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England to France to Switzerland to Italy

England to France to Switzerland to Italy

Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:03 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2016
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England to France to Switzerland to Italy

Hi everyone, I have a general idea of our family trip (we are a family of 4) to the locations mentioned. But we were going to travel mainly by train. I know you can get off and on most trains to explore towns, so my main question is on luggage, accommodation and car hire

1. If you take a train and want to hop off without spending a night in a stopover, what do you do with your luggage?
2. I have booked our main stays already using Booking.com but can you just book as you go if you decide to go off the beaten track without worrying about not finding anywhere to stay?
3. How much is car hire in these European countries?

We are travelling at the end of the year from 5th Dec to 15th Jan because my kids can't miss much school - we are in Australia,
samandrew is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2016, 11:48 PM
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1) google the station and see if they have a left luggage point. If not you are kind of stuffed
2) Just book as you go, but note that Christmas and New Years places will be packed (so don't wing it then)
3) have a search using auto europe which is a consolidator (and a good place to hire through). Generally don't hire and bring back in different countries, do go for stick shift. Prices can vary from £40 to £150 a day depending on car type so really you need to dig yourself.

Cold and wet, you need to stay in the cities not go driving about, Italy has no-car zones in the centre of many cities with heavy fines associated.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 12:31 AM
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No, you can't just hop on and off trains for the most part in Europe. You have to book separate legs for every train ride and know where you're going, and when. You have to know what you're doing each leg of the journey. It's not like a city Hop-On Hop-Off bus.

If a destination doesn't have a left-luggage facility, you're out of luck. Most major rail stations have them. Most not major rail stations don't. Up to you to plan accordingly.

No, you can't just book as you go without worrying about finding someplace to stay. You'll probably always find something, but without worrying about it? No, because you'll spend precious hours of your vacation yammering with Tourist Office personnel or zipping in and out of potential places to stay checking them out. If you are thinking of doing this during winter holidays, think again. Loads of people travel during the winter holidays.

Car hire prices vary enormously depending on the country, the type of car, the car rental outfit, what your credit card covers for CDW insurance, and so forth. There's no cut-and dried answer to that.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 07:29 AM
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<<3. How much is car hire in these European countries?>>

Seriously? Why would we know better than kayak.com or priceline or similar? Especially when we don't know your pickup point either . . .
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 09:04 AM
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That time of year, it's best to stick to cities. Days are short, the weather's bad, the countryside uninteresting. There are lots of things to do and see in cities in the winter.

Driving, you'll have to be able to handle icy roads and maybe snow. It's better to take the train.

And, with 2 kids to drag around, I'd book hotels ahead of time. It's not like you just want one double room. More likely a family room, which a relatively rare. Depending where you'll be on the Christmas and New Years' holidays, also book a restaurant for those days. You might solicit suggestions here.
Mimar is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 06:24 PM
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Have you looked at the weather - average temps and possibility of sleet, ice or snow (obviously definite in Switz)? Do you have full winter wardrobes? Are you going for any winter sports? Are you prepared for how short and dreary the days will be (dawn at 8 am and sunset at 4 pm)?

You can certainly have a wonderful trip then but you really do need to make plans that allow for the weather conditions, the fact that in the off season some places are closed or open only certain days/times and that weather can mean extended transit delays.

As for driving, I would no attempt to drive in bad road conditions unless you have experience doing so - it's a very different thing that driving on clean pavement, esp on mountain roads and in a strange car.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 02:20 AM
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You list 4 countries in 10 days and if this includes arrival and departure days, this trip will be a blur for you. You will also lose half a day each time you move between countries at the very least so less usable time. Cut it down by half and choose two of the countries only and forget the car.

It won't get light until 8am or thereabouts and will be dark again by around 4pm in the UK, so not much opportunity for sightseeing in the countryside.

London and Paris are the easiest places to visit with a train ride in between, www.eurostar.com
Rubicund is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 06:59 AM
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Rubicund, the OP said 5 DEC to 15 JAN, so 40 or so days.
Mimar is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 07:08 AM
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TTT so we can argue some more
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2016, 01:13 AM
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Apologies, Mimar, post in haste, can't edit at leisure!
Rubicund is offline  
Jun 5th, 2016, 02:04 AM
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Do you have an itinerary defined? We had 5 weeks with our kids in Europe and decided to stay at least 4-5 nights in each place. As we wanted to show the kids a few different places that meant some longish train journeys between places but that was fine with us. Doing day trips from a base can work well. Of course your alternative is shorter journeys and shorter stays.
dreamon is online now  
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