First time to Europe-family of 5

Old Nov 10th, 2015, 06:11 AM
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"For anyone else that's interested:"
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 06:12 AM
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Ooooh, kayak shows me a $904 "hacker fare" that involves overnighting in Toronto on either end.

http://www.kayak.com/flights/PIT-YYZ...-06-26/4adults
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 06:39 AM
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You don't want to look at one way flights--you want open jaw.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:15 AM
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sometimes open jaw is shown as "multi-city" on airlines websites. That's the one you want.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:33 AM
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Gretchen is right - you do not want one way flights. It is usually listed as multi-destination or multi-city tickets.

If you are keeping Rome in the mix, look at this option.
Fly Into Rome
Fly Rome to London,
Train London to Paris
Home from Paris.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:34 AM
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As for which London airport -- makes absolutely NO difference. Which ever gets you the best fare/schedule. LHR is closer but LGW has quick trains directly to Victoria and other central London stations, and LHR has direct tube connections. Or a car service can be booked in from LHR for a reasonable price.

So just look for the best fares and we can tell you the best way to get into London . . .

(And w/ a few exceptions you do not want one way fares. Multi-city/open jaw is the best way to book most airlines)
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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Yes, we are looking into flying into London and out of Rome, stopping at Paris and maybe another stop or 2 along the way. I need/want to book the tickets first and with AAA I was able to enter one way, which I did into London. I looked, briefly, at return flights from Rome and they are around $1100 each.
when I put the multi-city in: Pittsburgh-London; Rome-Pittsburgh it is about $1750 each round trip (multi-city). BUT the stops are not the same, actually there is only 1 stop.
Is there a reason why I can't book a one-way ticket to/from each London and Rome?
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:53 AM
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You can, but it is usually more expensive to buy two or three one way rather than multi-city.

Do look at the other option of Rome first, and look at other ticket sites. AAA may not have the best rates.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:55 AM
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You will pay more for one way tickets. Use another way to book--actual airline websites or Expedia, etc. and do into London and out of Rome. The in between transportation is going to be by train and/or European airlines.
Try first using your home airport and don't complicate by going to Pitt or somewhere else.
You also are a long time out for making reservations. Get on a couple of fare watcher sites.
You can set your itinerary before you get your actual tickets.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 07:59 AM
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The best/easiest routing would be open jaw in to London, home from Rome. Train between London and Paris, and easyJet or similar from Paris to Rome.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 08:42 AM
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I agree with the above postings. We have 2 boys and have been taking them to Europe for 10-14 days since 2002. Some of our trips have been: Munich/Rome, Paris/Normandy, Madrid/Seville/Barcelona, Florence/Montalcino/Venice, Zermatt/Turin, Rome for 2 full weeks. Include them in the planning - maybe give each of them a guidebook on Christmas Morning and tell them to start making a wish list? I'd also suggest you look for apartments to rent. Most hotels have double rooms, a few triple and even fewer quad or family rooms. They are generally much smaller than in the states and you'll have 1 bathroom unless you book 2 rooms or more. Its also nice to have the option to eat breakfast in, enjoy some wine and cheese at the end of the day, relax in a living room, have separate spaces for kids and adults to chill after the inevitable squabble over something trivial and perhaps even do some laundry!
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 09:50 AM
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I will add that if you are including Rome, please no less than 14 days--and when counting your days do not include departure day. Otherwise this will be a driveby, IMO.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:16 AM
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"Gretchen on Nov 10, 15 at 4:04am
I will say up front that Rome is not among my favorite places, but I have been there.
For a comparatively short time I still say you can have a more enjoyable trip, both sight-wise and energy wise with two cities and day trips from them to reach outto see more of the country.
Rome is of course interesting, but it is spread out--and a long way to get there, even flying--takes time in and out of airports, etc."

I agree. I've been there 2 or 3 times, but when I was living in Europe the entire summer back in my teens/early 20s. A lot of friends have been since then and some with their kids, but they had a much longer overall time in Europe.

For 10-14 days, I would choose 2 cities, rent an apartment in each, settle in and then do those cities and day trips.

Since London is on the OP's list, I'd fly into London, rent an apartment, and then do London and whatever day trips possible. Then, I'd go on to Paris, rent an apartment, and do day trips there.

While being based in Paris, for a day trip, I'd also include the Thalys to Belgium, doing Bruges and/or Brussels and then the Thalys back to Paris on the same day. I've zipped up to Belgium on day trips from Paris as it's really easy on the non-stop Thayls. At the end of the trip, I'd fly home from Paris.

As I mentioned up thread, it might be fine to wait later to get airfares, but it's not always fine to wait later to try to find accommodations of your choice. I've been going to Europe during the summers for many decades and finding the accommodations that one wants, and with 5 people, can be a challenge in the summer.

Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:19 AM
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Don't know if it was mentioned earlier, but with kids that age, Belgium and/or Amsterdam would be wonderful. If time and logistics make Rome difficult, give Amsterdam serious consideration.

Amsterdam is unique and beautiful, very, very different from London and Paris, so adding great variety to your trip. It is easy by train from Paris. There are many gorgeous smaller cities/towns you could visit either on the way or from Amsterdam.

Another advantage is a couple of days in Amsterdam would let you see more of the city than you could in Rome in that time.

You could fly home from Amsterdam.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:21 AM
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"Gretchen on Nov 10, 15 at 10:50am
I will add that if you are including Rome, please no less than 14 days--and when counting your days do not include departure day. Otherwise this will be a driveby, IMO."

I see I was typing while you were posting the above. But, I agree no fewer than 14 days and even with 14 days I feel that that's pushing it.

Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:24 AM
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Looks like Guenmai and I were thinking similar ideas at same time. Bruges is really lovely for a day or day and night. If you did Amsterdam, you could visit on the way.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:24 AM
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"Sassafrass on Nov 10, 15 at 11:19am
Don't know if it was mentioned earlier, but with kids that age, Belgium and/or Amsterdam would be wonderful."

I see that I was also typing while you were posting the above. I agree and I'd take Rome off the list.

Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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In 14 days, one could do U.S.-London-Paris (day trip to Belgium)-Amsterdam-U.S.

London-5 nights
Paris-5 nights (including 1 day in Belgium, but not having to move luggage)
Amsterdam-4 nights

Remember that it you rent apartments, usually, but not always, there's a 3-night minimum.


Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:35 AM
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While I too am normally a less is more type person, but in this case I'd leave in all three destinations (or substitute somewhere else for Rome.

My other piece of advice would be to play around with your dates (or a day before and a day after if you have any flexibility at all) and various combinations of cities in and out. You could go into Paris, chunnel to London, and fly to Rome from London. Or, you could start from Rome. Or, if there is another destination that appeals to you and has much cheaper airfares you could fly in our out of that and make that your third place.

Finally, how about some other places than the typical big three? There is a lot more to Europe than just these capital cities, and I think your family might find the balance of a smaller place as one of the three bases a nice break. Or, do something totally different like biking the Loire Valley between the chateaux for a couple days.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 11:07 AM
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"Finally, how about some other places than the typical big three?"

Agreed, and that goes back to "this is when involving the kids in the decision should pay dividends."

I am hoping there is some connection here between the interests of the family members and the places selected. We have an amateur historian, very amateur artist and wannabe lumberjack as children. That influenced where we went and still go. It's easier to manage when there is more than one trip but "interests" are still a solid starting point.

But to each their own.
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