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First time traveler ... Mom and daughter trip

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Apr 29th, 2013, 08:43 AM
  #1
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First time traveler ... Mom and daughter trip

Hello to all... I will be traveling to Europe with my 12 year old daughter this summer. Thoughts of our trip together started a few months ago when she said she would like to see Big Ben. After I got over the shock of the airline costs, I started a little on-line research and realized that it was very easy and inexpensive to travel to different countries once you were in Europe so I suggested to her that we add Paris to our trip. (She is VERY fashion oriented). She was THRILLED with the idea. I finally sat down and started some serious research and my trip started to grow. I thought... since it is so expensive to fly here, we should make the most of it while we are here. She is still quite young and I would like her to get a general feel for Europe vs. focusing on one or two countries and the sightseeing that goes along with each country. As of now, my thoughts are: USA to England to Paris to Switzerland to either Barcelona or Venice then home. Total days .... about 11 although I am flexible with that. I plan on staying at Bed and Breakfasts or hostels (with private room). So my question to experienced travelers.... Is this possible or am I making a mistake? Any suggestions ? Thanks so much!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 08:50 AM
  #2
 
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I've done both whirlwind trips of 2-3 days per place and longer stays, and both have their merits. Only you can decide what works best for you, but I think more time in fewer places is ultimately a richer experience. With so much to see in London and Paris, splitting the two would be ideal. One more place would work, but I'd advise against trying to include 4 stops--because that type of itinerary would increase cost and eat time. have a wonderful trip--lucky daughter!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 08:51 AM
  #3
ira
 
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Hi W,

You have a great plan:

Buy Open Jaw tickets and fly into London (5 nights), train to Paris (5 nights), fly home.

>... get a general feel for Europe vs. focusing on one or two countries...<

Typical newbie mistake. You don't want to do "If It's Tuesday, It Must be Belgium".

Europe will still be there when you are ready to go again.

Enjoy your visit.



PS: Please use paragraphs. I had to read your post twice to make any sense of it.
ira is online now  
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Apr 29th, 2013, 09:00 AM
  #4
 
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Really there is plenty to do in London and Paris for 11 days but if you must, you could add a 3rd, hopefully on an open jaw flight. I'd probably choose either Venice or Barcelona, maybe whichever is easier to get home from. I think Barcelona might be a bit cheaper lodging wise and the food scene will also be cheaper with the fun of tapas. There is a great beach scene there for seaside dining and people watching. Hopefully there will be more Europe trips in the future for both of you but I agree, the airfares are risingly unpleasant!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 09:02 AM
  #5
 
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USA to England to Paris to Switzerland to either Barcelona or Venice then home. Total days .... about 11 although>

London 3 days
Chunnel train to Paris
Paris 2.5 days days
Switzerland 3 days - gthe Jungfrau Region will most fulfill the romantic notion of Alpine Switzerland etches perhaps in your minds' eyes! - right on a main rail line from Paris to Venice
Venice - 1 day of travel
Venice 2 days - fly home from there.

Rushed but OK - I do this type of trip often. Take the train - driving would take much much longer and be so fatiguing. For lots of great info on European trains check out these fantastic IMO sources - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - download the latter's free and superb IMO online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of suggsted rail itineraries, maps, etc.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 09:02 AM
  #6
 
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I would vote no.

Each time you transfer to another city, you lose about 1/2 a day. For example - from London to Paris - for the 3:30 train, we left at 1:30 to get our luggage, the car picked us up at 2, took us to St. Pancras to catch the Eurostar. Got on the 3:30 train, which arrived in Paris at 6:47pm. We got to our apartment about 7:45pm - still hungry and needing real food. Multiply that times the amount of stops you will be making and it will be trains, planes and automobiles.

I would recommend London and Paris and taking a day trip or so from them. I'm working on my trip report right now and we just did some really fun things in those cities.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 09:08 AM
  #7
 
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I forgot to add - I would rather get her excited about traveling and about things she can see - she has her whole life to do it. The other option is all she remembers is trains and planes and has no interest in going back because all she did was rush from place to place.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 09:10 AM
  #8
 
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Another vote for splitting your time between London and Paris. 11 days will fly by - your first day will be jetlagged, your travel day between will eat up a lot of the day, and your last day will be eaten up with logistics of getting home. Only leaves you with 8.5 days of sightseeing...if you move around more you will eat into even more of it.

I would get a good guide book for each of London and Paris and you will start to get a sense of all that these cities have to offer. Plan with the idea that you will return to explore the other places.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 10:06 AM
  #9
 
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Nope, do the math. Given the moving-between-countries time, you'll end up with about 8 days total at most to "be there", barely enough to even get oriented/acclimated to where the heck you are. Stick to London and Paris - even that will be a whirlwind trip.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 10:25 AM
  #10
 
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In 11 days two places is plenty - you will be doing them in a very superficial way. If you start adding more places you will end up spending more time in transit than you will actually seeing/doing things.

