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First Trip to Europe

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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:38 AM
  #1
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First Trip to Europe

We will be visiting Europe for the first time in May. Our first stop will be to Peccioli, Italy, which is close to Florence and a 2 hour train ride to Rome. We plan on staying in that area for 5 days. We were also thinking of taking the train to Germany, Austria, France then back to Italy to depart. We live in Las Vegas, and would be flying to NY or Boston for the connecting flight.

Any ideas of what to see, what to do, and if leaving from the same airport is best? Also, is it better to take the train or to drive. We will be there a total of 2 weeks.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:44 AM
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Trying to tour Germany, Austria, and France... 3 countries in only 9 days (subtracting 5 days from the 14 days for Italy) doesn't really work as a plan.

Leaving from the same airport usually requires backtracking on the ground. Many people prefer to fly "open jaw" (into one city, out of your last one). You just need to price tickets and review available routes from your home airport.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:45 AM
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No reason to go back to Italy to fly home. Get an "Open Jaw" ticket (into one city, out of another) which is usually no more expensive than a round trip.

You have two weeks - two full weeks on the ground in Europe or two weeks including travel time? You plan to visit four countries. I'd suggest you pause and reconsider. Even if you have 14 days on the ground, you would have a better trip with just three stops. It will often take you much of a day to get from one place to another (consider the time from checking out of one place through all the transport and checking into another), so you son't want to spend too much of your vacation in transit. Remember that if you spend 5 nights somewhere, you will have 4 full days there. I wouldn't spend fewer than three nights (two full days) anywhere that interests you.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:45 AM
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In 9 days you want to cover 3 countries? Please reconsider this plan as you will spend all your time on trains (or driving around).

Since you only have 2 weeks, why not stay in Italy for the duration and see some other please besides Peccioli. Italy is beautiful, diverse, and there is so much to see.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:46 AM
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We were all posting at the same time, with the same response!
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 10:59 AM
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I've done 3 countries in two weeks, and it was bad enough (and that was Scotland, England and Wales, a MUCH smaller area to cover). Do try to limit yourself - any vacation must be planned with the intention of going back some day. You can never see it all, no matter how much you want to
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 11:08 AM
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Consider Vienna and Paris, returning to the U.S. from Paris.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Driving or training? Well I would consider flying open jaw - fly into Rome and out of Munich to prevent the necessity of backtracking - even if such a ticket is more expensive it may all in all be less so since you do not have to pay for a long train ride or flight or drive back to Italy.

But if renting a car keep in mind that drop-offs in a country other than in which you picked it up in can result in dauntingly steep drop-off charges in another country.

But if you want to cover that time of ground and are mainly seeing large tourist cities then cars may be a liability in them - wide swaths of city centres now being off-limits to private vehicles - hotels may not have parking - parking can be hard to find and expensive if so

So hop on Europe's trains, many of which blow along at speeds of 150-190 mph to save on time and also just to sit back and what the scenery go by.

If doing all that by train you may find some kind of railpasses to be a good deal - especially if you want to travel 1st-class and especially if you want fully flexible travel - just hop on any train anytime (except in Italy where you must get a mandated seat reservation at 10 euros extra) - anyway for loads of great info on European trains check out: www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.

There are also night trains like if you really want to return to Rome at the end of your trip you can take an overnight train from Munich or Vienna and sleep the night away and wake up next morning in Rome.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 02:05 PM
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Sorry - but

You are trying to just cover two much territory in very limited time. You will have to determine actual days on the ground (do not count the day you arrive or the day you depart) and then figure out how many places your can reasonably see.

Definitely do open jaw flights (into one city and out of another) to avoid losing a day backtracking to the original airport.

You can use trains for going from city to city but in rural areas a car will usually be better.

To avoid more circling I would fly into Rome, see that then head for Peccioli (I assume to see family) and then north from there - departing from your final city.

In the time you have 4 places to say - Rome, Peccioli and 2 others is the most I would do. They can be in different countries - you may want to do Munich and Paris for instance. But I think if you do more than that - esp if you only have 12 or 13 days on the ground - it will all be just one very expensive blur - and you will spend too much time in airports and train staions versus actually seeing much of europe.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 02:20 PM
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<< We live in Las Vegas, and would be flying to NY or Boston for the connecting flight. >>

Why will you only take flights that connect in NY or Boston?

If you can find a cheaper, or more convenient, flight via Dulles, Toronto, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, or Philadelphia, etc. you won't take that flight?

I'm not saying that there aren't connections in Boston but I haven't come across any.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Peccioli is actually closer to Pisa, so if you can arrive at Pisa airport, it would be optimal. You shouldn't rule out Florence airport and perhaps even Bologna airport. which is less than 2 hours from Pisa. (Getting up from Rome's airport will take more than 2 hours.) You might do well to join the message board of Flyer Talk and ask for help about figuring out best routings from Las Vegas to Italy (and I don't think you should go back to Italy for your return to Nevada).

From Italy, consider flying to the other countries you are considering, depending on where you want to go in them.
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 02:28 PM
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>>If you can find a cheaper, or more convenient, flight via Dulles, Toronto, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, or Philadelphia, etc. you won't take that flight?<<

Plus there are also non-stops from Vegas to at least London and Frankfurt - not sure of other routes.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 10:15 AM
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I'd always pay more for a direct flight - changing is a complete hassle and lengthens an already long grueling flight.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 10:42 AM
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>>I'd always pay more for a direct flight - changing is a complete hassle<<

You are talking 'non-stop', not 'direct' . . . a direct flight can have stops.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 06:40 PM
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changing is a complete hassle and lengthens an already long grueling flight.

It was quite painless for us in Dublin. In fact, on the return flight, Dublin gives us the advantage of going through U.S. customs and Immigration there, which means that we land in a domestic terminal in the States and do not have to compete with all the other arriving passengers to go through Immigration and Customs.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 05:56 AM
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Also, more chance of lost luggage on more flight changes.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 06:58 AM
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As indicated above, two weeks is barely enough to see some of Italy. You'll take some time in Peccioli and five days in Rome. So how many days will you have left? Florence, Venice, Naples would all be good places to spend your remaining time.
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Aug 25th, 2014, 11:25 AM
  #18
 
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Venice to me is the #1 must in Italy if you have to chose - to me the world's most beautiful city I have been to and I've been all over the world and Europe. Don't miss it!
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Aug 25th, 2014, 04:01 PM
  #19
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Anyone have a good 7 day itinerary for Italy-Tuscany is a must. Perhaps then we will spend the remaining time taking rail to Germany or one other county and fly out from there.

Thank you all for you responses!!!!
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Aug 25th, 2014, 04:02 PM
  #20
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Also, it is 14 days TOTAL time, not in Europe, Figured I was way off base trying to do that much!! But hey one can dream right!!
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