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First trip out of USA, in May, two teen daughters. Any and All help much appreciated!

First trip out of USA, in May, two teen daughters. Any and All help much appreciated!

Old Jan 10th, 2024, 08:38 AM
  #121  
 
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NB most of London museums are free
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 11:25 AM
  #122  
 
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Go now, even if it's fewer places than you originally hoped! Moving around gets expensive. You never know what might happen in the coming year to throw a wrench into things!

Last edited by SusanP; Jan 10th, 2024 at 11:27 AM.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 11:37 AM
  #123  
 
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I’m in the “go now” camp! While you may have a better plan and more savings, you don’t know what next year will bring for your daughters.

I also want to add that London and the UK are wonderful to visit! It’s not like the US if you’ve never been to Europe before! London has so much to see and there are plenty of places to visit elsewhere. For example, Edinburgh is a beautiful city and easily accessible by train. Or York. Or any number of places.

I imagine it’s possible to stay outside of the priciest downtown locations and find a place that is slightly more affordable even if it’s a little less convenient.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 12:23 PM
  #124  
 
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No one ever looked back on a trip not taken. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Cut back your plans or get more money, but, in any case, GO!
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 03:27 PM
  #125  
 
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Where is that crystal ball when you need it?!?
Congratulations! You have made a lot of Fodorites very happy, we are all busy researching.

You definitely need to prioritize the ability to do a special trip with your daughters, we treasure the memories with our kids, and now they are adults, scattered and busy with their lives. If this is the best time, go for it. And like many have mentioned, who knows what is around the corner. A broken ankle, a serious illness, a new job, etc. can all delay this even more.

I still think London and Paris are the best choice, but the difficulty in the Paris accommodation availability is a concern. Our kids have continued to love to travel, and as young adults, they stayed in many hostels. At first I was concerned, but they always got private rooms with private baths and they were pleased with them and especially the price. I know they can be busy and on the noisy side, but they are an option, and getting 2 rooms and especially 2 bathrooms is appealing. Your girls might enjoy the exposure to guests their age from other countries.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 03:41 PM
  #126  
 
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We never travelled overseas with our children so never had that increased cost. Our first trip overseas was to the UK for our eldest son's wedding in 2004. We had thought we would wait until we retired to do it, but this brought it forward. We thought that would be it, but once we had done it, we realised with some thought about what you do, it can be more affordable than you think. That first trip has now become eight trips to France since 2006.

As already mentioned, moving around costs money, so do not try to do too much. People try to cram too much in in the time they have and end up not making the most of the places. Do a couple for a longer period and perhaps you will not need to visit those again. Next time, and there will most likely be a next time, you choose somewhere different.

We do as Stu does and rent self catering and have a lot of meals at home. Yes, I know that is not what you may want from a holiday. When I tell people what we do, I always get the response ' I do not go on holidays to cook meals. ' But given a choice of cooking and spending longer in France or not cooking and probably not going at all, I choose the first.

And yes, you do not know what is around the corner. Covid taught us that. We travelled in 2018 and had to cancel a trip in 2020. We did not return until 2023. We are now seventy and effectively lost five years of visits to France. For us, that is at least two trips.

Good luck whatever you do.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 09:43 PM
  #127  
 
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Hi OP SpringT,
Man oh man, did you ever get a lot of good advice above--127 posts!!
Sooo many good chunks of input.
If it were me, I'd limit this trip to London, with a flight home (open jaws) from Paris.
We've stayed in that above-mentioned Paris hotel Jean d'Arc's family room before.
It was OK. Just. Not particularly good value for money, but very good location.
Btw, the Left Bank hotel St. Paul used to offer 'one free day' for longer-stays---dunno whether they still do or not.
Rentals become better value IF you move outside tourist zones. One could try say, the area around Charonne and Avron metro stops (20e).

Hope that your trip goes well. I'd do everything possible to stack the odds in your favor that way, minimizing transfers and including rest days with flexibility.

I am done. The end.

