First time to Europe-family of 5

Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:01 AM
  #101  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 26
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are we possibly looking for travel fares too far in advance? Becoming discouraged by the fares and not really having enough in our budget to do much while there. I know many of you are suggesting visiting two cities, but if we are going to be near all three cities: London, Paris and Rome we would really like to see all 3. Maybe we should wait until we save more money? Flying from Toronto sounds great, but I think it might add stress getting there and home. But, you never know.

I have signed up for a few fare alert sites and will see what comes up. Our dates are a bit flexible, but we can't leave before June 14 and need to be home by July 23.

Thanks so much for all of your input, I really appreciate your taking the time to try and assist.
mominthepark is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:06 AM
  #102  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i>Are we possibly looking for travel fares too far in advance?</i>

Maybe, maybe not. If there was a hard and fast rule, there would be a hard and fast rule.

If one likes gambling with other people's money, then I guess waiting is a fine strategy but have a number in mind.
sparkchaser is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:08 AM
  #103  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i>sparkchaser: You do realize that £1 = $1.52 is an VERY good exchange rate, right?</i>

For me it is because next week in the U.S., I am gonna make it RAIN!
sparkchaser is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:13 AM
  #104  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, you are looking too soon. Several of us have said so. Put your name on a number of search engines--kayak, ITA, Expedia, cheapfares, etc. and search every day. When you find a fare you can live with, jump on it.
You are flying HIGH high season. It won't be cheap. If you can spare the extra days to get to and from Toronto, really think it through.
On our family trip we drove to Baltimore to get Icelandair. The return was NOT fun at all because we had to drive straight back for another deadline, but if you can stay overnight and then go home, it could work.
Don't look for a fare for all 3--just into one and out of the last. Paris has to be handled separately, IMO.
I will comment once again, in relation to your statement
<if we are going to be near all three cities: London, Paris and Rome we would really like to see all 3>.

You are NOT "near" Rome except via a flight which will cut down on your time in Paris by moving, getting to the airport, etc. You really need to factor in your between city transport times (London to Paris, Paris to Rome). You lose at least a half day and maybe more.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:26 AM
  #105  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,614
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
'You are NOT "near" Rome"

Right. According to google, Toronto is 469 miles from Cleveland. Rome is 871 miles from Paris.

And moving costs money not just for the fare but you may get a discount on your accommodation for a longer stay, or find an apartment that requires a certain minimum number of days+. London and Paris are close, and if you book well in advance you can get good fares on Eurostar, which is city center to city center (see seat61.com for info on European trains).
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:33 AM
  #106  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,270
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You are high season, but you are also flexible as far as dates. That makes a ton of difference since you are not stuck with rigid date guidelines. And, you also have the opportunity to fly in and out of different airports in different sequences. It will be quite a bit of work for you to track and play around with all of the different flight configurations and dates, but with this flexibility you will save big bucks. I am in agreement that it is too soon to book.
julies is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:46 AM
  #107  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,270
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One more quick thought. There is a map function on one of the sites that lets you see which cities in a particular month are cheapest to fly into round trip. Can't remember if it is on FareCompare or Kayak or what. Someone else here will know. Use that to get so9me ideas.

You may find a perfectly workable airport to use and may find a new destination of interest that you would never have thought of for a few days. It is marvelous what an incentive saving thousands of dollars can be. One summer I searched and searched for tickets when we had a wedding and pretty set dates. I discovered that for that time Dusseldorf was much, much cheaper than anywhere else in Europe because some airline was introducing a new route. We added time in Koln and biking in the Munster area and had a great time with interesting places in an area we might not have otherwise considered.
julies is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:12 AM
  #108  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 12,015
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You have been given much good advice already. Believe me, take it in and you will have a great trip.

London and Paris work together because of the Eurostar.

From London or Paris, you will not be "near" Rome. That is why a flight is necessary.

In the US, if you were seeing Boston and NYC, would you then say you were near Atlanta?
If you were seeing Miami and Orlando, would you then say you were "near" NYC?

