Family of 3 Training in Europe in July

Old Jan 29th, 2023, 07:11 PM
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Family of 3 Training in Europe in July

My wife (we are both 50) and our 14 year old son are planning a trip to Europe in July. We have all been to Europe multiple times. We are thinking of flying into Paris in early July, using a EuroRail pass to hit the following stops:
Paris - 3 days
Interlaken and surrounding area, SUI - 3 days - rent a car to explore the area?
Prague and area - 3 days - rent a car to see nearby castles/area?
Budapest - 3 days
Ljubljana - 1 day
Venice - 2 days

I'm interested in combining city time with nature, mountains, etc. My itinerary is only 15 days and we have about 17 to travel so the plan is far from concrete. If anyone has any suggestions, advice...I'd welcome it. I'm not sure if this is too much to bite off in 2.5 weeks. It's been almost 30 years since I've trained around Europe, but have great memories of how easy it was. Thank you!
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 07:42 PM
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You say 17 days total, but you aren't accounting for all of the days you'll lose traveling between points. You would need 21 nights to have the number of days in each place as you list them.

Paris to Interlaken by train... 6 hours. (But would you stay in Interlaken or continue to somewhere in the mountains?)
Interlaken to Prague by train... 12-13 hours.
Prague to Budapest by train... 7-8 hours.
Budapest to Ljubljana by train... 7.5 hours.
Ljubljana to Venice by train... 7 hours.

You'd certainly be getting the most out of the train passes! But, really, that's a heck of a lot of time sitting on trains.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 08:37 PM
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"I'm not sure if this is too much to bite off in 2.5 weeks. "

Um -- yes, waaaay too much in 2.5 weeks. That itinerary would take much longer than 15 days (and more than even 17 days as Jean says) To account for travel time and logistics - to net 3 days in a place requires 4 nights, plus the 2.5 days for transatlantic travel what you have listed would be a trip of 22 nights


IMO, that is a great collection of long distance train rides -- which is fine if the family are rail buffs . . . but otherwise it would be long/expensive slog with not much seeing/doing in each place.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 09:12 PM
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Passes rarely make sense. You should check what just buying the rides you want would cost.

Other than that you're bouncing around like a 1973 sedan with original shocks.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 10:13 PM
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Ask the mods to combine your threads - no need to create a new thread for the same trip, especially since your threads are so similar.

In addition to what others have said, you're going to spend all of that time getting to Ljubljana just to spend 1 day there? While the city is not big enough to need a massive amount of time, but it deserves more than 1 day and especially after a long trip to get there.

You keep saying that you have 2.5 weeks. You don't. You have 15 days, which is 1 day over 2 weeks and you're losing a LOT of time in transit, in reality, those 15 days will net you closer to 10, maybe 11. Also, one tip: think of each destination in terms of night's. 2 nights equal to 1 day of sightseeing, 3 nights is 2 days, and so on, especially with the transits you're considering.

Less is more. While I suppose the word in your title as "training" to mean a "train trip," I took it as you were "training" for something (i.e. a bike ride, marathon...), but you're going ro be doing one thing: sitting. And since you want to see nature, you chose all cities. With this plan, you're only going to be seeing nature pass you by while you sit on those trains.

I think you guys really need to sit down and discuss what you really want to see/accomplish on this trip. If you want to sit on a train to get to Ljubljana, so be it. But what do you want to do when you get there and will you have enough time to see and enjoy it?

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Jan 29th, 2023 at 10:17 PM.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 12:27 AM
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Eurail site has an excellent planner. I think you need to use it. Be aware that some trains need booking, and a supplement paid even with a pass. You need to add those to your Eurail passes before you travel. You need to work out if a pass makes sense for your routes, you have a limited number of days of train travel, depending on the pass you buy. One good thing is night trains count as one day even though you arrive the following day. You need to book those ahead of time again, and they are popular!

Look at https://www.bahn.com/en for timetables. they don't cover everything but quite a lot of Europe beside Germany.

Have a look at https://www.seat61.com/ for advice on using railpasses, and train travel in general.

