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Only a sunk cost if you have a shitty bank. There are plenty of banks and credit cards that don't have foreign transaction fees or waive them if you ask.
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." - Mark Dantonio.
A Big Mac?
My wife (Vietnamese of course) and I are going to Munich, Tuscany, Rome, and probably a night or two in either Switzerland or Austria.
I have had a tough time trying to figure out the train shit as I am pretty sure we won't be renting cars. Do you have a good recommendation on trains, when to book, etc. We are flying into Munich and out of Rome.
This may have already been stated (I didn't read the whole thread), and I don't know if it will work in mainlaind Europe, but when the g/f and I were in the UK, we exchanged our money at Post Offices because they did not charge a fee.
Ireland doesn't have post offices. They have elves and rainbows.
laconophilia is everywhere...
I have a Capital One credit card for one thing and that is international travel. They don't charge any exchange rate fees and they give you the currency exchange on that given day. I usually take 500 Euros with me in my wallet on the trip. Although anywhere you can charge something i would just charge it on my Capital One. I bring another credit card as a back up but leave it in the safe at the hotel for emergency use. As for the cash I will keep 100 with me at all times and put the 400 in the safe and take it out as much as I might need it that day. So if we are visiting street vendors where cash might be more acceptable for negotiating prices than i will take a little bit more with me.
I also bring my ATM card for when I run out of cash but leave it in the hotel safe with my emergency credit card. ATMs in Europe are good with exchange rates. I would call all of your credit card companies and banks and make sure that they know you will be making financial transactions in Europe.
I actually live in Spittal an der Drau, in the province of Carinthia, which Klagenfurt is the capital of. It's about an hour by train north.
As for airports: Klagenfurt's airport kind of sucks. I would fly into Munich. 5 hour train direct to Klagenfurt. But as a whole... Klagenfurt...isn't the best city in the world. Alright Dragon Statue, but city doesn't blow me away. While not a big fan of Klagenfurt, but Carinthia (the province) is just unbelievable. The Alps here may not be as large, but they are spectacular. There's also a lot to do. Get a car and enjoy the many lakes in the area. Millstatt, Wörthersee, Weissee, and a couple others are all very nice. In the summer there's a lot of stuff to do. Go see Castle Hochosterwitz, nearby to Klagenfurt and worth a day trip. It's easy to get to Venice as well from Klagenfurt. There's a bus that takes 4 hours and goes directly to Venice.
I would recommend going to Villach as well. It's about 30 minutes north of Klagenfurt and has a nice historic city center and a wonderful brewery (VIllacher Brauhof) with great Austrian food and beer. Villacher Beer is just fantastic shit. I'd bathe in it if I could.
ATM means yes, a cash machine. They work well here. As for places to stay, check out Pensions. They are a little cheaper (if you are on a budget) and usually are run by an older couple that gives you a nice Austrian experience, if that's what you want. If not, there's plenty of legit hotels in Klagenfurt to stay at. I personally prefer Pensions because they are always run by local people and usually pretty friendly. Enjoy Austria. If you took German, good luck using it. The dialect here is..interesting. Feel free to ask anymore questions. It's rare to find someone going to Klagenfurt.
These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others.
Austria is great. If you are flying into Munich, i'd take the train (oebb.at) south two hours to Salzburg and spend a night or two there. It's a wonderful city and worth a stay. Your wife will love it. To get farther south, I would take a train from Salzburg to Villach, there should be several direct trains. From VIllach you can get on a bus to Venice (bus is 29 euro per person and 3 and half hours long, really scenic ride, was on it a couple weeks ago). Spend a night or two in Venice and then catch a train to Rome. From there you should be able to get wherever you want. I am less familiar with Italy, but use oebb.at or bahn.com to see general train information. Trains in Austria aren't too expensive, but I can't speak for Italy.
Hope this was helpful. Have a good trip.
son of a bitch! Hopefully whatever I learn will still be useful!
Thanks for all the info! We're actually renting out an apartment for our time in Klagenfurt, I will definitely look into some of your suggestions though.
