12-14 day Europe vacation

Apr 22nd, 2015, 06:22 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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12-14 day Europe vacation

We need help in planning our trip, gift to our graduating senior daughter. We are a family of 3, never been to Europe. Does anyone know where to book the trip for at least. 2 weeks that will start in Los Angeles . We are thinking of just doing 2-3 cities maybe Rome,Italy and Paris because of our budget. Please can anyone give us suggestions and thank you
danaprincess is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 11:56 PM
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Big question, I think we may be better at more of a detailed question as your's is a bit like "I've heard of North America, how can we see it?"

2 weeks is about right for these 2 or 3 middle sized cities, I guess with jet lag and travel in between it works out at 4 days each which would be nice, any more and you will know more about European transport systems than Europe

I'm not sure what you mean by "We are thinking of just doing 2-3 cities maybe Rome,Italy and Paris because of our budget"
If you had more money don't be fooled into visiting more cities, movement eats up holiday time and spends more money.

So, 3 people, when do you want to travel, month and year?
Do you have any food issues or language skills? (with the two cities selected so far English will do, you just need a few extra words so as not to be rude to your hosts).

I guess there may be tours from LA, but all you do is catch a flight stay in hotels, use trains. It is all very easy and, if you come up with an itin. we can help you with all the details. I would have a read through a few visit reports (the ones with a satchel in the title) on Rome and Paris, might give you an idea how easy it is.

Now the third city is...?
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 12:34 AM
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If you can do it, try to fly inbound to Paris and outbound (back to LA) from Rome. In between cities you can fly a low cost carrier like Easyjet.

Your third city could also possibly be in Italy for example you could fly from Paris to Venice, stay there a few days, make a connection to Rome and then take your home-bound flight.

Presume since this is a graduation gift, that you'll travel in June or July? They are very busy months in both countries. Use booking.com or venere.com to search for hotels in your budget and take it from there.
Blueeyedcod is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 10:53 AM
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You will get better information by posting an actual budget in terms of what you're willing to pay for lodging each night.

When are you trying to go? 2015 or 2016? Do you have passports (US passport cards used in the Caribbean ports are not valid for Europe)?

There isn't a trip that starts from LA - even if you're thinking of a tour (which is not a good idea - most tours cater to oldies, those that are in your girl's age range are not in yours). The tours start in your arrival city.
BigRuss is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 11:22 AM
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First, congrats on your daughter's graduation, and what a great gift!

I have the same questions as everyone else, starting with the when: 2015/2016; month. Because this is the sort of trip, especially if it's summertime travel, that if you've never been, you should have sorted out months ago.

I'd first start off with daughter's wish list on the "where". First, second, and third choice. Not everyone is like me, but I had been planning my Europe trip when I was 10 years old. By the time I was 19 and able to have saved up, my 2 stand-outs were London and Paris, followed by Rome.

Starting in L.A. (where I live), I've learned over the years that the least expensive flights are between LA & London. So if budget is an issue, and London is high on the list, that's where I'd go. Another great thing about London is that it helps transition foreign travel. Because you're going to a foreign country, but they speak the same language (with a few quirks).

Also, are you planning to do this yourself -- independent travel -- or are you thinking about a tour or getting a travel agent involved?
Surfergirl is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 04:46 PM
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The actual number of days - 14 or 17 or ? will make a difference. And some idea of the budget will help - total including airfare if you want or just lodging budget if you prefer - but it needs to be a specific amount per night - not "won't break the bank" which could mean anything.

Next you and your daughter need to do some reading of guide books and tour brochures (the latter not for specific itinerary but for pix) so you can each decide on 2 or 3 absolute must sees. Then you can weave those into a trip that will fit in your schedule with the help of people here.

And yes, if you are looking at this summer it;s still possible but you may find that a lot of places are full and hotels you might want are fully booked.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 08:37 PM
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Thank you everyone for responding to my inquiry and sorry that I did not have much information included. We are planning to travel this june of 2015. Our budget is somewhere 8-9,000 including air,hotel ,transportation and food.
London day 1,2,3
Paris day 4,5.6,7
Venice day 8,9
Florence day 10,11
Rome day day 12,13,14,15
We can cut Venice and Florence from the list and maybe add those 2 days more for Paris and 2 more days for Rome.
We borrowed books from library and we have been reading and learning common words. Thanks for all the suggestions, we will look into websites that you all suggested. Thank you
danaprincess is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 10:57 PM
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The common words you need are all about saying hello, goodbye, thanks and ordering. In France and Italy (less so in UK) you'll find that it is proper to say hello to a shop of people (sort of) and certainly do business after saying hello rather than instead of. So get get those "scuzi, ciao, prego" off pat and you'll get smiles and more to the point service.

