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Graduate students going to Europe for 1st time - Our Honeymoon. HELP!

Graduate students going to Europe for 1st time - Our Honeymoon. HELP!

Apr 5th, 2014, 09:08 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,250
Don't let sandralist put you off (she has been banned under at least three other screen names but just can't help herself )

Re airbnb - it can be fine, great even, IF you know the areas and do a lot of due diligence. You really don't have the time to really investigate a lot of potential properties. You may find a terrific place on airbnb - if so jump on it. But some owners do play fast and loose describing their location. Especially in the cities where you are spending less time, I'd go w/ hotels instead.

Also, maybe add a bit more time than you think you'll need in the first city you hit (likely London) to allow a day or so to recover from the jet lag
janisj is online now  
Apr 5th, 2014, 10:29 AM
  #22  
 
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The reviews on airbnb would help with location questions, and you can question the owners directly to ask about the cross street or whatever. After several rentals, we haven't seen any fastness or looseness in any way.
stokebailey is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 10:39 AM
  #23  
 
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>>After several rentals, we haven't seen any fastness or looseness in any way.<<

By that I mean (and not just on airbnb) they'll say South Kensington when it is really Earls Court, or 'easy access to Trafalgar Square' when they are in Docklands - that sort of thing. On a first trip if one isn't really familiar w/ the specific cities/neighborhoods - I'd just be super diligent.
janisj is online now  
Apr 5th, 2014, 10:46 AM
  #24  
 
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Great advice above. My only input is why go to Brussels? Do you have a hankering for the penguin museum

Brugges is glorious if small and medievalish. Little canals abound, Belgium beer is world class and though the locals raise the price of rooms a bit it is a well worth a visit. See the movie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Bruges to believe.
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 11:50 AM
  #25  
 
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People interested in Art Nouveau should go to Brussels. We were there before the music museum opened, which is said to be worthwhile just for itself but is also housed in what had been an art nouveau department store.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...7622960216715/

browsing through these pictures might give an idea of some of the things that are to see in Brussels.
Michael is online now  
Apr 5th, 2014, 12:52 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Any apartment rental requires a lot of careful research, much more so than a hotel. Also, many apartment rentals require complicated arrival arrangements, such as making an appointment to me the owner or an agent, and calling from the airport or station to confirm that you're on your way. Apartments can save considerable money for a group of four or more, but two people can usually find a hotel room for a similar or lower price. Apartment fans usually counter that you get more spaces for the money in an apartment, but that's more important for people who will be spending a week or more in one place, and less important for people who will be moving from place to place a lot. If you'll be staying in five different places, you'll have to do all that research five times, and make the arrival arrangements five times.

Besides, on your honeymoon, do you really want to be cleaning the sink and shower stall?

I use mostly www.booking.com to find lodging. You can specify "city centre" as your destination, e.g., "London city centre"; this will weed out the places in the boondocks. Booking.com lists hotels, B&Bs, guest houses, apartments, and hostels. You can sort the list by price, or by guest rating. I sometimes sort by price and then go down the list until I find a place with a guest rating over 7.5, which is what I consider the dividing line between the acceptable and the unacceptable. Be sure to read the guest reviews before making a final choice.

Many youth hostels have double rooms, but with usually a shared bath, which you may not want on your honeymoon.
bvlenci is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 12:56 PM
  #27  
 
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I've really only passed through Brussels, on several occasions, but my sister was there recently and really loved the city. I did like Bruges, but I was there over 20 years ago, and I think there are far more tourists there now.
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Apr 5th, 2014, 02:09 PM
  #28  
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Going to digest everything, and work on this as I finish up finals. Fiance wants to take London off of the list of places to go because we're planning on going to England for two weeks in December. So now, reworking things we can actually fly (for much cheaper) to Amsterdam, make our way to Paris in about 5 days and spend the 15 days in France.

What do you guys think about renting a car in France? I am leaning towards renting a car - but not while we are in Paris (which would be our first stop for about 5 days)
whynotnow is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 02:15 PM
  #29  
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Sandralist, if being uber pretentious makes you feel like you're (1) sophisticated (2) important (3) intelligent - go for it. It's good to know that I can make you feel better about yourself and your life today. Happy to be of service! I hope that you find the happiness that you are looking for, because I certainly will.
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Apr 5th, 2014, 02:18 PM
  #30  
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bvlenci - my fiance and I would rather spend our money on activities, food, etc. instead of lodging. We're only using the space to crash. We have used Airbnb extensively during our travels throughout the US, South America, and parts of Asia. I am very comfortable using the site and really like it.

But I do understand what you're saying and truly appreciate the advice. I am not being sarcastic. I figure that we can stay in the expensive hotels when we are older and have the disposable income. For now, a comfy couch will do. We don't mind roughing it, even if it's for our honeymoon.
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Apr 5th, 2014, 02:33 PM
  #31  
 
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I have been to Brussels quite a few times, and I'm fond of the place and think it has some of the very best food in Europe. I've also been to Bruges a few times and, yes, it's got all that "cutesy quaint" stuff going on, plus a good deal of history, it's one of those places that I believe Rick Steve's has made into such a mecca that it's simply overrun. I'd rather be in Ghent or Antwerp.

whynotnow, I'm an airbnb fan, too. Just try to make sure that anyplace you rent isn't being rented illegally, because airbnb doesn't check on the legality - it's up to the owners to know if their city/town housing laws allow short-term rentals. Best to inquire of the owners before you rent, because (and yes, it's unlikely) if they're renting illegally and are found out during your stay, you could be tossed on the street.

