First time to Europe-family of 5

Old Nov 10th, 2015, 11:48 AM
  #81  
 
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I am hoping there is some connection here between the interests of the family members and the places selected.>>

lol, cold, there was a lot of connection between the places we took the kids to and our interests, theirs not so much. amazingly they still seemed to have a good time and were still coming on holiday with us years after I thought that that would have preferred to stay at home.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 12:31 PM
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Growing up, we used to take a lot of trips and our interests were also considered. However, our parents also threw in places/activities that were outside of our interests in order to broaden our life experience. What they would usually do was write up 3 or 4 complete vacation plans and then present them to us and we would vote on which vacation plan we were most interested in. The majority ruled and then it was a go. That system worked out very well for us over many years.

Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 12:50 PM
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Same here Guenmai - and that is why I have not been to Thailand. I can't round up enough votes. I'm either stuffing the next ballot box or going by myself. That'll save some money too.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 02:07 PM
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Cold- Go by yourself! LOL! I wait for no one when it comes to travel.

Thailand is great, just great. I've been going regularly since the 1990s and will be leaving again soon and won't be back until nearly 2 months later. I'll also take in Malaysia and Singapore again and have taken in Indonesia, in the past. Book yourself either a serviced apartment, when in Bangkok, or one of the many Airbnb apartments and have yourself a ball! And of course there are plenty of hotels in all price ranges. Thailand is called, "The Land of Smiles" for a reason. Smiles.

Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 04:08 PM
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SEA - not just Thailand - is a great solo destination. Very easy traveling, and so much to see (and eat, lol).

To the OP - the site for cheap airfares within Europe is skyscanner.net. I would not use AAA to check airfares to anywhere. With so much lead time register at http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/ and take a look at hipmunk.com. I've used onetravel.com on occasion, too.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 06:43 PM
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Everyone is full of good advice. I think we all love planning. I recently grabbed a couple of business class tickets for $1,600 each during the BA sale, so I don't think I would be rushing to pay $1,600 for a coach ticket before March.

I would not do Rome this trip, or if I did I would also do Venice.

I think the London, Paris, Amsterdam advice is sound. I am a broken record, but if you have 14 days you can spend five days on rented bikes on the Mosel going from Trier to Koblenz. This is completely flat. I am really fat and out of shape, but it is a really easy ride, and you just see things from the seat of a bike that you don't see any other way. You will be doing your children a great favor to give them this opportunity. There are luggage services that will transfer your luggage every day, or you can just store your luggage at a hotel and use panniers.

Trier is an easy train ride from Paris, and Koblenz is an easy ride to Amsterdam. Stop in Cologne on the way to see the Cathedral.
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Old Nov 10th, 2015, 10:05 PM
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I think London/Paris/Rome is ok if you have the time. I think the first day is a wash and this is especially so if you make 2 connections. You also lose a half a day each time you move. London to Paris Eurostar is easy and reasonable if you book early. Paris to Rome Easyjet will be around 100 Euro each with baggage. If you know how many nights you actually have it will tell us whether you have enough time for three large cities. If your time is short you can do London and Paris with some side trips or London/Paris/Amsterdam. I must say the fares nonstop from Toronto are quite attractive if you can do it without losing much time. I doubt you will see such cheap fares in the US. If you must fly from Pittsburgh or Cleveland I would wait until February or March as I suspect you will find one stop fares in the low $1000's
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 06:25 AM
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Rome is a MUST! We really want to see London as well-I know once we tell the kids, they will agree. I haven't checked the fares, but going to Toronto is a 5 hour trip-that is without traffic crossing the border-I don't think we want to do this. We live 10 minutes from the Cleveland airport-so unless it is notably less expensive to fly out of Pittsburgh-where we have family, we will stick with Cleveland. The trip could last up to 14 days, if our budget allows.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 06:37 AM
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If Rome is a must, then just skip London entirely (London will NOT be friendly on your wallet at $1.52 to £1.00) and do Italy.

You can fly round-trip from PIT-FCO for $1742 each. It might seem expensive but you'll end up saving money by avoiding London and not having to buy LON-ROM tickets for 5 people.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 07:08 AM
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London doens't need to break the bank - most museums are free, as are parks. Here are some ideas:

http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to...o-do-in-london

http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/free-london
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 07:20 AM
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It is notably less expensive to fly out of Toronto. Using itasoftware I get a price of $1754 for CLE to LON (via Toronto) and ROM to CLE at the beginning of June for sensible departure times. Same dates in and out of Toronto are 604 CAN which is $455. Pittsburgh is almost exactly the same price as Cleveland.

