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I am planning a short trip to Bavaria, Austria, and the Czech Republic. This will be my first trip to Europe. I will arrive to Munich by plane on 15 of September and I am going to leave from Prague on 4 of October. Just by chance I am arriving before Oktoberfest, I did mean to spent few days in Munich just because of Oktoberfest, I really don't like beer, maybe I'll love the atmosphere of festival.

I am not really sure what I want to visit, and the question is not actually about the place to visit, this information I can find in previous posts and in tourists guide. I am more interested in the approach to traveling.

The First Approach is to arrive in a central city, with an advance-reserved bed in a hostel and start visiting all the interesting places around the center. For example, in my case, the central city is Munich, and living in Munich I am going to visit Dachau, Neuschwanstein, Bavarian forest, Nuremberg.

Advantages of 1st approach: you always have a kind of base (your Hostel) where you can leave all your heavy stuff (I am traveling with my girlfriend, so I expect to have a lot of heavy stuff) and just go to interesting places by train or by bus with minimum luggage. Also using this approach I can cover relatively a lot of sights. In addition, I assume that I can save money on many expensive hostels, that I found in less popular places.

Disadvantages of 1st approach: I am going to pay much more for train (which is surprisingly very expensive, it seems like less expensive to take a plane), and many hours of the trip will be spent in transport. Instead of taking the train I can rent a little car, I am not sure if it is gonna be less expensive, but I am sure it's gonna be less comfortable and I don't know if Germany has a problem with parking.

Beforehand I reserved 4 days for Munich, 3 days for Salzburg (by now I prefer to dedicate more days to Munich), 3 days for Vienna and 7 days for Prague. I know it's not balanced. This schedule can be changed easily.

The Second Approach is just move every day or every second day to a new place (hostel). This approach is less flexible, just because everything should be reserved beforehand and our trip should be very exact without changes in the middle (a friend of mine did the same in Italy but instead of hostels he stayed in good hotels, and as he said, there was not a problem to reserve a room one or two days before arriving). All hostels ask to make reservations beforehand, therefore I am not sure that we can find a hostel when we are already in the city or day or two before arriving. Is this right? Of course this approach is less expensive, because less traveling, but it's more strict, it will be much more complicated to stay in the place for one more day if you really loved it (in case of beforehand reservation).

As always the truth is in the middle, maybe sometimes it's worth asking someone for place to sleep in CouchSurfing, I have already experience as the person who hosts, but I never tried to surf. In addition, there is no "loss situation", in any case, the trip will be very exciting, I just want to prevent some mistakes that I can make with lack of experience.

I would like to know your opinion, and your previous experience regarding trip planning.

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closed as not constructive by RoflcoptrException, mindcorrosive, HaLaBi, Mark Mayo Aug 26 '12 at 18:12

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I'm not really sure if this question is ontopic here, because it can't be answered objectively. –  RoflcoptrException Aug 3 '12 at 8:43
    
@RoflcoptrException, if it's offtopic, please, excuse me. Actually, I don't need strict and objective answer, what I asked for is just your opinion based on your experience. –  fog Aug 3 '12 at 10:31
    
That's exactly the problem ;) We will see what the community thinks. –  RoflcoptrException Aug 3 '12 at 10:35
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3 Answers 3

I can't tell you what you will like best, but you seem to appreciate the differences between the two types of moving around that you mention fairly well. You'll have to make you own decision as to what fits best.

That said, I prefer more of the first. Moving all your stuff to a new ho(s)tel every day is just very tiring.

On a more serious note, I'd be surprises if you, at this time, can still book accommodation in Munich for around the time of this year's Oktoberfest.

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Thanks for the answer –  fog Aug 3 '12 at 10:35
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In my opinion, the answer to this question depends on a lot of different things:

First of all, it depends how much days you want to spend in the city itself. In Munich, Vienna and Prague there are a lot of things to do in the city itself. In Salzburg I'm not so sure about that, but this is just my personal opninion.

Secondly, it depends on how you want to travel. If you travel by public transport, I can be very annoying to move on every day, because you always have to carry your stuff with you, or find a secure place to store it during the day, then pick it up in the evening or when you're moving on. Most hostels allow you to leave your lagguage there on the day you move on, however, it can be annoying if you always have to go back to the hostel, pick up your stuff and then move on to the next city by train. If you travel by car, this can be a little bit easier because you just can leave your stuff there. On the other hand, this has other disadvantages.

Third, it depends on the things you want to see in the sourroundings of the city and how close they are. If they are easily accessible by public transport, I would vote for staying in the city and then do daytrips to the things you want to see.

In your concrete example, I would stay a few days in Munich. From there you can easily do an excursion to Dachau, because it is easily accessible by public transport in a short time. I did this several times by myself. If you really want to go to Neuschwanstein, I would also do that in a daytrip, because there is nothing more to see there except for the castle itself. Nuremburg however is worth a trip for itself.

Similar things you should consider for the other 3 cities. For example, you can easily do a daytrip from prague to the famous city Kutna Hora.

An just as a sidenote: If you don't like beer, I'm not sure if you will enjoy the Oktoberfest. It is all about drinking beer the whole day, and there are a lot of really drunk people. Even though, there are also some roller coasters and similar things that you might enjoy. However, I would spend there some time so that you have at least seen it ;)

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Thank you very much for your opinion. –  fog Aug 3 '12 at 10:33
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It's mostly a matter of taste. Some people like to be constantly on the move and exploring new areas, while others prefer to have a "home base". It sounds like you belong to the second group.

Some comments on your particular trip and things you mention:

  • As MastaBaba noted, finding a hotel or hostel in or near Munich during Oktoberfest will be very difficult if you don't already have one.
  • Parking space is not always abundant in Germany, but rarely a big problem. Inner cities tend to be hard to navigate and starved of parking space though, and Neuschwanstein has only one small private parking lot (a goldmine for the owners) that's really near the castle itself.
  • You can save a lot on train fares in Germany if you choose the right ticket: the weekend ticket and the Länder ticket offer one-day flat rates for local and regional trains (you can't use the highspeed ICE and IC though).
  • Oktoberfest is definitely worth visiting even if you don't like beer; for the sheer size of the crowds, the variety of rides and attractions as well as the general atmosphere. Even if you don't like beer or being around thousands of drunk people, the beer tents are worth a visit - around noon on weekdays they're not yet crammed and you can have lunch in peace.
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