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Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

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Columbia, South...
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Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

Hi all, I find myself with a week off soon and am thinking of visiting Budapest. I would be traveling alone and have never been to Europe before.

The main thing I would like to know is how much difficulty I may have communicating and figuring out how to get around. Is this a country where many people speak English? How easy did you find the public transportation?

I will not have much time at all to plan things out. Is this a bad idea? Should I choose somewhere easier? Thanks so much for any info!!

Plovdiv, Bulgaria
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1. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

I've been visiting Hungary on 2005, 2006, and recently- March 10 through 14th. I don't understand Hungarian at all. The only language I used in Hungaria is English.

You'll be fine with English, and the hotel front office personnel will advice you. They are used to do it.

Free maps of Budapest are available in many places, at hotels for sure. The receptionist will draw you the way for pedestrian walk, and/or advise you for transportation, indicating the bus/subway lines, stopovers and stops.

I've been staying in different type hotels, and at any place I saw people were advised where and how to go; to specify: business hotel of intl. chain in Pest, tiny family run hotel in Buda, SPA hotel in Buda.

In restaurants, cafeterias, shops and malls you'll be also understood and assisted. Of course, same for touristic places. It happened to me to ask a lady on the street to speak instead of me with the taxi dispatcher so as to explain where I am

(I like loosing myself on improvised pedestrian walks but never got lost for longer that really I want it)

Here are 2 sample maps of the subway for just in case http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/bud/budapest.htm subwaynavigator.com/subway_site/…

BTW, no need to arrange airport pick up via hotel. At arrival at the airport, look around for sing of Budapest shuttle. For the fixed price of 11 Euro (per rate of March 10 2008) you'll be given a voucher for the minibus which will drive you to your hotel (any hotel). Drivers are not well English speaking (or not speaking at all), so ensure you have the hotel name&address of hotel clearly written, and -if in doubt- clarify anything with the clerk who sales you the voucher (English speaking).

***

... "somewhere easier" sounds N/A to me, as Budapest is definitely not "harder" or even "hard".

Good luck :)

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

One thing I must say about Hungarians is they don't expect visitors to learn their language. Only Hungarians speak Hungarian, thus they are used to having visitors who don't speak their language.

For the most part, in tourist areas you'll have no problems speaking English. Try a few words of Hungarian and it will help your quest in making friends.

I would advise that you avoid cabs except for the Zona Taxi special to and from the airport (The airport minibus will be cheaper for you though). Public transit is easily accessible with many instructions in English.

Take a look at the FAQ post by nyusi for more info.

Budapest is VERY safe...no need to worry about being on your own.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

This is a great idea! Budapest was also the first European city I ever visited and I fell head over heels in love.

English is widely spoken by service industry employees (restaurnats, shops, hotels, etc) and pretty much everyone under 30.

It's actually quite a manageable city and the locals only get friendlier as the weather warms up.

Bristol, United...
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4. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

oh yeah, i would love to get even friendlier if only the weather would be better.... :) its freezing cold nowadays. it was snowing during easter.... but they say spring will arrive soon, so i have hope :)

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

I went to Budapest on my own last September.

I found the subway system in Budapest to be very easy to follow and even the buses were easy. The bus stops were well marked with the street names and if you have a good map (my B&B gave me one with bus stops on it) it was easy to follow along. I also managed to communicate fine with one bus driver to ask him if his bus was the one I wanted. He also shouted to me when it was my stop. Very friendly!

I stayed at a very friendly B&B and there were lots of Americans there. It was a very social group so I ended up hanging out with some people from there during my stay.

Highly recommend going to the Szecheyni Baths. No one really spoke English there but there are lots of Tripadvisor reports on how it works and I read up before I went and was prepared for the system there.

It's definitely a great place to go in Europe. It's a little crumbly and not super-polished but I really liked that. It felt very real and authentic and not Disney-esque like some other places.

I will send you my trip report by personal message. Can't seem to include it in this post.

Columbia, South...
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6. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

Thanks so much for all your advice everyone- I leave Saturday and am very excited- and I think I have picked the perfect place.

T- I know what you mean and I will like the crumbly parts :) Thanks for sending me your post!

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

Have a great trip and if you can write a trip report when you get back. Always nice to hear what worked and what didn't and what exciting adventures were stumbled upon along the way!

8. Re: Need advice from those who know- language? traveling alone?

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