People want their dream trip to include everything, but it is not possible, and when planning, it is so hard to focus on what you can do/see, rather than what you have to cut. That is a problem common to many of us, but think of it this way.

One fabulous week in Rome (or Paris or London) is a memory to carry for a life time. When you are all older, your kids would say, "Remember when our family went to Rome?"

It will help to pin some things down. Your budget seems nebulous. Do you have $3,000 or $4,000 each? Big difference.

Do you have 10 days, 14 days, or more? Are those days on the ground or total including travel? You cannot firm up an itinerary without knowing that!

Then, which one place is the absolute most important to all of you? Plan time there. Then, decide on the second most important place. Spend your time concentrating on what you know you can do.

Then, anything more depends on money and time. Do not try to include more places than you realistically have the time or money to do.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:20 AM
  #109  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,812
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"sparkchaser on Nov 12, 15 at 7:06am
Are we possibly looking for travel fares too far in advance?

Maybe, maybe not. If there was a hard and fast rule, there would be a hard and fast rule. "

I agree. I've gotten plenty of decent airfares far in advance as airfares change every other second it seems. Plus, what one might save in airfares, by waiting, one might end up spending in accommodations by waiting and especially in high season. What I'd recommend doing is writing down some fixed dates and then start looking for accommodations that you are interested in and the prices of them. Then work from there so that you can get a range of prices. I think you need to throw out some accommodation ideas so that we can help out there. And if you post some, please post the links so that we don't have to spend time looking them up.

"<if we are going to be near all three cities: London, Paris and Rome we would really like to see all 3>.

You are NOT "near" Rome except via a flight which will cut down on your time in Paris by moving, getting to the airport, etc. You really need to factor in your between city transport times (London to Paris, Paris to Rome). You lose at least a half day and maybe more."


I agree. Plus, have you figured in transportation costs from the airport and back to the airport in these cities. Plus, you will be losing time the more you move around as check-in at hotels is usually not until around 3:00PM. There are various things to consider aside from the places looking close on a map.

morninginthepark: " Maybe we should wait until we save more money?"

I don't see a need to wait if you are flexible and not try to overdo it with too many places (distances) in too short a time. And if you wait, who knows what the exchange rate will be on the dollar a year from now. Last summer it was really good and it's still holding. Plus, who knows what the airfares and accommodation rates will be then.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:33 AM
  #110  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 72,763
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>but if we are going to be near all three cities: London, Paris and Rome we would really like to see all 3. <<

Seattle is not near San Francisco. Dallas is not near Salt Lake city. Cleveland is not near Savannah. But if you consider these city pairs 'in the neighborhood' then yes, you'll be 'near' Rome.
janisj is online now  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:37 AM
  #111  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,812
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with Sassafrass' statement above. Pin it down! And yes, people want their dream trip, but even though it might be doable, to some extent, is it worth it? What do you want? Do you want to slow down and try to absorb the places or just end up on a "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" type of schedule?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRmO1BXDONI

The above movie came out when I was in middle school and I saw it then and cracked up and still crack up when I watch it.

So, keep an eye on the airfares, but also start putting some time into possible accommodations in the places of your interest. At least have a rough list of places/ideas and start putting in some dates to get an idea of the availability. This is trip is doable with careful planning.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:40 AM
  #112  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,812
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Correction, "This trip is....." Now, to have some breakfast. LOL!

