Help me plan 9 days in Europe!

Aug 5th, 2005, 05:35 AM
  #1  
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Help me plan 9 days in Europe!

hoping to design a 10 day trip to Europe for husband and son Feb 2006 school vacation. Son's wish list is Paris, Rome and London, (he's going to Ireland w/school later in year). Any advice on how to do this the most cost efficient way. They were thinking 3 days in each location. Any advice will be sooooo appreciated. Hotels, car rentals or subway, trains, plane advice etc.....
molly4669 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 05:40 AM
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I'd probably leave out Rome as you will have plenty to do in 10 days in Paris in London & will save a travel day as well. You can get around both places easily enough on the Metro/Tube & forgo the car rental in my opinion. Either is fairly easy to get to but wait until Fall to book flights as deals abound for Winter trips to Europe. We typically go this time a year & airfare can be had for $300-$400 r/t easily. Be patient.
SAnParis is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Agree that your time is too short ofr alll 3 major cities. You will have little enough time for 2 cities - and traveling between all 3 would just take too much time from your trip. I would advise London and Paris since I believe Rome is substantially better in warm weather (more outdoors stuff). (If you start making of list of you must dos in each city you will soon see that this really makes sense.)

Do an open jaw ticket - into London and out of Paris. Then just use the train from London to Paris and walk/use public transport within each city.

As for hotels - you need to give us an idea of your budget - since each city has thousands of options.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 06:23 AM
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It is wonderful your son wants to see London, Paris and Rome. But 9 days is just not enough time.

consider: Your first day will be pretty hectic w/ jet lag, transport to hotel, checking in, getting you bearings etc. You may all be just fine after a transatlantic flight (I'm assuming you are N. Americans) - but usually the exhaustion means people take it real easy that first day. So for arguments sake lets call it 1/2 a day for sightseeing.

Then every time you change cities it eats up about 1/2 a day. No matter if you fly or take the train, between travel to the station/airport, check in time, travel time, getting to your new hotel and checking in. So London to Paris, plus Paris to Rome will take up another day+

So w/o seeing anything you are now down to 7.5 days for seeing/doing things. But your last day really is not useful at all since most transatlantic flights leave in the morning or early afternoon and you have to be at the airport 2 or 3 hours ahead.

So - your generous sounding 9 days on the ground will actually only give you about 6.5 days.

Talk this over w/ your son and all of you decide which TWO cities are highest on your wish list. My choice would be London/Paris -- but any combo could work.
janis is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 06:29 AM
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I meant to add - a 2 city combo is definitely doable in 9 days, but 1 city w/ day trips to other parts of theat country might be even better.

For both London and Paris a family is oftem more comfortable renting a flat instead of staying in a hotel. European hotels rooms tend to be quite small. A 1 bedroom apartment will give you more space (your son can sleep on a sofa bed in the living room) and a full kitchen. Not that you want to do a lot of cooking - but to have breakfast foods on hand or be able to make pic nic lunches or have a late night snack - having a kitchen (and washing maching) is a big plus.
janis is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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I'd suggest 1-2 cities, 9 days is simply too short to do all 3 you mentioned IMO.

I'd do London and Paris with an open jaw ticket into one and out of the other. Train London to Paris.

Or if Rome is of more interest, then maybe Rome and Venice. Again open jaw fly into one and out of the other. Train in between.

janis did a great job of outlining why "3 days in each location" really doesn't turn out that way. Assuming you're coming trans Atlantic the first and last day are basically beat with airport arrival/departure. The transfer between each of the cities another good 1/2+ day by plane or train either one. So you end up with barely 2 days in each of 3 cities, and several days what I consider "wasted" in changing locations.

I think a 1 city choice with day trips would also work out great especially for Paris.
suze is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 06:42 AM
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I would also limit a ten-day trip to two capitals, probably London and Paris.

Flying in and out of London is cheaper than Paris. Open-jaw costs more than either. What you should do is (a spreadsheet would be handy):

For each combination (base in London, base in Paris, moving bases), total the cost of airfare, lodging, and moving from one place to the other. In your calculations, consider that your train trip(s) will cost the same whether you return or not, because you will buy a round-trip regardless (they're cheaper than one-way).

Renting an apartment for ten days will always be cheaper than paying ten nights' hotel bills. Even if you spend an overnight in the other city (paying double rent), a flat will still cost less.

Use public transport everywhere you go. An automobile in European capitals is a liability. Both cities' transit systems offer daily passes that provide unlimited travel for about $8 per day. There are also commercial bus tours, but they cost $30-$40 more than doing it yourself.

Off the top of my head, I would say that the following plan might turn out to be the most cost-effective:

Fly into London.
Rent a flat for lodging.
See London for 3-4 days.
Take the Eurostar to Paris early one morning and return late that night (or the next).
Finish up London.
Fly home.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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I will have to agree with most here. 3 cities in 9 days would be pushing it...particularly because you're going in February so you'd have much shorter days and more likely to encounter bad weather.

