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 Post subject: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:49 pm 
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It seems there are a few of us at least who are thinking about trips. Maybe a thread would be fun and useful?

I'm planning to go to Ireland (middle of nowhere Mayo) in late March and would also like to take a 2-3 day side trip somewhere if I can do it under $600.

I was thinking Moscow, Stockholm, Athens, Rome, or Reyjavik, but Moscow seems out because getting the visa is a hassle I'm not in the mood to deal with, plus needing to send off my passport makes me queasy. London would be nice, and most obvious, but I sort of want to go somewhere where I can either practice a language I've already learned some of (Moscow or Rome) or learn a new one. Paris was my last real trip inside Europe, and I've been all over the Nerherlands and Belgium. I have tons of childhood memories from Germany and don't really want a nostalgic trip at this point. I'll get enough of that in Ireland.

I could always just bum around Ireland for a few extra days, but public transportation in Ireland can be rather miserable.

Ideas? I'm sure I'll change my mind many times between now and purchase.

What are your travel plans?

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:12 am 
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I vote Moscow! I went 8 years ago and yeah the visa was a bit of a hassle but i basically just went to a travel agency and they did it for me. I'd actually recommend that because I found everything in Russia was a hassle with a capital H. St. Petersburg is also super fun and beautiful!

Stockholm would be my next choice. Or what about the fjords in Norway?

We are going to southern Chile in February (backpacking Torres del Paine) and will have 2 leftover days in Punta Arenas. One day will be spent trying to see some penguins (!) but the other day is undecided. Rent a car and drive around to nearby wilderness or explore the city?

Also thinking of a 1-2 week trip around next Thanksgiving. We like adventure, and it can be anywhere in the world except the USA or western Europe. Not too interested in extensive city city tourism.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:16 am 
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Id go to Easter island.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:31 am 
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Can you spend a whole week doing Easter island? Is that a dumb question?

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:32 am 
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I absolutely love love love Stockholm. Other than my own home city, it is my favorite place in the world, and I visit once a year. I would say that it will be very cold in November...but then you've also got Moscow on the list, so that probably isn't highest on your list of concerns. Regardless, it's a gorgeous city, GREAT coffee, and nice people. I bet you can get a super cheap flight too. (Try Norwegian airlines, directly through their website)

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:00 am 
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couroupita wrote:
Can you spend a whole week doing Easter island? Is that a dumb question?


I suppose it depends what you like to do. People generally spend time in Chile before or after since the only routes are via Chile anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:04 am 
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jerusalemboheme6 wrote:
I absolutely love love love Stockholm. Other than my own home city, it is my favorite place in the world, and I visit once a year. I would say that it will be very cold in November...but then you've also got Moscow on the list, so that probably isn't highest on your list of concerns. Regardless, it's a gorgeous city, GREAT coffee, and nice people. I bet you can get a super cheap flight too. (Try Norwegian airlines, directly through their website)


I'll be going in late March, but since I'll mostly be in Ireland where the weather is crepe (Ballina, Mayo), I'm not going to be weather choosy. Besides, I'm not really a sunny weather person anyway.

What do you like to do in Stockholm? I found deals, with hotels, for around $500.

(My family are annoyingly scattered: Wexford, Dublin, Mayo, Cork. I can stay in Wicklow, but the only way off the mountain is by car.) I'm thinking about going to the North a bit. My childhood memories of the North are very scary, so it would be nice to have a better perspective.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:36 am 
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Oooh what do I like to do in Stockholm...everything. I have a couple good friends there, so I spend quality time with them. But for first time visitors, I also love Gamla Stan (The Old town) which is totally touristy but adorable, and DjurGarten, an Island where you have the VASA museum and ABBA Museum (both wildly cool) and a Zoo and amusement park, as well as checking out the Palace in the city and changing of the guard which are always fun. I'm totally obsessed with the neighborhood of Sodermalm, also called SOFO (It's the Stockholm equivalent of SOHO) totally hipster, but also a blast, with lots of yummy eats and shopping and a generally young, good vibe. All this without even mentioning the entire city is on the water, and it's GORGEOUS.

....I could go on and on...but since I'm a coffee lover, I've got to say that most of all I love the Swedish obsession with fika...which is the word for a coffee break with friends. There are cafes everywhere, they're ALWAYS full, and there's no such thing as a bad cupa joe. The super cheap breakfast special in tons of places is an awesome sandwich on homemade bread, and a french press of some seriously epic beans. ahhhh I love it so.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:59 am 
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I loved Stockholm, other than the fact it was cold and expensive (my two least favourite things). I really enjoyed the photography museum.

Planning a long weekend in Berlin in February to see Gorilla Biscuits and I've found really cheap flights. Berlin is easily my favourite city in the world. Also probably going back to Germany (and surrounding countries) in the summer because my friend's band is going on tour and they want me to tag along.

Would like to go somewhere over the Easter break but I need to save money.


