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Getting around in Europe


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#1 Savannah

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 10:41 AM

For an approximately two-week tour through various countries in Europe, is it at all worth it to rent a car? Is it difficult to drive from country to country? Is it better to take the train? Are there over-nighters?

#2 Xi

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 10:49 AM

Would also depend where in said continent you're planning to go.
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#3 starwolf

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 10:56 AM

It really depends on the countries you want to visit, and the places in those countries. As of a few years ago, there were overnighters--I assume that that is till the case.
It is generally very easy to go from country to country. Within the EU it is seamless.

Public transportation in many places in Europe is quite good. if you will be in those places, it may be worth it to take the train, because parking is often a nightmare.
Either way you plan it, be prepared for sticker shock.

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#4 noam

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:03 AM

depending on which countries you want to visit and how many people are in your group it might be cheaper (and easier) to get a car. long distance trains might be expensive, or slow, or dirty, etc (again, depends on the country). the only thing is that you'd need to do some research beforehand to check in which countries highways have tolls/need stickers etc. i would actually advise against the train since most countries don't have very accessible info to those that don't speak their language (re: trains). i've seen some friends go crazy in italy over trains for example (which are disgusting and expensive anyway).
or, you could get a camper/caravan/motorhome/rv and save yourself the hotels as well!

#5 Village

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:25 AM

ive only travelled london and scotland....Scotland has sick sick sick coolest trains ever.Its prob. much cooler to train it than car it..
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#6 lyric

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 12:30 PM

But if you want to cross the channel to the UK rather than just stay in mainland Europe you will need to pay for passage across by tunnel or ferry with your car, or pick up a new one in the UK.
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#7 Savannah

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:45 PM

I don't have any particular countries in mind yet, but definitely Continental Europe. Still, I'm getting contradictory advice here, so I'm a little confused. Is it difficult to drive on the highways in Europe as compared to in America? It's very expensive to rent a car there?

There's no way I would rent a car in England because I'd be way too nervous to drive on the opposite side of the road.

#8 Xi

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 01:52 PM

The highways are fine, IME.
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#9 starwolf

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:42 PM

The highways in places like France, Germany, and Switzerland are very well maintained--to the point of making US highways look shoddy by comparison.

One consideration for travelling is food. I don't know your level of observance, but if you are not willing to make do with salads grilled fish etc, you would be limited in you kashrut selections. kosher food is available in more places than you would think. Certainly cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Strasbourg, Zurich, Rome, etc will all have kosher food available, and even many small cities will as well. But if you are the type that plans to shlep cans of tuna with you on your trip, a car is definitely the way to go.

הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ-מֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ


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#10 Bezalel

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 10:37 PM

For an approximately two-week tour through various countries in Europe, is it at all worth it to rent a car?


Shouldn't you be saving your money to support your future husband and children, while he'll be learning in kollel?

#11 starwolf

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:25 PM


Shouldn't you be saving your money to support your future husband and children, while he'll be learning in kollel?

How do you know that she's not going off to find him?

הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ-מֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ


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#12 Xi

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:44 AM

How do you know that she's not going off to find him?

I sure hope she's not going off /with/ him. :o
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#13 Diogenes The Cynic

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 11:00 AM

Hitchhike. Carry a towel.
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#14 Pamello

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 01:23 PM

Its not such a big deal to drive on the other side of the road. I do it all the time (coming from the UK) driving in France, Belgium, Holland and USA. The highway/motorway driving is the same and on the smaller roads you just have to be aware. IMO the hardest is driving a car with the gears on the wrong side, an issue you could avoid by renting in the continent and driving in Europe.

Be aware that the cheapest car-rentals are normally for manual cars (stick/shift?). Automatics tend to go for more expensive.

#15 lyric

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:59 PM

Yea Savannah don't be such a wuss! Driving in the UK is easy! We Brits do the reverse switch all the time, driving anywhere else BUT the UK on the right. It takes a few seconds and you're tuned in.
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#16 Natanel

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 06:25 PM

I don't have any particular countries in mind yet, but definitely Continental Europe. Still, I'm getting contradictory advice here, so I'm a little confused. Is it difficult to drive on the highways in Europe as compared to in America? It's very expensive to rent a car there?

There's no way I would rent a car in England because I'd be way too nervous to drive on the opposite side of the road.



I've driven in Iceland, Romania, and Croatia. It was pretty straightforward; although you have to drive shift. It's also really only worth it if you're at least two. The advantages are going anywhere you want, making your own schedule and is necessary if you want to visit more remote places. The downsides are the cost, the persistant fear of getting into an accident with someone who doesn't speak English, potentially breaking down or at the very least getting a flat ( and theres no Romanian AAA), getting a speeding ticket and having to pay on the spot. Also you generally can't bring a rental out of the country.
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#17 smishu

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 08:01 AM

The trains in Italy are awesome.

#18 goyishrebbe

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 02:45 AM

My wife and I did quite well travelling by train in Belgium and Holland this summer. Both are small countries, with destinations reachable within 3 hours or so.

#19 Belle

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 07:34 AM

I'd train it. We did a 10 day trip to Italy a few years ago and my wimp cautious husband wanted to use cabs, but it was MY trip which he'd promised me, and we used trains and buses - and it was fabulous. IIRC, Europe is known for great train systems.

FWIW, I've driven on the left side of the road (in Bermuda), and for the most part I did ok. Aside from driving nearly right into the grill of an oncoming truck at one point.

But either way, I wouldn't rent a car throughout Europe. A friend of mine travelled through Europe with her husband from January through August a few years ago, and never rented a car. They trained, bused, ferried, biked and cruised. And hiked.

Lastly, if you do consider driving, it'll probably be easier to do it with a partner, so the passenger can read the map and direct. Unless these days people use GPS, I'm old fashioned and like maps.
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#20 Pinchas

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:25 AM

The trains in Italy are awesome.


But not in Rome...

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