Information on the most visited continent in the world. Learn about Eurailing in the summer, travel through post-communist countries and what to do in Paris with a 12-hour layover.

Europe Warnings

webbod

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  • Added on: December 13th, 2006
quote:
Originally posted by davidcatherall:
I would agree with the comments above about Ryan air. We have just returned from Krakow in Poland. Flight was originally advertised at £2.49 pp each way. With the taxes and add ons we paid £20.00 pp each way - so beware.

One other rather nasty little trick Ryan air have is that they know that you cannot go into the airport check in carrying water (stupid new security regs) so they take any water (or Vodka! - off you) then when you get into the final departure lounge you find that bottles of water are twice the cost as the same bottle outside the ariport - wait for it!! On the plane good 'ole Ryan air then charge you almost double that price!

What's that I hear you say? "Captive market?" Dead right.


[RANT]
Oh My GOD!!! - you poor things - Krakow to London for £22.48 EACH!!! - jesus, that's daylight robbery.

I mean how did you manage to afford the three quid coffees at the airport or the twenty quid train fare back into London.

Those money grabbing b***ds at Ryanair should be shot.

Twenty three pounds for a three hour flight - what is the World coming to ???

Gimme a full frills £199 flight with British Airways anyday - I never drink on a plane, but it's nice to know everybody else is drinking for free, I don't like airline food, but it's nice to know that it's free, I bring my own music, but it's nice to know that the in-flight entertainment is free. I also love the way BA allow me to chip-in with the cost of fueling the flight.

Aw! shoot they don't have a sarcasm smiley.
[/RANT]

You see - Ryanair don't have any hidden charges - it costs £2.99 for your seat - the taxes and duties vary by route, so they show you how much of your fare is being taken by the governments - people like BA don't, they wrap it up in a moist towlette and hide it behind a fake smile.

I've never had any problems flying with ryanair or any low coat airline, I take about 15 trips a year that way.

The age old adage still applies "you gets what you pays for".

Most of the time, all I want is a seat on a packed plane that will take me somewhere interesting as environmentally efficiently as possible.

If I need to be in Frankfurt by 8am then I'll go with Lufthansa and pay extra so I can freshen-up when I arrive in the city centre.

Think of low cost airlines like a bus company and flag carriers like a limo service and you won't go too far wrong.

FYI Ryanair don't run the airports - you get screwed for water all over the place - it's not as if they look at your boarding card and double the prices. Here's a tip - drink something before check-in - problem solved !!!
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disaster

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  • Added on: December 13th, 2006
hahaha ...webbod speaks for me
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John_M_C

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  • Added on: December 25th, 2006
My family and I have had nothing but good experiences on Ryan Air, Easy Jet and in the USA, South West.

On the tax issue, it is my impression as a cheap flight seeker that 99% of all airlines and book sites don't announce the taxes until you have your credit card in hand.

The rest of this stuff people worry about is over the top. About 25% of those who travel to Europe should never have left home in the first place.

Leif, God of Thunder

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  • Added on: December 29th, 2006
This might have been nothing, but I was in Rome the night before last and had a weird encounter that may have been the opening of a new street scam.

I was wandering around looking for a place to eat that wasn't a tourist craphole (and failed). A young guy accosted me and spoke English to me immediately, asking if I would help him push his busted car. He didn't say to where or what the problem was, he just wanted me to help push and pointed to his tiny car. An older fellow was standing nearby, very enthusiastic about me helping them out.

I'm suspicious anytime someone opens a conversation with me in English in a non-English speaking country, even in a place like Rome where every third person can muddle through a basic English exchange.

Sensing bad vibes, I lied that I was meeting a friend at the train station in a few minutes and had to go. The lead guy didn't resist. Indeed, he cut me loose rather quickly.

So, I don't know where that might have been headed – asking for cash to help fix something, attacking me, or whatever – and it may have been nothing at all, but it was just a little too strange for me. Better slightly paranoid than sorry I always say.

When I asked the people at my hostel, they weren’t familiar with any scams unfolding in this way, but agreed that I had done the right thing, getting away quickly.

So, for what it's worth, beware of guys with car trouble near the train station in Rome.

