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Europe First time Trip 12-14 days

Old Feb 21st, 2020, 12:01 AM
  #1  
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Europe First time Trip 12-14 days

Dear all

I bit tired of seeing cosmos, gate1 and globus and finally coming here. Yes, i am clueless for some of it . Please help if you have time.

I am trying to look for a entire europe trip from Germany, Italy, swiss and Paris. I do not want travel luxury or so cheap. I am looking to travel between may 10 th to may 30th. Are there tour operators available to take us around (4 of us) in a packaged/escorted tours. That will be off great help.

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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 05:11 AM
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First, difficult as it will be, you must get rid of the idea of a whole Europe trip in 12-14 days, even three countries and one city are impossible. Getting from place to place takes up a lot of time. There is more to see than you can possibly imagine.

Where are you coming from? What are the ages of your group? What is your budget in Euros? What are your major interests?

Exactly how many nights and days will you have On the Ground once you land in Europe? Exact dates?

You seem to want a complex trip. Someone with experience can plan last minute, but you do not have experience or a long time frame. You will need to simplify.
I doubt anyone here can, or will, try to plan a trip for you.
You have a lot of work to do.
Do you have some guide books? Have you talked with a travel agent?
I suggest in the next week, you quickly read some guide books, speak with a travel agent and lay out a rough plan. Then, before you book anything, come back here with your proposed itinerary for advice. Do not book anything, especially airfare and trains, until the itinerary is firm. People book cheap airfare, then are really stuck trying to make it work. Do Not do that!
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 05:54 AM
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If you really want a tour, this is one of the few companies I would consider for a European tour, and they have one tour available in May that covers your countries: https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/europe/europe-14-days

However, Europe is very easy to do on your own using trains - see https://www.seat61.com/

But I agree with Sassafras that you will have a much better trip if you slow down a bit and see fewer places in more depth. What are your interests? What do you hope to get out of this trip?
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 06:34 AM
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Have a look at Rabbies. They are an excellent small group ( 16 ) passengers tour company and have just added Europe to their itineraries. I would also add that it’s doubtful any tour company will offer a 10 day tour of 4 countries. Think about cutting back.

www.rabbies.com
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 06:34 AM
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Thank you. I need this kick in butt.

We are all US nationals. I can pay close to 10k in dollars for the entire trip. We can tentatively stay close to 12 to 13 days. I have not booked the air yet since I am yet to decide where to start. I have a close relativel who stays in munich , and I can start from munich. Any time between may 12th to may 30th I can come.

My interest is swiss,italy and France. We have family of 4. Both kids are 20 and 15.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 07:24 AM
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It would help to know where you will be flying from, since given a fairly short time frame, it would be helpful if you can book air tickets that are "open jaw", flying into one city and departing from another. So for instance you might fly into Munich and home from Paris. But some destinations are easier to put together ope jaw tickets for than others.

If the 10K is for all 4 of you, then the Rick Steve's tour will be above that at $4,000/person. I am not convinced your kids would actually enjoy a guided tour for the whole trip. At their ages, it might be better to plan tour experiences along the way-specific things your family might enjoy like walking tours, bike tours, hikes etc. or even a day tour out to a certain place that might be harder to reach on public transport. I think if you just start to map out the places you really want to see and look at how you will get there then you will be able to create a trip that is more custom to your family and what they like and still stay in budget.

You might play around a bit on Rome2rio. It is a great site for getting a realistic idea of the travel distances between destinations and the transport options for getting there. That way you can see how much time you could plan for each place

https://www.rome2rio.com/

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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 07:25 AM
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Is the relative in Munich someone you feel you must visit? Your interests are Italy (which could easily take all of your time), Switzerland and France. Munich means time in Germany, which you do not have if you visit the other three. Switzerland is expensive. You will have to budget accordingly. What do you hope to see in Italy and France? Can the 20 year old and 15 year old share a room? There are American style hotels, but European hotels may be smaller than you are used to and, though they are available, family rooms are less common. Just throwing that in for thinking about budget in some places.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:23 AM
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Let me seriously see what we would like to see first. Not sure which 3 countries we should visit. Going by popularity I said we wanted to visit swiss, France and italy. No specific reason. We wanted to visit only those countries where my kids enjoy , which I am yet to figure out . Can you suggest some links where I can read about which to see.. Its surprise to them as we were waiting for years. Do not wanted to disclose it too early.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:23 AM
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In the time you have you could easily do a trip that includes Munich, Rome, Paris. A good variety of experiences. You could use a day trip or two to see the countryside from any of those cities while minimizing the time and cost lost traveling between places. For help planning consider from bookstore or library Rick Steves Backdoor or Rough Guides first time Europe books. They will help you with how to plan a trip. Consider too what kind of travel your family has enjoyed previously. Cities? Countryside? Adventure? Sports? Museums? Music? Anything you enjoy at home there is a European version that you could find a good match.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 12:36 PM
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Hitting France, Switzerland and Italy but maybe with a twist


Fly into Paris, train to Strasbourg, visit Alsace, train to Basel, train to Turin or Milan stopping on route to photo alp, fly home.

Now you might say " I want more stops' but it hits your targets and would fill 18 days without effort.

