5 countries 15 days, traveling by air?

Old Jul 24th, 2013, 08:40 AM
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Rachie, to see the most but still not have a whirlwind tour , this is what I suggest.

Fly into London.. three days.. then take the Eurostar to Paris. ( 2.5 hours city center to city center.. airports are about an hour out and count in extra exspense for airport commute) .

Stay 3-4 days in Paris.. fly to Rome.. ( here flying makes sense as train is a long not so fun ride.. unless you like sharing a closet to sleep in with strangers)
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Oh, Improviser. You are hilarious.

And I see that you have a Rule of 3s for house guests too, how nice. I hope you post a link so we can purchase your book after it is published. I am sure that it will reform us all and we will be sure to Get The Most From Our European Travel Experience in the future.
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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May I say that the above post was written tongue firmly in cheek, because Improviser really is hilarious.

I was serious about the book though. Anyone as convinced of the awesomeness of their travel philosophy as Improviser is really should write one!
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 09:48 AM
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yodababe - it would have to be a VERY heavy book, he has a rulle for everything.

Hilarious isn't <i>exactly</i> the word I'd use . . .
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 06:39 PM
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Rachie,
I think Justine ( and others) suggestion of splitting your time across 3 cities, flying into London (3 days) Eurostar to Paris (3-4 days). And flight to Rome is a good balance for your first trip to Europe.
I also agree with buying/ borrowing a good guide book( still partial to Lonley Planet after many years) and work out what you really want to see in each city as you won't have time to do everything. Maybe consider indoor options for wet weather days if they occu.

Although I notice that many on this forum don't favour HOHO buses, they do give a group overview in only a couple of hours.( I still remember my excitement as an 18 yo first seeing many of the London sights I had only read about and think his would also apply on Paris and Rome) Them you can visit particular sights using tube/ metro/ feet or boat.

My children ( both in their 20s) have also found the Sandman New Europe Walking Tours worthwhile

Whatever you decide you will have a great time and be back I'm sure
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Old Jul 24th, 2013, 08:41 PM
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Rachie,
The wife and I went to London, Edinburgh, and Wales in 2001 (pre TSA) and we had a great time. Dress sensibly as above posters have suggested. We spent 3 nights in London at the Thistle Hotel at Victoria Station, took some tours to Bath, Stonehenge, Changing of the Guards and such. Ate at pubs as it was cheaper and food better. Hotel food was crap. Tours got us into Westminster and such very quickly. Took train to Edinburgh VERY cheaply. Watched prices on the web and got us both on an express to center of the city for $17US each. Edinburgh sites took 2 days(not including travel of 1 day). On and Off buses for 1 trip around city to get bearings and then hoofed it. Edinburgh is GREAT for walking. Took in castle and Holyrood. Picked up a car in Edinburgh and drove to Wales taking 3 days to get there. Spent the next 2 WEEKS in Wales staying in 1 place and taking day trips by car. We brought some snacks with us from U.S. just in case (cheese crackers, Nabs) but quickly learned that you buy a cheese sandwich and a ham sandwich and swap halves. No such thing as a ham and cheese.

Personally, I enjoy the travel part. Trains don't count as travel to me. We spent a lot of time talking to "locals" and getting to know them on the trip. Hate traveling by plane.

All in all what I am saying is that YES, you can DO London in 2-3 days, Edinburgh the same, as well as Paris just plan it out. Trains are the way to travel no matter what if you don't drive. There are drawbacks to both. Trains let you interact with the other people traveling on them and if YOU are friendly, they will be, normally. Trains are faster than driving, but trains don't stop to see the sights. The drive down to Wales was fun because we plan for 8-10 hours travel for a 3-4 hour drive so if something attracts us we can stop. We see a LOT of the country and just go with the flow as long as we make our connection to fly home. If you end up with 2-3 days in Rome do the On and Off bus, take an all inclusive tour or 2 and have fun.

Sorry for the rant, but my brother filled my head with crap as a SEASONED traveler to Britain and I had fun in spite of it. Planning it was half the fun but don't over plan. Leave to wiggle room.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 05:56 AM
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Here's my take:
London, Paris and Rome are perfect intros to Europe, particularly in March. TONS of things to do indoors if the weather is bad. Incredible and varied museums, fabulous shopping, delicious restaurants. Ask a local where to go to get off the tourist track.
Yes, take long underwear. The damp will seep into your bones.
Yes, be prepared for rain. An umbrella and raincoat are essential.
Yes, pack lightly. You can manage with a wheeled carryon and tote or backpack for 15 days, easy. Packing extra accessories, like scarves and inexpensive jewelry, will help freshen up your outfits so you don't get TOO sick of them. A couple of pairs of dark or black pants, a couple of sweaters in the same tones, and some t-shirts to layer underneath will be fine. Wear a pair of comfortable yet versatile shoes, and pack another.
Have fun and be open to new experiences! Strike up conversations when you can. Learn how to say please, thank you and where's the bathroom in French and Italian.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 06:47 AM
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Rachie82
As you have seen you will get a lot of feedback when you state that you want to see a lot in a little amount of time. I haven't taken the time to read all the replies...so sorry if I repeat anything that's been said.

I have followed the itinerary below twice...once with wife and another couple...and once with the same couple and our 4 kids. Both times it was a fantastic trip:
London 3 days
Paris 3 days
Wengen 2 days
Venice 2 days
Rome 4 days

Travel time was the last day of the days listed above.

Some would consider that itinerary as too much in too little time. But for Europe traveling newbies...we LOVED the trip. It was a great way to see the big sites of Europe. Some day when we have time and $$ we'll slow down and come back to see these at a leisurely pace. For our boys it gave them a great preview of the wonders of Europe and awakened the travel bug in them.

