First trip

Old May 5th, 2024, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Dubai to London is still an 8 hour/3 time zones flight -- so less jet lag than OZ > UK but not no jet lag for a lot of people . . .
Yeah, I did the math too. Not to mention that 2 days in one location in that distance is barely enough to recover. They will still all be jetlagged by their London arrival. The teens might be ok, the adults... but their decision!
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Old May 5th, 2024, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for clarifying, Travel_Nerd. I must have missed those later posts by the OP. I still think London, Paris and Switzerland would be a great trip.

I see the OP wants physical activities. The London Eye, trips on the underground and on top of the double-decker buses, climbing up the inside of Big Ben (newly opened), walking across Tower Bridge and making grave rubbings at St. Martin's in the Fields jump to mind. My kids also loved the Yeoman's tour of the Tower of London and the tour with a verger (well worth the extra cost) at Westminster Abbey - he let them sit in the royal family's seats. We didn't visit the Natural History Museum but it is supposed to be excellent. The British Library sounds like a good stop for your family and we enjoyed it, as well. We also had fun seeing The Mousetrap play.

In Paris, we took the elevators up the Eiffel Tower and walked down which was a fun way to explore the tower. I would suggest going in the early evening when the lights twinkle every hour on the hour. The kids also had fun in the Luxembourg Gardens. The Paris Catacombs and Sewer Tour might be appeal - I think they're quite interesting but did those on a later trip without kids. The Louvre became much more doable when we took a break and visited a lovely balcony cafe with yummy pastries. My daughter fell in love with the immense Monet paintings at the Musee de l'Orangerie. It is a small museum that doesn't take long to see and you can stroll through the Tuileries Gardens before or afterwards. Berthillon Ice Cream was a big hit.

We loved the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland - a great place for hiking, viewing the waterfalls, including the Trummelbach Falls, perhaps renting bikes...

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Old May 5th, 2024, 02:43 PM
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"climbing up the inside of Big Ben (newly opened)"

Oh -- I had forgotten the inside of the Elizabeth Tower was open for tours. Curiously I just looked at the site and all tours are sold out through July. August tickets are available on Wed (8 May) so I assume Sept tix will go on sale in early June.

note: 344 steps and loud (VERY) noises
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Old May 5th, 2024, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by KTtravel
Thanks for clarifying, Travel_Nerd. I must have missed those later posts by the OP. I still think London, Paris and Switzerland would be a great trip.

I see the OP wants physical activities. The London Eye, trips on the underground and on top of the double-decker buses, climbing up the inside of Big Ben (newly opened), walking across Tower Bridge and making grave rubbings at St. Martin's in the Fields jump to mind. My kids also loved the Yeoman's tour of the Tower of London and the tour with a verger (well worth the extra cost) at Westminster Abbey - he let them sit in the royal family's seats. We didn't visit the Natural History Museum but it is supposed to be excellent. The British Library sounds like a good stop for your family and we enjoyed it, as well. We also had fun seeing The Mousetrap play.

In Paris, we took the elevators up the Eiffel Tower and walked down which was a fun way to explore the tower. I would suggest going in the early evening when the lights twinkle every hour on the hour. The kids also had fun in the Luxembourg Gardens. The Paris Catacombs and Sewer Tour might be appeal - I think they're quite interesting but did those on a later trip without kids. The Louvre became much more doable when we took a break and visited a lovely balcony cafe with yummy pastries. My daughter fell in love with the immense Monet paintings at the Musee de l'Orangerie. It is a small museum that doesn't take long to see and you can stroll through the Tuileries Gardens before or afterwards. Berthillon Ice Cream was a big hit.

