3 Months of Travel in the Fall...

Jun 4th, 2014, 10:35 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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a huge advantage of winter travel IME is a huge savings in accommodations costs - like in Rome and Florence I have gotten nice enough B&Bs for 40 euros in January - right near the train station - not the greatest areas to stay in but perfectly OK - in summer the sign over the check-in desk says the exact same rooms are more than twice as much!

Airfares used to be much cheaper in off-season but seem not to be the $400 r.t. with taxes I was getting several years ago - that seems a thing of the past but still air fares can be much cheaper in late fall/winter than in spring and summer.

Yes plus no lines anywhere you go to go in - save a few places like London in mid-February which is packed with families from the Continent there during their week or two-week-long school holidays.
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 4th, 2014, 12:45 PM
  #22  
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We're decided-- sticking with the plan. I can't imagine any weather in Provence will touch what we had this last winter in New York! Not to mention, Christmas in Paris sounds like a dream!
JTPC is offline  
Jun 4th, 2014, 02:52 PM
  #23  
 
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Hi again JTPC,

You asked me:

"What do you mean regarding catering the itinerary to weather with apartments?"

I was responding to a previous post you wrote, where you said:

"I'm wondering if maybe we do Italy, France, Spain and then maybe fly out of Lisbon... Ideally I would prefer to keep the ticket we have and cater our itinerary to the weather. We plan to stay in apartments or with winemakers on vineyards for the trip."

That sounded to me like you wanted to wait until you were in Europe to see what the weather was before deciding whether you wanted to go to Lisbon, or some other places. I was pointing out that most apartments need to be booked in advance -- but maybe I misinterpreted you.

I am now responding to a different post, where you have written:

"It does seem that Spain/Portugal will have the best weather so that seems like the obvious last stop..."

This is certainly not true for San Sebastian, which is half of what you've planned for Spain.

and this:

" I can't imagine any weather in Provence will touch what we had this last winter in New York."

Fine, but there is a big difference in traveling unfamiliar roads and trying to stick to a travel agenda in the pouring rain when it comes to keeping appointments to meet landlords to get to your apartments or picking up a rental car.

I haven't any quarrel with you sticking to your original plan. I'm just pointing out that if you have sold yourself on the idea that so long as it is not as bad as what you experienced at home in NYC, that is not the right measure (at least to me). What I think you need to be comfortable with is the idea that if you are in Provence and you need to stay indoors for 3 or more days due to torrential rain, or you can't drive there from Lyon when you planned, or leave for Barcelona when you planned --- that will still be okay and you'll laugh it off.
sandralist is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 05:36 AM
  #24  
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Sandralist:

I totally agree that it was a lot of contradicting myself in there-- it's mostly just trying to iron out logistics. We definitely want to have certain things locked in, but also want the flexibility to follow our whim a bit should we find a town we really love (or should we get stuck in the mistral). I'm hoping because it's off season we can figure out some of our apartments more last minute, the bookings in major cities we're doing in advance.

Zoecat made a really helpful point, in that with three months of travel a few days of rain/wind that limited what we could do is much less devastating than during a trip that's only a week or so. I definitely recognize that it's a bit of a riskier time to travel, but I think we're just going to roll with it and laugh it off when it happens.

As it is, flying out of Lisbon won't work because I had miscounted our 90 days. So we'll likely end the trip with Christmas in Paris and then take the Eurostar over to London and finish up with New Years there.
JTPC is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 07:18 AM
  #25  
 
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Now that is a true traveler's attitude.

Out of our three month trip we had a few days of rain. That is most definitely not what stands out in my mind from the trip. In fact it was kind of fun, dodging the raindrops. No big deal. We don't melt when it rains. On our trip to China it snowed and was freezing in December. We walked the wall just the same.

