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2007 Possible Europe Vacation- Help Please

2007 Possible Europe Vacation- Help Please

Jan 6th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 167
2007 Possible Europe Vacation- Help Please

Hello everyone. You guys have been great help to us on a couple of other vacations so thought I would ask for help again. My wife and I are trying to determine our big vacation for 2007. Last fall we went to Europe for the 1st time (Paris & Belgium) so now that we've had the taste of Europe we are itching to go back. We are considering a smaller trip this year (4-6 full days (not including travel days)in one city with hopefully a longer trip in 2008. We are really leaning toward London even though the american dollar is weak against the pound. If you can give some advice on the following it would be appreciated as it would help us sort out a little more Europe vs. laying on the beach. Our passion right now is Europe but we don't want to spend the coin to go & be rushed around.

1) Is 4-6 full days enough time to have an enjoyable stop in London only? We are considering Sunday morning arrival with Friday departure. This would give us Mon-Thursday = 4 good rested days to see some of the city but would consider adding a day or two. We realize we can't see everything but it seems like if we just stayed in London this would give us some time to get a flavor for the city and see some of the bigger sights. If we like it, we could always go back on another trip, stay longer and venture to Bath, Stone Henge etc.

2) What would be a good location to stay in considering the tube and popular destinations?

3) We are considering late May / early June or sometime in Sept./ October- Is there a time that would be better?

4) A good hotel recommendation that is reasonably priced. All we're looking for is a private bath in our room, a clean place to stay and a good location. We don't need anything fancy like a Hilton.

5)What I have found this far is air is about $1,800 RT for both of us & I found a hotel called the Sumner that seemed to be a middle of the road price hotel for $1,400 for 5 nights ($280 per night). If I could find a place for $100-$200 a night that would be great but might not be very realistice for London? Is it realistic to think we could take a vacation like this for around $4,000?

6) Is there another city you would recommend? My wife and I are late 20s-early 30s but aren't really big into the party scene. Really enjoy seeing some of the major sights a city has to offer, being with the people to soak in the culture, doing some shopping, eating etc.

Thanks for the help! We appreciate it!
jbjayhawk is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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Here's so basic info to get you started and bump your post to the top.

4-6 days is possible especially as you're not counting travel days. Add an extra couple of days and you'd be able to easily fit in a daytrip or an overnight to Bath/Stonehenge if you wanted to.
Flight prices sound a little high to me as you're not travelling in peak season.... but I live on the East coast (where are you?).

Avoid the last week of May as this is a school vacation week in the UK (last Monday of the month is a holiday). There's another school vacation week in mid to late October.

September and June are both good (no guarantees with the weather but generally mild to warm and hopefully dry... or showers!)

$100 a night is very tough but $200 and up is more realistic.
highflyer is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Thanks for the help! We are located in KC so unfortunately, it's harder for us to find good deals on airfare. Good to know that we could have a nice visit in 4-6 days. We found a hotel recommendation for the Victoria Inn of London and the website looks good. Looks to be around 60-80 pounds per night (approx. $1,000 depending on how many nights). We generally budget about $100 for food per day when we travel - $20 for breakfast / $20 lunch and $60 for dinner. What would you recommend for London? Could someone explain more about the school vacation holiday? Does that mean things will be really crowded or things are closed for the holiday? Just asking because a window that works really well for us is May 26th- June3rd. Sounds like this might be a time to avoid? Thanks!
jbjayhawk is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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Hmmm... I have been to London many times for business and although it is a nice city, it would not be my first choice for a second visit. That being said, I should point out my reason. I prefer cities where the culture and language are completely different than my own (I am Canadian living in the USA).

A few of my favorite larger cities in Europe are Rome, Amsterdam, Budapest, Istanbul, Dubrovnik and Barcelona.

Enjoy your planning!
eurotraveller is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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I'd go to Amsterdam (but honestly with such a short trip personally I'd pick "laying on a beach" somewhere myself -lol).
suze is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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Your food budget of $100 per day will need to be per person unless you intend to eat light, cheap and alcohol free. This is where you'll feel the real expense of London compared to the US.
For example,
A sandwich from a grocery store would be $6, from a deli more like $8 (for cheese maybe more like $10-12 for meat or shrimp) plus a soft drink a few more dollars. A Starbucks latte (tall) is about $6.
As a very rough guide expect food costs to be at least double what you usually pay.
Indian or other ethnic food is generally cheaper. We like the Marsala Zone in SOHO for reasonable Indian food (around $25-30 per head for dinner without alcohol).