We loved the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland - a great place for hiking, viewing the waterfalls, including the Trummelbach Falls, perhaps renting bikes...
this is an awesome list! Thanks so much. I am sure the kids will be entertained.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
I think that adding Vienna is kind of going against the advice we are all trying to give you which is, you have TOO MUCH travel already. Honestly less is more and this trip will end up as a route march.
oh I was planning to drop Avignon and Nice for Vienna! I could see some nice concert halls that our kids would appreciate as they play classical music at school.
Anyway I will do some itinerary options and refine with more family discussion 😅
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Old May 5th, 2024, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley
Why don't you lay out your "current" itinerary so others can comment. I have no idea as to what you have eliminated & what you have included.
Format something like this:

- Sunday Sept 8. Land in London and spend 5 nights.
- Friday Sept 13. Take the train to Paris & visit Paris & Disneyland for 5 nights
- Wed Sept 18. Take the 9:38 TGV train to Avignon that arrives at 12:17 & spend 3 nights in Avignon
Visit Avignon, Arles (by train), and find a small van tour of the Luberon hill villages.
- Sat Sept 21. Taxi to the Avignon TGV station and take the 10:20 TGV to Nice that arrives at 2:00. Spend 4 nights in Nice
Visit Nice, Villefranche, Antibes and Rothschild villa
- Wed Sept 25. Take the 10:00 flight to Geneva that arrives at 12:00 (guess by me). Spend 1 night in Geneva (not one of my favorites)
- Thurs Sept 26. Take the train from Geneva that departs at 9:59 & arrives in Grindelwald at 1:40. Two train changes. Stay in the Jungfrau region for 4 nights in Grindelwald or Murren (my choice).
- Mon Sept 30.Take the train that departs at 10:17 and arrives in Zurich at 12:58. One train change.
- Tues Oct 1 fly home.

Consider flying from Nice to Zurich instead of to Geneva. Might be better flight & train connections to Grindelwald.

Stu Dudley
When I checked the flights from Nice, the cost of airfare to Geneva is 1/3 or even less of the cost to Zurich!
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Old May 5th, 2024, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
KT, the OP clarified in post numbers 13-15 that listed Vienna as a mistake and meant Geneva. Also clarified that they will be landing in London from Dubai for 2 days and hopes it will assist with jetlag.

To the OP, you seem to be set on your days and destinations. Many have provided advice, which is what we understand you're looking for. I am getting the impression that you really just want to carry on as you originally planned; and, it does not seem as if any of us can change your mind. It's your trip, you do you.
actually I am very thankful for the suggestions and am considering dropping the south of France or at least dropping Nice and Geneva. Our family likes cycling so small town like Avignon may be a good place for riding rental bikes.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley
When we stayed in Murren in the Jungfrau for 4 nights many years ago, it snowed one entire day. This was in late September. We never saw the Jungfrau peaks during the entire 4 days. We took the train to the top and did the lookout thing - and all we saw was white nothing. Very disappointing. Next day we headed to Interlaken and did laundry - good thing to do on a rainy/snowy day. On 2 prior trips we saw "white nothing" once, and beautiful mountains once. Bern is our favorite large city in Switzerland. Never been to Zurich & Basel.

You still have waaaaayyyy too much travel in your itinerary, IMO. We visit Europe at least 2-3 times every year on 3-5 week stays each trip. You might be visiting two of my "most over-rated" cities in Europe - Monaco & Geneva. Closely followed by Lucern (but the surroundings are OK) .

Stu Dudley
The weather is my main concern for Grindelwald. Hopefully we will find other activities suitable for the teens to do.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
I think that adding Vienna is kind of going against the advice we are all trying to give you which is, you have TOO MUCH travel already. Honestly less is more and this trip will end up as a route march.
I was thinking of replacing south of France and Geneva with Vienna 😀
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Old May 5th, 2024, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Big Ben isn't any more than a couple of minute 'walk-by'. You will see it from lots of viewpoints. What about some more important landmarks?? Little things like -- maybe the Tower of London? I cannot imagine taking kids to London without including the Tower - or Hampton Court Palace -- a major kid friendly place including historical characters, the Tudor kitchens, maze, etc. The British Museum (mummies and lots of other great family 'stuff')? The Natural History and/or next door Science Museum? Buskers in Covent Garden? The Warner Brothers Studio. The Eye. London Transport Museum. All you mention are Big Ben, shopping and the Library?

It does seem you are just dragging the kids around from place to place.
thanks for your feedback. Apart from Paris Disneyland, I am not planning to add Lego land or Warner bros since we already visited similar establishments in other cities.
i did mention at least one museum and one library in London. Other landmarks we will consider closer to the dates. London was my childrenís choice to be honest so I am definitely not dragging them around!
I also mentioned that we donít want to spend all the time sightseeing. Itís not a must that we visit all the popular attractions in a city. Down time is also important for our family.