June is a good time, not yet too busy but a little worrying as so close. Note that you'll lose a fair bit of day 1 from jet lag (maybe more) so don't go to bed keep outside in the sun and walk about, don't sit on a bus or watch a film.

My slight worry is that you are thinking in days and no clarity on travel days, on each of these movements you'll kill at least 1/2 a day moving if not more. So I really would take one city out (you've gone from 2/3 to 5!)

I cannot cut the city for you, I can only tell you which I would cut. So unless you really want to see the source of the renaisance (probably the pivitol point of western civilisation) then I'd cut Florence. Give one day to Venice and one day to London. Just a point but London is far bigger than Paris and Rome combined so giving it so little time makes little sense, still, your choice it is an expensive city for rooms. While we discuss London look at the threads here about "2 for 1 deals", even though most museums are free in London this deal takes the sting out of other sites.

If money is an issue then cut Venice. Right now if you need to keep costs down start looking for a B&B in Venice for good prices, if the room is just a short distance away from the main tourist points and up 4 flights of stairs you can get a great deal. London is the second cost issue for rooms, I'd look at the YHA hostel organisation (as British as it gets and multiple places in Central london) there should still be double rooms available for good prices. If not available check out Premier Travel Inn which offers good value commercial rooms and is a good safe UK based chain.

The train to Paris needs to be booked soon as well to get any remaining good prices.

Chop chop, time is passing, June is almost on us.
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 11:06 PM
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Finally a few points about cost reduction.
1) Getting to Venice from the airport can be done by water Taxi speeding over the waters as the sun rises.... costs a bomb but, maybe a life time's experience. Or catch the bus
2) Getting into London, take the Tube, just not the Heathrow Express
3) Pack light and wash clothes, moving is so mch easier if you have only a little stuff
4) In France/Italy eat your main meal M-F at lunch. There are normally meals of the day at E13/14 three course with wine
5) Fizzy drinks are expensive in France and Italy, branded drinks more so, you'll find jug wine and local beer as good as or better than bottled or "imported" beer. Tap water is acceptable to drink, helps save the planet and "potable" water is available at street fountains.
6) London has so much free stuff, look out TimeOut website and there are church concerts, talks, etc all the time. Similar in Venice for example

Your Budget is roughly doable but you will need to sensible and with a good plan you'll have great time.

There is a great London thread running at the moment which will help "Trip Report Welltravbrit's London Sojourn - An Ongoing Trip Report"
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 02:03 AM
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check with tripadvisor.com for lodging. go to their VACATION RENTALS so many wonderful apartments and condos to rent. much cheaper than hotels and you have a real place to stay. usually great kitchen for breakfast and snack. most have wifi.
toledodd is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 03:01 AM
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June of this year!! WhY have you waited so late to plan. I would guess your air fare is going to eat up over half of your budget at this point. You might think of going at a different time when it can be worked into the family schedule--or at least don't be wedded to June if an August departure is cheaper. Start shopping (not reserving) for those fares NOW--this minute). Then decide what you can do.
If you are indeed going to London (expensive) and Rome, then look for an open jaw and check that cost.
Bilbo has given a lot of good ideas.
Adding those places may increase your cost--and you MUST count in travel time--a day and a half in Florence may not be worth the trouble (and I, for one would cut a day off of Venice and add to Florence as an example of personal tastes).
In the final analysis of your trip, your budget may not support the number of days with planning so late.
I would also shop for hotels rather than apartments--there is help at the desk for people unfamiliar with the city and an easier in and out than an apartment.
Some VRBOs are not legal now (Paris).
Gretchen is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 06:29 AM
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Dana, look into flights first, both from the US and European flights and trains between your destinations. It's a busy time, as Gretchen says, the tickets will use up much of your budget.

