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2007 Possible Europe Vacation- Help Please

2007 Possible Europe Vacation- Help Please

Jan 7th, 2007, 12:38 PM
  #21  
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No we haven't considered Lisbon but that might be something to look into. It sounds like London & Amsterdam get the nod for the length of trip we are considering. Amsterdam really peaked our interest but as prev. mentioned we thought it might be better to take this trip in April / early May? Maybe the tulips would still be in bloom in late May early June? I appreciate all the info.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 12:55 PM
  #22  
 
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Nope that's too late for tulips. But I had a fantastic time with 5 days in Amsterdam, no tulips needed
suze is online now  
Jan 7th, 2007, 01:04 PM
  #23  
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Suze- can you share more about your trip? Where did you stay, what did you do? What time of year did you visit etc? Thanks!
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Jan 7th, 2007, 01:20 PM
  #24  
 
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CRAZY4TRAVEL: Yes - those places do have entry fees. But you posted "A museum would be 10 to 15 pounds" yet none of those sites you just listed are museums.

Museums/galleries that are free include the British Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, British Library, V&A, Natural History, Science, Imperial War, Geoffrye, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Museum of London, Wallace Collection and more . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jan 7th, 2007, 01:29 PM
  #25  
 
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Sure, happy to. I was there in July a few years ago. I stayed 5 days solo, just picked it out of the blue, to see a new city, and have a place to get over my jet lag before heading down to Switzerland for 2 more weeks with friend living there.

I stayed at Hotel Kap, a 3-star place out by canal rings and Leidseplein area. I arrived and departed from the airport using Connexxion hotel shuttle bus service.

Mostly I just wandered around... Went to Vondelpark one sunny day, saw the floating flower markets. Into the central area another for RLD, the Dam, erotic museum another long walk. I am not much of an art museum or history buff myself, although certainly there are many of that kind of things available in the city. One rainy day I took a LONG walk out to the Tropenmuseum which is a funky place showing about history of Dutch territories.

Honestly, Amsterdam is not my favorite city. I recommend it often because I think it is extremely interesting for many reasons, 5 days is enough to get a feel for it, it is incredibly easy logistically (getting around, enough people speaking English, casual food options, etc.). And it is totally different from any place I'd been before.
suze is online now  
Jan 7th, 2007, 01:31 PM
  #26  
 
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That's why I posted a clarification....thanks for pointing that out...both times.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 01:51 PM
  #27  
 
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I guess I was just trying to clarify some more since "some free museums or galleries... . . . ...and some other less noteworthy." made it sound like there are just a few free biggies and the rest are not of much interest. I usually can be in London a week or more and only pay to get inside 2 or 3 sites (not counting theatre of course)
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Jan 7th, 2007, 01:58 PM
  #28  
 
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I second the Rome suggestion. My husband and I are your age and we loved Rome. We live in Missouri as well and we got good fares for Rome with only one stop. Haven't been to Ireland but have been to London. It was okay but wouldn't run back there anytime soon. It's really expensive!
Enjoy your trip,
Amy
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Jan 7th, 2007, 01:59 PM
  #29  
 
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Again..thank you for helping me to clarify my point but I think he is leaning towards another destination so we might as well move on.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 02:29 PM
  #30  
 
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I recommend Prague. I believe you can find airline tickets from KC for $800 or less per person round trip. I've heard Prague is the second most popular destination in Europe after Paris. It is breathtaking.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 02:56 PM
  #31  
CecilBD
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We do London almost every year, and we have found that it is easiest if you find something around the British Museum, Covent Garden, or Russell Square, because you can limit the time you need to get on/off the "tube" and you can walk to almost everywhere. We usually do the museum and/or Tate Museum one day, Covent Garden followed by dinner in one of the excellent ethnic restaurants nearby, cathredals, concerts and good shopping all within walking distance.
 
Jan 7th, 2007, 04:13 PM
  #32  
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Crazy, actually we haven't moved off London 100% yet. Really the only negative aspect we can find about London is the expense which I've heard is both really bad and not as bad as some would make it seem. For this trip, we have a total budget of around $4000. If we can get air & hotel for $3,000 or less that leaves $1,000 for food, sites etc. For our budget & the time frame (4-6 full days not including travel) Europe might not be a good vacation option as much as we would love to go back this year. Amsterdam is something I'm going to look into a lot more. Rome is a great suggestion but when I looked into Rome this morning airfare was $1,500 per person out of Chicago and more out of KC. The best air & accommodations we've been able to find is to Ireland (we would both love to go there)but the consensus is we would need a minimum of 10 days to really enjoy the trip. Haven't thought about Prague which might be a good option but is it too large of a city to tackle in our time frame? Sorry to be all over the board. The dilema is that we would both desp. like to return to Europe this year but it would really help us to stay within our budget and # of days alloted for this trip. London has appeal because it def. sounds like 4-6 days would be enough time to see some of the major sites and just wander around & enjoy the city some. We just need to decide to go to Europe or not go, pick a destination, plan it and make the best of our time there. Thanks again!
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Jan 7th, 2007, 04:32 PM
  #33  
 
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jbjayhawk: Two benefits of London - budget-wise - are the usually lower airfares, and Priceline which is brilliant for London. PL is not so good for Paris and some other cities, but in London they really do get you some amazing bargains. Honest to goodness 4 star full-service hotels in the center of town for less than $100 a night.