Leif Viking
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Brambles24601

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  • Added on: December 29th, 2006
quote:
Originally posted by Cryinmercy:
I agree. I got burned on an Eastern Europe Pass. Although it let me not worry about embarrassing myself at the ticket window with poor Polish, the conductor in Czech Rep. wouldn't accept the pass and I ended up paying the fare between Prague and Krakow anyway. Do not, I repeat DO NOT buy an east pass. The tickets between anywhere in Hungary, Czech, Poland, etc are dirt cheap anyway and it's almost all second class. Besides, I don't think the conductors are used to seeing an East pass and whipping it out shouts "STUPID TOURIST BOUGHT A RIPOFF PASS!" That would have been me... Eastern Europe is a gorgeous, affordable and relatively safe place. Can't wait to get back sans my east pass.... Cheers!
quote:
Originally posted by Nicky Gardner (for hiddeneurope):
BEWARE OF PAYING OVER THE ODDS FOR YOUR EUROPEAN TRAVEL

Okay... so I’d like to chip in with a warning for all those non-Europeans who seem dead set on getting some kind of rail pass, bus pass or city pass to smooth their way round this happy continent. Eurailpass and the like may seem like a great deal, but it really is worth taking some time to check out how much the tickets for your proposed trips might cost if purchased locally. And that doesn’t mean just checking the point-to-point fares on one of the big US rail ticket distributors. You need to check what price you might pay for a ticket purchased here in Europe (or via a European website).

Europe bristles with cheap deals, with some especially cheap rail tickets for small groups travelling together, for pre-booked Internet tickets and so on. This is especially true in those western European countries with higher rail tariffs, where discounting of the regular fares on long distance services is very common (€29 from Munich to Rome or Berlin to Vienna for example). On France’s excellent TGV services, there is a great range of discount tickets, and, with a little flexibility, the chances are that you could zoom across France for €40.

Once you move into central and eastern Europe, standard tariffs plummet, and discounting is less common, but in these countries regular fares are often so cheap as just not to justify buying a railpass.

The rail ticket retailers in Oz, Canada and the USA rely, it has always seemed to me, upon visitors’ fears of high European rail fares to market their range of railpasses. They clearly aren’t going to shout about the many cheap deals available if you are prepared to spend the time combing European websites. But take the time to do that research, and you may well find that you can pick up a range of locally purchased tickets that make a rail pass redundant. It is certainly worth checking.

I do hope this comment helps.
Nicky Gardner
_______________________________________
hidden europe magazine - good writing that celebrates Europe's diversity
www.hiddeneurope.info


In addition to the rip-off of the passes is the purchase of tickets for Eastern European travel in Germany. For instance I bought a ticket between Budapest and Zagreb and lost 30 Euro due to lack of student discount in Germany.

Brambles24601

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  • Added on: December 29th, 2006
Regarding RYANAIR:

I flew Ryanair from Dublin to "Glasgow" last Easter. The cost was low enough, about 15 quid, so I wasn't expecting much.
A rushed check-in at Dublin (I mean seriously I have flown on over 20 budget flights in the last year and the check-in crew looked like they had threats on thier lives. They were all out of breath and throwing things... it was well.. special.) I accidentaly checked my cellphone at the bottom of my backpack. When I arrived in "Glasgow" I went to get it out. My bag had been clearly re-arranged and the phone was gone. The phone was old and crappy and the pre-paid ALDI SIM-Card from Germany wouldn't even work right in the UK so they didn't gain much by taking it, but, it was just annoying.

When I contacted the airline about the phone being missing, they informed me that airports were at fault and the airports blamed Ryanair. An other round of letters led to the airports admitting that they "didn't currently have any mobile phones in their lost and found."

SO BE REALLY CAREFUL WITH YOUR BAGGAGE, ITS NOT SAFE IF RYANAIR CHECKS IT AT DUBLIN or "GLASGOW"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, regarding their website--it has a terrible tendancy to accidentally switch flight dates, be sure to check there are the right ones before you pay.

There are tons of other budget airlines out there. Fly germanwings, HLX.com, easyJet, AirBerlin or SKYEurope if at all possible.

Sophie9

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  • Added on: January 16th, 2007
This may sound stupid and redundant to you world travelers.....

But I never saw so many pickpockets in my life as I did on Oxford Street in London a couple of weeks ago. I live in Russia and I've been hit by gypsies (unsuccessfully) in several countries and heard many a con scam, but this was a bad bad place.

I'm female and not a backpacker and I was out shopping one afternoonon Oxford ST. Every few feet there seemed to be a pair of guys eyeing the throngs of shoppers for a target. I finally stopped behind a street billboard and watched them for a few minutes to try and get a grip on how many pickpocket teams there were and who they were picking out. I was eyed repeatedly, they seemed to think I had the *sucker* look. I went into a bathroom and spread all my money and documents throughout various boots and pockets and other, ahem, places. Plenty of talented pickpockets in this world and I'm just a regular untalented traveler.