In 2003, my husband and I went on a 23-day trip to Europe that started in London and ended in Istanbul. At the first leg of the trip, we had 2 nights in London, 3 in Paris and 4 in Rome. Rome was the only city we felt we had enough time in, as London could have easily been 4 days and Paris 5.

As a result, we're going back for a few extra days in London and a week in Paris to do those cities justice.

Since he's going back to Ireland later in the year, maybe you should skip London, do 5 days in Paris and go to Rome for 4...you could meet him after his Ireland trip and do London then.

Just a thought!

Jules
jules4je7 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:13 AM
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rex
 
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I'll dissent, even if only to play devil's advocate. I'd hate to be told that there isn't enough time to see these three cities. And the travel time just isn't as big a factor as one might make it out to be. Fly into London on day 0, arriving day 1; day 4 take the morning flight to Rome (probably Ryanair, but see also the whichbudget.com website for all options); day 7, take the flight to Paris; day 10, fly home from Paris.

I won't entirely fly in the face of the others... how old is he? Attention span means a lot, and the ability to learn about one country, its culture and language is something you know about him, and we do not. Has he begun his foreign language in school? What is that? (and if he's over 13 years old, I hope he has - - if not, why not?) What is the context and duration of the school travel to Ireland? If he is there for more than four weeks, he has weekend get away possibilities that are worth factoring into the overall plan for his 2006 year of travel, taking the big picture.

Nothing about the three cities you've mentioned makes any sense to even think about car rentals, by the way.

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:19 AM
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Rex, you rebel.

As usual, the Wise One is right...it is possible, and as I said earlier, I've done it.

The main things to consider are whether your family likes to hit the "big stuff" and move on, or if you're more of the "soaker" variety of travelers, who wants to spend a little extra time soaking in the ambience of a city.

Either way, it's great "problems" to have...deciding where to go and how much time to spend there.

Happy Travels!

Jules
jules4je7 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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i want to (mildly) disagree about the cost of open jaw tickets. several times i have used them and they were very similar price to a same city RT ticket (i don't remember exactly but well under $100 difference).
suze is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 10:54 AM
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In my experience open jaw tickets are never any more - they are 1/2 the RT to one city and 1/2 the RT to the other city.

For example if the RT London is $400 and the RT Paris is $500 the open jaw will be $450.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Yes - open jaws are only a bit more expensive than R-T into the cheapest city. When you add in the Eurostar or plane fare back to London, open jaw is often cheaper.
janis is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Meant to add - If you can get a really discounted R-T fare into one city it can make sense. You can sometimes get cheap excursion R-T fares on the eurostar that are less expensive than one way.
janis is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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R/T fares that time of year are particularly cheap. I would probably fly into London, stay a couple of days, Eurostar to Paris, stay 4 days, then back to London for the remainder. Actually, if it were me I'd just go to Paris. gt;) lol.
SAnParis is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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I would also just do two cities, definitely Paris and London if you want to see them anyway. Open jaw tickets aren't too expensive, I agree, I do them because they make sense and don't cost more.

I still say doing all three is nuts and just because your son wants this doesn't mean you should do it. Kids can't get everything they want. Even if you fly (which will take a lot of planning as you can't get decent tickets except in advance, the airports aren't in city center so you need to figure out transportation to/from wherever they do, etc.), and that will affect baggage limits.

Even if you did that, taking a flight from London to Rome on Ryanair is not going to take up just a couple hours--it will eat up half or more of the day and exhaust you for the rest (that is a 3 hr flight, for example, and if you get one at 9:00 out of Stansted, you'd have to get up very early to pack, checkout and get to that airport).
Christina is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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"For example if the RT London is $400 and the RT Paris is $500 the open jaw will be $450."

I disagree. Because if London is $400 and Paris is $500, they're APEX tickets, and the carriers don't o/j them. In the given example, the Y class fares would be maybe $700 and $900, in which case the o/j would be $800.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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rex
 
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<<Because if London is $400 and Paris is $500, they're APEX tickets, and the carriers don't o/j them. In the given example, the Y class fares would be maybe $700 and $900, in which case the o/j would be $800.>>

Spoken with much artificial certainty, considering that there is (right now) only a discussion of some very generic examples, from unstated cities of origin, in unstated months.
rex is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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Sheez, no need to beat the subject to death, guys. I think introducing the idea of a possible open jaw air ticket is sufficient. Many people new to planning don't realize this even exists (as I have seen on many 1st timers posting on Fodors). Molly can figure out for herself if it will work on her itinerary.
suze is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 04:28 PM
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Robespierre -

That was merely a concrete example of how OJ fares work. How could anyone have a clue what their exact fares will be so many months from now - and considering we dont; have a clue where they're coming from?

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