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First Europe Trip... To cram or not to cram?


May 4th, 2015, 07:50 PM
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First Europe Trip... To cram or not to cram?

Need help!

No clue what I'm doing. My husband, mom and I are going to visit my brother in June. He lives in Suffolk, England, and we will be there from Sunday, June 7 - Monday, June 22. Our intentions while we are there are to visit Suffolk and surrounding areas that he wants to show us for the first 2 days (Monday - Tuesday), and then travel to a few places after that.

I need help as far as planning what we are wanting to do within a quite short time frame. We realistically only have about 11 days to travel. We all agree on that we want to see Scotland and London, I really want to see Paris, and my mom really wants to see Poland, is fine with going to Paris. My husband and I are dying to see Switzerland and Italy, too. However, I'm worried we really don't have enough time for all of that in order to enjoy it. So my question is this:

Does it make sense for us to go to Paris on Wednesday and Thursday night, and then husband and I go to Italy for the weekend (forgoing Switzerland because I know it's too much in one weekend), and my mom go with my brother to Poland for the weekend, and then all of us some how end back up in Scotland thereafter on the following Monday, spend 2 nights there, and then go back to London on Wednesday - Monday? (reason for her to go to Poland for the weekend and us Italy, is because my brother can only take off that weekend and the following week, and we all want to do Scotland and London).

I know we for sure want a lot of time in London, but the question is how much time do we truly need in Paris and Scotland, and is it worth us cramming in Italy/my mom cramming in Poland for a weekend, or should we forget that and just do Paris, Scotland, and then London?

We have no idea what we are doing. obviously Any help is REALLY appreciated!!!!
elivjohnson is offline  
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May 4th, 2015, 08:10 PM
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You can't cout the 7th (you'll be jet lagged zombies) and you can't count the 22nd because you fly home that day.

What do you hope to accomplish w/ a weekend in 'Italy'? It is a very large country and w/ just 2 or 3 days you could see a tiny bit of Venice, or of Florence, or of Rome. . . . But you certainly couldn't see Italy.

And Poland? By the time she flew there and back w/ 2 nights she might see one museum and a couple of neighborhoods in Warsaw. You can't 'see' a country in a weekend.

You are scattered all over the place - maybe get a guidebook or two and narrow things down a bit.

(And don't count on seeing very much your first two days - some of you will likely be pretty beat)
janisj is online now  
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May 4th, 2015, 08:13 PM
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Three days each in Paris, Edinburgh and London, plus travel time. That's about what you have time for, not much. Please don't make yourself crazy, now and then, by even thinking about doing more.

If your mother wants to go to Poland have her meet you back in 1 of those 3 places.
MmePerdu is online now  
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May 4th, 2015, 08:19 PM
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When I see a question like that of the OP's my answer is yes, and then I read the posting.

Someone needs to concede something. It is best strangers do not offer suggestions to what is a familial matter.
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May 4th, 2015, 08:55 PM
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Remember that it takes three nights in a city just to have two days to see/do/experience. Each time you change locations, you lose most of a day to travel logistics (think of the time from when you check out of your lodgings in one place until you are checked in at the next place. For me, two days would not be enough for London or Paris. For Italy, you need another 11 day trip - at least.

With 11 days after your visit with your brother, I'd choose two places - perhaps London and Paris. Or if you really want to see Scotland, make that Scotland and London in your 11 days. All of your other thoughts about Italy, Poland, etc need be saved for another trip.
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May 4th, 2015, 09:01 PM
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You are correct, there is certainly not time to do everything. This is just your first trip. If you all want to see Scotland and London and some of Suffolk, that will keep you plenty busy.
KTtravel is offline  
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May 4th, 2015, 10:20 PM
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One way to save time is to fly open-jaw -- into one city (London) and out of another (Rome or Paris, etc). It costs about the same as a regular round-trip, and it saves you the time and money to backtrack.

You find the open-jaw options at your airline's website under "Multiple Destinations."

Have fun as you plan!

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May 5th, 2015, 12:14 AM
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You call this your first Europe trip. That sounds like you're planning to do more Europe trips later. Good. That means you can do Italy and Switzerland on your next trip. Possibly Paris, too.

You say your mother is going with you, but you don't mention her age. Is she in good health and likely to go to Europe again in a few years? Or is she getting old and seeing this as her only chance? If it's her only Europe trip, let her go to Poland.
anyegr is offline  
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May 5th, 2015, 06:10 AM
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Too much time traveling, not enough time seeing or experiencing anything. Something has to be cut.
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May 5th, 2015, 06:55 AM
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You are probably going to the Lakenheath - Mildenhall area, which is where I live. By the time you get through passport control, collect your bags, and travel up to Suffolk (about 2-3 hours on the road depending on traffic conditions) there won't be much left of that first day to do anything.

You are travelling all the way to England to visit your brother, and then deserting him after two days? I hope not! Realistically you should stay in England where there is much to see. Scotland is a whole country on its own.
Heimdall is offline  
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May 5th, 2015, 08:54 AM
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You won't see much of Europe. Instead you'll see the insides of airports and airplanes -- which are the same everywhere.

My itineraries are much more compact than yours, and every trip I must cut out one or more sights I'd really like to see. The more I research the more I want to see. It's just a condition of trip planning.

