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15 Day Europe Trip - Mix of rail and car.. Cost ineffective?

15 Day Europe Trip - Mix of rail and car.. Cost ineffective?

Dec 11th, 2013, 12:42 PM
  #1  
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15 Day Europe Trip - Mix of rail and car.. Cost ineffective?

Hi all! Next year in January, we will be going to Europe for a 15 day trip. We have made some plans, but transport costs are adding up, partly due to our insistence to drive on a select part of the journey. Maybe someone could vet this and let us know if it's wise not to get any rail passes, and to carry on with this itinerary?

We will arrive in Zurich and spend 3 nights in Interlaken. We will be getting the 2-day flexi pass to save on the trip up to Jungfraujoch.
It will cost us around 124 Euros for the pass, and 137 Euros for the trip up to Jungfraujoch.

On the morning of the 4th day, we will move up to Munich by rail and spend 3 nights there. The trip to Munich will cost us 25 Euros.
We intend to get the Lander ticket for a day trip to Neuschwenstein castle. Another 25 Euros each.

On the 6th night in Europe, we will take a overnight bus to Vienna, arriving at 0600 for a day of sightseeing. This will cost 36 Euros.

At the end of the day, we will depart for Prague by bus at 2240. We will reach at 0330. This will cost us 12 Euros each.
We will spend 2 nights in Prague.

Following that, We will depart for Nuremberg in the morning at 0700 by bus, and arrive at 1030.

We will spend a night in Nuremberg.
Here is where we will get rent a car for 158 Euros (a person) for the duration of 6 days.
During this 6 days, we will be spending time in Stuttgart and Bruges.

On the last day from Ghent, we will drive to Cologne in the morning before taking a flight to Zurich (53 Euros) where we will depart Europe.

Here's a summary:

Day 1-3 Switzerland
Day 4-6 Munich
Day 7 Vienna
Day 8-9 Prague
Day 10 Nuremberg
Day 11-12 Stuttgart
Day 13 Mainz
Day 14 Brugges
Day 15 Ghent
Day 16 Drive to Cologne for flight to Zurich

What do you guys think in terms of the cost? We might consider taking out Vienna altogether.

Thanks!
dbsbank is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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>>Here is where we will get rent a car for 158 Euros (a person) <<

So this must be a car 'tour'? Otherwise cars are priced per vehicle, not per person. Or are you simply dividing it up for 'bookkeeping' purposes.

FYI - a 7-day car rental will often cost less than 6 days because you get a weekly discount.

BUT -- do you really want to be driving around this part of Europe in the dead of winter? Weather can put a serious damper on things.
janisj is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 01:00 PM
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You've done your research and have found pretty much the most economical fares for your trip. It probably goes without saying that the main thing driving up transportation costs is the ambitious itinerary where you're traveling long legs (220km/125mi) each day or every other day. I'm not sure the purpose of the car rental, since you're not giving yourself enough time to leisurely explore the countryside.
oedipamaas is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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I don't understand the car, either. Dead of winter is going to slow you down, and zooming around to all those one-night stays seems rather crazed. I can't see how you're going to have time to see a thing.

Have you researched the cost of fuel and tolls? And thought about an open-jaw ticket? There's no apparent need to go back to Zürich just to fly home.
StCirq is online now  
Dec 11th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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Have you ever done a night bus trip, then toured the next day as you plan to do in Vienna? It will be absolutely exhausting. Then you plan to do it again the next night?

What do you plan to do with luggage during the day in Vienna and when you arrive in Prague in the wee hours of the morning? Hope you have located storage because you surely would not want to tote it around all day? What are you going to do in Prague from 3:30 in the morning until things open up for the day, or are you checking into a hotel then?

Also, you say you are spending 3 nights in Interlaken and 3 nights in Munich, then on the 6th night take a bus to Vienna. Not possible to spend the 6th night in Munich and also on the road to Prague. That is a mistake somehow because it would be the 7th night, so re-check your schedule.

Your trip starts off pretty good, then kind of deteriorates and becomes unworkable, IMHO.

Winter: short days, unpredictable weather. I would not drive, especially to Bruges and that area. Trains are easy there.
Sassafrass is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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"We intend to get the Lander ticket for a day trip to Neuschwenstein castle. Another 25 Euros each."

Do you mean 25 euro each person? Lander tickets can cover up to 5 people for a nominal additional cost per person.

