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Help for the itinerary-challenged please!

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Jan 31st, 2016, 11:38 AM
  #1
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Help for the itinerary-challenged please!

Hi all-
Have about 11 or 12 nights in Europe this summer (June 12-24 or thereabouts).

My must see destinations are Amsterdam and environs (never been) for about 5 nights , Paris for 4 nights (have been there many times and husband really wants to include, as do I) and Venice for the remainder most likely ( we were only there once, for 2 nights in very very hot, mid August 2009).
At this point, airfares out of JFK are all fairly flexible and available regardless of where we fly to and home from - seeking advice as to "ordering " the cities- from the standpoint of arriving, departing and traveling among them. For no real reason, I'd prefer to fly into Venice and home from Paris, but would appreciate any input as to what makes sense to you guys . Train travel might be fun --
Thanks so much-
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Jan 31st, 2016, 11:55 AM
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Best would be to fly into or out of Venice and into or out of Amsterdam as Paris is kind of in the middle if going by train anyway and there is an overnight train Venice to Paris and daytime connections but which take several hours (via Milan) - the overnight train saves time even over flying - daytime travel time that is - for lots on trains and overnight trains check www.seat61.com - great info on discounted train tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. Overnight trains also save on a night's accommodations and yous can get a private double - bring any food or drink aboard and make the most of it (my friend claims his son was conceived on a Paris to Venice night train!)

Check www.trenitalia.comfor Venice to Paris trains and also www.voyages-sncf.com - Amsterdam to Paris and v.v. is by high-speed Thalys trains - check www.thalys.com for fares and deep discounted tickets if you book far enough in advance - up to 3 months I think as these are sold in limited numbers and also are train-specific and non-changeable and non-refundable I think.

for cheap flights - www.skyscanner.com and www.whichbudget.com.
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Jan 31st, 2016, 12:25 PM
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I would fly into Venice - since it is likely to be the hottest (and make sure lodging has AC), they fly to Paris (unless you want an overnight train - but will you sleep) and then train to Amsterdam and fly home from there.

So, if you have 12 nights on the ground:

Venice - 4 nights - 3.5 days
Paris - 3 nights - 2.5 days
Amsterdam - 5 nights - 4 days
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Jan 31st, 2016, 12:29 PM
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You can do any order -- but I would arrange things so you aren't flying home from Venice. Flights to the States from Venice leave VERY early in the AM so it makes for a very short night and hassles getting to the airport.

So fly in to Venice - then fly to A'dam, train to Paris, fly home. OR in to Venice - then flight to Paris, train to A'dam, fly home. would be my choices.

Whichever gets you the best fare/schedule.
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Feb 1st, 2016, 07:05 AM
  #5
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Thank you all!
I know it makes sense to do Paris second because of location but for some unknown reason (to me) I was thinking Venice, Amsterdam, Paris. It seems all are doable and really appreciate your advice --
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Feb 1st, 2016, 07:08 AM
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Forgot to note- the fact that no one said it is a crazy mix and inefficient makes me feel even better . The other alternative ( -and probably more sound) is Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris but I really want to see Venice again!
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Feb 1st, 2016, 09:39 AM
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>>I know it makes sense to do Paris second because of location but for some unknown reason (to me) I was thinking Venice, Amsterdam, Paris. It seems all are doable and really appreciate your advice --<<

Not to worry -- Paris make no more sense in the middle than either of the other two. Venice / A'dam / Paris is just fine. The train between Amsterdam and London makes it easy no matter which is which.
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Feb 1st, 2016, 09:52 AM
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As much as I like Venice (and I will be there again this July) it is one of the last places I enjoy flying in and out of because it can be a pain to GET anywhere from the airport.

As to timings for flights out: that all depends on which airline you use and where your final destination is. If you want N/S yes it can be early but "early" isn't exactly the same as "impossible."

OTOH if you enjoy the possible boat ride from the airport into the city itself, why not?


Train travel can be fun" sounds like it is coming from somebody who doesn't plan on doing much. How would you get from Venice to Paris? You can fly, of course, or even take a train through (and stop off in) Switzerland.
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 06:22 AM
  #9
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I plan on doing tons actually . It's just that pale a and others have sold me on the idea of overnight trains, and that in and of itself is a novel experi nice.

And thumbs up to the boat ride. We did tha last time. Splurge but great
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 06:23 AM
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Sorry at was Palenq. Auto-correct!
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 06:29 AM
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I am one of the people who has actually had several good experience on night trains. I would hasten to add that all night train services are not the same in terms of quality.

If you haven't already you might want to review those using the seat61 website before making a final decision.

So as to that boat ride..do it right and book a private transfer.
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 07:24 AM
  #12
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For sure- thanks so much.
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 01:07 PM
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It's hard to predict how you will sleep on a train. If you can sleep sitting up in an overnight plane, then a train -- with its rocking -- should be a piece of cake.

When I was young (1974) we took a number of sleepers in Scandinavia and I slept like a baby.

Three years ago, we took a sleeper from Venice to Vienna, and I had a lot of trouble sleeping -- as I have aged, my sleeping "skills" have diminished.

But using a sleeper frees up more sightseeing time in your destinations, so, if you think you'll be OK sleeping on the train, it's the way to go...plus the cost of a double sleeper is often less than the cost of a hotel room.

(Though you will miss seeing the Alps.)

ssander
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Feb 4th, 2016, 12:20 PM
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Like ssander - as I get older it is harder to sleep on night trains though I usually do - just not as snoozy as once.
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Feb 4th, 2016, 12:43 PM
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I would fly into Venice. Then overnight train to Paris. Then either train or fly to Amsterdam. Have your flight home out of Amsterdam.


Overnight trains *book a private double compartment* are big fun imo. But once in a trip is enough.

I did one with a friend between Venice and Paris. We had to take a day train from Venice to Milan (3 hours?) then transfer to the night train at Milan, arriving Paris in the morning. We bought some really great food in a shop right in the Milan train station (excellent fresh sandwiches, beer, wine, sweets) to have dinner in our compartment before going to bed.
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Feb 4th, 2016, 01:30 PM
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Looked at each option carefully. You might not have that many choices as you might have thought.

I presume you are looking at Non-Stop to each destinations you mentioned?

For each, think about what you will do on arrival day. If you arrive early in the morning, what are you going to do until you can check-in? If hotel, you can leave your stuff at the hotel. If apartment, it gets harder. For those who have happened to always rent an apartment that accommodated early arrivals, it seems to be a non-issue. For others who had to find a solution would either find a way first or avoid getting into this kind of time mismatch in the first place.

For each, think about how you get to the airport to catch the plane home. You are in a relatively better position than many other travelers as there are non-stop flights back to JFK leaving before of just after noon.

Look at the weekly event calendar to see on which day of the week your visit to each destination falls. If you are a museum person, pay attention to where Mondays fall. If you are a boutique shopping person you might want to pay attention to where Sundays fall, etc.

Look at the accommodation angle. The prices can skyrocket if there is a major even going on. One year, I have to re-sequence the day I stayed in Amsterdam. There was something big going on, and the hotel prices were almost double a week before or a week after.
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