You just pack clothes accordingly. If you are warm and dry, that is the main thing. If it rains just stay home that day and do laundry, take a break. It is important to have little mini vacations during your big vacation. I so envy your trip because it brings back very very fond memories of our own trip, staying in apts. A very relaxed way to travel. Have a great time!
michele_d is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 08:45 AM
  #26  
 
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There is one thing that is super important to me personally for the enjoyment of my trips to Europe. That is sitting outside to eat, especially in places like Provence and Tuscany. If that is not a factor for you, then later works fine. We have been to Provence only once in mid-September, and we needed a sweater or jacket many evenings if we sat outside. I do not mind a little rain, but do not enjoy day after day traipsing around wet in the countryside. So, it would be worth it to me to change and go earlier with a little less risk of cool, rainy weather. If I did not change dates, Provence would be first, followed by Tuscany even if the itinerary became a bit convoluted to do that. Cities are OK in any weather, so I would put them at the end.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 10:01 AM
  #27  
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Sassafrass, We definitely love the idea of sitting outside to eat! We're optimistic (and from looking at weather reports) that we'll be able to do that for nearly our entire month of October in Italy-- even if it means with a sweater or light jacket.

We'll keep our fingers crossed that we'll get a couple days that are warm enough for an outdoor meal in Provence! While the weather is certainly warmer in October in Provence, the sites I've looked at also show significantly more rain than November. What I'm seeing (presuming there's a level of accuracy, though it seems consistent across sites)is average temperatures in the 50's, which doesn't seem too bad.

One of my fondest memories of the first trip my husband and I took together (to Isla Mujeres)it rained nearly the entire week. One of the days there was a torrential downpour, we got stuck in this tiny taco shop on the of the road while the whole island temporarily lost power (apparently, not that uncommon). We sat with the couple that owned the little restaurant, conversed in broken English/Spanish and waited out the storm.
JTPC is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 10:44 AM
  #28  
 
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We spent the entire month of October in Italy starting in Venice and ending in Rome. We had great weather. A little nippy in the morning but beautiful the rest of the day. Granted every year is different but I would much rather be there in October than August or September with the heat.
michele_d is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 11:22 AM
  #29  
 
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JTPZ,
You sound like an easy traveler. You are right about weather and going with whatever that brings. It is fun when things go wrong, then turn out better than you could have planned. Years ago, we were stranded by a transport strike in a tiny village in NE England. We took a walk and ended up meeting the mayor of the village and were taken to his home for tea in the garden. It was a handsome 500 year old stone house with acres of gardens. Amazing stories of his life and the village, and fabulous memory you could never plan or buy.

We were all wearing jackets. It was cold and rainy and still lovely, even for a warm weather person like me.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 12:49 PM
  #30  
 
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I am in Italy and it is June and I was freezing today. I have been waiting all year to eat dinner outdoors. You just can't tell.

You wrote:

" I'm hoping because it's off season we can figure out some of our apartments more last minute, the bookings in major cities we're doing in advance."

You can try, and you may succeed, but a lot of apartments, once they are shut down, are really pretty cold and miserable, or just taken off the market. Increasingly, booking.com handles apartments, and that might be a resource for you.

Another resource might be small b&bs. Because you are so off season, you can easily get kitchen privileges, but you also might find that things are cozier and not musty, and most nights you have the place to yourselves.

The only downside I see for your chosen itinerary in oct-dec is that you really must take it seriously if you encounter torrential rains that make driving hazardous. That can happen in France, Italy and Spain in autumn. Just a huge amount of rain can fall in a short time. On your travel days -- when you are traveling between cities or apartments -- you have to be willing to stop driving in hazardous conditions, even if it means you don't get to your next schedule stop.

Otherwise, there are a zillion ways to stay warm, cozy, enjoy a fireplace and a heady wine or brandy to take of the damp chill, bread, music, Europe and thou....
sandralist is offline  
Jun 5th, 2014, 04:05 PM
  #31  
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Sandralist, that's a good point regarding apartments being musty from having been shut down. Do you have a particular resource for B&B's that you're fond of?

Truth is, most of our travel from place to place will be on train. We will rent a car when we are in Provence, but leave it and then take the train to Lyon, etc.
JTPC is offline  

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