And like others, I am not sure about the car - you have a short time frame and everywhere on your itinerary is easily accessed by train. You don't have time for sightseeing en route.
november_moon is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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I do know where you looked for car prices, but on the www.autoeurope.com web site, a Hyndai I10 (admittedly a very small car) rents for $176 for the period you state at the "basic" rate, which means that your Visa card carries the CDW.
Michael is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 03:08 PM
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Those consecutive overnight buses to Vienna and Prague are going to wipe you out and diminish your enjoyment of those two cities..penny wise, pound foolish.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Where did you find a price of €124 for the 2-day Flexipass? I see much higher prices. You should consider a Half-Fare Card, which gives a better discounting the Jungfrau trip, bringing it down to around 99CHf for the return trip from Interlaken.
enzian is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 04:01 PM
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All the changes from place to place will make for considerable transportation costs. Although it is tempting to try and see as much as possible you really don't have enough time in most of your itinerary to enjoy the places you wish to see. For 15 days of travel, I would try to cut your stops to your top 3 or 4 as traveling between each place eats up most of a day. I would stay longer in Switzerland to start as you will need at least a day to recover from jet lag.
KTtravel is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 04:11 PM
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Whoa thanks everyone for your advice. Your comments are greatly appreciated!

@janisj Yes, I divided up the rental costs to better account for our expenses.

@oedipamaas Unfortunatelt, we would have to work around Zurich for this trip.

@Sassafrass: You are right. To think of it, it would be ambitious for us to do Vienna in a day, even if we had included it knowing that all we wanted to do is to just get a feel of this place. We initially planned to take the overnight bus from Munich to Vienna that departs at 11pm, so we get to save on accommodation for that night.

@november_moon Thanks for pointing that out! The main reason why we wanted to drive is because we thought that it would provide some flexibility as to when we want to move out, without the rigidity of train schedules. We will be visiting places like Merzingen outlets and the Ritter Sport Museum in Stutgatt, which are a little out of the city center. We thought that making stops at spots along the River Rhine in a car would be more convenient. Plus we wouldn't have to lug our backpacks switching between trains. Hmm.. Your comment on weather conditions gave us some food for thought..

@Michael I divided the cost of rental between us.

@HappyTrvlr Actually we are overnighting only once on a bus.. But yes, we're scrapping Vienna off our plans
dbsbank is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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My comments were strictly re the cost and whether driving in winter is a good idea or not.

But IMO your whole plan needs serious re-thinking. Even dropping Vienna, you want to visit 12 or 13 places in 16 days which allows NO time to see/do anything in most of them. You must allow for travel time. One night in a city leaves you a few hours free there. Two nights nest you 1 days and maybe a few hours.

A car will be totally useless in most of those cities - it won't be more convenient at all. And you haven't left enough time for any stops along the way.

Driving in winter can be a real issue.

Take trains -- and cut a few cities . . .
janisj is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 08:42 PM
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I divided the cost of rental between us.

Thus almost twice the cost that I am giving.
Michael is offline  
Dec 11th, 2013, 10:30 PM
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How many people is "we"?

Any more than four and it's generally more cost effective to drive.
sparkchaser is offline  
Dec 12th, 2013, 03:35 AM
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The above is obviously the number of nights in each city. The number of full days is always one less than the number of nights. This means that all of the one-night stays give you only a few hours to spend at the destination. You'll see a lot more of boring trains stations or autostrade than of charming cities.

The main thing that's driving up your costs is the amount of ground you're trying to cover; Bruges is over 1200 km from Prague. I would drop EITHER Prague and Vienna OR Bruges and Ghent. That way, you'd have a more compact area, with more time in each place.

For an estimate of driving time, as well as tolls and fuel costs, www.viamichelin.com is a good resource. You have to also add parking costs and the cost (and time) for local transportation, because in most European cities, it's either not possible or not reasonable to park the car in the city center. I would agree that you probably shouldn't drive on any part of this trip. On most routes, the train would be both cheaper and faster, and you really don't have time for the local stopovers you're considering.

If you keep Belgium in your itinerary, you could save some time and money by flying home from Brussels rather than Cologne.
bvlenci is offline  
Dec 12th, 2013, 07:06 AM
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On the morning of the 4th day, we will move up to Munich by rail and spend 3 nights there. The trip to Munich will cost us 25 Euros.>

From Interlaken to Munich for 25 euros - not possible I think
on trains at least - cheapest discounted ticket is 39 euros p.p. on a very few trains - 49 euros in practice the cheapest and that is for Zurich to Munich - Interlaken to Zurich may cost about as much.

You cannot use the Bavarian Lander ticket to go from Interlaken or Switzerland to Munich - it is only valid after the German border around Lindau - you could buy an Interlaken to Lindau ticket then get off the direct Zurich to Munich train, buy the Lander Card and then only be able to take regional trains to Munich - meaning an all-day trip instead of 4 hours (Zurich to Munich).

all-night bus ride could mean an all-day sleepover as you may arrive exhausted if you cannot sleep in a crowded bus - overnight buses are much less nice than overnight trains IME.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 02:49 PM
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there is a new just to start Munich to Zurich bus service that is very cheap - saw on another thread.
PalenQ is offline  
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