bringing one friend who is super Italian and can speak and my other friend already studied abroad in Spain and is fluent in Spanish. In Amsterdam I heard that they speak English everywhere so we should be ok.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2007
  19. Apr 16, 2007 #18


    User Avatar

    I saw a couple of 'mature' American ladies standing by the road and literally "whooping" at the windmill over the Ij-brewery :biggrin:

    As far as "excuse me" goes -- I love the fact that the Dutch offer a minimum amount of customer service; it's the complete antithesis of the American sevice industry :biggrin:

    gnw -- are you still considering bringing $2000 in cash? Once more, I'd strongly advise against carrying that amount of money -- even if you lose a bit by paying for stuff on your credit/debit card. Also, yes, you'll hear mostly English in the Centrum area of Amsterdam, but this is only a very small region of Amsterdam (which most tourists only see) -- you should explore a bit further; eg. I live in an area called De Pijp, just South of the Heineken brewery (you'll find it on all maps) -- imo, we have the best bars and restaurants :smile:, check out Tweede van der Helst Straat.
  20. Apr 16, 2007 #19
    I will say it slowly this time:

    Your ATM card will w-o-r-k in Europe. You dont need any other card!

    It actually gets on my nerves to be honest. If you walk into a restaurant and you are made to feel as if you are bothering the waiters then there is a slight problem :smile:
  21. Apr 16, 2007 #20


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Anttech says that your ATM card will work (I believe him), but it might be dependent on your bank. Talk to your bank, they can tell you exactly whether your ATM card will work in the countries you are going to visit. When I went to the US, I got a special internatiol ATM card that I could use to withdraw money. Don't carry around large amounts of cash, tourists are the prime target for pickpocketers.

    Everyone in Amsterdam can speak English, so that should be easy. I'm always very annoyed when I walk into a restaurant or shop and they start speaking English to me (since I'm a native). Italy and Spain might be different, in all my experiences in Italy they didn't speak a single word of English, but that might depend on the area you're visiting (know how to say goodmorning, goodevening and 'thank you' at the very least!).
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Advice for Euro travel
  1. Taking a Euro Trip (Replies: 29)

  2. Upcoming Euro tournament (Replies: 137)

  3. UEFA Euro 2012 (Replies: 55)