There is something to be said for not packing in too much in a short amount of time and I'm sure you've received some good advice in the previous posts. But there is also something to be said for newbie travelers wanting to see a lot in a short amount of time and seasoned travelers not understanding...not remembering what their first trip was like (and the energy people have for trips like that when they are younger).

The best thing to do is prepare a much more detailed itinerary of your trip now. Factor in every bit of the travel time and then consider if that's enough time at each location to see what you feel you want to see. Use the train/airline web sites to get exact travel times and use via michline for driving times. Plot it all out and then consider if you'd want to see New York, Washington DC and Boston in the same amount of time.

Have fun!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 06:52 AM
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Wengen above should have said 3 days...I thought something seemed off.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 07:06 AM
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Wekiva, to each his/her own but I will point out you keep saying, 'to see a lot'. While the word 'lot' can be taken to mean 'many' it can also be taken to mean seeing/doing a lot. They are not one and the same thing at all.

The more you move the less you see/do. It is as simple as that.

"But there is also something to be said for newbie travelers wanting to see a lot in a short amount of time and seasoned travelers not understanding."

I would say you do NOT 'see' a lot and it is that fact that newbie travellers don't understand.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 08:03 AM
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Hi all...

I may be just repeating what many others have said -- but IMHO a good first European 15-day trip is London-Paris-Rome. I am not saying other cities are no good...there are obviously many great cities to visit...just that this is a good intro to Europe.

I particularly like the Eurostar to Paris and Night-train to Rome -- this really minimizes time wasted in transit. You're probably paying a lot to fly to Europe (your biggest item), so, with that fixed cost, the more time you actually spend seeing and doing things, the better. Cost it out and you'll see that in-transit time between cities is essentially a many, many dollars spent NOT seeing and doing things (with the exception of some scenic trains).

I personally prefer to go to one city for a week -- I haven't always done that, but I prefer it -- but five cities in 15 days does not sound like a good idea to me.

SS
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 08:09 AM
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Improviser...you are right...to each his/her own.

During our trips we saw a lot...and they were many of the big ticket items in each city...which is exactly what we wanted to see. Our kids each researched a city and presented it to us as we prepared for the trip. As you can imagine when a child does research on Paris they're going to mainly find the big touristy things. But we did find ways to do special things as well. My youngest son (who is an animal lover) found the cats of Rome where they try and care for the injured stray cats. But usually we stuck to the main tourist draws. We didn't do the following things:
take a cooking class
take a day long architectural tour of a city
take a class on the local language
have coffee each day in the same cafe for a week
etc
etc

If that type of thing interests Rachie then by all means he/she will be disappointed if they try to follow my itinerary. But these are the things newbie travelers AREN'T typically trying to do on their first trip to Europe. I would think those are generally the things someone does on their 3rd or 4th visit to the city. I know I'm generalizing a bit here...but we all do that when we make assumptions. For me the idea of sitting in one city for a week during my first trip to Europe would be ridiculous...but that's for me. But I do believe Rachie's travel style more closely resembles mine at this point than a seasoned traveler. So I'm going to recommend what worked for me.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 08:39 AM
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Well said Wekiva.

Really, the question is how much do you get out of each day of your trip. If you are getting a full day of new experiences then you are getting as much as it is possible to get.

The only issue is how much time is lost in transit. To lose 6 out of 14 days to arrival/departure days is just too high a percentage for me to be happy with.

Rachie is free to do whatever Rachie wants to do. All I am suggesting is that Rachie THINK about what Rachie is going to do rather than just ASSUMING what should be done.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 09:01 AM
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As far as the weather goes, you could luck out like I did on my first trip to London in March -- pure, blue skies every day for a week!!!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 05:34 PM
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You are trying to do quite a bit. To enjoy yourself skip Dublin and Edinburgh and hit the big three.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2013, 11:58 PM
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Daughter & I did seven countries in 21 days-----travelling by train--amazing & wld do the same trip again. Slept overnight on train whenever possible to save time. Flying takes tooooo long & not as comfortable w/all you have to go through. Trains are the best way to go, only flying when necessary. Check into BETS European Rail Experts for advise---very helpful.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 04:16 AM
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I think that Rachie has run away!
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 04:35 AM
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If someone is young I would advise them to narrow their itinerary. If someone thinks this maybe the only trip or there will be only one more, then see what you want.

We have always traveled with the idea that is better to see a few places well, than many poorly.

We went against this tenet once when we saw Krakow, Vienna, Budapest, and Prague in a two week trip and thought we missed a great deal. Two years ago we were in Turkey for three weeks and even though we spent a week in Istanbul, thought we rushed the trip.

Just last week, with a visitor, we spent 1 1/2 hours in just a few rooms at the Met Museum. When you linger, you see things differently.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 06:52 AM
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Annhig is right, the OP just responded that one time 10 days ago . . . Either scared off or has left the bldg.
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Old Aug 4th, 2013, 07:08 AM
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One of the biggest mistakes travel forums have made in my opinion is opening up access via facebook and twitter.

I don't have anything against social media but it generally encourages certain types of behaviour. 'Grazing' being one of them.

If you check with any forum for the trends in activity over the last couple of years you will find a lot of people signing on, posting once and never returning. 'Grazing'.

For regular posters, this can be annoying as they feel they have wasted their time responding and get no thanks or even acknowledgement for their effort.

Just goes to show why people post on forums. It is not because they are all altruistic in wanting to share their knowledge with others. What regular posters want is acknowledgement, approbation and yes, a chace to 'show off'.

You can't get that from 'grazers'. They came, asked, read a couple of answers and left. They got what they wanted, the regular poster did not.
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