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Addicted to Europe- too soon to plan for summer 2003?

Addicted to Europe- too soon to plan for summer 2003?

Feb 4th, 2002, 03:14 PM
  #1  
melissadicicco
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Addicted to Europe- too soon to plan for summer 2003?

Hi everyone-
My husband and I took a 5 week trip to Europe in summer 2001 that we thought would be our first and last...boy, were we wrong! We had no idea that we would love it so much!
Now I am trying to plan my life around the possibilty of going back again!
We did book a short trip to London (2 weeks away, and are also thinking about taking another long trip in summer 2003.
I am in the very preliminary stages of planning, and so far am thinking about Northern Italy (Venice, lakes, alps), Austria, Southern Germany, and Czech Republic. We are hoping to be able to spend 5-6 weeks, if finances allow, but at least 4. Also, we will be able to use our FF miles (flying into Munich).
I have never used FF miles, and I was wondering if anyone has opinions on the best time to book the flight. Should I wait until summer or fall 2002?
Thanks for any advice-
Melissa
 
Feb 4th, 2002, 03:19 PM
  #2  
David
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With dealings I've had with United, they won't let you book more than 11 months out.
 
Feb 4th, 2002, 03:55 PM
  #3  
Tammy
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I believe that most of the airlines will not allow you to book a flight using FF miles until 11 months prior to the trip. I'm going to London in May and I booked the trip last June using FF miles, and I did not get my first choice of dates. I think with most of the popular destinations, it is best to book as soon as possible when using FF miles.
 
Feb 4th, 2002, 04:04 PM
  #4  
Annabel
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AA flights do not become available until 332 days out.
 
Feb 4th, 2002, 04:07 PM
  #5  
Rex
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Very few hotels will accept bookings that far in advance.

But with a long lead time, you can go nuts ordering tourist information (through the mail) from the official tourist bureau/office of the places you want to consider. Request it by e-mail. It's a great way to learn and plan.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Feb 4th, 2002, 05:19 PM
  #6  
Bob Brown
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On hotels, I found that in January my hotel of choice was already booked for Oktoberfest in September. (Oktoberfest is the name of the festival, not when it takes place. The weather is better in September.)
The same is true in the more popular summer resorts of the Alps. It depends on when you want to go, but often August is booked well in advance.
So, no, it is not too early for select locations, like Salzburg during the music festival, etc.
 
Feb 4th, 2002, 06:31 PM
  #7  
TheTraveler
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Melissa, We always travel with FF miles and usually at peak times. We are traveling to Europe in June of 2002, and I held my seats as far in advance as I could--usually as others have said--a little less than 1 year in advance. I suggest calling the airline and asking on what date you can do it. Throughout the year, I have been reading, chatting on the internet, looking for accomodation possibilities and etc. It has been wonderful. The anticipation is as much fun as the actual adventure! Plus, you will learn so much which will be invaluable when you finally travel! Good luck!
 
Feb 5th, 2002, 05:30 AM
  #8  
Patrick
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I too use American FF miles and mark my calendar for the 332 days out date. They even let you book and then hold the trip over, but you must wait again for the magic date to then book your return. This past summer I missed calling on the exact date to book the return. About a week later I remembered and called and the return date was already taken by other FF users. We needed to stay an extra two days in Europe (a "problem" I can easily live with).
Now that 2002 summer is all planned, I've started working on the plans for 2003 -- so, no, I don't think it's too early.
 
Feb 5th, 2002, 06:42 AM
  #9  
Wayne
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I would add concurrence with all the previous comments regarding early booking of FF flights. I have been flying on FF miles for the past 15 years, and I always make my FF reservations close to the allowable 330 days in advance. You can always find hotels once you get your flights booked, so I usually wait until November through January to arrange for the hotels. For those hotels that close during winter and early spring (many don't reopen until mid-March or April) you would need to make reservations before they close for the winter. For those hotels that are open all year, I usually make my bookings by January, sometimes as late as February, of the year I'm going.
Occasionally, I don't get the exact hotel I want, but I've never had a problem getting a good one that meets my desires. One final note--for a vacation duration of 5 weeks or so, you might want to consider weekly rentals of a small cottage or villa to save on total rental cost. That, of course, usually also means you have to rent a car. Whatever you do, you will enjoy it. Have fun.
 