Strongly suggest you get your daughter involved in what you want to see/do (our 11 and 14 year olds did on their first trip - researching online as well as guidebooks). Also they loved the opportunity to use their school French in Paris - so make sure she learns at least the basic greetings, etc if she isn't studying the language of the places you go.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 11:13 AM
  #11
 
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"Each time you transfer to another city, you lose about 1/2 a day."

Quoted for truth. That 1/2 day is a kind of fixed cost which you pay for in the form of lost vacation time. Packing, unpacking, check-in, check-out, catching buses and cabs, is very time consuming even when everything goes according to plan. Imagine if there's a problem with your credit card, or the clerk is an idiot, or there are no cabs, or the bus is late, or something gets screwed up in translation.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:22 PM
  #12
 
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But as an archaic French saying still heard from the loips of elderly French "A chacun son gout" - gto each his own taste and my taste is OK with traveling - I like traveling more than seeing more boring stuffy museums or old churches - so it depends on what you want to do in Euyrope - travel and see some of Europe or see just two mega touristed cities?

You could take an overnight train between Paris and Venice and not lose a single day of travel - maybe London, Chunnel train to Paris then overnight train to Venice - now no one can say that is too rushed - even for folks who say you must spend at least 54 days in every place to do it justice. IME most first-gtime travelers get bored with loud smoggy tourist cloggeed Paris - so after 3 days move on to tourist mobbed Venice - but at least it is something new and you'll have seen what to me is the world's most gorgeous city - fly home from Venice.

Or instead of Venice head the few hours by train from Paris to Switzerland and fly back from Zurich.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:44 PM
  #13
 
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Hi W, my two cents for what they are worth is if you can squeak in another couple of days then the Switzerland, Venice option that PalenQ suggested is quite possible. I understand your desire to give your daughter a broad overview of Europe . We took our kids when they were a bit older and we still laugh at some of the comparisons of say the train in Switzerland and the train in Italy. I am going back this summer with my sisters and their kids, (10-14) I am trying to include a variety of experiences in planning this trip as well.
You really can't miss, it's all wonderful . Safe and happy travels.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:46 PM
  #14
 
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But no one is saying the entirety of the extra time must be spent in museums, palenQ. On the contrary, when you add extra time in a place, you then have time to wander neighborhoods outside the "mega touristed" areas. I also said it is up to their preference, but this is not so black and white. Traveling to me is not just moving from one unfamiliar place to another but also taking time to smell the roses. Of course you can always return, but when visiting somewhere it can be good to see it well and thoroughly--so you can head somewhere else the next time!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 01:04 PM
  #15
 
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I'm with the majority of posters - with 11 days stick to 2 large cities (ie. London & Paris). Enjoy these cities and actually have time to do some daytrips to smaller cities if you like. I've did the frantic, fast paced itineraries when I first started traveling and didn't realize the joys of actually not rushing through everything, having time to actually sit down and enjoy a meal and perhaps even meet local people. When you're not moving around so much you're also not locked into a set itinerary day by day. You can play it by ear.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 01:10 PM
  #16
 
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I am giving willtomcat the benefit of the doubt that when she says "we should make the most of it while we are here" she simply means most enjoyment, not cramming in more than 2 major cities.

So, I will simply concur with the collective wisdom here. London and Paris. Period. Leaving open the possibility of a day trip from each (Versailles? Bath?)
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Apr 29th, 2013, 01:33 PM
  #17
 
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>>>>>IME most first-gtime travelers get bored with loud smoggy tourist cloggeed Paris

"most"? Really? What an awful generalization.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 11:13 PM
  #18
 
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Venice is an exciting place to see, and in my opinion it is best enjoyed in small doses. Likewise, London is nauseatingly expensive. There is no need to put down roots in either city.

Stay three or four nights in London, take the Chunnel train to Paris (a tourist attraction in and of itself) and spend four nights, and then take an overnight train to Venice and spend two more nights. Fly home for Venice.

You shouldn't try to see a city a day, but you shouldn't travel at a snail's pace, either.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 11:14 PM
  #19
 
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Make that five nights in Paris!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 11:35 PM
  #20
 
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Oooh - I an torn. London, Paris, Venice - 3 of the brightest jewels in the crown of Europe. But such a short time. My heart says all 3 but my head says omit Venice. But if you could find a few extra days to add to your holiday, then I would visit Venice. It is so uniquely beautiful.
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