I don't know which hotel you referred to as several Victoria Inn's come up on Google. Last time I was in London I stayed at the Novotel, Waterloo and it's around $200 a night including buffet breakfast.
highflyer is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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You can see quite a bit in 4-6 full days. I prefer the Kensington area as it has a neighborhood feel. There are lots of quaint townhouses that have been converted into hotels. I stayed at the Thistle hotel in Kensington which was nice but very much like a Holiday Inn.

The price of everything in London is killer...especially for me (last time I was there 1 pound equalled 2.25 Canadian...ouch). A museum would be 10 to 15 pounds so you can see how quickly that would add up. A glass of wine...4-6 pounds...a light meal at a pub 10-15 pounds per person. I think there are ways to economize.

I prefer to travel in the Spring when the days are longer as the museums close quite early in the fall. The last tour to the Tower of London started at approximately 4pm.

That airfare seems rather high regardless of your location. I would search around as I'm sure you can get something better if you shop.

Paris is a wonderful city for a first trip to Europe. I loved London as well but it doesn't come close to the romance of Paris. I think your money will go a little further as well. I don't wish to deter you but it's just another suggested city where there is endless possibilities for a 4-6 day stay.

CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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After searching airfare, accommodations, etc., we're now considering 5-6 days in SW Ireland. Airfare out of KC to Shannon seems reasonable. Would really like to see Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, etc. Have read that Killarny is rather touristy but we're not too concerned about that. We do tend to be more outdoorsy and the scenery, coastline, lakes and mountains interest us. My wife also likes history, castles, art, etc.

What are your recommendations for 5-6 full days (not incl travel) in this area? Looking for possible itineraries and hotels. Hotel rate around $100 US would be ideal.
jbjayhawk is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 01:17 PM
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If you're not too fussy about exactly which hotel you stay in, why don't you buy your airfare separately and then bid for a hotel on Priceline? You can specify an area within London where you want to stay and a quality level (e.g. 2*, 3*, 4*). If I were you, I'd bid for at least a 3* and consider bidding for 4*. We got the Thistle Charing Cross a few years ago for about 50% of the going internet rate. (It's better to bid for a quality level that is a little higher than what you'd normally stay in. Since you can't choose your hotel in advance, bidding for a higher quality hotel reduces the risk that you'll be disappointed with what you get.)

I used to live in London, and I quite like the areas of Bloomsbury and the West End north of Oxford Street (e.g. Marylebone). You are within walking distance of a lot of attractions and close to a number of different tube lines, which makes it easy to get around.

London is a lot hotter than it used to be and air conditioning is not widely used (e.g. many hotels, restaurants and theatres don't have it; some and perhaps all of the Tube lines lack air conditioning). Late June could be quite hot, so late September or October might be better (and prices might be a little lower).
Kate_W is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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The school vacation just means that museums etc are full of kids - everything is still open.
papagena is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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My daughter and her husband were in London for their Honeymoon last August/September. Their bargain find was Base2Stay in London. The rooms were small but extremely clean, had kitchenette, private bathroom, and very reasonable price for London. I think in Kensington area. They really liked it.
elnap29 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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"A museum would be 10 to 15 pounds" Huh? Most of London's museums and galleries are free.

jbjayhawk: I see you are now thinking about Ireland. If you are still talking about a bit less than a week -I would definitely recommend London over Ireland. Reason being - the distances in Ireland may seem small - but the travel is very slow. In 4 or 5 days you will only see a small corner of Ireland. I would want 10 days to 2 weeks to have a leisurely Ireland visit.

Now - to address the "London is expensive" issue. Yes - it is expensive. But many people on here exaggerate about how bad it is. As already mentioned most of the museums and major galleries in London are free. You can get a decent lunch for low to moderate prices: picnics, museum cafes, Pret a manger sandwich shops, dim sum in China Town, and a LOT of other choices. Theatre has goen up but is still an AMAZING bargain through the TKTS 1/2 price ticket booth.

Either June or September would be great - the looooong daylight in June might get the slight edge for me, but sept weather can be wonderful.
janisj is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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I would recommend trafalger or contiki . they offer independent tours. This is different from the regualar tours because they allow you the ultimate freedom.. really the only thing the tour does for you is provide you transportation and accomadations at a really reasonable rate..
athornberry is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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I enjoy London but to be honest it wouldn't be my first choice for a vacation based on your interests. Not that it isn't great, but there are other cities that I think are better for soaking up the culture.