Sounds like it's time for a family conference.
Mimar is offline  
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May 5th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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The "who" is you mother and her desire to go to Poland may be the best question--along with her health and future ability to travel.
NO, you cannot go to Switzerland and Italy. And truthfully, probably not Poland, but that remains to be seen.....

Everyone agrees they want to see London and Scotland, you say.
" how much time do we truly need in Paris and Scotland," is like asking "how long is a string".

Please, as suggested, get a family conference going. Is your brother permanently in England? Does he want to really show you HIS place. And really ENJOY what you see rather than a drive-by.
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May 5th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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Agree this is a family issue if mom is getting older and might not get another chance to see Poland. But if that's what you do the rest of you should spend time in England and Scotland - with mom going to Poland when you do Scotland. (No point in going to Poland for 1 day - 2 nights).

Your time is actually very limited - and the more people/destinations the less you will be able to see.
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May 5th, 2015, 11:15 AM
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You cannot see Poland in a day or two - it's larger than UK by a LOT and it's no more uniform than Spain, France or the US.

Everyone needs to prioritize. If you cannot agree and mom is fully ambulatory and independent, split up.
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May 5th, 2015, 06:17 PM
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Thank you, everyone for your responses, especially the ones that were nice about it.

I realized quickly after I posted my question, just how far-fetched it all is to see so much in so little time, and I am completely fine with spending a lot of time in Scotland and London, and especially seeing where my brother lives. No, we are not "abandoning" him, he will be traveling with us, but since he is new to the area and hasn't had time to travel just yet, he doesn't know a lot of how to do what either, and is not a planner so all of it has fallen on me.

My mom is in fine health, will be going back to see him again, she is just very impulsive and I think got carried away with the idea of going over there because she has never been.
elivjohnson is offline  
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May 6th, 2015, 01:37 AM
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Have a wonderful trip, and I hope you enjoy Suffolk and the surrounding area. My post probably wasn't one of the "nice" ones, but I'm glad your brother will be travelling with you. Having spent long periods overseas with the USAF myself, I know how nice it is to have family come to visit.

If your brother isn't yet familiar with the area, recommend visiting Bury St Edmunds and Lavenham in Suffolk, and Cambridge and Ely in nearby Cambridgeshire. If you have time, another good day trip would be to Sandringham in Norfolk, the Queen's estate where baby Princess Charlotte of Cambridge will soon be living.
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May 6th, 2015, 03:00 AM
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Is Scotland an absolute must?
There's a lot to see in East Anglia. Suffolk has some very attractive coastal towns like Southwold and Aldeburgh. In Aldebrgh, you can buy fresh fish straight from the bats in little huts along te shore. I've just returned from staying in a cottage in Kersey, a ridiculously pretty village where te road crosses a ford. I agree abut Lavenham and Cambridge

You could then spend time in London and hop on the Eurostar for a couple of days in Paris
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May 6th, 2015, 03:09 AM
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I meant boats, but the idea of buying from fishing bats is rather fun.
Btw, Aldebrgh has an excellent fish and chip shop, the type where you see your supper cooking in front of you in a deep fat fryer, and there is a queue outside.

Every pub has fish and chips, but you are better going to the coast and finding the genuine article
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May 6th, 2015, 04:23 AM
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I would leave Scotland for another focused trip. Spend time in your brother's area for being able to "picture" him there when you are home--and he will get acquainted also.
London, and an unfortunate few days in Paris for this trip. You will thank yourself for limiting this.
BUT I am still curious why your mother picked Poland out of the blue because it is often because of family ties. But for this trip, it isn't practical, IMO.
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May 6th, 2015, 05:07 AM
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While I think it's a great idea to see your brother's world, I did pick up that he also wanted to travel.

I am happy that Poland is now off the chart. I would compare that to a Brit's desire to "drop by" Chicago if he had five days on a trip to New York.

I am not scoffing at your family desire to see Scotland: it was high on my family's list when my parents took my sister and me, teenagers at the time, to Great Britain on their first trip (and one that they thought would be their last).

Unlike your family, they had the luxury of three weeks in which to travel, but the planning process was one you can surely use, and I hope that describing it helps you and your family.

They bought a large map of Great Britain, mounted it on a large corkboard, and made a huge "wish" list that gradually became reduced over time.

Pins of different colors marked places they wanted to see.

They both had relatives throughout Scotland and England (Glasgow; Wiggan; Tipton and Dudley); those visits were marked with red pins.

London was a given--another red pin. They planned at least five days there, and later on, they added a bit more time.

They did place a red pin on Paris, but quickly took that off. This was pre-Chunnel, and Ryan Air/ EasyJet were far in the future. What was a replacement, though, was the D-Day beaches area because they learned they could take an overnight ferry to France to make that work. My father was a WWII vet.

In between these markers they placed yellow or blue pins for historical/literary references. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens. Churchill. War of the Roses.

You get the idea. Their yellow and blue pin itinerary evolved as they realized what was practical to see and what was not on their way to each red pin. And not every second was planned.

Given their limited funds, I think they did a bang-up job of planning.

You guys could do much the same with a shared Google Map.
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