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4 High School Students LAX to Europe for the first time to Europe. Strategy sought..

4 High School Students LAX to Europe for the first time to Europe. Strategy sought..

Old Oct 28, 15, 9:38 pm
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4 High School Students LAX to Europe for the first time to Europe. Strategy sought..

My son and 3 of his friends are planning a High School Graduation trip to Eurpoe in June 2016. I thought it would be best for them to fly in and out of the same airport to take advantage of the best fares available from LAX. With that said, what airport would be the best to fly in to with the following considerations:

Non Stop of 1 Stop Flights from LAX
Good Hub to travel with Euro Rail from
Ability to reach several Countries as this is their frist exploration alone.
Cheap Intra Eupore Fare to get back to point A if rail is to too far..

All in all, just a primer to suggest for the boys as they are all over the map right now..

Thanks and Safe Travels..
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Old Oct 28, 15, 11:34 pm
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Hard to tell right now. AMS often has some of the better fares across the pond. Lots of flights from London to other places, though.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 12:58 am
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4 High School Students LAX to Europe for the first time to Europe. Stradegy sought..

I would consider arrival at an airport where English is common so that if there are any problems they can be more easily addressed. That would lead me to suggest London, Dublin and Amsterdam. Yes - English is spoken in many other countries but in my experience English is easy in those three. London costs more than the other two.

Dublin is the hub for RyanAir. They are really difficult but young people are often able to see the RyanAir rules as a game and do well with them. If so, from Dublin you can go many places cheaply.

My guess is that high school boys will find cities like Berlin and Amsterdam more interesting than others.

Youth hostels are common and varied - the boys will know where to find reviews that advise which are best.

Sounds like a lot of fun.

They will likely want to travel light - don't advise them otherwise.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 6:38 am
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I second the AMS suggestion. The Netherlands provides quick and easy access to mainland Europe.

As mentioned above, LHR is also good and based in London will allow access to the LCC (EasyJet, Ryanair). For this reason, I would disagree with the suggestion of DUB as Ryanair is connected from STN.

The lads may want to consider FRA, MUC or TXL (any Berlin airport). Deutschebahn has an extensive rail network that connects with other European countries including overnight series (much as the NL does). Germany has many youth hostels, many very nice.

Being post high school they will find their feet very quickly. Part of the fun and adventure is discovering how to do things alone. Ah memories

H
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Old Oct 29, 15, 6:50 am
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A few years back I would use the Icelandair flights to create an open jaw in Europe for a good price. At that time the added benefit was being able to also see Iceland for up to 9 days with no extra cost to the ticket.
Worth checking into if something similar still exists.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 6:51 am
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I agree about AMS. The train station is right in the basement of the airport.

Don't automatically buy Eurrail passes. National rail passes and student discount schemes can be much cheaper.

The kids should check hostel associations to see if they will need to purchase memberships.

There's an international student photo ID card targeted toward college students that gets some very good discounts. It's probably worth getting these, but I'm not sure of the procedure for someone who is graduating from high school.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
but I'm not sure of the procedure for someone who is graduating from high school.
Easy, just get it before graduation. IIRC they are good for a year, so anytime in spring would be good.

I have found open jaws can often be done in Europe for same price:

on one of my trips last year DFW-MAD-DFW was same price as DFW-MAD / BCN-DFW.

And don't forget our excellent European Rail forum ^ @:-)

Also, if they've flown before, I would not hesitate to have them change planes somewhere in US / Canada. I for one like to break up my trips, though on East Coast to Europe there may not be much time to sleep on redeye.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 8:35 pm
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www.seat61.com for the best information on train travel I know.

www.ricksteves.com for his Travel Tips: Thefts and Scams.

Some guide books. I'd suggest Lonely Planet or Rough Guide for their age. Maybe downloads to their devices. The guides have maps, directions, history, and all sorts of survival information.