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:47 AM
  #113  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 12,015
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Don't wait to save more money. Have the trip you can comfortably have now. You have no idea of tomorrow, much less next year.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 09:31 AM
  #114  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I thnk your budget is just fine and maybe more! The Euro is at a good exchange--better than when we took our kids the last time.
You are doing GREAT planning already. As you go on you can find the good hotel that won't break the bank and the great dining that can be done for less than you would pay in Cleveland (DEFINITELY!!).
The air fare is going to be the "killer cost"--no way around it. Once you get that amount in mind (even now), you can start a budget of hotel/apartment cost. Deduct that from your total budget--and then you can begin to get a perday amount you have available. I think you will begin to see your trip take good shape.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 09:40 AM
  #115  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,270
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What I have to say is coming from a parent of three kids who are all now grown. You are so lucky you can even contemplate this trip. When our kids were the ages of your children, we were trying to figure out how we'd possibly be able to put them through college, and a family trip to Europe would have been totally out of the question. However, as soon as the youngest finished college, we started to travel extensively, and we've now made perhaps 15 trips to Europe. One of our kids did a semester abroad, one lived in Europe for close to two years, and one has been once for two weeks and is planning another trip soon. So, even though this most likely will be the only family trip to Europe, it most likely will not be the only time any of the five of you travel to Europe.

The next thing I have to say is that on nearly all of our European trips we made an initial decision on which area to visit based according to where we could find the best airfares. And, we have not had one bad trip because there are so many marvelous places to visit for someone who does their homework. In fact, this method of operation has really opened our eyes to many places we never would have otherwise thought of. When using this planning method, one has to assume that costs upon arrival will be approximately the same in most areas.

So, I have to comment on the approach you've been taking thus far. I don't want to offend you or misinterpret in any way, but here is what I think I see. Sorry if I am wrong.

I am thinking that no one in your family (mom and dad included) have ever been to Europe. As have most Americans, you've heard of the big, typical destinations in Europe but are not at all familiar with most of the slightly less-known destinations. Your initial question indicated that you were pretty wide open to going anywhere in Europe, but after meeting with your TA you decided on London, Paris, and Rome. Unless they are very unique and specialized, most agents are also only familiar with the usual suspects, so the advice you got from the agent was to do these three places.

You can get to Dublin roundtrip from Cleveland for about two weeks on June 14 or June 15 on Aer Lingus for $1100. With the extra $3000 you'd save over the airfares you are now seeing, I'd make some compromises. You could do a bit of Ireland, London and Paris. You will have had a family trip to Europe, and you'll be able to afford it. There are so m any great places in Europe your family would love, that I seriously would suggest the approach we've always used as far as finding an affordable airfare first and then adjusting the itinerary based on where you can most affordably fly into.
julies is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 10:45 AM
  #116  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 12,015
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Good advice from Julies. Everybody hears about the biggies and she is right about TAs.

While not exactly the same, my suggestion of Amsterdam was based on somewhat the same thoughts. Put together something that works logistically and financially and it will be a great experience.

I differ in that I would still try for at least one place on my dream sheet and learn more about other places that would fit with that.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 10:59 AM
  #117  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Don't wait to save more money. Have the trip you can comfortably have now. You have no idea of tomorrow, much less next year.>

And with the euro so low against the dollar who knows what it would be like next year or after - could be much more expensive a trip if it - the e - picks back up.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 11:15 AM
  #118  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Whatever you do decide to do, let us know.
sparkchaser is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 11:16 AM
  #119  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 13,812
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So, the bottom line is basically.

1) Start pinning this trip down.
2) Keep looking at various airfares.
3) Start thinking about accommodations in interested places of travel. Put in some accommodation dates in a pre-planned itinerary to get a feel for prices.
4) Be flexible and not so gun-ho on having to only go to certain places.
5) Construct an itinerary that's logical in distance/convenience to each place visited.
6) Don't wait until next year as who knows where the dollar will be or what the airfares or accommodation rates will be a year from now.
7) Don't stress out so much about any of it. Just do it and enjoy the trip and time together.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2015, 11:45 AM
  #120  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
All of us can think of places she could go. You liked Ireland. She wants to go to "biggies" London, Paris and Rome--with other day trips perhaps. I really didn't get the idea that it was all the travel agent's idea. She also has to get from Ireland to wherever she goes next. More longish transport.
We all have our own preferences. A family trip like this is a real gift--both to the kids but to the parents for a great family time. It is unforgettable and does keep coming up through many years.
Gretchen is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -