11 Days to Travel Around Western Europe

Apr 26th, 2005, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Travel for most of us is a compromise between time and money. Moving from most major locations to another loses you at least a half day everytime you do it plus expenses. You can get around this limitation abit by doing overnight trains but I would not recommend doing this more than once or twice in 11 days. This means that you should pick 3, possibly 4 destinations at the most to visit for your limited time. I, like Rex strongly recommend Italy with Florence and Venice along with your Rome before returning to England. You might be able to fit Paris or Salzberg or Vienna in there as well but 11 days is just enough time to see the major sights in Italy. Paris in my opinion needs at least 3 to 4 days by itself and you may wish to do Paris on a long weekend from England during your Oxford stay.
I am not enthused by your desire to go to Greece under your limitations for several reasons. First IMHO the attraction of Greece is in the islands, not the city of Athens. Secondly with your time limitations you would have to fly to Athens than fly to/from the islands you wish to visit whether it be Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete etc. This tends to be alot more expensive than flying around central Europe and takes more time, probably losing you the better part of a day to get from England to your choice of Island. and in return to Rome. If you flew into Athens from wherever you are coming from in a open jaw so you could return home from England it would make more sense to see part of Greece, than Italy+ before getting to Oxford. Greece, Italy, Austria and France is not a reasonable itinerary for 11 days. As Rex says, You need to get with your future traveling companion and decide what you both want to do and limit your travel desires as you cannot do everything you want in 11 days.
mjs is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Galapas, one easy site for rail is www.dbahn.de

There are quite a few "bucket shops" in Athens that sell cheap airfare, but June will be busy.

There are some good sites for checking cheap flights within Europe. If you search for easyjet.com (or the like), you may find a few links that lead to good lists. I would cut & paste from my favorites, but have to run. Will look at the post in the morning to see how you're progressing.

It's always tough to plan the first trip ... the logistics are made more difficult when you really want to see a lot, you have a friend to meet, etc. If you want to visit a number of places, it is your 11 days to enjoy.

I find a good way to start is make a list of absolutely every place you want to visit and what you want to see & do there, then write the minimum # of days/nights next to each place. Then, prioritize - for example: #1 = Athens, #2 = Santorini, #3 = Paris, etc. Then make a blank grid of your 11 days, mark in your "knowns" - where/when you fly in to London and the day your classes begin as well as the day/time to meet your friend in Rome, then start (with a pencil) working on the in-between days. Once you see how quickly these days fill up, do the logistics - time/cost of transport between London-Athens-Rome-Nice-Paris-London (or wherever you figure out that you want to go). To work further on this, start looking at debahn.de and air search engines. That will help you find out that Athens-Salzburg is 35 hours.

Keep plugging away - you're going to have a fantastic time no matter where you go.
Chicago_Heather is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 10:51 PM
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Once again thanks for all the help. I think that I will be eliminating Greece from the trip because of the time constraints. My new modified plan is to fly to Venice on the 22nd, stay there through the 24th. Fly to Rome either the night of the 24th of the morning of the 25th. Spend the 25th, 26th, and 27th in Rome. Then fly to Paris and spend the 28th, 29th, 30th and 1st in Paris. Then fly back to London to begin the term. Does this sound like a trip with reasonable expectations?
galapas is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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I like your new itinerey. Would consider just taking the Eurostar train from Venice to Rome as I doubt if you will save much time or money flying. Would leave Venice on the 24th to give yourself alittle more time in Venice.
Are you taking some special summer school classes at Oxford? Unless things have changed the Oxbridge school year consists of three terms of about ten weeks each with the first term starting in September if my memory serves me. In any case it does sound like you will have a grand time of it for your first trip to Europe. Do post a trip report.
mjs is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 12:38 AM
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I currently attend SMU in Dallas, TX. The school term in Oxford is July 2, through August 6th. I think a train from Venice to Rome would be fine, I don't know why I wrote down plane ride. As far as other semantics go; how should I go about cash, phone options, the general cost of food, taxis (if they are needed to get to airports or tain stations), etc. Can I use my credit card over there, or are there atms, or do I need traveler's checks. Should I get a phone card in the U.S. or in Europe, or should I contact cingular and turn on the intl dialing option? My phone works internationally, and the rate is $1.29/minute in Western Europe. Also since I am doing most of this travel on plains or trains I figure that it would be best if I could do it all with just a backpack. I am still researching different websites, but how many sets of clothes seems reasonable to bring, and fit into one suitcase. I would assume that I can do laundry at any hostel that I stay at. Once again thanks for all the advice, I really appreciate it.
galapas is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 04:36 AM
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You need a book like Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door or Lonely Planet or Rough Guide series "First Time to Europe" that will give you a general overview and strategies to travel in Europe. Any of them will answer a lot of your detailed questions and help you think about what makes sense for your 11 days. Enjoy planning your trip!
laurie_ann is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Your new itinerary sounds great! For the rest I second the suggestion of getting yourself a decent guidebook. Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Let's Go, Rick Steves are all good ones.

Yes there are ATM's and they are generally considered the best way to get local currency. Yes a backpack, duffel bag or small rolling suitcase would be fine. 11 days is a relatively short trip you shouldn't need many clothes, really. For 11 days lets say 4 sets of clothes and 2 pair of shoes is plenty. Your new guidebook will give you a basic packing list or find one on the internet. Yes you can do laundry if you need to, although I'm not sure all hostels offer it, you can find a laundry matt somewhere. Yes you can use credit cards most places and certainly for major expenses. But you will want to have euro for daily spending, smaller shops or restaurants, public transportation. Some hostels may require cash payment.
suze is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 06:48 AM
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You don't need travelers checks, especially for such a short trip if you have cash, credit card and ATM card. I don't travel with a cell phone, so can't answer that one. I'd contact your own service provider with those questions. Yes you may take taxis, trains, or local public transportation from airports. These are set costs so you just need to figure out which you'll use after you arrive. Price of food daily varies widely by what and where you eat. You can go the grocery store route to save some money.
suze is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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If you decide you need a phone card, I believe it is better to buy them once you're there (from a tabac shop or the like) not in the U.S. ahead.
suze is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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<<I believe it is better to buy them once you're there (from a tabac shop or the like) not in the U.S. ahead.>>

While this might be "generally" true, others have reported here, more than once, that Costco phone cards offer as good a value as any alternative.

rex is offline  
Apr 27th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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What a reasonable schedule now. I would cut out Paris since you can easilly to weekend trips via the eurostar and go down to Naples, Pompeii,Herculeum and Capri while you are in Italy.
moxie is offline  

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