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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by srini234 View Post
Let me seriously see what we would like to see first. Not sure which 3 countries we should visit. Going by popularity I said we wanted to visit swiss, France and italy. No specific reason. We wanted to visit only those countries where my kids enjoy , which I am yet to figure out . Can you suggest some links where I can read about which to see.. Its surprise to them as we were waiting for years. Do not wanted to disclose it too early.
Countries, or cities, really?
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 02:54 PM
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Links: Fodors Travel Guide ? Plan Your Trip Online has a lot of info about many destinations.



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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 04:51 PM
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Only MHO, though I do have experience traveling with teens and young adults, you are making a huge mistake by not including the kids right away. Really, you are planing on going in a little over two months. That is not very long. Let them do some research with you. Let them read and discover some things they would enjoy. Let them pick some places to see and things to do. I found that the more my teens knew about a place before they went, the more they enjoyed and appreciated what they saw. Maybe they could even get in a few language lessons in French or Italian.
Do either of them have a specific interest in Art, Music, Sports, History, Architecture, monuments, landscape, Food? On our trips, everybody seemed to have more fun doing something like a bike ride, rowing a boat, etc. They also liked going off on their own a bit, took a tour of a cathedral on their own and went to some dances for local teens. You could always do a typical tourist trip, hit up a couple of major cities, and probably have a perfectly fine time. On the other hand, you could, I think, have a more meaningful time by zeroing in on things that really interest each of you the most. It might be helpful to share those interests if you want personal advice on things to do.
You have probably already considered this, but just in case, is school an issue for either the teen or young adult?
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 07:08 PM
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Here's what I would do for France, Swiss, Italy for 14 days:
1 fly to Paris
2 arrive Paris, tour Paris sleepily
3 Paris
4 Paris
5 train to Wengen/Murren (one or other)
6 W/M
7 W/M
8 train to Venice
9 Venice
10 Venice / train to Rome
11 Rome
12 Rome
13 Rome
14 fly home

Use trains for travel between all locations and book them yourself. Once you're in each city, if you don't want to do your own planning you can book private tours in each city. No reason to try and use an expensive tour company that will have you sitting on a bus more than you'll like. With some help from this forum this is easily doable. Use booking.com or hotel.com to easily find family rooms that hold 4 for each location. Have fun with the planning...it's half the fun.

The trip above leaves no time for day trips from Paris or Rome. If that's too rushed I'd drop Venice and add a day to Paris and a day to Rome. Then you could add in Versailles/Paris and Hadrian's Villa/Rome for example.

Last edited by Wekiva; Feb 21st, 2020 at 07:20 PM.
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:48 PM
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Why is this thread tagged with The Netherlands?
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 10:31 PM
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Thanks everyone and going extra mile to help us out here. Appreciate from the bottom of the heart. Thank Wekiva. Sounds a like a good Plan. Could you pls possibly let me know if you know where i should stay in a 3 start close to some major attractions - if possible.
thanks
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 05:32 AM
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To answer that question I have to get a bit into the weeds on how I plan my trips. I use my Google Account and create a Google Map (in Google Drive) where I add a layer for each stop of the trip. I then start putting down pins indicating all the things we want to see. That helps me start figuring out where I might want to choose a hotel. I don't use the star rating system for finding hotels. I use Booking or Hotel.com to find hotels that fit my requirements (number of people per room, free breakfast, cost, etc) and then I use tripadvisor.com to carefully read the reviews on the hotels that are rising to the top. So far I've never had a bad experience or stayed at a hotel that didn't meet my expectations.

Below is a screen capture my Budapest layer for an upcoming trip I'm planning. I use the small diamond symbol for marking areas of interest. I then start color coding them as we ponder what we'll do on each day we're there. The white diamonds are things that are popular to see but are falling to the bottom of our list. Then my wife and friends who are traveling with us tell me I'm crazy and have too much time on my hands...oh well. That's the life of a planner.


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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 05:59 AM
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I don't use maps the way Wekiva does, but I do develop a general idea of the area I want to stay, and always look for a hotel/B&B/apartment close to public transport.

Forget about stars, they just tell you what facilities the hotel has - elevator, concierge, room service etc., not whether it is any good.

I second the use of booking.com and TA, but do read the reviews carefully and ignore any from people with only a handful of reviews.

BTW, Wekiva, in Budapest I have been very happy with an apartment from this outfit: Six Very Special Apartments in the Heart of Budapest
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
BTW, Wekiva, in Budapest I have been very happy with an apartment from this outfit: Six Very Special Apartments in the Heart of Budapest
Thanks Thrusdaysd, I'll check them out. Currently we've got an apartment booked but having a fall-back plan is always a good idea.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 06:26 AM
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If you are not considering this to be a "once-in-a-lifetime" visit, I would scale back the number of places to visit. People now return time and again to Europe (or Asia or South America or wherever) after their first taste and discovery that things are not scary or hostile. And they also discover that there is no need for a guided tour to most places now that booking hotels and organizing transportation has become so easy with the internet.

Do you have a list of specific SIGHTS that you want to see (e.g. Eiffel Tower, Matterhorn, Colosseumů)?
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