Tell them to get their currency exchanged at ATMs, with cards having minimum costs. There is a whole section on this elsewhere on FlyerTalk.

Get them some secure container for their most important items - passport, credit cards, major cash, even critical medications. Either a neck pouch or a money belt. Attached to their body, and more safe from pick-pocketing. Explain that what goes in it should be enough to get them home if everything else is lost or stolen. And it doesn't come off their body until they are safe in a hotel room. Or if they are planning on staying in hostels, there are lockers available.

I think the luggage allowance on the European Low Cost Carriers is 10 kg or about 22 pounds. Even if they can carry more on the flights from the US, if they keep it to this level they then won't have issues with European flights. But do check that allowance number first.

Have them learn what they need to charge those electronics and keep those phones working in another country. Different plugs, different current. I use a minimalist approach with an iPad mini with WiFi and email. Sometimes the hunt for WiFi is a challenge, but I always eventually find something. I used to rely on just finding an internet cafe. With phones one gets into the Sim Cards and the different phone numbers for placing calls. Whatever they choose to do, they need to figure out how it will work in the countries they think they will visit. Tip - the backs of some TVs have USB, and one can charge devices that way - slowly.

If they've studied certain languages in high school, the countries speaking those could be good choices.

Romelle
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Old Oct 29, 15, 8:43 pm
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Some suggestions:

  • Don't overdo the first trip. Pick maybe 3 countries (Holland, Belgiun, Germany).
  • If you like rail travel, have a look at Interrail Pass.
  • Stay away from Eastern Europe right now. The refugee crisis makes it too dangerous for kids.
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Old Oct 30, 15, 6:17 am
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If they'd go for it (???) you'd rest a lot easier if they were with a tour group.

This is an example starter tour:

http://www.tourvacationstogo.com/cos...cfm?tid=138323

There are MANY similar ones. And even if they don't want a tour, they might look at the patterns of some of them. The tour companies have a lot of logic for what they do.
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Old Oct 30, 15, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by Dieuwer View Post
Some suggestions:

  • Stay away from Eastern Europe right now. The refugee crisis makes it too dangerous for kids.
What? Eastern Europe is perfectly safe. You might want to avoid Eastern Ukraine for obvious reasons but there's absolutely no reason to avoid Poland, Czech Rep, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Baltics and so on. By that logic you'd have to exclude Germany as well, as Germany is one of the most popular destinations for refugees.

Anyway, I'd recommend AMS, BER, BRU, MUC, PRG, VIE or any other cities in that area. It's okay to just go with the cheapest option. Transportation can be really cheap in Central Europe. In addition to trains I'd definitely check out busses! They're often the cheapest option and for a 7 hr journey they're actually quite comfortable. Most German bus companies also serve cities like Prague, Amsterdam and even Paris (although I'd rather fly to Paris). But BER-PRG or AMS-BER on a bus? Why not? For German companies check out Postbus, meinfernbus.de, FlixBus and Berlin Linien Bus.
Compare your options and then just try to grab a promotional fare on whatever comes out the cheapest, bus, train or flights.

As far as prices go, cities like Vienna and London tend to be quite expensive. Central and Eastern Europe are usually cheaper, so flying into AMS would probably be a great choice! Amsterdam itself is already great, but in addition its location is really convenient. Places like Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin, Prague, Brussels are all easy to get to.
Anther option to consider is Budapest, which is a absolutely worth visiting and, just like Amsterdam and Berlin, is considered a cool place to be for younger people. It's really close to Vienna and easy to reach by either train or bus and a lot cheaper. That also applies to flight prices!

And I agree, in more "international" cities like Amsterdam or Berlin your kids are going to face less of a language barrier than in say Kiev, but in my experience I've never had a problem communicating with people in Europe. Most people that you'd expect to speak English do speak English, like railway staff, post office employees and the likes. Having said that, don't expect everyone to speak English. A 60 yr old Hungarian/German/Dutch bus driver might not be able to give you directions in English, but you can usually find someone who can help you.