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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:05 am 
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If you live somewhere serviced by Iceland air, they will give you an (up to 5 day , I think?) stopover in Iceland at no extra cost. I did that on my way to Europe. Reykjavik is beautiful and I did see the northern lights(!!) however, it's expensive (like comparable to Paris, I would say.) I didn't do any sort of tour of the countryside because I was only there two nights and I could not afford it. If I had more time to hitchhike or something there, or more money to see fancy stuff I would go back to see all that stuff.

Right now I'm in Barcelona, and I think it's forking awesome: insane architecture, a beach, community centers squatted in banks that collapsed during the financial crisis (!!!!) I leave tomorrow, and other than Berlin it's the only place that makes me want to throw a fit and wrap my arms around a light post and refuse to go.

Also, I thought Reykjavik had one of the most pleasant to travel through airports ever.


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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:43 am 
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Another vote for Reykjavik. I went there just last month and it was amazing. The city itself was lovely, and Iceland's countryside is awesome in the most literal sense of the word. Plus, I saw Bjork just walking down the street, which was neat.

Like Olives said, it is quite pricey, but I live in an expensive part of the UK and a lot of things were on par with what I'd pay for them here, but if you live somewhere things are more affordable, it could be a bit of a shock!

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:45 am 
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Pi_Face wrote:
I loved Stockholm, other than the fact it was cold and expensive (my two least favourite things). I really enjoyed the photography museum.

Planning a long weekend in Berlin in February to see Gorilla Biscuits and I've found really cheap flights. Berlin is easily my favourite city in the world. Also probably going back to Germany (and surrounding countries) in the summer because my friend's band is going on tour and they want me to tag along.

Would like to go somewhere over the Easter break but I need to save money.


My last visit to Berlin was in 2000ish for the love parade. If if think about, I'll start hyperventilating again; I don't do well in crowds. I'd love to see Bavaria again, but I think I'll get melancholy on my own if I do nostalgia stuff, especially with my dad gone.

Barcelona would be amazing.

If I were better with money, I could save and save and spend an entire summer traveling.

Good to know about Iceland Air. They fly out of BWI, but not sure if they go to Dublin.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:38 am 
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YOU SAW BJORK?! The big joke with my friends was that Bjork and I were going to get married, but then she never showed up. I did go on a date with a woman who once sold Bjork some anti aging cream, so that was cool.

I'm not sure about Dublin, but Iceland most def flies to London, and for me they were far cheaper than the big U.S. carriers. If you don't hate patching stuff together, it could quite easily be cheaper to fly to London and do a Ryanair flight or something. But maybe not.


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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:06 am 
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So I posted in the square about this but our 10th wedding anniversary is next November. So I figured a trip was in order.

the problem is I'm currently in school although at the rate I'm going, taking yet another semester off won't kill me :)

Anyway, thoughts about potential times:
late May (nicer month to travel)
August (off school but closest to anniversary - I've heard that many things around europe can be closed because people travel during August. Also, hottest month for something closer to the equator and hurricane season)
November (anniversary, but may be in school, would need shorter trip)
December (could travel to west coast US for trip before heading to San Diego)

So we've been to China, Antartica, Chile, Italy, Belize
I've been to Greece, Germany, Switzerland

And we are also up for US based trips except Hawaii, states close to DC including NC, DE, PA, MD, VA, WV and then no CO or SoCal :)

Places I've been are fair game. I was thinking maybe November or December in San Francisco could be an option. I've been but my husband hasn't. I figure Seattle may be a bit nippy in November, but also an option.

I want a very, very vegan friendly place as well. When we went to Italy, my husband enjoyed it but we basically had the same breakfast/lunch every day and dinners were mostly the same, different variations of pasta except for a couple vegan restaurants we went to. He mentioned that he would've liked more variation.

My husband isn't too keen on driving somewhere where 1) manual would be needed or 2) driving on the other side of the road. So public transportation is a plus unless it is a place with calmer drivers.

So yeah.

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Last edited by linanil on Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:19 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:08 am 
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LW, is there no place in DC you can go for a visa? When we went to China, we went down to DC and were able to get one through a Chinese office down there.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:03 am 
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It's possible I could go to the embassy. I guess my step is to renew my passports and go from there. I'm not sure I'll be able to afford to book the trip far enough in advance to get a visa.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:33 pm 
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Any suggestions for where's a good place to go for a week in December that's not too pricey (from the UK)? I was thinking Stockholm (maybe a little dark at this time of year) or Berlin maybe? Maybe somewhere hot instead? I'm very undecided.



(Also, shouldn't this thread really be in the Square?)