I don't get the angst about the exchange rate for GBP, or the idea that London is so expensive. I spent eight nights in London end of August - beginning of September. Not counting the Royal Oak membership, which got me into a few museums for free (but not "top ten" ones for which the OP should use two-for-one offers) and not counting my lodging, I came in at $66 a day. That included a couple of expensive dinners, offset by self-catering breakfast and several dinners, lunches, quite a lot of coffee and wine and a theater. I stayed in a student dorm, en-suite with kitchen, for just under $100/night, but the OP should be looking at apartments.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 07:28 AM
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If Rome is in, then maybe not London (you'll have some cost getting to Paris, etc. plus it is a bit more expensive in and of itself). You could add Venice and/or Florence to the trip toward Rome from Paris.
So now be checking into Paris and out of Rome if that is going to be the trip.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 08:01 AM
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You can save money in London using the 2-for-1 discounts into major sights: http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london. For example, the Tower of London, which is on top of most must-see lists for London, is a bit expensive, but you'll save a lot.

Looks like London and Rome are important to you. I don't find the tourist sights in Rome all that spread out. You can see such a lot just walking around the historic center. I've rarely taken the bus and never taken the subway in Rome.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 08:08 AM
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All this conversation about dismal London weather, exchange rates, Rome vs Paris vs London is nit- picking. Decide where you and your family really want to go and then make it work. While I understand you are working with a budget, it is a good, reasonable budget. You are not doing research on How to See London, Paris and Rome on $50 a Day.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 09:03 AM
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OK. Now that it's stated that Rome is a MUST, which I didn't get from the below post, are London and Paris also a must or are they still being considered?

"mominthepark on Nov 9, 15 at 6:44pm
After meeting with the TA, we are considering visiting 3 cities: London, Paris & Rome. We live near Cleveland. Ohio, so that is where we will fly from; probably will have to connect somewhere. Spend a few days in London, train to Paris for a few more days, train to Rome for a few more days and flying home from there.

Of course this is just where our minds are right now. "

Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 09:29 AM
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<B>sparkchaser:</B> You <i>do</i> realize that £1 = $1.52 is an VERY good exchange rate, right? But people make this mistake all the time. The £ @ $1.50 or $1.52 is not in and of itself a worse deal then the € @ say $1.08 or $1.09.

To give you an example using the prices of a Big Mac Meal (BigMac/fries/drink) in London and Paris. Even though the "£ is sooooooo much more expensive" - the difference is a whopping 22¢

London £5.30 = $8.05
Paris €7.30 = $7.83

I'm NOT advocating eating at McDonalds -- it is just a comparison we can all understand.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 10:04 AM
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If the price differential isn't much, I'd strongly recommend you fly from Cleveland (the OP's home airport) rather than driving to Pittsburgh. I don't know if you've done many trans-Atlantic flights, but I personally would NOT want to have to drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland at the end of my vacation and after flying back from Europe. And if you spent the night (probably the wisest and safest option) before driving home to Cleveland, that would be less time in Europe. So do weigh cost versus convenience carefully.

Also please be careful about checking the prices of open-jaw/multi-city tickets versus one way. In my limited experience, open jaw usually has the best price, so do the comparisons.

And do make the trip last as long as possible. Getting to Europe is more than half the battle, in terms of planning and paying for airfares. A couple more nights' accommodation costs would still be much less expensive than another set of plane tickets.

Best wishes for travel planning.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 10:10 AM
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The price differential I found for Toronto vs. Cleveland is $1300. Multiply that by five and it is more than worthwhile trekking to Toronto. That would easily cover a night in a hotel both ways, plus the intra-Europe flights, plus a bigger apartment.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 10:26 PM
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Unfortunately flying nonstop between Cleveland and Toronto seems to be around $500 for June. Have no idea if one can sometimes find cheaper fares.
That brings the price of travel to around $1100-1200 and you now have the complication of two tickets. I still suspect that you may be able to get fares from Cleveland to Europe cheaper if you arrange for a price alert on someplace like kayak. I know my sister has found fares from Pittsburgh to Europe in the summer for much less than $1700.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 03:49 AM
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The OP said it was a five hour drive, not counting border controls. For that kind of saving I would think it was worth the drive, but that's up to the OP.
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