3 weeks in Europe

Old Mar 8th, 2023, 10:05 AM
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3 weeks in Europe

Hello!
My best friend and I are traveling to Europe together from the US for 3 weeks. I have traveled to Europe several times, but this will be my first trip with a friend and not family. This is my friend's first time traveling overseas.
We land in Amsterdam around 1230 in the afternoon. The tentative plan would be to go to Amsterdam for a few days, speed train to Paris and stay there for approximately 5/6 days, fly to southern Italy where most of the trip would be, and end in Rome for the last 4 days where we fly back.
What is the best way to purchase 2 tickets for the Eurorail from Amsterdam to Paris without having to purchase a monthly pass?
I am in need of assistance or suggestions for the following:
- Decent hotel in Amsterdam that is close enough to attractions as well as to get to the speed train
- Are there city/attraction passes within Amsterdam to attend the museums and attractions? If so, is it worth it to only be there for 2 days?
- The plan would be to fly from Paris to Naples, Italy, but then have a private car/bus ride down to Sorrento. Any suggestions for companies to book through?
- From Naples to Rome, would the speed train be worth it with all our luggage? Or would the best option be a private car ride as well?
- While staying in Paris, I was looking at apartments/airbnbs versus hotels due to us staying there for several days. I would like to stay close to the city but not to be in the city. Any suggestions for places to stay or even places to avoid? We like the idea of having a kitchen and being able to do laundry for a few days, rather than staying in a hotel.
- The same concept for Sorrento, Italy as well. We will be there for approximately a week. I have viewed some apartments, but not sure what I need to avoid or what to consider when researching.

Thank you so much!!!

Last edited by tporcelli; Mar 8th, 2023 at 10:39 AM.
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 10:57 AM
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When is the trip?
No need for a private car from Naples to Sorrento. Train is easy.
Train is also fine from Naples to Rome.
Point to point tickets will be better for you than Eurail passes.
Travel light, so luggage is not a problem unless you are old or have mobility issues.
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 12:07 PM
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Eurail (not Eurorail) is the name of a a tourist pass for the train systems in Europe. It is expensive and if you know where you are travelling to you can save a lot of money by buying point-to-point tickets. The rail company in the Netherlands is Nederlandse Spoorwegen, and the page for buying international tickets (i.e between destinations in countries other than the Netherlands) is https://www.nsinternational.com/en . You can use this to buy your tickets between Amsterdam and Paris. There are two types of trains, the Thalys, which is I guess what you would call a premium service (although not so crazy that you can't pay it) and the IC trains, which are much better value but not as comfortable, but if you take the IC to Brussels you will have to change there to the Thalys. You can also take a Thalys direct from Amsterdam to Paris.

Good luck!

Lavandula
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 12:17 PM
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Here's what I got from SNCF Capitaine Train; price given is for two adults:

https://www.thetrainline.com/book/re...%3D%3AStandard

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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 06:37 PM
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We land in Amsterdam on June 7 around 1230. The tentative plan is Amsterdam 7-9, Paris 9-14, Sorrento 14-21, and Rome 21-26. We are two young females. Ideally, not a lot of luggage (One large "checked" bag for the flight, and each has individual smaller carry-ons or backpacks. The dates are flexible, with the potential of different day trips while in Paris and Sorrento since we are there for extended periods of time.

Should we have more time in Amsterdam, or are two days enough for a quick site-see? We want to do the Van Gogh museum, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, and potentially the Heineken Factory.
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 07:01 PM
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Careful with the weight of that "large checked bag." You may have to hoist the luggage up a few steep stairs when boarding some trains. Not all hotels and apartments have elevators. I would pack the bag and see if you can lift it a few feet off the ground, carry it up a flight of stairs, etc.
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 07:31 PM
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The Rijksmuseum can keep you for a long time. Plus you are arriving jetlagged in Amsterdam so you will lose much of the first day, leaving yourself not very much time there. Yes, if you have it, squeeze in another day.

Are you also counting travel time between destinations? If not, you are giving a lot of time to Sorrento and not nearly as much to Paris (which merits a bit of attention, you will only have 4 days there if you count the day between Amsterdam and Paris). Where will you count the next travel day? Paris or Sorrento?

Lavandula
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 07:34 PM
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Welcome to Fodors.