My husband and I are also in our 20's and have been to Europe about 10 times. Based on things you enjoy I would suggest somewhere in Italy, perhaps Rome. We aren't into the party scene or beach vacations either. Rome has so many great sights to see, its perfect for soaking in some Italian culture, and having a delicious Italian dinner with a good glass of wine in an outdoor restaurant is its own slice of heaven. There is also tons of great shopping, of course.

I personally would choose one city and stay there with a short amount of time. Ireland sounds lovely (and I'm visiting for the first time next month) but I think you would get more out of staying in one place.

As for the flight costs, I feel your pain. We now live in Charlotte, NC but moved here from St. Louis just a few months ago. The prices for flights from St. Louis were high enough that we usually drove the 4 hours to Chicago and flew from there because the savings were so great.

Good luck with whatever you decide!
tcreath is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 05:18 AM
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Thanks! Everyone makes really good points & is giving us a lot to think about. I'll look into Rome this morning but at this point if we do trek to Europe it is down to London & SW Ireland. We actually had an itinerary recommended for Ireland of:

Day 1: Arrive in Shannon
Day 2: Kilarny National Park
Day 3: Dingle Pen.
Day 4: Burren
Day 5: Cliffs of Moher & Shannon
Day 6: Fly home out of Shannon

Based on our interest of the outdoors it sounds like this could be an enjoyable trip? We also talked a little bit yesterday about just going to Amsterdam but (this may sound silly) feel if we're going to make that trip we should do it in April or early May when the tulips are in bloom but we can't make that trip this year. I guess this is a good problem to have...trying to decide where to vacation and all. Wherever we go, we realize that for 5 full days we'll just be getting a taste for the city / region & we'll have to go back if we like what we see.
jbjayhawk is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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With the pund really hurting I would suggest you look further North in UK. Prices tend to fall off and people work harder to get the tourist buck. Consider Scotland Ed or Glas. Or the Northern cities of Leeds or Manchester. I know it cuts down on the "what we did in our vacation chat" but these are worth while cities and the YHA has good quality hostels in each. Note a lot of hostels have private baths etc, it is worth reviewing the YHA web site. www.yha.co.uk it think.

If you are tired of London (etc) then look at Brussels or my favorite Amsterdam. The benefit of London is the culture is only a bit different from US well in Holland the language is the same but a lot of things change.

Now is 4 to 6 days enough to do London. No.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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Thanks for providing with so much background info, very helpful.

London seems to me a great choice for a short visit to an European city. To offset a bit how bad the dollar is doing vs. GPB, I would travel in the winter (February) and stayed near a tube station (which is true for about 99% of London!). The warmer weather trends should play in your favor.

I have stayed at the Victoria Inn (2002) and loved it; good budget hotel, nice Belgravia neighborhood.

I also read you are considering Shannon. In the event you need a contingency plan: what about Munich? Again, if budget travel is the critical factor you need to switch travel dates and consider winter travel.
Viajero2 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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I would do Amsterdam or London since you have only 4-6 days. Agreeing with others, I think you'd want a couple weeks to make it worthwhile going to Ireland.
suze is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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It looks like your not leaning towards London anymore but let me clarify. Yes there are some free museums or galleries...namely The British Museum, Natural History, Victoria Albert, Imperial War and National Maritime...and some other less noteworthy.

Many other attractions and sites are not free.

Kensington Palace 12 pounds
Tower of London 10 pounds
Westminister Abbey 10 pounds
London Eye 14.50 pounds
St Pauls 9 pounds
Windsor Castle 13.50 pounds

Just to name a few. I know that there is a London pass that you can buy that reduces the price of admission to some 50 attractions in the city.

No trip to London would be complete without an evening at the theatre which will set you back approx 100.00 per person.

I think with a 4000.00 budget for a 6 day trip it might be tight...you mentioned 1400.00 for hotels and if you could get airfare for let say 1600.00 (maybe less)....that would only leave you 1000.00 for spending money which would only be about 100.00 for food, transportation and attractions. I think that might be tight unless you can do better on the hotel or airfare.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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Just to throw something else into the mix, have you considered Lisbon?

It's a small city, very affordable, with options for outdoorsy daytrips.

I haven't been there so I'm not speaking from personal experience, but it is on my list of "Must See" places for the future. From what I've read, it would make a perfect short getaway.
Apres_Londee is offline  

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