Train travel is good but you want to cover a vast amount of land in very little time, and it just isn't practical. Trains do not always go conveniently from a city in country A to the city in country B that you want to visit next, sometimes you have to go via country C, or even D and E.

I admire you for wanting to take the train, but please think about where you want to go and how much time you really have to see those places factoring in travel between them. Don't assume flying will be faster - it may well not be, especially with cheap airlines who use out of the way airports often.

Back to the drawing board for you I think.

Oh and training does not be travelling by train!
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 06:08 AM
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Thank you for the replies. Yes, by "training", I meant a casual term for taking a train, not gearing up for an athletic event. You've all given me a great deal to consider and unfortunately confirmed my suspicions that I was planning too much travel by train in 2.5 weeks. I've been kind of fantasizing about taking some night trains and knocking out some of the longer travel that way. I might need to shorten our itinerary based on the feedback here.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 07:15 AM
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Have you booked your flights? If not consider skipping Paris and Switzerland and concentrate on some of the eastern European destinations. Maybe Prague, Budapest and Krakow for instance.
None of your destinations in your current plan are linked by night trains.

If you are set on Paris there is a night train (Nightjet) to Vienna, and from there get a train to Ljubjana. Stay there a few days and see Bled, and some more of the country then get the train to Venice, stopping in Trieste along the way maybe.
Would you then need to get back to Paris or are you flying out of wherever you end up?
Do remember when planning that train travel is slow and will take a day out of you visits.
Does you time in Europe include the flights to and from the US or is that the number of days you have on the ground?
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by andyoinsefl View Post
Thank you for the replies. Yes, by "training", I meant a casual term for taking a train, not gearing up for an athletic event. You've all given me a great deal to consider and unfortunately confirmed my suspicions that I was planning too much travel by train in 2.5 weeks. I've been kind of fantasizing about taking some night trains and knocking out some of the longer travel that way. I might need to shorten our itinerary based on the feedback here.
You can, but you would need to route differently. EG in summer there's a nighttrain from Berlin to Stockholm also, nighttrains are not conducive to sleep, and often you arrive at an ungodly early hour at your destination. I was planning to do a week of only nighttrains, for the hell of it, so I'm researching this too.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 09:02 AM
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We will be traveling from Ljubljana to Venice and my research show me that bus is the way to go--much faster than the train according to Rome2rio.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jangita View Post
We will be traveling from Ljubljana to Venice and my research show me that bus is the way to go--much faster than the train according to Rome2rio.
That may be but the train OP is planning on buying railpasses.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...-austria-italy
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Have you booked your flights? If not consider skipping Paris and Switzerland and concentrate on some of the eastern European destinations. Maybe Prague, Budapest and Krakow for instance.
None of your destinations in your current plan are linked by night trains.

If you are set on Paris there is a night train (Nightjet) to Vienna, and from there get a train to Ljubjana. Stay there a few days and see Bled, and some more of the country then get the train to Venice, stopping in Trieste along the way maybe.
Would you then need to get back to Paris or are you flying out of wherever you end up?
Do remember when planning that train travel is slow and will take a day out of you visits.
Does you time in Europe include the flights to and from the US or is that the number of days you have on the ground?
------------------------------------
We haven't booked flights yet. I'm not set on Paris, but flights into Paris seem less expensive and so I am considering it as a starting point. I'm also considering flying into Prague and doing what you suggest. I'll look at your other suggestions as well. I've ready Bled is beautiful. Trying to mix in some city to keep my 14 year old's interest up.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jangita View Post
We will be traveling from Ljubljana to Venice and my research show me that bus is the way to go--much faster than the train according to Rome2rio.
Thanks for that. I just found that website today myself. Maybe a EuroRail pass isn't the way to go? I had so much fun in college doing it but might not make sense now.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 11:25 AM
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Trying to save money by flying into a place you are not really keen on visiting is usually not cost effective because you have to spend more money and eat up valuable time getting to the places you actually want to see. It is a false economy. Don’t start in Paris unless you really want to visit and spend time in Paris. Start where the minute you step off the plane, you are seeing a place of interest to you rather than messing around traveling on to another place.

