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18 day trip to Europe - Need help with itinerary!

18 day trip to Europe - Need help with itinerary!

Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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18 day trip to Europe - Need help with itinerary!

Just found this website and it is awesome! I am planning a trip to Europe with family (two kids - 6 and 2 and my parents) at the end of June next year and here are areas we want to cover for sure:

- London since we have family there and want to visit a few popular places. Want to go to Wimbledon for a day (one reason for picking end of June). We will fly in and out of London
- Zurich - Our goal is to enjoy the scenery of Switzerland - looking for a good train option with a transparent cabin. Spend a day at most in Zurich or surrounding areas
- Paris - visit Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and other popular sites
- Venice
- Rome (this is the one I am concerned given the distance from the above cities and the limited time we have for this trip, but love to visit)

We love trains and hate flying.

Am I biting more than I can chew here? Please share your thoughts and suggestions.
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:29 AM
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Hard to say if you are biting off too much, how many days are you planning?

Budget?
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:33 AM
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18 days (if it includes your travel time) only nets you 15.5 day 'on the ground'. Then every time you move destinations you lose another .5 to 1 full day so w/ 5 cities you are down to max 13.5 days free to see/do.

Then you arrival day is usually mostly jet lag and acclimating so really 13 days. You want to do too much and travel too far for such a short trip.

Plus London is HUGE and there is a ton to see/do so arriving an getting over the jet lag means you'll want at least 5 or 6 days there. Same w/ Paris.

You could pick three cities London/Paris/Rome or Lnion/Paris/Venice and have about 5 days each. Maybe 5.5 days London, 5.5 days Paris and 3.5 days Venice
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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>>how many days are you planning?)
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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We love trains and hate flying>

Well as a denizen of European trains now for decades I can attest to how great the train system is - especially in Switzerland where trains can take you even some places cars can't go.

to enjoy the scenery of the Swiss picture no doubt etched in your minds' eyes eschew Zurich, a large modern though interesting city and head for the hills - the Alps really and to me and many others the essence of Switzerland in a nutshell is the fabulous Jungfrau Region around Switzerland - it is about 5 hours tops by train from Paris (via Bern) - spend a few days there - kids of all ages will love the panoply of thrilling mountain train rides, aerial cable ways, etc - take the train up to the Jungfruajoch for a train with 'transparent cabins' - or cars.

Fly into London - then take the Eurostar train under the Channel Rail Tunnel to Paris

Paris to Interaken

Interlaken to Venice - your longest train ride - I'd sugest going first class with kids that age for a long ride - lots more roomy seats and often IME many more empty seats to spread out on

don't miss a public boat ride down the Grand' Canale at night - to me the most surrealistically sublime thing to do in Europe

Move on to Rome by train

fly out of Rome

Some will say this is too hurried for 18 days - see if you can wrangle a few more days in - otherwise you have:

London - 4 days
Paris - 3 days
Interlaken - 3 days
Venice - 3 days
Rome - 5 days

Figure you need a half a day to travel between locations (all day to Venice)

For lots of great info on European trains check out these IMO fantastic sources - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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The Fodors smiley gremlin caught my first post. should be >>London/Paris/Rome or London/Paris/Venice
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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The thread title would seem to indicate 18 days

D'oh!
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:38 AM
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18 days and budget wise probably around 2,500 USD/person not including the flight to/from London. We are City dwellers and probably won't steer off from big hotel chains, if that helps.
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:39 AM
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PQ's >>London - 4 days
Paris - 3 days
Interlaken - 3 days
Venice - 3 days
Rome - 5 days
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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Big hotel chains will require two rooms. If you're trying to get everyone in one place, rent apartments.

And you CANNOT move the kids that da-n much. Not at that age. On a daily basis, you will be able to see and do about 3/5 of what you could do without the hobbits.

And you cannot do a London to Zurich train trip in one shot without a lot of hassle when you're with the halflings. Note also that you need to discuss sleeping arrangements with your progenitors - there's a point at which sleeping on the train will be uncomfortable for the oldies.