"The tentative plan is Amsterdam 7-9, Paris 9-14, Sorrento 14-21, and Rome 21-26."

Rookie mistake Cant really count two places on the same day - well unless you have a private jet.

What your plan actually is:
Amsterdam 7 - 8 which equals 1.5 days - and the 7th you may be jet lagged
Paris 9 -13 = 4.5 days
Sorrento 14 - 20 = 6 days plus a few evening hours on the 14th
Rome 21- 25 = 4.5 days
Depart the 26th

And . . . please try to eliminate a large/checked suitcase. Instead use one 21 or inch rollaboard and handbag or daypack for each of you. Schlepping a large suitcase on/off trains and buses/metro is a total pain.
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean
Careful with the weight of that "large checked bag." You may have to hoist the luggage up a few steep stairs when boarding some trains. Not all hotels and apartments have elevators. I would pack the bag and see if you can lift it a few feet off the ground, carry it up a flight of stairs, etc.
In Amsterdam this advice is pretty important - in older buildings and particularly those on the canals there are lots of very steep narrow stairs and not always a lift. If you stay in an older property you will have to deal with your bag alone.

Lavandula
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 08:20 PM
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Are you considering sharing that one large checked bag?
IME, that is a really terrible idea! Keep your luggage separate, one smallish to medium checked bag each and one carry on each. If one big bag got misplaced, you have both lost everything! One big bag is a lot harder to deal with than one smaller bag each. Getting a small bag on a train is not that big a deal. Wrestling a big one might take both of you. Make sure the carry on can be stacked on your checked bag. I prefer a small wheeled, stackable carry on, but if you love backpacks, OK. Take a change of clothes in your carry ons and perhaps give each other another change to pack in their checked bag. In case any bag is misplaced, you would each still have two changes of clothing. If you have not used them, light weight packing cubes are wonderful, especially with your frequent moves,

The way you are showing days is problematic. At best, a travel day gives only a partial day in one place, so do not count travel days as sight seeing. Assign them to only one place as a night, not a day. They also are not as good for sightseeing. You need 2 nights to net 1 full day in a place, 3 nights to get 2 full days, etc. Travel will eat up a lot of time, hotel to train, train time, train to hotel.

You have only 1 (one) whole day in Amsterdam, maybe a tiny bit on exhausted arrival day, maybe two or three hours on departure day, certainly no more. I would try to add another full day and night to Amsterdam and perhaps do a short day trip to some smaller town.

You have:
Amsterdam, 2 nts, 1 day (perhaps a tiny bit more, a few hours on either side.
Paris, 5 nts, 4 days
Sorrento, 7 nts, 6 days
Rome, 5 nts, 4 days

June 7: Travel to Amsterdam, get to lodging, walk or one short visit to a museum, dinner.
June 8: Amsterdam (1 full day)
June 9: Travel to Paris, (1/2 day travel). Morning in Amsterdam or late afternoon in Paris, not both.
June 10 - 13: Paris, (4 full days)
June 14: Travel to Naples and on to Sorrento, (Travel most of day)
June 15 - 20: Sorrento, (6 full days)
June 21: Travel to Rome, (2/3 of day), evening in Rome
June 22 - 25: Rome (4 full days)
June 26: Depart Rome.

Fast travel for some, but you are young. Actually not bad if it does what you want, sightseeing wise. I love the AC, but would still take a day from Sorrento and add to the beginning of the trip.

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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tporcelli
Ideally, not a lot of luggage (One large "checked" bag for the flight, and each has individual smaller carry-ons or backpacks..
I think we have a different idea of "not a lot". You should be striving to manage with a carry on. A large checked bag and a carry on will be a challenge. Can each of you carry them up stairs? Or just drag them around town?

Paris to Naples means either Easyjet or Vueling. With two bags you're paying for both and it'll add up. Plus you'll lose time at both ends. Checking the bag and collecting it after the flight.

The train will also be a challenge.
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Old Mar 8th, 2023, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick
I think we have a different idea of "not a lot". You should be striving to manage with a carry on. A large checked bag and a carry on will be a challenge. Can each of you carry them up stairs? Or just drag them around town?

Paris to Naples means either Easyjet or Vueling. With two bags you're paying for both and it'll add up. Plus you'll lose time at both ends. Checking the bag and collecting it after the flight.

