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Suque, help me plan a trip to Europe

  • yea, I'll probably rank them sometime and then try to eliminate a few. Like The Bachelor.

  • Here's some of my reply regarding Oktoberfest:

    I went to Oktoberfest for 5 days this past year (Friday - Tues). My trip was a bit different than I imagine yours would be with your wife as I went with three single buddies of mine. We had a great time, but 5 days would probably be too much. The weekends are a zoo and there is also a holiday during Oktoberfest (October 3) that celebrates the falling of the wall. I would probably try and NOT be there during those days. Your chances of getting a table inside (and even outside in the biergarten) a tent are pretty much slim to none during the weekend and holiday. Any other day during the week should be fine for the morning sessions.

    Basically the tents are available on a first come first serve basis in the morning and then in the afternoon, starting around 3ish, they kick everyone out and all the reservations come in and take over the tents. Unless you know someone working at Oktoberfest or are from Munich you will not be able to get a reservation. If you can't get in a tent you can always try the biergartens (outside picnic tables), but they aren't nearly as much fun as the tent. There are ways of securing a seat in the evening in a tent (mainly bribing), but that's for another post. Remember, the only way to get served alcohol at Oktoberfest is to be at a table in either the biergarten or inside the tent. They don't serve beer any where else.

    As for Oktoberfest logistically you need to book your hotel now. By the end of February you will not be able to find much of anything left in the city and the prices will be ridiculously high. I booked around this time last year and for $150/night I was barely able to find a two twin bed room that was the size of my bathroom. Luckily the location was terrific, near the central train station, so it was worth the price. I'd highly recommend trying to stay near the train station as its only a 10 minute walk to the park (Theresienwiese) housing Oktoberfest. Believe me after staying for just a few hours at Oktoberfest having your hotel in walking distance is the smartest thing we did.

    After Oktoberfest we left for Prague via bus (from the German rail system- Bahn.de) which only cost 19 euro a person and took around 3 hours. The bus picks you up right at the train station, so another reason to stay relatively close to the station in Munich, and drops you off at the central station in Prague.

  • My advice is to sign up for the Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer card for the free year. I think the current promotion is 55K miles, which is almost enough for round trip to Europe. This would allow you to also take open jaw flights (without paying extra for one way flights) since you'll be taking train between cities anyways.

  • 55k miles just for signing up?

  • Looks like 30k bonus miles according to their site.

    The two best cards for traveling appears to be Chase Sapphire and Capital One. Both have no foreign transaction fees.

    Also, look at opening up a Charles Schwab checking account. They have no ATM fees (domestic and foreign) and will reimburse you if you do get charged. It also has no minimum balance requirements. Only problem is that physical branches basically don't exist so you have to do all your banking electronically (mobile app is great).