As an aside, I think PalQ has a macro for this: >
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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$2500 per person for 18 days (or 15.5 days - whichever you are talking about) is a semi-low budget. Approx $135 a day. Certainly doable for the little ones (so the adults can usurp some of their $$ )

But for adults count on a minimum of $50 per person for a low-ish end hotel and double that isn't a splurge. If you want big city chains - you'd spend you whole budget just on accommodations . . . Unless you have points that will get you free rooms.

Food, transport (all those train trips will really add up) sightseeing and you are well over $135 a day.

Cut back on destinations, stay longer in each city, and rent apartments to save on both accommodations and on food.
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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i like PalenQ's routing, but agree that trying to fit all those places into 18 days [does that mean 19 nights? have you allowed for arrival and leaving days?] is going to be quite tight. also, the time taken to move people around seems to increase exponentially, every time you add another person to your group, and it gets worse when one or more is very young or quite old. 6 people covering 3 generations is going to take a lot of organisation.

i think that Rome is the outlier in this itinerary, and at a pinch I think you could cover 4 places, thus:

Day 1 - arrive london. Check in, try to recover from jetlag. I'm assuming you're from N America]
Day 2-4 - explore London.
Day 5 - eurostar train to Paris. stay 4 nights - gives you 3 days.
Day 9 - train to Interlaken/Wengen Stay 5 nights
Day 14 - train to Venice. stay 4 nights.
Day 18 - fly home.

this gives you long enough in each place to get a real feel for it, and probably to see the major sights, though in London and Paris it's going to be tight. Add any extra nights to these cities, London for preference, as the centre is very big and you might still be suffering from jetlag on Day 2.

Why not Rome? because your kids will enjoy it so much more in a few years time, and it needs longer than you've got, especially if it's the last stop on a 5 place itinerary.
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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no it's 18 including travel - yes which really means 2 days in Venice - more than enough for the average traveler and 2.5 days in Interlaken area and 2.5 days in Paris (would put another day there) - 2 days in Interlaken
4 days in Rome

including transportation - that is possible if folks like to travel -= I guess if I had two tykes that age I would go slower but I was just outlining something the COULD work for the OP - it can be done in 18 dys but like I said try to add a few more days - where 18 - why not 21 if you really want to do all that.
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 12:30 PM
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>>no it's 18 including travel
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Old Oct 17th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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I guess, just because you "can" doesn't equate to you "should". Just a thought.
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 05:52 AM
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the "can" is subjective and peoples' travel style varies - the 'should' is also subjective. Like I said I'd try to add a few days into say Paris and maybe one into Interlaken area where there is so so much to do.
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 10:43 AM
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With 6 people including two small kids doing 4 places will be too much - esp since you have family in London and won't want to skimp there. This is a time when less is more. I would be tempted to do just London and Paris - but if you really want to dip into Switz - then fly into London and out of Zurich. It won't cost any more (check out prices for multi-destination flights). But don;t spend any time in Zurich, which is really just a business city.

I would stay in Lucerne, which has a lot to do in the town and is the center for several boat rides and tram/cable car rides to cute mountain villages and nearby mountain tops. (Not the highest but more likely to be available - since clouds are usually above them (Jungfrau, etc tops are often IN the clouds and you see nothing). the train from there to Zurich airport is only about an hour - so you can head there the morning of your flight unless it is super early.
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 11:02 AM
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OP, I saw that you initially wanted to fly in to and out of London, but pls note that everyone is suggesting an open jaw flight...In to one city and out of another! I made the mistake of booking RT to/from Madrid a few yrs ago, and wish I had come here first!
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 11:45 AM
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>>Want to go to Wimbledon for a day (one reason for picking end of June).
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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Recognise that you can't just show up on the spur of the moment to the greatest tennis event in the world and get in.>>

well you can, if you're prepared to queue up overnight.

if you are serious about getting tickets, here's the link to the public ballot:

http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/ticke...562669724.html

if you scroll down, you will see how to apply on-line if you are applying from outside the UK - online applications start on nov 1st.
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