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:15 pm 
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linanil wrote:
So I posted in the square about this but our 10th wedding anniversary is next November. So I figured a trip was in order.

the problem is I'm currently in school although at the rate I'm going, taking yet another semester off won't kill me :)

Anyway, thoughts about potential times:
late May (nicer month to travel)
August (off school but closest to anniversary - I've heard that many things around europe can be closed because people travel during August. Also, hottest month for something closer to the equator and hurricane season)
November (anniversary, but may be in school, would need shorter trip)
December (could travel to west coast US for trip before heading to San Diego)

So we've been to China, Antartica, Chile, Italy, Belize
I've been to Greece, Germany, Switzerland

And we are also up for US based trips except Hawaii, states close to DC including NC, DE, PA, MD, VA, WV and then no CO or SoCal :)

Places I've been are fair game. I was thinking maybe November or December in San Francisco could be an option. I've been but my husband hasn't. I figure Seattle may be a bit nippy in November, but also an option.

I want a very, very vegan friendly place as well. When we went to Italy, my husband enjoyed it but we basically had the same breakfast/lunch every day and dinners were mostly the same, different variations of pasta except for a couple vegan restaurants we went to. He mentioned that he would've liked more variation.

My husband isn't too keen on driving somewhere where 1) manual would be needed or 2) driving on the other side of the road. So public transportation is a plus unless it is a place with calmer drivers.

So yeah.


Linanil, this article about the Top 9 destinations for vegans may be useful, although I was miffed that Los Angeles didn't make their list.


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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:55 pm 
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did you iceland-visitors get to visit any hot springs there? if so, how were they? has anyone visited hot springs somewhere else? (and too funny about seeing bjork - we had icelandic neighbours, and when they left, they gave us all these bjork cds to remember them by, hah)

i've just really wanted to go to some hot springs for about a year now, and the feeling won't go away. it's a bit weird (even to me) how much i just want to hang out in some hot springs. to the point where i've been tempted to grind black salt into a hot bath for the sulfur/mineral smell and pretend i'm in one.

i've been to the upper hot springs in banff - they have them running into a big, kidney bean shaped pool outdoors. it was pretty cold out, so its was nice shocking yourself with cold air, then dipping back in to warm up.


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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 2:57 pm 
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I've only been to the highly sulfurous hot springs in Colorado and Yellowstone. You'd be boiled alive if you tried to get into one. Lovely to look at though and I've never forgotten the smell.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:04 am 
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Olives - Yes! She was just walking down Laugavegur, in an awesome giant white parka. I thought it was funny because "Oh... did you see Bjork? (hahaha)" is the kind of thing I can imagine people asking if you tell them you went to Iceland. Also, it was cool, because... Bjork!

Postnothing - I went to two hot springs when I was there. The first was called "the secret lagoon" and the visit was tacked on the end of a golden circle tour (which is a popular day trip where you see a cool national park with a rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, an awesome waterfall and some geysers), and the second was the blue lagoon.

Everyone said, "You HAVE TO go to the blue lagoon!!!!!11" But I think I actually prefered the secret lagoon because it was smaller and there were hardly any people there. The blue lagoon was stunning because of the colour of the water and the fact it's set in the middle of these awesome lava fields, but it was really touristy, absolutely rammed full of people and the entry fee was high.

I did enjoy both, though, in their own way, and I would say, definitely visit Iceland if you want hot springs!

Oh, and the other cool thing about the secret lagoon was that you could also see these greenhouses where they grow veg, all heated by geothermal water, which is pretty neat.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:58 pm 
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That's great information.

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:45 pm 
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whoa! thanks. very useful info :)

I really want to visit the secret lagoon now! and visit those greenhouses (i love greenhouses). I was looking at the blue lagoon website and it does seem really pricy, especially if you'll be packed in there with a bunch of other people. if i ever end up in iceland, i'll probably still try to visit both.

i googled some of the colorado/yellowstone hot springs - they look really beautiful and make me regret not visiting any national/provincial parks this summer. the big chasm in morning glory looks so ominous, but it's hard for me to tell how big it is, too.


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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:15 am 
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I discussed the idea of iceland to my husband and he seems to think it is ok (I told him that a lot of the vegan options at restaurants seem to be burgers... which isn't ideal but hey). Would august be a viable month for Iceland or are there better months?

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 Post subject: Re: The Undecided Traveler Thread
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:14 am 
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I guess it depends what you want out of your trip, and your budget. I've only been in autumn/winter so I can't compare the two from experience, but I've done a bit of research because I'd love to return in the summer one day. One thing is for definite, accommodation is waaaaay more expensive in the summer. I thought where we stayed was really reasonably priced, so I looked at the prices there in the summer, out of interest, and it was more than double what we paid in October. I've also heard that you need to book accommodation far in advance for July/August time. The whole country only has a population of about 325,000, so you can imagine that the amount of space in hotels etc. is limited and demand is especially high during school holidays and all. It's light pretty much 24 hours a day in the summer, which I'd like to see, but I imagine could be confusing on the old body clock. You can pack more in, because they do late tours and such, and it would be easier if you plan to rent a car and drive because roads can be quite treacherous in the winter. I heard there's really good whale watching during the summer, too. However, if you want to do stuff like visiting the ice caves or seeing the northern lights, obviously that's out!

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