Feb 5th, 2002, 08:13 AM
  #10  
Elina
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It is not too early, because planning is such great fun! Do what Rex and TheTraveller suggested, gather info and let your imagination fly!

But please, avoid August. Because it is southern and central European holoday month every place is just so crowded. If I go on a holiday to Central or Southern Europe I never do it in August. Have done a couple of times and sworn that never again.
 
Feb 5th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #11  
Sara
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Not at all too early! Just another plug for planning ahead. I too fly using FF miles--the only way we can afford such travel. I booked my May 2002 trip in July 2002 and didn't get my first choice of dates or cities, but close enough (Delta). Also using FF miles, which you probably already know, is a huge benefit because most airlines let you fly an open-jaws itinerary, which if you paid out of pocket for would be more expensive than a round trip itinerary. I take advantage of that and am able to spread my itinerary over a larger geographical area if I want--ie starting in Amsterdam and ending in Madrid. Not only does planning very far in advance increase your chances for getting the flights via FF miles, but it allows you so much time to really plan out the trip--places you'll visit, hotels and even daily agendas if you want to get really detailed. For me planning the trip is really half the fun. It usually takes me a while just to nail down the countries I'll visit, which is the most fun part, and you need to know that before you book your flights. And as far as hotels I normally book about 4 months in advance and have no problems getting what I want--though I always confirm a week or two prior to departure to make sure they haven't forgotten about me. So from one Europe addict to another--have fun planning and dreaming of Europe 2003!
 
Feb 5th, 2002, 11:27 AM
  #12  
melissadicicco
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Thanks everyone! I am so excited now! I will definitely have to check with my airline (USAirways) for the information about when I can book. Also, thanks to the person who mentioned open-jaws...for some reason I thought we wouldn't be able to do that with FF miles. One more question for those of you who have used FF miles: Is there a limit to the amount of days that you can be away? Someone told me that it was 30 days, but I will check.
Thanks!
Melissa
PS) We will be going in June and July - will try to avoid August! Be prepared for many destination questions coming from me in the months to come - I love this forum!
 
Feb 5th, 2002, 01:17 PM
  #13  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Melissa, We did 8 weeks in that area, plus Spain and French riviera, in 1999.
If you plan to drive you will want to find out about the French lease program.
Let me know if I can help. That region is wonderful.
 
Feb 6th, 2002, 05:41 AM
  #14  
melissadicicco
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BOB-
Can you tell me more about the French lease program? I assume that it refers to leasing a car, and we were planning on doing most of the trip by car. Thanks.
 
Feb 6th, 2002, 06:12 AM
  #15  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Both Renault and Peugeot have the program and it will save you a real bundle for any rental[lease] of more than 17 days. They are brand new cars that you " buy" and then return. Thus, they can resell and avoid the 21% vat.
We saved about $1000 for our 8 week trip. It is cheaper to pick up and drop in France, but you can also get them at some other major cities--like Milan or Munich. You pick the model--we had a Peugeot 406. It includes full insurance coverage. I forget the sites, but do a search under " Renault lease" and you will find it. A very good deal !
 
Feb 6th, 2002, 08:22 AM
  #16  
ttt
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ttt
 
Feb 6th, 2002, 08:30 AM
  #17  
Betty
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http://www.renaultusa.com/index.htm
 
Feb 6th, 2002, 09:31 AM
  #18  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Both Renault and Peugeot have the program and it will save you a real bundle for any rental[lease] of more than 17 days. They are brand new cars that you " buy" and then return. Thus, they can resell and avoid the 21% vat.
We saved about $1000 for our 8 week trip. It is cheaper to pick up and drop in France, but you can also get them at some other major cities--like Milan or Munich. You pick the model--we had a Peugeot 406. It includes full insurance coverage. I forget the sites, but do a search under " Renault lease" and you will find it. A very good deal !
 
Feb 13th, 2002, 06:26 PM
  #19  
topper
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ttt
 

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