The train will also be a challenge.
Good advice above

Two thoughts. We travel a lot by train in Europe and once in awhile by small planes.
Big pieces of luggage are definitely a pain, especially at those few stations that still have stairs, but smaller pieces are manageable.
I personally do not like having much carry on, so we do pay extra to check bags on those smaller airlines if we have to fly.
Here is what I sometimes do to make sure I do not over pack and to make things easier walking around in airports, getting on trains, dragging bags on cobbles, etc. I pack absolutely everything in one small to medium wheeled suitcase, never large. Then I remove what I need for the flight plus one change of clothes and put it into a small, soft tote or small super light backpack for carryon. Put the tote back inside the suitcase. Voila. One bag to deal with. At the airport, remove the tote, check the bag. When I retrieve the bag, the tote goes back inside. Again only one bag to pull around. The other option is a very small, wheeled carry on that firmly attaches to my slightly larger suitcase.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 07:52 AM
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Fortunately, we both work nights/over-nights - hopefully, that makes it a bit easier to adjust to the time difference.
So it sounds like we should each have our own checked bag, but it is more the size of a carry-on (give or take a few inches) to easily maneuver around the cities. Then our carry-on bags should be more of a backpack!?
As I said in the original post, I have been to Europe a couple of times with family. This is her first time going to Europe. We are a more go-with-the-flow type of people, but realistic that some things need to be planned ahead of time. So trying to figure out what are the musts/definitely versus the "if we have time". We are equally excited to do everything as to just walk around and do nothing.
For the time frame of the vacation, it sounds like give more time in Amsterdam and Paris, and shorten the length in Sorrento by a day or two.

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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 08:37 AM
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"So it sounds like we should each have our own checked bag, but it is more the size of a carry-on (give or take a few inches) to easily maneuver around the cities. Then our carry-on bags should be more of a backpack!?"

Not IMO/IME . . . It would be far better if you used JUST carry-on sized suitcases. I prefer to keep my carry on with me, but some prefer to not have a rollaboard in the airport. For them checking is fine -- but it should still be rollaboard-sized. If you simply cannot cope with a 21 inch bag (you can - honest ) the checked bag should be no larger than 24 inches --- both for weight and hassle-factor reasons


I also don't personally like using a back pack so my luggage consists of JUST a 21 inch rolling suitcase plus a large hobo type handbag for my personal item (my handbag has lots of organization/interior zip pockets so things are easy to find during the flight, and also has a convertible shoulder/cross body strap). If you do use back packs on a regular basis --- then a day pack could be your personal item.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 09:02 AM
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Where you put more time is a personal choice, but yes for sure to another day in Amsterdam or nearby. Paris depends on you. I like Sorrento for relaxing, swimming, etc. as well as sightseeing, and have spent as long as ten days there, mostly walking and generally doing little. There is actually a lot to see though: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum, Positano, Amalfi. Capri, Naples, so depends on what you want to see and do versus what you want to see and do in Paris. Paris also has so much to see. Are you going to Versailles? That alone eats up most of a day.
Backpacks? I personally really hate them to use as luggage, but you may like them. It is funny. The idea that a backpack is the way to go, comes, I think, from olden days, before wheeled luggage, when it was easier to use a backpack than to tote a suitcase for people doing a lot of walking or riding trains every day. The last time I did use a backpack for carryon, I berated myself the entire trip as I walked through what seemed miles of airports. You do need something to use during the day for water, your phone, etc. I like a super light nylon that I can stuff in the suitcase and throw over my shoulder, or a cross body. Luggage does not have to be expensive. Think about the cost in terms of the whole trip. A few extra bucks for something perfect for this particular trip is worth it. Some people like one great piece, which is smart, but I am more a luggage nut, with different luggage for cruises, train travel, beach and car trips, Europe, etc. Take whatever advice seems best for you.
Sounds as if Janisj was giving pretty much the same luggage advice as me! She has lots of travel experience.
Also, you are going in Summer. Your clothes will be lightweight, take up little space and dry quickly when you wash them.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Mar 9th, 2023 at 09:08 AM.
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Old Mar 9th, 2023, 09:10 AM
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You can use an underseat bag. The type that sits on top of your carryon. It's not much more hassle. Past that you run into issues. A backpack on your back can be a target.
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