I hope your kids will have a great time here!

Also basically any European city has one-stop flights to LAX. LAX-FRA/MUC-[any city served by LH], LAX-CDG-[any city served by AF]. You could do the same for LHR, AMS etc.

Last edited by EmailKid; Oct 30, 15 at 8:45 am Reason: Back to back posts on same subject
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Old Oct 30, 15, 11:39 am
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I know many have disparaged them, but for a "flexible" trip like this have you considered Norwegian? They have competitively priced non-stops to CPH from LAX, which offers some decent (albeit not as great as AMS et al) connectivity to the European rail system. I've flown Norwegian a handful of times and had good experiences.
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Old Oct 31, 15, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by Dieuwer View Post
Some suggestions:
[*]Stay away from Eastern Europe right now. The refugee crisis makes it too dangerous for kids.[/LIST]
I would like to disagree. I live in Eastern Germany where many refugees are coming in and out of on a daily basis. The media in the US makes it seem A LOT worse than what it actually is. Everyone (including young tourists) should always be aware of their surroundings no matter what, but the refugees don't make it dangerous.

Eastern Europe is cheap and great for young travelers. There is a lot to explore and see. I would suggest a major hub like Amsterdam (obv. not in the East) or even Berlin. Easy to get in and out of other destinations.

Although people in most large cities in Europe speak English, it is also good to be culturally aware/sensitive of where you are going. As a young person myself (from the US), it's good to at least make an effort to say a few phrases in the local language...it will go a long way.

I'm unsure of the budget your child and friends have, but Vienna is also a great place to fly in an out of. It's not as expensive as it seems if you are mindful. It's beautiful and can also be done on the cheap. Just graduating from high school and wanting a fun experience (I'm sure we've all wanted those), Vienna offers a lot of fun and exciting places to go. You can also travel by rail to Budapest, which is amazing in the summer.

Last edited by onlysilver; Oct 31, 15 at 10:50 am Reason: wanted to add additional information.
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Old Oct 31, 15, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
My son and 3 of his friends are planning a High School Graduation trip to Eurpoe in June 2016. I thought it would be best for them to fly in and out of the same airport to take advantage of the best fares available from LAX. With that said, what airport would be the best to fly in to with the following considerations:

Non Stop of 1 Stop Flights from LAX
Good Hub to travel with Euro Rail from
Ability to reach several Countries as this is their frist exploration alone.
Cheap Intra Eupore Fare to get back to point A if rail is to too far..

All in all, just a primer to suggest for the boys as they are all over the map right now..

Thanks and Safe Travels..
Check out Norwegian Air. Flights tend to be less expensive, so money left over for everything else. Scandinavia is worth a visit and from OSL or ARN, you can get down to the continent easily. Also, everyone speaks English, so it is a good, low challenge place for high school students.
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Old Oct 31, 15, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
... I thought it would be best for them to fly in and out of the same airport to take advantage of the best fares available from LAX...
If you fly from LAX to Point A and return from Point B, the flight is often referred to as an "open jaw" or even sometimes abbreviated OJ here.

The fare for such tickets is usually roughly the mid-point between the round trip LAX-A and the round trip LAX-B fares. Not always, but usually.

What this would let your son and friends do would be to explore from A to B without having the cost and time of returning to A.

To check fares for such tickets, use the "multi-city" option rather than round-trip or one-way.

It also would be a good idea to check the fares from any of airports near LAX that would work for you. There can be surprising differences. LGB, BUR, SNA, ONT is a short list.

And if their schedule permits, check a range of dates. Surprising day-to-day differences also.

After the air tickets are purchased, I hope you start them with memberships in the particular airline's frequent flyer program. The mileage from LA to and from Europe is in the 12,000 mile range. The programs vary by airline, and quite a few have started basing the miles "earned" on the price of the ticket, but however it is calculated, it would be a good start on a free ticket some day.

Romelle
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