I would judge London's Oxford street to be an extremely high risk area for having your stuff stolen. Look out. As Mr. Bean would say, be careful, be very very careful.

travel_tech

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  • Added on: January 20th, 2007
Is the neighborhood of the Eiffel tower rather questionable? I was thinking of renting a room in this girl's apt, its listed on craigslist. She lives near the eiffel tower.

Vulkoria

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  • Added on: February 8th, 2007
there are many scams on craigslist be very careful.
Take the time for a cup of cafe.

Rollo

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  • Added on: February 11th, 2007
I don't understand you guys blaming on Ryanair.
Do you know how much it cost to keep a flight in the air? and if you think you can get around for 99p than you are out of your mind.
Think instead 20Punds with the taxes is damn cheap and be happy such companies like Ryanair exists - but don't dream that they can give anything away, their concept is great and you fly since them allot cheaper. THANK YOU RYANAIR! that you exist and made the "expensive airlines" follow suite. I worked for Laker Airways in my active days, Freddy was a great entrepreneur and thanks Freddy Laker, Branson and Ryanair today you get cheaper around in the World.
...and 20pounds still does not even pay for the fuel going to
Krakow! somebody else paying more subsidized your travel!
Don't pick on them - be happy instead!

Optimusdinkus

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  • Added on: February 16th, 2007
I found a bad spill in Berlin. This might be common sense, if 3 or more people are from serbia, or other much poorer countries, are staying in the same room as you, get the front desk to hold your crap. They stole from my pocket in my sleeping bag, in my sleep no less, from my pockets in my shorts. Next day gone, I have NO idea how this was possible. If they want it, they can get it...

bundleWrap

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  • Added on: February 17th, 2007
Train stations are always sketchy places, but be especially alert at Gare du Nord in Paris. A friend of mine got her wallet stolen in the luggage deposit area of the station.

Hostels or hotels might cheap around the Gare du Nord and the Montmatre area, but it's only because they are not safe areas at night.
“Omnia mea mecum porto.”
~ Cicero ~

Timen

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  • Added on: February 25th, 2007
I live in Amsterdam and have traveled all around Europe. I've never, ever had anything stolen. I know there are a few countries that you should look out more than others (Spain, Portugal, Italy), but as long as you are aware of your surroundings, you'll be fine.
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JessieS

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  • Added on: February 26th, 2007
A quick reminder about this thread; it's obviously going to be based on people's real experiences while traveling - just keep in mind they're not going to be indicative of the acts of an entire country. The idea here isn't to bash cultures or continue stereotypes, but to offer real travel warnings.

Also remember, from the original post in this thread:

quote:
The information can be on any city, region or country in Europe. When reading these experiences, please remember that there are two sides to every story and warnings should be issued sparingly.


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Brambles24601

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  • Added on: February 26th, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by Rollo:
I don't understand you guys blaming on Ryanair.
Do you know how much it cost to keep a flight in the air? and if you think you can get around for 99p than you are out of your mind.
Think instead 20Punds with the taxes is damn cheap and be happy such companies like Ryanair exists - but don't dream that they can give anything away, their concept is great and you fly since them allot cheaper. THANK YOU RYANAIR! that you exist and made the "expensive airlines" follow suite. I worked for Laker Airways in my active days, Freddy was a great entrepreneur and thanks Freddy Laker, Branson and Ryanair today you get cheaper around in the World.
...and 20pounds still does not even pay for the fuel going to
Krakow! somebody else paying more subsidized your travel!
Don't pick on them - be happy instead!


Indeed. I agree that Ryanair is doing some revolutionary things. I never said not to fly them... even with the cost of having to buy a new cell phone included, the flight was still cheaper than taking the ferry/bus/train would've been. I appreciate Southwest, Freddie and Ryanair all very much... (Branson not so much I don't see the savings...). I am just saying that I have had much better expreinces on other European budget airlines for the same price. Ryanair has become so huge that it does have to go that extra mile in service anymore, instead it has to try and be a few cents cheaper, which Ryanair aren't always successful at.

I was more warning people that they should be careful with booking and traveling on Ryanair. You have responsibilities as a passenger, still, even if the flight did only cost a few cents.


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