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RedCelicaGT said:   Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Work for a year. Save up vacation time. Then pay cash.

Completely disagree with this. Sounds like you a well paying job lined up, and will be working long / hard hours as a result. It is very likely you will not get another opportunity to travel like this. I for one was broke in college, and never studied abroad or traveled before I started working. A few years later, I have a good bit saved up, but I do not have the time to take a trip like that.

See if you can potentially take out a student loan since you haven't graduated yet. They are pretty liberal on the use of those funds.... it's such a joke. You may be able to qualify for absurdly low rates, I think my brother is paying like 2% on a floating rate loan. \

+1 to racking up FF miles.

Not sure where you are going, but I just returned from a trip to Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland. Discover, which is accepted as Diner's Club in Europe, is accepted at most "large" businesses I came across like the hotel or department store. Everywhere else, you may need a Visa, MC, or EC. If they took AMEX, it seemed they took Diner's Club. Note this was also a 4-5 star hotel. I'm not sure about more budget friendly locations.

The plus side, as someone mentioned already, is they don't charge anything. I checked my statement and they charged the straight exchange rate of the day. I was wondering if they bumped the exchange rate or something to make some money, but I guess not.

Give the kid a break. At least he's thinking about the financial impact of doing this. Many are saying save up and go later. Well life happens and there are so many roadblocks that can change this plan. I bet most of the naysayers are those who wish they could take off months of work or had some way to handle their children for an extended period of time.

OP - Go, have fun, have a budget, and don't stress too much if you have to pay some interest on a loan. You may never get another chance.

Thanks for all of the comments. I plan on using my Discover card and British Airways Visa card most of the time since these both have no foreign transaction fees. I am also bringing my Charles Schwab debit card that has no ATM fees worldwide. I was able to get a $4k balance transfer from the Chase Slate card and have also been getting some money from family for graduating college.

I have about $8k cash available now ($6k is 0% loans for 8-15 months). I can get another $500 in cash from my Discover card each month at 0% APR. I will also get a few thousand dollars in relocation money from my company soon. I think I will have plenty of cash now for my trip. I just need to keep to a reasonable budget.

I have an idea of where I will be travelling to and am now starting to pack my backpack. I am traveling as light as possible and bringing just clothes, toiletries, iPhone, wallet, camera, tablet (w/ microSD card slot to upload photos), and a Kindle.

I appreciate all the advice everyone's been giving and will post again once I come back from my trip.

linedrivekid123 said:   Thanks for all of the comments. I plan on using my Discover card and British Airways Visa card most of the time since these both have no foreign transaction fees. I am also bringing my Charles Schwab debit card that has no ATM fees worldwide. I was able to get a $4k balance transfer from the Chase Slate card and have also been getting some money from family for graduating college.

I have about $8k cash available now ($6k is 0% loans for 8-15 months). I can get another $500 in cash from my Discover card each month at 0% APR. I will also get a few thousand dollars in relocation money from my company soon. I think I will have plenty of cash now for my trip. I just need to keep to a reasonable budget.

I have an idea of where I will be travelling to and am now starting to pack my backpack. I am traveling as light as possible and bringing just clothes, toiletries, iPhone, wallet, camera, tablet (w/ microSD card slot to upload photos), and a Kindle.

I appreciate all the advice everyone's been giving and will post again once I come back from my trip.


Personally, if you can stand it, I'd just bring a small school backpack. It qualifies as a carry on everywhere, easy to carry, you can use it as a pillow.

Bring non cotton clothes, stuff that quick dries. 1 pair of khakis that zip off to make shorts, 1 maybe 2 shirts, and a few pairs of quick dry underwear / socks. A lightweight jacket (if you are going in July) will work as well. Avoid Northface, only because it's a very American brand and will make you a pickpocket target.

The people I met while on the trip (who traveled for months upon months) tended to favor large hiking backpacks. They also brought a tent, sleeping pad, and did a lot of 'urban camping'. (Read: cheap). I did a lot of couch surfing and hostel staying (read: not as cheap, but I didn't want a hiking backpack )

Few tips (mine are Europe specific):

1. Many automated train ticket machines do not accept non chip and pin cards (meaning you will have to pay cash). So bring Euros with you on the plane (or convert cash USD in the airport upon arrival). Yes, this is painful money wise, but being stuck in 2am in Gare Du Nord, Paris, France (shithole of a train station) with no cash (and in my case no working ATM card), and no way to pay for a train ticket, you will thank me.

2. 1 brings me to the second point: Bring multiple ATM cards, bring multiple credit cards. I thankfully had a second ATM card, but (stupidly) did not know the PIN on it. 2am, Paris, Gare Du Nord, trying to call collect to my bank just to find that they didn't accept international collect calls (f**k!). Thankfully, I had WIFI / A laptop with Skype with an American number, so I got it sorted out, again, at 2AM.

3. Learn enough of the languages of the countries that you are visiting that you know: "Where is the bathroom?" "I would like a X, please" "I'm sorry, I do not speak Y, Do you speak English?" "I would like another beer" and most importantly "Would you like to come back to my room?". It shows some respect, and you'll find that even though they most likely speak passable English, and your attempt at a language is laughable pathetic, they really do appreciate you giving enough of a shit to try.

4. Germany is a very cash based society. No idea why. This means you may not even be able to use your Visa at the Gyro stand. Conversely, you can drink on the streets (this saves $$$) (Bars are stupid expensive in Europe).

5. Buy food in a supermarket, prep your own meals in kitchens (if you have them in your hostel). Eating out in Europe is $$$$$. If you must eat out, food stands typically provide the best bang for your buck.



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