So even though some aspects of London are very expensive - when you get a good airfare, get a great hotel for $80-$90, and the other little economies like pret an Manger, free museums, etc - you can comfortably do London w/i your budget.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 06:22 PM
  #34  
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janisj- Thanks! When you mention central London, can you clarify which area specifically i.e. Westminster? Kensington? Also, we've never bid on PL before so would your recommendation be to just pick 4 star for this area & drop in $100 per night? We looked around a little & it looked like the retail price for a 4 star in London is $275. Would the price include all taxes, fees, etc?
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Jan 7th, 2007, 07:53 PM
  #35  
 
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Don't just jump into priceline. Be sure to thouroughly study the London section on biddingfortravel.com

It lists the hotels by PL zone, what bids are being accepted, and bidding advice.

I just got the Hilton Olympia (granted not my favorite place) for $75 a night for 4 nights inn Feb. PL zones cover all of central London from Earls Court/Kensington in the west to the Tower of London/the City to the east.

Most people prefer the Westminster and Mayfair/Soho zones. The reason I went for Kensington/Knightsbridge this time (knowing I might get too close to Earls court) is I am renting a London flat earlier in the trip and am on a tighter budget than usual.

So it is not the grandest Hilton on the Planet - but it is only $75 +tax which is a steal in London.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 05:30 AM
  #36  
 
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Prague is a lovely city...and quite inexpensive but the airfares are usually much higher than London.

I'm not that familar with the airfare trends in the USA but in Canada we usually see seat sales to London in January/February for travel up to the end of May. I would keep checking to see if the rates come down over the next month or so.

I've never used priceline but have heard its praises on this website. If you can get your hotel budget down...that would give you the spending money you need.

Airfare 1800.00
Hotel 600.00 (based on janisj priceline)

That would leave approx USD250 per day or approx GBP130.00 per day. I think you could manage on that budget.

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Jan 8th, 2007, 09:40 AM
  #37  
 
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If I were you, I would go in late September - October as that's shoulder season and things sorta die down around that time. I would say that the amount of time you've planned for London does sound like enough, especially if you're not intent on trying to cram in loads of things and be pressed for time. The hotel you've mentioned does seem like a prime location given that it's located near Marble Arch, but personally I would stay close to the Victoria tube stop. This might sound questionable, but I have my reasons for doing so. A couple of years ago my nephew and I went to London and stayed at was once the London Victoria Holiday Inn (now the Hesperia London - http://www.hesperia.com/Hesperia-Lon...ia/?cambio=171). What was really great about this hotel, aside from its amenities, was that since our flight was out of Gatwick, we didn't feel rushed to hop on the tube, make changes, etc. All we had to do was stroll out of the hotel, cross the street and on into Victoria Station to catch the Express. On top of that, you're only a couple of stops down from Oxford Circus (well, you're basically in center London anyways). My sister and I also stayed there one night last year Sept. 2006.

Now, getting a bit more refined on the hotel situation. I looked at what you posted for a hotel - The Sumner - and the total rate you'd pay for the length of your stay (being $1400) and think that you can probably do a bit better. I've already mentioned the Hesperia London. Taking into account that you have 2 travel dates in mind, I picked the Sept-Oct dates and used as an example arrival on Sun. Sept. 30th with departure on Fri. Oct. 5th. Your total for the length of stay would be $1,037 (this is the nonrefundable rate - excludes VAT & Breakfast. No cancellations or amendments allowed).

Granted that the exchange rate isn't the best, you can probably do this vacation for about $4,000. Now, as much as I love London, Paris has overtaken it as the top city on my list. I know you said that you and your wife already went to Paris, but it never hurts to go back! I don't know if London is really a city to people watch and soak things up, it seems more of a fast paced city. However, since you've never been to London but you've been to Paris, maybe going to London will give you a chance to compare which city is more attractive to you desires.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 10:39 AM
  #38  
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Thanks everyone! Trafaelwyr, I appreciate you running some numbers for the fall! Unfortunately, the May/June window works a lot better for us. It sounds like if we do London we have some time to figure out accommodations & learn the layout of the city a little better. I guess I was initially worried about getting a good hotel a couple of months before the trip but after bumping around on the PL form it seems like we're in good shape (maybe we bid in March for late May visit). If I undertand the PL form correctly, it is better to wait to bid on rooms a couple of months before the trip because it might be too soon now for rooms to be in inventory? Sounds like a def. must it to get a hotel near a tube stop and we'll be in good shape. Also seems like a lot people bid in Westminster or Kennsington so those must be good areas to stay. Thanks again!
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Jan 9th, 2007, 08:32 AM
  #39  
 
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Don't forget you will need an A to Z of London. About paperback size it is the complete map for the city. I assume Amazon or if not in a book shop at Heathrow.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 11:14 AM
  #40  
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Thank you to all who have posted advice! The wife and I have decided to trek to SW Ireland as the prices are a little friendlier & it's a place we would really like to visit. We've saved all of the London info. & might try to visit London in the fall. We're hoping to get some better rates in Sept. - October and maybe the dollar will be better against the lb. I'm sure we'll be back with London questions as we plan that trip. Thanks again to all, we have the info. and we'll use it as we start to plan that trip.
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