Are there many trains running to those places you mentioned? I think we'll likely be getting a Eurail pass, so ideally we will want to use those as opposed to getting a car.
Villach sounds like a cool place.
Regarding the castle, we plan to see Neuschwanstein and Hochenstein, as well as Schönbrunn Palace. Have you been to any of those? How does Hochosterwitz compare?
get the new Nike MSU font: http://tinyurl.com/spartansfont
I just used my MSUFCU Visa Check card while I was on my many trips to Europe, no "fee" to use at the ATM or make store purchases and you got the best days exchange rate. Just make sure to let them know when and where you are going or they will block the charges/use.
35,600 posts and counting since 09-09-2002. tRCMB Dead Pool Commissioner.
I spent a couple of weeks in France and Italy and rented a car. Loved traveling to the out of the way places that you'd never get to on a train. It allowed for a lot more freedom and spontaneity (always nice on a honeymoon). I'd highly recommend Tuscany over the Venice area if you must choose between them.
Edit: Sorry Nutz, got you confused with the OP. Even if you're not on your honeymoon, I'd strongly consider the car option.
This post was edited by Cleavage2 2 years ago
It's certainly something we'll consider but it will depend on our timing, cost, etc. I think the plan is to stick to the northern part of Italy so I'm not sure Tuscany is an option. We were also recommended the "Cinque de Terra" instead of Venice (supposed to be similar, but less touristy and have more options) so that is another thing we're looking at regarding Italy. Italy is sort of a side-trip since it's on the way, eventually I hope to get back there and actually see it (Florence, Rome, etc). Our main tour is going to be in Germany/Switz/Austria.
"Cinque de Terra" will blow your mind. One of the most beautiful places on earth.
just looked it up (Cinque Terre apparently) on Wikipedia. Based on everything I've heard I may have to push that for our Italy portion, it looks pretty amazing.
Make sure you have money in your checking account. When I went I was unable to access my money at first because all the ATMs automatically withdrew from my checking. At the time I kept my balance in my savings account and only transfered money to my checking to pay bills.
ah thank you! I do the same thing with my checking so I'll need to be sure to do this before I leave.
We are planning on stopping in the Cinque Terre area as well. Any advice from those that have been there? The main parts of our trip will be Munich, Cinque Terre, and Rome.
Went to Neuschwanstein a few years ago, really cool place. I went in the fall and it was snowing that day, made for some great pictures. I took the train there from Munich and the scenery is great as you approach the castle.
Did you visit Hohenschwangau (sp?) as well? Neuschwanstein was on Amazing Race last week and looked pretty cool. I've heard it's certainly visiting both if you're in the area.
damnit, I can't figure out how to spell the other one... the other castle near it.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Nutz Interface 2 years ago
Didn't have time to visit Hochenschweinstein while I was there but I've heard that it is definitely worth visiting. I only had a weekend in Munich and there was so much to see while there, Munich and Neushwanstein were my favorite places to visit while there. While you are there make sure you take the trail over to the waterfall. The waterfall is cool to see but the best thing is the view back at the castle from the bridge, makes for great pictures.
If you are going to spend any time in Munich you should check out the free walking tour from these people http://www.newmunichtours.com/ . The tour guides only work for tips and they do a great job.
ah yes, I have heard those are fantastic. Thanks for the info!
I'm heading to Finland and Estonia in a couple of months... can I just use my MSUFCU debit card (and let them know in advance of course) or do I need to look into getting this "VISA check card" instead?
Also, for the OP, get a capital one venture credit card to use - they don't charge international fees. I've already booked some stuff with it and it's nice to actually see the price that I expected on my statement rather than the price + a bit extra for stupid fees that you would incur using the MSUFCU VISA or an American Express or whatnot.
If people don't speak English just repeat yourself and speak louder
Is there a "service center" in the Lansing area? If so, where?
Indeed. And if they still look confused, just slap them in the face with your US passport, they'll soon get the message.
Calling everyone "Johnny Foreigner" is another easy way to make friends.
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