7 days on a budget

Jul 31st, 2005, 12:05 PM
Original Poster
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7 days on a budget

My husband and I are going to Europe for the first time in May, and as I am still a student and he is a medical intern (in our mid to late 20s), we are going to be on a tight budget. We'll have 7 days (excluding travel) and are most interested (this time) in England, Italy, and France. I've seen some large budgets on this site, and I was wondering how much would you recommend for first-timers like us? I've looked a lot online and found that we can both fly economy class from our location for ~$600-$650 each. We don't mind staying in a decent hostel if necessary to save money. We are most interested in art and history and we like leisurely walking tour type activities. Any suggestions?
1929jg is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 12:07 PM
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Seven days divides up as two and a third days in each country. And that's assuming that "excluding travel" means you have additional time to get from one stop to the next. If it doesn't, you can just about write off one of those days. Now we're at two days per country. If you're flying to and from the same airport, cross off another day (to get back to it).


Think about doing this:
Fly into London.
Spend three nights.
In the evening of the fourth day, take the last Eurostar to Paris.
Spend four nights in Paris.
Fly home.

Use priceline.com to find hotels after studying biddingfortravel.com - and start your search far from the city center (where the best values are found). Both capitals have excellent public transport networks that you can ride all day for a few dollars.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 12:12 PM
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I would suggest 3 days in London, take the Eurostar, and spend 4 in Paris. That will give you adequate time in both cities to see some of the major sights and still see 2 different places.

London is a great place to start to get your feet wet -- because it's different enough, but there's no language barrier.

I would suggest getting a guide book for each city, or getting Rick Steves Europe Through The Back Door book. It has lots of good information about budget traveling (he usually recommends about $100 a day per person for room and board). You can buy a Museum Pass in Paris that will get you into most major sites, including the Louvre, Ste. Chappelle, most other museums, etc.

Paris is surprisingly affordable -- you can easily find a double hotel room for less than $100/night. London is a bit spendy, but if you look closely for hotels/hostels, it's very do-able, and can easily be done under $100 a night for the two of you.

My husband and I are budget travelers, and have used the Rick Steves books for our first trip together. We are going back in September to London and Paris to spend time with our parents there, and are excited to go back. Last time we only had 2 days in London and 3 in Paris, where I got sick -- so it just wasn't enough time.

Happy travels,

jules4je7 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Do you mean England AND Italy AND France -- or -- England, OR Italy, OR France?

Seven days is not really enough to do more than one country and certainly is not enough for three.

There are ways to do any of then on a budget. London tends to have more expensive hotel rooms - but most of the museums are free. Italy and Paris have cheaper rooms but in general museums and sites especially in Italy cost more.
janis is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Oops - hit post too soon. W/ just 7 days I would just do one country -- say, 4 days in London and 3 in the English countryside, or 4 days in Paris and 3 in the French countryside.

If you chose the UK, for example -- London is expensive (again, there are lots of ways to economise) but accomodations out in Kent or the Cotswolds or in Yorkshire or just about anywhere will cost half what they do in London.

And the Eurostar fare to Paris would cost more than a full day's expenses just about anywhere. I use the Eurostar, but if I were on a tight-ish budget I'd stick to one country and save the extra travel expense
janis is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Hi jg,

With only one week on a budget, I suggest Paris.

Check airfares at www.mobissimo.com.

They might go down about $75 between now and November.

Look at





ira is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 01:14 PM
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I agree with Ira. Paris is the place to be for a week especially since you like leisuraly walking, art, and history. You should not have a problem finding a place to suit your budget.
maryanne1 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 04:09 PM
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If "we" can do nothing for you, perhaps we can divest you of the notion of going to three countries in a seven day span. Have your husband look at it like this - - say he has a week-long opportunity to go to any medical center in the US for some personal mentoring - - how would he react if someone suggested two days of infertility clinic, three days of child psychiatry and two days in orthopedics? A good way to not get anything out of those experiences - - or at least a poor substitute for spending an entire week with the one discipline he'd like to immerse in, for a week!

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 04:58 PM
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If you are on a budget then I would strongly recommend you NOT do London! Three countries in 7 days is not a holiday. Cut travel costs by holidaying in one country. If you're into art and history then Italy would be my first choice. Rome and Florence are must sees. Work on a budget of say around US$120 per day plus train travel (not expensive). Make sure your hostels have kitchen facilities.

