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City-Hopping in the USA and Europe
January 4, 2010 7:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm wanting to spend a month or so in each of some of the coolest cities of the USA/Europe. I've got a full-time work-from-anywhere-there's-wi-fi job that'll keep me going but still want to keep expenses down. Done something similar? What was your best way to find lodgings?

I've got a stalwart car but definitely don't want to live out of it. I'm planning/hoping to get into grad school this fall, so the adventure will only last six or seven months.

If you have any advice on itineraries (San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, and Boston are on my list, but otherwise I'm looking for ideas), or ways to find lodging arrangements (house-sitting joints?), I'd love to hear it. Is the old craigslist the best way?

Especially if any US citizens have done this in Europe, I'd like to hear how you did it (I know a teensy bit of French).
posted by chbrown to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's always Couchsurfing
posted by chrisamiller at 8:12 PM on January 4, 2010


chbrown,

I have done something similar, albeit on a smaller time-scale. 30 days through Europe (twelve countries) and 30 days through the United States (6,400 miles) the summer before graduate school. I am not able to give you a complete answer now, but I am certain I can help you make the most of this amazing opportunity you have. I will post a more complete answer here next week, but here are just a few highlights not to miss that may not be as obvious as NY, NY or Rome.

Innsbruck, Austria (more beautiful than Salzberg, but with fewer tourists)
Pargue (laid back old European town)
Denver, CO (the Jazz scene there is surprisingly interesting)
Moab, UT (may be hard to find Wi-Fi here, but worth it for the beautiful sunrises and sunsets)
Macon, GA (a true old southern town)
Charleston, SC (one of the most interesting and cool downtowns you will ever see)
posted by 2legit2quit at 8:21 PM on January 4, 2010


If you're going to Europe, might as well start in Berlin--housing is cheap for a European capital and can be found on craigslist, German is not necessary (although it's always good to learn at least a few phrases before you get here), there's plenty of wi-fi, and there's enough people here who have done the same thing you're proposing to do that you could probably get some good tips on how to proceed through Europe.
posted by besonders at 1:27 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nantes on the west coast of France is a lovely city, and then further south, Lyon is also nice. I can recommend Barcelona and Lisbon in Spain and Portugal, and in Italy there is a wealth of places to visit, from the north down, Turin, Bologna, genova, Naples and Bari.

A good way to plan a trip around Italy would be to look on wikipedia at their various festivals and plan it around that. Bologna has a chocolate festival, and many of the northern cities have harvest-style festivals in the autumn.

I would stay in hostels, you can buy a European hostelling membership, and there is usually enough feedback online to avoid the bad places.
posted by ellieBOA at 3:51 AM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seconding Berlin if you go to Europe, and seconding couchsurfing. It has worked well for me once, and for friends multiple times.
posted by molecicco at 4:26 AM on January 5, 2010


You might look at the Extreme Telecommuting blog for ideas. They did what you want to do, through North America and Europe. The blog documents their days, gives maps, and gives helpful hints.
posted by Houstonian at 5:13 AM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't skip Barcelona, eat baby squid over egg at "El Quim" inside the Boqueria. You will not be sorry.
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:49 AM on January 5, 2010


Moab, UT (may be hard to find Wi-Fi here, but worth it for the beautiful sunrises and sunsets)

We had no trouble getting wifi in Moab this fall. Most hotels, the fabulous public library (best small library in America, 2007), and some restaurants and cafes had it. If you do Moab, I'd do it before April when more tourists start showing up.

The town itself is a tiny place compared to the others you've mentioned, but there is so, so much natural beauty to explore around the town (Arches National Park, etc.) it might be a good break between big cities for you. Here's more town info.
posted by BlooPen at 7:19 AM on January 5, 2010


I travel a lot and work online mostly, so I got one of those modems that hook into the cell system-- Verizon National Broadband Access. All the big cell phone providers have them. It's been a job-saver. I can get a wifi signal even in places (like the Nocal coast) where I can't get a cell signal.

As far as lodging, if you plan ahead, you can sometimes get student or faculty apartments or dorm rooms at colleges during breaks in school. Hyde Park in Chicago is a wonderful college neighborhood, easy access (Train and bus) to downtown, and there are always apartments and rooms available for short stays. And colleges are great places to stay-- usually safe and culturally active. Try local papers (like The Hyde Park Herald) online for ads.

Have fun-- wish I could do that!
posted by pippin at 8:52 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I travel a lot and work online mostly, so I got one of those modems that hook into the cell system-- Verizon National Broadband Access. All the big cell phone providers have them. It's been a job-saver. I can get a wifi signal even in places (like the Nocal coast) where I can't get a cell signal.

What you'd be looking for is a mobile broadband service. Usually, you pay a flat monthly rate to access the Internet from pretty much anywhere. Might be a good idea if you'll be spending a lot of time in transit, or working on U.S. time zone business hours (when you might not be able to find a hot spot).

When I was in Berlin, I stayed in a hostel for a bit, and then the hostel staff helped me find a more permanent apartment (using a real estate service and the paper).

All of my friends who work remotely on a regular basis use Couchsurfing or do a house swap.
posted by lunalaguna at 10:21 AM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forgot to add, I've also stayed in college dorms during the summer months in Krakow and Warsaw, Poland. I found those through a guide book.
posted by lunalaguna at 10:29 AM on January 5, 2010


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