Advice 5 month trip

Jul 12th, 2008, 11:40 AM
  #1  
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Advice 5 month trip

We are a retired couple who dream of traveling for 5 months in Europe. In May 2009 we would like to fly into Athens using our frequent flier miles and spend 2 weeks. Then fly into Rome and spend a month in Italy. Next we would like to travel by car to Germany and up the Romantic Road. We would give ourselves a month for this as we would like to stop in either Switzerland or Austria as we drive through. Then up to Amsterdam-Netherlands for two weeks. Next stop would be Paris for 2 weeks. Then a month and a half in Britain, Scotland and Ireland and fly home at end of September. Is it possible to find a clean, safe hotel for 100 US dollars a night not too far awhile from the sights? Are we being unrealistic with this budget? Can you suggest where we can start our hotel search? Should we consider an apartment for the 2 week stays? So far everything we have seen apartment wise has been pretty pricey. We are new to Fodor's and would appreciate any help we can receive. Thank you
rookie6 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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Many people here have used VRBO for their rentals
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 11:51 AM
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You do realise that you can only stay in the Schengen zone for a maximum of three months without a visa?

I think you may find it hard to find hotels for the price you are thinking of, certainly in the Netherlands that will probably be a tough thing. You should maybe consider renting apartments or other self catering places.
hetismij is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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Many people here have also rented apparments using agencies for Paris. Do a search and you will find many threads.

When looking at your options don't forget the B&B and Gites (France) option. These will tend to be cheaper and yet nicer in many ways.

Without knowing your exact locations, it would be hard for anyone to state that a $100 a nighh for a hotel would be enough for the trip. What are your expectations for accomodations? Does it include parking? Are you willing to stay outside cities and commute into center?
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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I'm assuming this will be your first trip to Europe, is that right?

If so, it's my opinion that you're possibly trying to do much too much. 5 months is a long time to be living out of a suitcase or two.

The city stays, by definition, will be on the expensive side. 100 US dollars a night is not reasonable. Yes, you are we being unrealistic with this budget.

You cannot rent a car in one country and return it in another (without paying a stiff premium). Perhaps you could arrange for a lease situation.

I think you'll have difficulties making reservations and future arrangements while you're on the move.

As rookies, I think you should scale back your ambitious agenda. I suggest making an exploratory trip of shorter duration, laying the groundwork for a future, lengthier trip such as you have in mind here.
TuckH is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 12:14 PM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi R,

Good advice from Tuck.

For that long a visit, you will need a visa for the Schengen countries - only allowed 90 days in a 6 mos period.

You will also want to look into a lease plan rather than a rental.

$100/nite dbl in major cities is not reasonable.

Except, I can highly recommend www.bedinflorence.it in Florence, IT.

In Paris, consider the http://www.france-hotel-guide.com/h75012lux.htm

It is not very central, but is near metro stops and has been recommended by other posters.

In Munich, the http://www.hotel-uhland.de/enwelcome.html is very nice, and is close to your budget.

In Salzburg, I can highly recommend http://www.ammoos.at/main.php?language=en&m=home

Enjoy your planning.

ira is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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To maximize your accommodation budget I would suggest staying outside of the city centers, in an apartment, and daytripping to them as needed. This will save you a lot of money, and you will be able to experience life outside of the major cities. In southern Germany, for example, a very nice ferienwohnung in the Berchtesgaden region can run you 60 euro or less and you will have stunning mountain views and will only be 20 minutes from Salzburg and 1.5 hours from Munich.

In cities you may also want to look into apartments, although you will be hard pressed to keep it at under $100 US per night, especially in cities like Rome.

Definitely look into a lease option for cars, as you will pay a very hefty fee to drop off a rental in a country other than the one you pick it up from.

As mentioned above, if you hold a US passport you can only stay in the Schengen countries for a maximum of 90 days at a time. If you really want to be gone for 5 months you will have to leave the Schengen zone and reenter to get another 90 days.

Good luck and best wishes,
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 01:08 PM
  #8  
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To All,
Thank you for your responses. We are novices. Just googled VRBO and Schengen Visa as we were not aware of either. We will revise our housing budget and will widen our search to outside of city centers. We will also research B&B and studio apartments. Ira, we appreciate your website suggestions. We would like to make all our reservations before we leave. The car will be a challenge. Any other thoughts you have to share we would appreciate them.
rookie6 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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"If you really want to be gone for 5 months you will have to leave the Schengen zone and reenter to get another 90 days."

