Advice Wanted!

Old Oct 18th, 2013, 07:26 PM
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Advice Wanted!

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of trying to plan my first European Vacation. I have done extensive research but still would like other's advice. I have notice newbies like me often get raked over the coals in the comment sections because we want to do too much in too little of a time but I would appreciate if constructive criticism was given. My husband and I will be taking a flight from Austin, Tx to Dublin. Tickets to Dublin are half the price of tickets to London. Our return flight will be out of Dublin. We want to visit London, Paris, and Rome. I know they seem cliche to someone who has been to the all of them but remember, they are popular for a reason. I am trying to figure out the best way to travel from country to country and if the trip is doable in 14 days. I also would like to find a budget friendly way to sleep in these places. If we have to cut out Italy, I will understand. I would love any advice you all have. I have about $6-7 thousand budgeted out for the trip. Thank you for your help!!!
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 07:34 PM
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>>We want to visit London, Paris, and Rome. I know they seem cliche <<

They aren't 'cliche' at all. Wonderful places.

My first question is what are you spending/wasting by booking flights into Ireland when you want to see places in France, Italy and the UK. The 'savings' will likely cost you extra $$$ getting around and will definitely cost you in time. two weeks is really only about 12 days 'on the ground' and you have to 'eat' two more days getting from/to Dublin and where you really want to go . . .

Now you are down to 10 useable days and you want to visit thre huge/magnificent cities.

I would REALLY re-think the Dublin plan.

If you have already booked R-T in/out of Dublin . . . Then you'll really have to cut somewhere else.
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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Seriously, why fly into Dublin if you're not going to Ireland? That seems like really skewed thinking, especially as it will take lots of valuable time out of your vacation (equatable to vacation dollars) to get where you actually DO want to go.

Cut out Italy. You really have 10 days. Nothing in Europe is a cliché - it's all wonderful, particularly if it's new to you.
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 08:07 PM
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listen to janis - she knows!
Have you already booked your flight to Dublin? What dates are you planning to travel? - makes a big difference in air fares. I would omit Rome for this trip and concentrate on Dublin, London and Paris. I checked fares for mid-May from Dublin to London to Paris and back to Dublin and found some pretty good fares on www.cheapoair.com which we have used successfully. Mid-May fares on that site from Dublin-London-Paris-Dublin are running around $280 total per person for early booking. www.vayama.com is another good site to check fares within Europe. There are many more, including the major airlines sites: Aer Lingus, BA, EasyJet, to name a few. A good site for looking/booking accommodations is www.booking.com - very reliable IME. Your budget sounds very doable for two. DH and I usually travel for a month for around $9,000, including air fare, staying in nice, moderately priced small hotels and B&Bs and eating sensibly. (We're not foodies).
Again, for this trip I would skip Rome.
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 08:17 PM
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Okay if you fly into London and then add Paris then Rome you are basically going to have less than 4 days in each city? Changing to each city will be costing you a travel day.The money you think that you are saving by flying to Dublin will really cost you more to get to and from London and your other cities. Do an open jaw ticket where you fly into one city and out of another to save time and money!

I love Rome but think maybe you should just do the two cities with possible day trips from London(Stonehenge,Windsor,Bath,etc.) and Paris(Versailles,possibly Normandy,etc.) to make your trip less stressful and more enjoyable?

I work as an international flight attendant so fly to Europe almost every week for work. I always run into people coming home on my flights that complain to me that they were running ragged trying to put too many cities into their itinerary and it wasn't enjoyable. Believe me when I say that once you go to Europe-YOU WILL BE BACK AGAIN!
I did my first European trip back in 1970 and even after all these years of working there and vacationing there, it still takes my breath away whenever I am over there so enjoy!
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Old Oct 18th, 2013, 10:55 PM
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I have notice newbies like me often get raked over the coals in the comment sections because we want to do too much in too little of a time but I would appreciate if constructive criticism was given.>>

well, randomhope, i hope that that criticism was constructive enough for you. Flying in and out of Dublin may turn out to be a false economy if you have to get flights elsewhere, and get back to Dublin especially as you don't seem to want to spend any time there. At the very least look at "open jaw" flights - into one city and out of another. they are often shown as multi-city on airlines websites and they should not cost much more than a round trip fare.

However, if you end up with Dublin, why not spend at least a couple of days there [if you're flying out of there, put those days at the end.

Flights from Dublin to London are reasonably cheap [look at BA for example from Dublin to LHR] - you need at least 3 full days there to see a selection of the major sights; 4-5 days would be better.

then get the eurostar train to Paris - very easy and if booked far enough in advance [booking starts 3 months out] reasonably priced. it takes you right into the centre of Paris, where you need at least 5 days to get the best out of your stay.

Fly home from Paris.

leave Italy for another trip. It will still be there.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 12:26 AM
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Agree...flying into the 'cheapest' location when you aren't planning time there is a false economy. You will then need to pay to get to where you want to go, deal with potentially connecting flights on separate airlines, waste time, and also will likely need to spend your last night there. So you waste a lot of time and $$$ at the end of the day.

London, Paris and Rome I think are doable in two weeks if you fly into say london and home from Rome or vice versa.