Think about it being July. Busses on busy highways are not usually fun anytime, but in Summer, it is even worse. One time being caught in traffic instilled caution in me. Also, IMHO, the views from a bus are not always that great and you can’t get up and walk around. Trains are nicer, but, of course, longer journeys are a consideration. IMHO, it would be better to group and visit places that are closer together rather than eating up so much time just getting from place to place. Spend more time doing, less time sitting.

Night trains: would be fun for you and your son or perhaps you and your wife, but will your 14 year old son be comfortable sharing tight quarters with you and your wife? Might be fine, I don’t know. Just mentioning for consideration when choosing accommodations.

You can race all over creation for a few days, but not two weeks. Plan some days for fun activities that are not just sightseeing: Canoeing on a lake, river rafting, swimming, attending a concert, a class of some kind, etc.

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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by andyoinsefl View Post
Thanks for that. I just found that website today myself. Maybe a EuroRail pass isn't the way to go? I had so much fun in college doing it but might not make sense now.
30 years ago, it was a handy and affordable way to get around Europe. Online bookings in many ways have eliminated the need for these passes.

They still can offer an affordable option - but for only 15 days on the ground such as you have planned now, they probably are not an affordable option for you now for this trip.

They are still worth looking into, but I think you also need to weigh the cost of the pass vs. the cost of point-to-point tickets. And you, again, majorly need to weigh cost of time - that is important factor with a short trip.

I will say this: if I ever traveled 7+ hours with my nephew on a train when he was 14, he would have never spoken to me again. And the thought of doing it multiple times in 2 weeks? No way. But if he loves trains as much as Sheldon Cooper, maybe you'd be ok.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd View Post
30 years ago, it was a handy and affordable way to get around Europe. Online bookings in many ways have eliminated the need for these passes.

They still can offer an affordable option - but for only 15 days on the ground such as you have planned now, they probably are not an affordable option for you now for this trip.

They are still worth looking into, but I think you also need to weigh the cost of the pass vs. the cost of point-to-point tickets. And you, again, majorly need to weigh cost of time - that is important factor with a short trip.

I will say this: if I ever traveled 7+ hours with my nephew on a train when he was 14, he would have never spoken to me again. And the thought of doing it multiple times in 2 weeks? No way. But if he loves trains as much as Sheldon Cooper, maybe you'd be ok.
Thank you. Didnít account for the fact that online capability has probably wiped out the need for a pass. Gosh it was fun though! My son has traveled on trains and enjoys it. We play a lot of cards / games so weíll be entertained. I am trying to figure out what activities we can find for him . Heís an athlete but hates bikes.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 08:04 PM
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If you're just thinking about the cost Europe is full of cheap flights. Even if you don't fly the railroads in many countries have discounts . Maybe for purchasing in advance or other offers. The cheap flights force the railroads to offer something price competitive
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
If you're just thinking about the cost Europe is full of cheap flights. Even if you don't fly the railroads in many countries have discounts . Maybe for purchasing in advance or other offers. The cheap flights force the railroads to offer something price competitive
not too concerned with cost. Europe isnít cheap, but just thought we might fly in to Paris because itís worth seeing and the flights were cheaper. Thought about relying on the rail system once we got there, because itís a different way to travel than what weíre used to and thought my family would enjoy it.
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 09:45 AM
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Please don't fly. Apart from the pollution and climate problems trains are friendlier and you get to talk to other people if you choose to. Your passes could still makes sense, but you do need to do the sums. It could be that early purchasing will be cheaper. Most seat reservations are a few euro, except in France and Spain, for pass holders.
Have a look at flying to Amsterdam and getting a night train from there.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 08:41 AM
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After the feedback here and more research, we are considering:

Prague - 4 Nights
Cesky Kremlo - 1 night
Vienna - 2-3 nights
Bratislava - 2 nights
Budapest - 3-4 nights
Last Stop - TBD
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