Last edited by aliviv; May 5th, 2024 at 03:13 PM.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by aliviv
thanks for your feedback. Apart from Paris Disneyland, I am not planning to add Lego land or Warner bros since we already visited similar establishments in other cities.
i did mention at least one museum and one library in London. Other landmarks we will consider closer to the dates. London was my childrenís choice to be honest so I am definitely not dragging them around!

OK - guess there is some major miscommunication going on

By dragging the kids around I was talking about the rest of your plans -- not London. Schelpping around to Paris and the south of France (I know you are reconsidering this) and Vienna and several places in Switzerland. Just a lot of moving around in not very much time.

I'd think you have not visited anything like the Warner Brothers Studio -- it is actually where the Harry Potter movies were filmed so you see the real sets etc. Nothing like theme park 'HP Experiences'.

Nowhere did I suggest LegoLand -- your kids are way above their target age range. Its geared for toddlers to 5, 6-ish year olds. I'm pretty sure someone mentioned it up thread before we knew the ages of your kids.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 03:37 PM
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OP, what we're trying to tell you is something has to give in your plans. Merely swapping South of France and Geneva with Vienna is not going to help your convoluted and rather rushed itinerary. In fact, it makes it worse. Especially since I presume you're still keeping the other Swiss points? Then we're still basically back to where we are when you first posted and mistook Vienna for Geneva. If you remove Switzerland, it might work.

By planning so much moving, especially on a first trip, and wanting your kids to actually experience other languages and cultures...the moving around as much as you are considering, you wont be expericing anything but train stations and airports. There is limited language to be experienced and very little culture there in that environment.

It feels as if the advice being given by all is falling on deaf ears, to be honest. You do you.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 05:20 PM
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For goodness sakes, someone who has mixed up Vienna for Geneva should not be planning a detailed 3 week trip to Europe.

Get your kids a few guidebooks and let them get a word in for what they really want to do. Logistics of travel is either learned from those with experience or learned by wasting time and money. We are here to help, even those who can't believe the help.

My first trip to Europe involved a "If this is Tuesday It Must be Belgium" tour. I saw things from a tour bus, or through a train window. Sometimes I was able to walk outside of the transit grind. I learned to pack a suitcase in 3 minutes flat for a 6am pickup. I learned how to do laundry in a hotel room sink. I saw a few museums (with no time to stop and contemplate an interesting work). I took a picture of Mannequin Pis. I had a free day in Rome where I did my own tour of the Coliseum and the Forum, I learned that I could not distinguish between the spoken French for 5 and 100, and I ate steak tartar. At the confluence of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, we spent half an hour adding 2 countries to the check off list, complete with 2 souvenir post cards, Half my time was spent during boring transit, the other half is now a blur for the most part. Do you want this for your kids?

I implore you to settle on only 3 locations, probably London, Paris, and one other place. Daytrips save checking out and into another lodging plus travel time plus getting to and from the transit mode, plus reorienting to another new place. If you try to be the kid in a candy store who has to taste everything and everything, you will have a bad bellyache of a blurred exhausting trip.

Don't do what you are planning!
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Old May 5th, 2024, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
OP, what we're trying to tell you is something has to give in your plans. Merely swapping South of France and Geneva with Vienna is not going to help your convoluted and rather rushed itinerary. In fact, it makes it worse. Especially since I presume you're still keeping the other Swiss points? Then we're still basically back to where we are when you first posted and mistook Vienna for Geneva. If you remove Switzerland, it might work.

By planning so much moving, especially on a first trip, and wanting your kids to actually experience other languages and cultures...the moving around as much as you are considering, you wont be expericing anything but train stations and airports. There is limited language to be experienced and very little culture there in that environment.

It feels as if the advice being given by all is falling on deaf ears, to be honest. You do you.
well, London , Paris and Switzerland are non negotiable. The other destinations were thrown in as transit points and can be changed.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by AJPeabody
For goodness sakes, someone who has mixed up Vienna for Geneva should not be planning a detailed 3 week trip to Europe.

