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Critique trip plans, please

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Sep 29th, 2013, 06:38 PM
  #1
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Critique trip plans, please

Hello, everyone, and thanks in advance for answering my questions.

We are planning a second trip to Europe (in 2012 we visited London, Paris and Yorkshire) -- a 60-something, a 40-something and 16-year-old teens, all in great health and experienced backpackers. We will probably split up occasionally (parent/child pairs) to explore personal interests, i.e., husband is not a coaster fan, two of us are not into horses, etc.. We are *not* into churches/cathedrals, traditional museums or wine/beer ... we're comfortable in cities but more comfortable in the country. We enjoy seeing sights on foot and spending time spontaneously, while realizing that we're not going to be able to see everything that any city or town offers.

Here are our limitations, and my attempt to create a trip that would satisfy mostly everyone:
- we all love London (and the cheapest flights are round-trip from Heathrow; I'd prefer to fly into London and fly out of Berlin, but that would be several hundred dollars more ... are open-jawed flights considered two one-way flights, or am I keying them in wrong somehow?)
- Strasbourg has huge cultural significance to us, since both my and my husband's families originated in that area
- daughters' must-sees are Europa-Park, Tropical Islands waterpark in Berlin and Neuschwanstein
- two of us are equestrians, so the Spanish Riding School is a top priority
- I work at a zoo, so seeing zoos would be a big plus (Berlin, London and Vienna come to mind first)

So with all those disclaimers, here's my rough draft:

Days 1,2: London Heathrow (London unscheduled)

Days 3-6: 2.5hrs Eurostar to Paris, lunch there, pick up the TGV 2.5hrs to Strasbourg (Strasbourg unscheduled except for a visit to Europa-Park)

Day 7-8: 4hrs Munich (day trip to Neuschwanstein)

Day 9-11: 3hrs train to Salzburg, lunch/Hellbrunn Palace, then 3hrs on to Vienna (our top
picks are Spanish Riding School and Schoenbrunn Zoo)

Day 12-13: fly AirBerlin to Berlin, two days there (Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Museum, stay at Tropical Islands waterpark)

Day 14-16: fly RyanAir to London, 1 full day in London, then home the next morning from Heathrow

I realize this is a problematic schedule with a lot of territory in less time than I'd like. Do you see a way that we could skip Munich and add that time to Berlin? Would it be better, in your opinion, just to stay in Salzburg and day-trip into Vienna on two of the three days? Other suggestions?

Your feedback is appreciated. Thanks --

Kandace
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Sep 29th, 2013, 06:49 PM
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Just a couple of quick comments

>>are open-jawed flights considered two one-way flights, or am I keying them in wrong somehow?<<

No, they aren't two one way flights. On most websites open jaw flights are called 'multi-city'. They are usually about the average of RT into one of the cities and RT into the other city. But sometimes they are substantially cheaper. In any case they usually save $$ because one doesn''t need to travel back to the arrival city. Plus the save hassle/extra internal travel.

I'd do one or two more days in London at the front end -- your current 1.5 days will be jet lagged. And I'd fly home from Berlin.
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Sep 29th, 2013, 06:52 PM
  #3
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Thank you, I'll check into that -- my first choice was to fly into London and fly out of Berlin (or leave London out altogether since we've already been there, but that was a 3-to-1 vote ).
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Sep 29th, 2013, 07:01 PM
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When you price the open jaws -- also check doing it into Berlin and home from London. Sometimes there will be a difference.
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Sep 29th, 2013, 07:06 PM
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Open jaw flights are called multi-destination and should be the same as half of each RT flight.

Put all of your London days at one end of the trip and avoid wasting a full day.
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Sep 29th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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You may want to consider doing the trip in reverse. Immediately upon landing in London, fly to Berlin, then work your way back to London, giving you all your days there at the end. This should save you a little travel time since you will already be at the airport. You will likely also be jet lagged, so you may as well just plow on through traveling while tired.

The whole trip seems rather fast paced to me. You are counting travel days as days in each city, which can be deceiving. Remember to factor in time getting from hotel to train station (early enough to catch train), then from train estation to new hotel, and getting oriented to a new city. For example Day 7-8 has you traveling to Munich on day 7, then taking a day trip on day 8. That gives you less than half a day to see Munich. You also do not have 2 days in Berlin. I'd suggest adding more days or subtracting one or two locations.
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Sep 29th, 2013, 07:13 PM
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Im on a roll here and will again recommend the little book i just bought: National Geographic's 'Walking London'
it is compact and light and has great litle maps and itineraries that are based on districts; includes opening times and general tips about eating out as well

I am going to London for the 2nd time next Jan with 20yr old daughter and am going to go on the HOHO bus again..dont know if youve done that before but i thought it was a great way to get your head around the layout of London

we stayed at pension Nossek in the graben in vienna...fabulous location..very central..can walk to most things and also close to st stephens station.. very comfortable lodgings run by two sisters..great coffee..great breakfasts and the building was home to Mozart for a while!
have a look at Hundertwassen...
quirky colourful architecture..( google and youll see what I mean)...good cafe in the upstairs of the little mall there
we also ventured by train and bus up to the woodlands overlooking vienna...gorgeous gorgeous ...Leopoldsburgand Cobenzl...lovely walk down the mountain road and bus back to Helingenstadt and then onto Grinzig for a walk around that little town
that was a highlight for us

i love horses but didnt get a chance to visit the spanish school of riding ..boohoo



Have a wonderful trip!
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Sep 30th, 2013, 06:26 PM
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My daughter and I attended a performance of the Lipizzaner horses at the Riding School, and it was wonderful. We also tried out as many pastry shops as we could manage--also wonderful. The Imperial Palace was interesting, and the Schonbrunn Summer Palace was lovely I would suggest staying in Vienna rather than day tripping.

If you want another day trip from Munich to Austria, Innsbruck is close and very scenic. Special sights to visit are the Imperial Palace and the beautiful baroque St. Jakob's Cathedral.
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Sep 30th, 2013, 08:02 PM
  #9
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Thanks!
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