If you do find reasonable tickets, plan your trip around nights, not days. 3 nights in London gives you 2 days for sightseeing.
Tulips is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 12:20 PM
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I find the budget for 3 people and 2 weeks---with air from LA in June--- to be lacking. Start with the air--I suspect that may be half of your budget right there.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 02:52 PM
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Budget wont work unless you go for hostels. That is because economy air fare right now from LAX to LHR; then FCO to LAX will cost a minimum of $1,600 per person (i.e. $4,800). So at the $9k figure, that leaves you with $4,200 for 15 days, everything other than airfare. Or $280 each day for the 3 of you, not even getting to Paris or to Rome. Keep in mind it will help if your daughter has a student card, since she can get discounts on travel, transport, and sightseeing.

About $60 pp on the Eurostar London to Paris. Another $50 per person from Paris to Rome. Check the website below for more details.


So that will be at least another $330 for those trips.

While there are a number of inexpensive hotel options, the longer you wait, the bigger the challenge.

As for food, that's easy, between street food for lunch, a stop at the local bakery for breakfast, and an inexpensive bistro, pizza joint, creperie, or pub for an evening meal. I'd recommend getting Let's Go Europe. It caters to the young, college crowd who are keen to travel, explore, but are on a very limited budget. I've been using this guide (originally started by a Harvard student for college students) since 1972 and, remaining young (at heart), I still find it very useful for sniffing out good places to visit, hang out, and eat.
Surfergirl is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 11:37 AM
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First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all mothers. OK so finally our trip will be shortened to 9 days because of our budget and also for planning late. We want to push this through because it is a promise to our daughter. We need advice where to go since we are now short of time. Below are our air/hotel accommodations. The travel we are going to have does not include tour at all. We need advice to go places that is close to the hotel we are staying and what is the best transportation to and from the hotels.
Here is our iterinaries
Day 1-3 Arrive in London Heathrow Sunday at 1220 pm
Staying in Holiday Inn Camden Lock in Jamestown.
Any suggestions where to go?
Day 4-6 leaving London at 0900. Arrive in Paris Orly 1115 am
Staying in Oceana Paris Porte de Versailles
Day 7-9 leaving Paris at 645 am, arrive in Rome at 0845 am
Staying in Windrose Rome Holel
danaprincess is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 11:53 AM
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If you are down to 9 days choose one or two cities. That will cut some costs, but also make it a better trip because you will spend less time in transit.

Have you already purchased these tickets? Have you paid for the hotels? If not, you can still make this a better, less expensive trip. If you have purchased the tickets and hotels, then you'll need to go with what you have.

As to where to go - choose the places that interest you. Have you looked at any guidebooks yet? That is really the first step. You have very little time in each city. Choose one major attraction in each city, and build your plans around that. In London, if you have any interest in history, I consider the Tower of London to be a must-visit. Many London Museums, including the British Museum, have free admission.
Kathie is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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Any reason you chose those particular hotels . . . and can they be canceled/changed. Neither the HI in London nor especially the Oceana in Paris are very well located for such short visits.

You really have just 2 days in London (you won't likely get to your hotel until well after 3PM or as late a 4:00 on Sunday and you'll be jet lagged)

And why are you flying to Paris? The train would be much more convenient and faster. Which airport are you flying out of? If it is a 9AM flight you'll likely have to leave the hotel by 5AM. That is nutty. You could take a train leaving at 8 or 9AM and get to central Paris between 11AM and noon.

And your flight out of Paris at 06:45 -- just crazy -- you are staying a long way from the airport.

Before we can help too awful much we need to know which arrangements are set in stone and which aren't.
janisj is online now  
May 10th, 2015, 01:10 PM
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Oh, my.
Train to Paris as suggested, not fly.
Why have you decided your budget isn't enough for at least 10 days.
If your air fare could be had for $3000, then you have $6000 left. 10 days--$600/day. Personally I think this is doable.
don't quibble about the air fare or such yet--but try to break the trip down.
You can stay in the MIDDLE of Paris at an Ibis hotel for $100/night/room.
It is necessary to shop hard--and get to know what you want.
Gretchen is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 01:11 PM
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You really might also think about letting Rome go (or London) and really have a great trip totally enjoying your trip and the cities and their life.
Gretchen is offline  
May 10th, 2015, 02:49 PM
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Unfortunately we purchased these vacation packages via a website and they are a package deal we decided to purchase because we were running out of time and it seems like every day prices go up. All the hotels are non refundable so we are stuck with what we have, we just have to make the most of it. No tour included as well. Thank you everyone , lots of advise are very much appreciated
danaprincess is offline  

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