Get your kids a few guidebooks and let them get a word in for what they really want to do. Logistics of travel is either learned from those with experience or learned by wasting time and money. We are here to help, even those who can't believe the help.

My first trip to Europe involved a "If this is Tuesday It Must be Belgium" tour. I saw things from a tour bus, or through a train window. Sometimes I was able to walk outside of the transit grind. I learned to pack a suitcase in 3 minutes flat for a 6am pickup. I learned how to do laundry in a hotel room sink. I saw a few museums (with no time to stop and contemplate an interesting work). I took a picture of Mannequin Pis. I had a free day in Rome where I did my own tour of the Coliseum and the Forum, I learned that I could not distinguish between the spoken French for 5 and 100, and I ate steak tartar. At the confluence of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, we spent half an hour adding 2 countries to the check off list, complete with 2 souvenir post cards, Half my time was spent during boring transit, the other half is now a blur for the most part. Do you want this for your kids?

I implore you to settle on only 3 locations, probably London, Paris, and one other place. Daytrips save checking out and into another lodging plus travel time plus getting to and from the transit mode, plus reorienting to another new place. If you try to be the kid in a candy store who has to taste everything and everything, you will have a bad bellyache of a blurred exhausting trip.

Don't do what you are planning!
we did a similar tour like yours in Vietnam and we all hated it!
I will revise what I planned for transit cities. But we are quite firm on London Paris and at least two places in Switzerland as we are departing from Zurich.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
OK - guess there is some major miscommunication going on

By dragging the kids around I was talking about the rest of your plans -- not London. Schelpping around to Paris and the south of France (I know you are reconsidering this) and Vienna and several places in Switzerland. Just a lot of moving around in not very much time.

I'd think you have not visited anything like the Warner Brothers Studio -- it is actually where the Harry Potter movies were filmed so you see the real sets etc. Nothing like theme park 'HP Experiences'.

Nowhere did I suggest LegoLand -- your kids are way above their target age range. Its geared for toddlers to 5, 6-ish year olds. I'm pretty sure someone mentioned it up thread before we knew the ages of your kids.
we had been to Warner bros in LA and not all of us are fans of HP.
honestly I didnít see any of the HP movies
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Old May 5th, 2024, 08:15 PM
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I see a lot of concern that we are traveling too much. Just for some context, our kids have been traveling overseas since they were two years old. We did lots of trains and cities in places like Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, VN, Ö west and east coast of US. So we are not unfamiliar with traveling and moving hotels.
granted we used English in all other countries we visited. So the reason we chose London to start our trip.
kids like to do activities rather seeing places. When we get to a new city we like to cycle or walk around and explore rather than hitting all the touristy places.
i appreciate the feedback but feel I am being unfairly labeled as trying to drag my family to places they donít want to be. This is an initial plan and I will take on suggestions but please donít rush to judge.

Last edited by aliviv; May 5th, 2024 at 08:30 PM.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 08:31 PM
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Apples to oranges arguments. Those of us responding HAVE been to all of the points in Europe youre planning (at least I have) and understand the nuances. Like I said upthread, you've made up your mind. It is pointless to recommend further.

Have fun. Good luck. Hope to hear what you all think of European transit.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 08:33 PM
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You are trying to visit multiple places in multiple countries in Europe in a relatively short time for the first time. This is not Japan or Taipei. I suspect most of us have children as well and have taken them to Europe and elsewhere. In my case our children went on over 20 trips abroad to Europe, Asia and South America before their University years. Just trying to help you plan for a better trip to Europe.
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Old May 5th, 2024, 09:20 PM
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I would not say you are dragging your kids to places they don't want to go but I do think most of us are just trying to help you have a more enjoyable trip. You did mention "down time" was important and I think that is actually what we are encouraging by taking more time in fewer places.

My kids were the ages of yours on our first trip to Europe and a bit older on the second. We did too much on our first trip and were exhausted by the end of our third week. We slowed down the second time and had much more fun. My daughter and son both studied abroad (England and France) during their college years and we visited and traveled with them then as well.

OK, I'll get off the bandwagon now.

Last edited by KTtravel; May 5th, 2024 at 09:39 PM.
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