I think it's a grand idea to rent a car in France! Any ideas of what area(s) you'd like to cover? Not that I'm biased or anything, but the Dordogne is exquisite in spring and early summer. And less expensive than quite a few other regions of the country. You wouldn't want to use up the whole 15 days there, I'm sure, but it combines nicely with trips to other wonderful regions (Lot, Query, Midi-Pyrénées, Languedoc-Roussilon, Provence....).
StCirq is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 02:36 PM
  #32  
 
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Renting a car to visit the countryside makes sense. We use thus site to book all our car rentals

http://www.autoeurope.com

We also spend more on food, wine and experiences...I am sure you will have a great time!
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Apr 5th, 2014, 02:40 PM
  #33  
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socaltraveler - I am completing my residency in psych w/ a PhD in public health (focus on mental health issues). In other words, I get it & see no need to take it personally -- especially on the internet. Still, I appreciate the comments that the rest of you made. Honestly the fact that the rest of you responded to him/her shows that you have built a nice welcoming community around here.
whynotnow is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 03:14 PM
  #34  
 
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Graduate students going to Europe for 1st time - Our Honeymoon. HELP!
Posted by: whynotnow on Apr 5, 14 at 1:30am Posted in: Europe
Neither one of us has traveled to Europe before and what we are most worried about is traveling from place to place.
We are both in our late 20s. We love art, architecture, food,

Amsterdam has a new law legalizing Airbnb. See http://tinyurl.com/ksdvqmg.

Amsterdam has great art and mighty friendly cafes. You know the museums of course. My favorite relax zone is around the Spui. Try the Cafe Luxembourg for lunch, the Hoppe for a drink when the offices close, and the Luden for dinner.

For an illustrated introduction to the trains of Europe see http://tinyurl.com/eym5b. For rail passes I suggest contacting Budget Europe Travel in Ann Arbor http://tinyurl.com/339uf5. They are very helpful on the phone.

You might also enjoy a day visit to Haarlem. See the city web site at http://tinyurl.com/keyulqc.
spaarne is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 03:18 PM
  #35  
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Yes, so here's how I see things

Day 1 - 2 Travel NYC to Amsterdam
Day 2 - 4 Amsterdam
Day 4 - 6 Bruges/Antwerp
Day 7 - 11 Paris
Day 12 - 18 Cities throughout France
Day 20 - 21 Versailles (he really wants to be there on a specific date for an event
Day 22 - Paris to New York

What do you all think? now we have the option of just scrapping Amsterdam & Bruges and leaving that for another time. We'll be going back and forth a lot in the next five years.

As far as cities throughout France, I don't know. Stressed out the most about this. I don't want to go all the way south. I have my heart set on Mont St. Michel and Normandy.

Different people recommended Honfleur in Normandy. Don't know too much about it. I just want to go to some pretty towns that have interesting history, maybe some activities. I would love to do a loop circle of cities throughout France which goes west of Paris and loops around to Versailles and ends in Paris. What do you all think?

Regardless of the routes we take I REALLY want it to be a scenic drive. I recently found this site that seems to help plan trips, what do you all think? http://www.routeperfect.com/

Someone else told me that the traffic getting OUT OF Paris is really bad so we should take a train to another city and start our car rental at that point. Any recommendations about that? if so, what cities?
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Apr 5th, 2014, 03:32 PM
  #36  
 
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www.viamichelin.com allows you to specify the tye of itinerary you want: with or without toll roads, fast, scenic, etc.
Michael is online now  
Apr 5th, 2014, 03:44 PM
  #37  
 
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I would put all your Paris time together at the end if you need to be in Versailles at a certain time.

Where in France do you want to go to? If you give us more details we can help you figure out the logistics.
jamikins is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 03:46 PM
  #38  
 
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Me too . . . Much more efficient transport and accomodations-wise to have the entire Paris stay 'together'
janisj is online now  
Apr 5th, 2014, 04:21 PM
  #39  
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Honestly, I am open to different places in France. We're both okay with scrapping Amsterdam. Honestly the main reason why we put it on the list is because flights were about $200 cheaper if we flew into Amsterdam and flew out of Paris. In France, I do have my heart set on Mont St. Michel and Normandy. I would also like to see Loire Valley. What I personally love is old buildings, castles, museums... add to that some touches of nature and I am in heaven. Are there medieval villages/towns that are not tooo far south?


If we were going to Italy or Thailand I would be more certain about the specific places but w/ this trip since we're probably going to rent a car, the most important thing to me is to take scenic routes, feel comfortable stopping in different places. Thanks for your input about ending in Paris, that sounds find and a good way to go out big. So w/ that said, where should we start?
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Apr 5th, 2014, 04:27 PM
  #40  
 
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Go to Amsterdam. Take the train to Lille. Pick up a car in Lille and drive down to Normandy. Return to Paris via the Loire valley. Stay in Paris. Return home.

Check car rental prices at www.autoeurope.com or www.kemwel.com. They are sister companies but have variations in their prices and providers of rentals. If you reside in the states, you can use their "basic" rate if your credit car will carry the CDW. Mine does with no deductible, but I have to pay for the repairs and then collect from the credit card company. Some people are uncomfortable with such an arrangement.
Michael is online now  

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