One clarification of the above:

It doesn't work quite that way - one is limited to 90 days within any 180 day period. So after your 90 days, just leaving Schengen will not "restart" the clock. You would not be able to return to any Schangen zone country until 6 months after your initial entry.

The UK and Ireland are not members of Schengen so you don't have a problem there. But you'll be limited to 90 day in the other countries.

As for rental cars - many people would recommend a lease/buyback. But in this case, Ireland and the UK use right-hand drive cars and it is left-hand drive on the continent. Plus for some areas of your itinerary, trains and public transport would be more economical/better. For instance you definitely do not want/need a car while staying in Paris.

If it were me, I'd want a series of maybe 2 and 3 week rentals w/ city breaks in between. Try to avoid dropping cars in different countries and you will save a FORTUNE. Plus you will want a UK-car in the UK
janisj is online now  
Jul 12th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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I don't think you will have too much difficulty finding accommodations in the 60-70 Euro price range in Germany and Austria, especially outside the large cities.

We stayed at the Braunes Ross Hotel in Noerdlingen on the Romantic Road for 56E including breakfast. The location was amazing and the hotel was a little worn but clean. There are others we have stayed at as well in that price range that were fine.

It takes some time, but you can find good accommodations. Try going to the city's own website such as www.cityname.de for Germany or .at for Austria.

I've also used www.hotel.de and www.booking.com.

For Germany and Austria, you might look at www.bensbauernhof.com for accommodation recommendations including farm stays.

For car rentals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, try www.gemut.com and www.autoeurope.com.

Hope this helps.
bettyk is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 02:51 PM
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You should consider renting apartments even for 3-4 night stays. There's no rule that you may only rent for a week or longer in most places.

This site will give you an idea of rental facilities and costs around Europe but is especially useful for Germany:

www.accommodation.de

I've rented with my own family on numerous occasions in Germany, without an agent, and been delighted every time by the quality, comfort, and value provided.
Russ is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 06:08 PM
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Please pay attention to what Janisj has posted regarding your visas, and consider extending your time in the UK and Ireland for to a full two months.

I heartily encourage you to look for apartment rentals to bring down your costs. Plus, you will want the use of washing machines and a kitchen for that length of time.

I would encourage you to think of leaving Roma by train, and going through Milano all the way to Switzerland, and using trains to see Switzerland, using the many discounted fares Switzerland offers tourists (and perhaps seniors as well). Then go to Germany with a rental, then get rid of it to see the Netherlands by train. You don't need a car for Paris, and of course you can take the train to London, and rent another car from that point on.

You should probably go over the Slow Travel website and make friends with the people who post there. There are some who have taken a year to see Europe, or six months. Many people doing extended stays. I'm sure they can help you fine tune your plans, and teach you all the tricks for saving money.

Hope you make your dream come true.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 06:56 PM
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One of the wonderful things about being able to travel for so long is that you have the freedom to change things as you go along. To reserve everything in advance negates that.

And you'll get better at it the longer you are away from home. So I wouldn't reserve everything before you leave, just draw up a list of likely accommo and arrange it as you go along.

You should be able to find accommodation in the 60-70 euro range some, but not all, of the time. It sort of evens itself out.

A website that specialises in the less expensive options is www.activehotels.co.uk

I've used them twice and have been pleased with my choices.

Happy planning!
afterall is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 12:10 AM
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I would definitely head to www.slowtrav.com where there are many people that have done what you are wanting to do.

Happy traveling!
jamikins is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 12:25 AM
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Hi,

I would second the idea of travelling by train in Europe - it is very easy & then hire a car in somewhere like the UK.

Mark
isplumm is offline  
Jul 13th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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Have you ever traveled for so long before? 5 months is a LONG time to be away from home and on the road (unless you are permanently moving to a new location).

The 3 month restriction is the first thing you really do need to take into account for your proposed itinerary.

Car rental starting in one and returning to a different country is another thing that has specific rules and fees you'll need to know.

$100USD will be easier in the countryside than in major European cities near the central attractions.
suze is online now  
Jul 13th, 2008, 08:37 AM
  #17  
 
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If I were planning your trip for myself, I would skip car rental and make my itinerary work with places I could get to via public tranporation - trains or even bus for certain routes.
suze is online now  

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