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Old Jan 11th, 2024, 05:56 AM
  #128  
 
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AJPeabody--When I saw your post with "No one ever looked back on a trip not taken," I thought, "Yep, this is the reason." I zapped the line to my husband, daughters, and a recently "converted" travel friend. You found the essence of why we on this board plan and why we document. We all live the three parts of travel: plan, travel, remember.
Kudos.
AZ
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Old Jan 11th, 2024, 06:38 AM
  #129  
 
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I took my first trip to Europe when I was 21. Six of my friends were traveling to England where we had a friend studying for the summer in Oxford. The flight was a remarkable (even at the time) $221 r/t. I was getting ready to attend college, preparing to move from my apartment in NY's Hudson Valley to Albany, and had taken a bank loan of $1000 to help get established in my new city where I would be studying. Instead of banking the cash as my cushion, I went to Europe with my friends for a little over a week. It absolutely ignited my European wanderlust. No regrets.
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Old Jan 11th, 2024, 10:47 AM
  #130  
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You are all marvelous. You have helped calm my nerves and renew my spirit. This trip will NOT be postponed!!! Thank you so much!
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Old Jan 11th, 2024, 12:26 PM
  #131  
 
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You won't regret it! 😀
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Old Jan 11th, 2024, 11:31 PM
  #132  
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So you have decided to go. I used to travel around the world on a student budget but that has been a long time ago so you may take my advice with a grain of salt. The Rough guide is probably one of the best travel guides for people on a budget. I often look through them as they have somewhat a different perspective on things than the other travel guides. If your budget of 11K is not a firm one you could add Venice (or Rome or Amsterdam etc) and 4 days to a 10 day London and Paris itinerary for about $2500. If it is firm as it might be if you have University expenses coming, I would stick to London and Paris and perhaps less days than 14. They are the most popular destinations in Europe for a reason. It is an easy train to get between London and Paris and you want to open jaw your flights as into London and out of Paris assuming those are your two destinations. I would try to keep your travel dates within May as airfares tend to go up as you head into the summer. You need to start with looking at airfares to your possible destinations now. I have a subscription to GOING to look for cheap airfares but you can get a free trial. You can set up price alerts on some sites such as Kayak. It is best to travel light with just a carryon as it will probably reduce your airfares. You will learn to do laundry yourself on the go in your room or do them in your hostel if they have washing machines or you can drop your clothes off at laundromats and do them yourself or drop them off where they will clean your clothes by weight. The sooner you nail down your dates you can book the Eurostar between London and Paris and the earlier you do the cheaper it is. In terms of housing the choices would be a hostel and if so you may have the choice of same sex bunkbed room, lockers and a communal kitchen and laundry or you could possibly opt for a private room for all 4 of you for a bit more money. University dormitories rent out to visitors in the summer and in my opinion are nicer but I do not know if they would be available during your dates. Booking.com and Airbnb are your other options to look for housing. Food is the easiest place to economize and if you stay at a place with a kitchen you can have your breakfasts and dinner there with take out or foods made to be easily be cooked from a local supermarket. You can eat lunch at local take out ethnic eateries or sandwich shops. Even though we sometimes eat at Michelin star restaurants we still sometimes eat like when we were students. My partner knows that I sometimes have cravings for a Bratwurst from a stand in Austria or a Falafel from a small shop most places in Europe or a rice ball from a 7-11 in Japan. Lastly there are local travel expenses and entrance fees for attractions. Your children should look into possibly getting an International student card and see if it will give them discounts on attractions in your destinations. It used to be useful but I have not used one in many decades.
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Old Jan 12th, 2024, 10:03 AM
  #133  
 
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I am also in the Go Now camp. Like many others, Covid reinforced that idea. Is London primarily to see your daughter's friend? If not just do London. If yes, go to Paris and have her go to London solo for a couple of days. One train ticket is far cheaper then four.
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Old Jan 12th, 2024, 10:51 AM
  #134  
 
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Originally Posted by steve1218
I am also in the Go Now camp. Like many others, Covid reinforced that idea. Is London primarily to see your daughter's friend? If not just do London. If yes, go to Paris and have her go to London solo for a couple of days. One train ticket is far cheaper then four.
Great idea!
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