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France, Itlay & Switzerland with a kid in 2.5 weeks

France, Itlay & Switzerland with a kid in 2.5 weeks

Jan 21st, 2014, 12:19 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3
France, Itlay & Switzerland with a kid in 2.5 weeks

Hi everyone,
I am very new to this website and hoping to get some help in creating a comfortable and an enjoyable itinerary. We have a one year old who will be 17 months when we take the trip to Europe. This will be our first trip to Europe in September 2014. I would really like to squeeze in Spain or Prague, because I am not sure if we will be able to go back ever again but I know its not practical. So here is what I am thinking:

Land in Paris from Seattle.
4 days in Paris. not sure what to see other than paris in france... help!

9 days in Italy:
2 in Venice
3 in Florence
really want to visit Pisa
4 days in Rome

5 days in Switzerland.
want to explore Interlaken, Zurich?

My questions:
1) Should I go to Switzerland before Italy. From Paris?
2) Is there any chance I can squeeze in any other country?
3) Should I rent a car with a toddler or just use trains?
4) Are the days enough for each city or too much?
5) Is $5000 enough budget for all this? (we r not much into shopping and expensive dinning)
Rabz is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 02:39 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,861
1) Should I go to Switzerland before Italy. From Paris?

Probably not. There are cheap flights from Paris to Venice. And you absolutely don't have time to go anywhere else in France besides Paris - and even then, considering baby and jetlag, you're shortchanging yourself.

2) Is there any chance I can squeeze in any other country?

NO, there isn't. You're already attempting too much.

3) Should I rent a car with a toddler or just use trains?

Trains and that plane from Paris to Venice. You obviously can't have one in Venice; it would be a complete liability in Paris and Florence and Rome; and the Swiss rail system is so efficient, and the cost of driving in Switzerland is high.

4) Are the days enough for each city or too much?

Not enough in Paris. Not enough in Venice (given you'll lose a day getting there).

5) Is $5000 enough budget for all this? (we r not much into shopping and expensive dinning)

Does the $5,000 include airfare? If not, absolutely not. And probably not even if it does, as you are hopping all over the Continent and every time you move from one place to another it costs money. And Switzerland is very expensive...very! So is Venice.

This is a highly ambitious trip with a baby, and I think you should seriously think about cutting back.

BTW, if you want to go to Pisa, go. As for Zürich, as someone else on Fodors once said, it's a sleep clinic - and one of my least favorite places in Europe, but that doesn't mean you won't love it.

I would start reading some guidebooks, researching the costs of trains and hotels and food, etc., in these countries, and take a serious look at the logistics involved. This doesn't sound like an enjoyable trip to me at all...and I traveled all over Europe with babies for years.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 03:39 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
That's a lot of moving around with a 17-month old child. From the sounds of it, you haven't the experience traveling with anyone who will require most of your time, day and night.

And no, a budget of around €205 EUR/day will not cut it for you and your family. Accommodations will take more than half, more like three-quarters, as Paris, Venice and just about everywhere in Switzerland is expensive, regardless of the time you year. Where do you plan on eating? At McD?

And forget about squeezing in another country.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 03:42 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
On second thought, do a long weekend in Vancouver B.C. It's more expensive then Seattle, which is expensive enough, and should give you some idea of what to expect traveling in Europe with a very young child.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 05:06 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Agree that your schedule is VERY aggressive with a toddler in tow. What type of stroller are you planning on bringing? How are you planning on coping with all of your luggage plus all of the things you have to bring with a small child - diaper bag, changes of clothes, snacks, toys etc?

I would SLOW WAY down - do a week in Paris and split the rest of the time between 2 cities in Italy. Rent an apt instead of stuffing all 3 of you in one small hotel room. That way you don't have to keep the same hours as baby and can prepare snacks and breakfasts - and possibly some dinners.

Your budget is very tight - not doable if you have to include the best part of $2500 for air fare - and you should avoid Switz, which is VERY expensive.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 05:58 PM
  #6  
 
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Even with airfare excluded from the cost, a budget of €205 EUR/day is about as basic as one can get unless they are backpacking. This is not the 70s or 80s and doing Europe on $5/day, or even $50/day/person, is a thing of the past.

The parents may be able to get by skimping on their meals and comforts, but a 17-month old?
Robert2533 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 06:44 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 111
The responses here are filled with tough love but focus on the love. These are voices of wisdom... everyone thinks that they won't get back again. And then they do. Go to Paris, pick two (three if you must) cities in Italy and enjoy.

Don't rent a car. Come back with a new itinerary and get more advice!
RoamEurope is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 11:14 PM
  #8  
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Thanks guys for the advice. Really appreciate it. Okay so I have trimmed my whole itinerary to the following cities:
Paris
Rome
Interlaken (glacier express train maybe)

About budget... So what do u guys think is a comfortable budget for this trip?

What is the best way from Paris to Rome? And how should I divide the 2.5 weeks between these three cities? I have a baby jogger city mini gt stroller... I am not sure if I should take it along... Maybe get a travel stroller (light n easy like an umbrella stroller) ???
Rabz is offline  
Jan 21st, 2014, 11:35 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Rabz,

It's not feasible to take the Glacier Express train from a base in Interlaken. The GE runs between Zermatt and St. Mortiz, and both are about 3 or 4 hours from Interlaken. In addition, the GE is an 8-hour ride, so that one day will entail about 12 hours inside a closed-up, moving box.

Much better, imo, to have face/face experience with mountains rather than seeing it all passively from a seat behind a window.

If you want to take a scenic train ride, consider taking part of the Golden Pass, which does run through Interlaken. You could either take it to Luzern or to Spiez or Zweisimmen.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2014, 06:25 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 111
Awesome. A couple of more thoughts:
1. Think about going to Florence as originally planned instead of Interlaken. It would be an easy train up from Rome and is a very compact walking city that would (I think) be a super fun place to stroll with the baby and worlds apart from Rome.
2. I'm going to go against the one rule that I never go against in giving advice (the rule: when choosing between two packing options, always choose the lighter, smaller option) and warn against the umbrella stroller. I think the small wheels and bumpy ride are going to severely work against you. I'd leave behind the suitcase and take a mid-size backpack, I'd wear the same outfit every day, I'd wear the only shoes I take, I'd obsess over every single ounce.... but I would find a way to take a stroller that is easy to push and easy to ride in for 2.5 weeks!
RoamEurope is offline  

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