Hope this helps!
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 01:34 AM
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If you are already committed to flying in and out of Dublin, then yes, do spend a few days in Dublin, you'll need to get over jetlag anyway. Then perhaps London, train to Paris and then a flight to Dublin for the return flight home. I agree though that you will chew up most of the savings flying Dublin-London and the. Paris-Dublin.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you love your first trip to Europe. Keep coming back here with questions, sometimes you'll be hit over the head and told you are an idiot but it's worthwhile persisting. There are some very well travelled posters her pe who can provide lots of assistance. Make sure you pack light.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 04:26 AM
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Cathies has good constructive advice for what you have already unfortunately committed to.
But just for future planning, please take into consideration the time needed to get from place to place, and how that subtracts from the sites you want to see. Then divide the time left--and see if it is "doable (you could fly to Rome, but it is expensive). Then consider if your RT fare is the best "deal".
Open jaw would have perhaps made this a possibility but still a stretch.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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Looking just at initial costs is very often a false economy. To understand the real savings (if any) you need to understand the additional cost to get from your non-visit site to the first site you want to be and then the flight from your last site to get back to that city. (If you save $400 on the transatlantic flight, but it costs you $100 to get to the first city you want to see and than $150 to get back - and do figure out not just the flights but also costs to and from airport - all you have really saved is less than $100.)

Then you have to figure out what your time is worth - especially when you have so few days is 3 days in transit not a real waste of time.

A pity what you will miss as a result of this decision.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 05:48 AM
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One way to see the real cost of going through outlaying cities and how it costs travel money:
If the total cost of your trip is $7000.00 for two for 14 days and 2 days are used at beginning and end, you have 12 days for sightseeing. That comes to roughly a cost of $292.00 per person per day of sightseeing. Every day you spend traveling from place to place is costing you $292.00 to see/do nothing, plus you have the cost of train or plane tickets on top of that. So, even if things work out that you use only a half day getting from Dublin to London and another from Paris to Dublin, look how much those 2 half days have really cost you.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 06:06 AM
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I should have been more specific. I intend to explore Dublin. We have considered cutting out Italy and planning it for a later trip. I like the suggestion of focusing on small towns and making day trips to the border ones. I have not bought my flight tickets yet. I will say flight to Dublin, roundtrip, are $800/person and flights to London, roundtrip are $1500/person.

If we cut out Rome and do Dublin, London, and Paris, I feel like the travel time and costs will be at a minimum. I would like to take the trains/ferry from Dublin to London, to Paris, and then possibly fly back to Dublin. Will this plan work? I have not booked any tickets yet so everything is still pretty negotiable.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 06:07 AM
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At this point, I would be up for any suggestions in helping plan this itinerary focusing on Dublin, London, and Paris.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 06:13 AM
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randomhope,

I'm still unclear about a few of your points.
= Have you actually already purchased the roundtrips tickets Austin-Dublin-Austin?
= Do you actually want to visit Dublin/Ireland or are you just passing through for cheap flights?
= Does the 14 days include travel to and from Europe?
= I'm assuming your stated budget ($6-7 thousand) does not include airfare from home to Europe.
= Have you made a preliminary list of what you hope to do and see in each of your dream locations? (Knowing what you might want to see can help discern how many days you might need to see it all.)

My favorite constructive advice is to actually make a day-by-day proposed itinerary to see how your days might be spent.

Day 1: depart Austin
Day 2: arrive Dublin; fly to Rome
Day 3: Rome
Day 4: Rome
Day 5: fly to Paris
Day 6: Paris
Day 7: Paris
Day 8: train to London
Day 9: London
Day 10: London
Day 11: fly to Dublin
Day 12: Dublin
Day 13: Dublin
Day 14: fly Dublin to Austin

On your travel days, keep in mind that making all the connections between hotels, transportation, stations, and airports, going through security checks, and waiting will take at least half your day, especially if you are unfamiliar with the places. I've apportioned the days evenly over your stated locations, since you've shown no preference. Are two uninterrupted days in each location a match for your idea of this trip?
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 06:16 AM
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Oops! I was typing while you were revising your plan. I encourage you to test some multicity tickets for your new plan, flying Austin to Dublin, then Paris to Austin. The time savings would be tremendous. What dates have you been using to search for tickets?
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 06:52 AM
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It's not just the flight cost, but also the loss of time backtracking to Dublin to catch the flight home. You can't fly back the day of your flight back to the states because flights normally depart early for the states. Typcially, you have to fly back the day before and you don't have that much time.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 07:23 AM
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If you haven't got the flights I would look for open jaw (sometimes called multi- city on airline websites) into say Dublin and out of your last destination,be that Paris or Rome.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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Why not visit only Ireland and UK? We travelled Ireland and UK in 2011 for 3 weeks. For your next vacation you can do Paris and Rome. You will remember, experience and enjoy much more. I understand how you feel as I did the same, but I have forced myself to slow down. Only a suggestion.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 07:58 AM
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I don't see what your specific dates are. If you look at multi-city in March you can get flights into Dublin and out of London (with a stop in JFK each way) for about $970. IMHO from Austin to and fro europe anything less than $1K per person is a good deal. Into London and out of Paris shows $1026.

If you are going in high season - naturally costs will probably be higher.

If you provide more info people can make specific recos. But obviously multi-city will save you a lot of time and money. No need to do Dublin if you don;t want to.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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I'd definitely look at open-jaw plans, to fly into Dublin and home from someplace else. Or vice versa. Seems there are lots of fare sales to London. Check both airports there, too.

You've dropped Italy? For future reference, we found it was cheaper to fly in & out of Florence or Milan, than in & out of Rome. So Italy can be less expensive than you think.

Have fun planning your trip!
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