What’s the best way to get around Europe? Eurail?
Probably not rollerblading. If you’re going to be in Europe for a while and want to see as many places as possible, try a Global Eurail pass ($372, access to any of 28 countries). There are cheaper passes ($161) if you just want to see a couple of neighboring countries, and ones cheaper still ($65) if you want to stick to one country and just explore different cities within.
The first time I went to Italy I used Eurail to get between Venice, Milan, Florence, and Rome. My most vivid memory from this experience is that some guys were sitting in our seats (tickets were waaaaay oversold, which happens regularly and can create a bit of benign chaos) and after subjecting them to what I’m certain was a truly horrific amalgamation of Italian, Spanish, and Latin in an attempt to communicate, we figured out that the person in the wrong seat was actually this old lady next to them, who stoically got up and insisted I take my rightful seat while she leaned wearily on the armrest, and left me to spend the rest of the journey contemplating the myriad ways in which I deserved to go to hell, and if you thought this sentence was long I promise you that ride was longer. -- Kastalia Medrano
What about road-tripping around Europe?
If you’re going to be in Europe for at least a couple of weeks, want to move around a lot, and are willing to be somewhat uncomfortable, then the absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to lease a car, which sounds slightly cumbersome but is in fact easy as hell -- we’ll walk you through how and why you should do this here. If you have around 10 days for a European road trip, we’ve already planned your ideal itinerary right here.
How’s my phone going to work?
Back in the day you’d have to buy a whole new SIM card to swap into your Blackberry if you wanted to call your mom at home, but these days things are easier and no one has Blackberrys. If you have an iPhone 4S or newer, you should be in good shape.
Sprint and T-Mobile have free international roaming, meaning no additional charges. Verizon and AT&T do not, and usually charge a fee (in the $10 range) for every day you talk or use data abroad. I always sound like I’m schilling for T-Mobile when I talk about this, but I crossed over as a lifelong Verizon customer before I left for a year-plus of backpacking through Europe. My phone works as seamlessly there as it does at home. If you’ll be traveling with someone(s) for a while, consider starting a family plan with them. This is what my Boyfriend At The Time and I did, which admittedly does give the impression, on paper, of being either married or related, which is a little weird, but there’s no rule that you have to be legal family to get on a family plan. We’re actually still on it.
Do I need a visa?
You do not! Provided you stay no longer than 90 days. Funny story about that backpacking trip I mentioned -- when we arrived in Europe the line for customs and immigration was SO LONG, that since Boyfriend At The Time had Italian citizenship, we decided to try our luck in EU-resident line, which was empty. He showed his Italian passport and just said we were married. The checkpoint guy never even looked up, so there was no record of me entering Europe. We had never actually gotten around to hatching a plan for how I would stay longer than 90 days, so this worked great.