Have fun
worldinabag is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 07:01 PM
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I would limit myself to 2 cities max. Also, you may want to check out gotoday.com or gate1travel.com and look into their multi-city packages which include r/t airfare from the US, hotels and train tix. We used gotoday.com for a Brussels/London trip and it was cheaper than booking alone. Good luck!
kjenn is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 08:06 PM
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Agree that three cities would be too much, two theoreticaly possible but one probably the best proposition. Cast my vote with those suggesting Paris.
Paris is cheaper than London and much more of a walking city, and in general cheaper place to eat. You can easily fill a week just hopping around museums. If you are willing to accept hostel type accommodation, you can usually get a fairly good price on a package. Have a look at www.travelzoo.com which is a site that compiles "hot" deals from a number of places.
Seamus is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 08:54 PM
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For savings on transportation, I'd suggest flying into London, and then taking Ryan Air from London to Paris. In Paris, you needn't spend more than $65 per night for lodging. Will post again with a few suggestions.
Dave_in_Paris is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 09:04 PM
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Great advice so far. With one week I would focus on 1 country, choose a major city as homebase, and take two day trips to outlying areas.

While you could take this one-week approach with any destination, I have to agree with the Francophiles. For first timers, Paris is a great European destination. You get history, art, food, language, etc. The transportation system is great, and it's a pedestrian city.

With 7 days, you could take a day trip to Versailles on your own, and a day trip to the Loire Valley with a minibus tour company. There are others you could choose from, depending upon your interests.

I did a one-week trip to Paris with my mom last year. It was a great 1st trip to Europe for her. Here is the link to my trip report, for your reference. You can search for other reports to help you plan. Whatever you decide, have fun planning, go get your feet wet, save your pennies, and plan the next one. Hope this helps.

Wifeybug is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 09:44 PM
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You can't take Ryanair from London to Paris. For a low-cost flight, you can take BMI - http://www.flybmi.com - or EasyJet - http://www.easyjet.com .
WillTravel is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 09:48 PM
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I too like the one week trip to Paris idea. Consider renting a studio apartment for a week in Paris so you can save money by eating in. Much more relaxing than trying to cram London and Paris in 7 days.
mjs is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 04:04 AM
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7 days really is better in one place. Agree about Paris because I love it so much! I like the food in Paris more also. Sorry Londoners-just my opinion.
Poster who mentioned benefit of common language in London also has good point and there are scads of wonderful things to see there as well.
And, Rome, oh my! Please read about those 3 cities, pick the one that calls out to you and just go there with side trips if there is time.
donco is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 05:52 AM
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Whoever told you to stay away from London because of the cost was really telling the truth. Whatever something costs you here, there it is double! If you're not a shopper it should be okay. I also would use Priceline for a hotel in London. The Eurostar should be purchased at home also because of the devalued $$. You may want to check AerLingus for airfare. I just bought an incredible deal for May. You can easily split your time between London and Paris. So what if its just a few days in each. Even a week in each isn't even close to enough time. Those cities aren't going anywhere. They will still be there when you have more time and money to revisit.
zwho is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 05:53 AM
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You really can't go wrong which ever ONE you choose.

But one comment about costs. Yes - hotel rooms in London generally cost more than in Paris. (But interestingly, apartment rentals are usually lower in London)

But I actually can do London just about as cheaply as Paris. When you factor in all the free things in London it goes a long way to balancing the difference.

There are many ways to reduce your costs in both places - so I'd just decide based on which one you dream most about visiting . . . . . .
janis is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 06:46 AM
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My best advice is get over the idea you are going to go to 3 countries in 7 days time. You would spend 2-3 of your precious 7 traveling place to place. Especially on a tight budget you will do better choosing one or two places to visit.

Are you interested more in cities or the countryside? There are hostels certainly in any of the three.

Something like fly into Paris stay 4 days and take a train to Venice stay 3 days might work well and certainly offer art, history, plenty of walking. Then fly home from Venice to avoid backtracking.

Wherever you go an "open jaw" plane ticket (flying into one city and out of a different one) would be a good idea and usually can be found for similar costs.

Is there any way you can get a few more days added to the trip? The biggest expense is always airfare, so if you could stay at least 10 days, say, would be better. Assuming you are flying cross the Atlantic, jet lag effects the first few days, so the longer I am able to stay each trip the more I can enjoy myself.

suze is online now  
Aug 1st, 2005, 06:49 AM
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I think the $100/day per person figure is a fair one to use for budgeting. That would get you both into a hostel or 1-star accomodations plus allow for transportation, admissions fees, economic meals.
suze is online now  

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