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Help with multi-country travel

Old Mar 16th, 2006, 07:39 AM
  #1  
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Help with multi-country travel

Hi everyone!

My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe from may 19 to June 4 (16 days). We live in Tampa, FL and this is our tentative itinerary so far:

Fly nonstop from Tampa to London. 3-4 days in London then fly via RyanAir to Rome. Visit Rome, Florence and Venice (4-5 days). Visit Barcelona and Madrid (4-5 days). Go to Paris (2-3 days). Take the Eurotunnel train Back to London. Fly back to Tampa on June 4.

1. leaving asisde the fast that we're doing a lot of cities in a short perios of time, does this itinerary make sense logistically?
2. What would be the most efficient, yet economical, form of transportation to do Rome, Florence and venice?
3. What the best way to get from Venice to Barcelona, how long would it take?
4. How to get from Madrid to Paris?
5. If I have to buy train tickets, does it make sense to buy a pass?

Thanks a million.


chernan2 is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 07:45 AM
  #2  
Neopolitan
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The very first suggestion I would make is to re-evaluate your basic flight. It would make more sense to do an open jaw flight, flying into London, but returning from one of the more distant cities, like Rome or Madrid.

London, take the Eurostar to Paris, then fly on to Italy or Spain. I personally would choose only one of those last two countries, particularly if you haven't been to either before.

On the other hand with so many cheap flights from London these days, flying into London then flying to other cities and flying home from Paris also makes sense (and those open jaw routes are often much cheaper than others). It's having to go back to London to fly home that I don't like.
 
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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The reason we like the London-Tampa flight is that it is nonstop. Flying back form anywhere else involves at least one stop. Also, where do you find open jaw tickets?
chernan2 is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 09:05 AM
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London-Tampa might be non-stop, but you're not taking into account the Paris-London part of the trip.

I'm sure you'd rather fly in and out of your home city, but have you looked into the advantages of flying in and out of Miami? As an international hub that is the connection point between Europe and Central/South America, there would be probably be a lot of options at competitive prices.

I haven't booked open jaw tickets online but you might want to talk to an agent like FlightCentre.

Another route you might consider is Tampa/Miami-London, London-Italy (we'll get to the details in a minute). Train from Italy along the Mediterranean coast, stopping somewhere in southern France (there's a high-speed train that runs along this route). Continue along the Med through France to Barcelona. Skip Madrid for this trip. Fly from Barcelona to Paris. Fly home from Paris, or take the train to London and fly home from London.

Be careful when booking on discount airlines. They seem like a really good deal ... until you discover that: (a) the flight leaves or arrives so early or late that there is no public transportation available and you have to pay big bucks for a cab; (b) the airports aren't anywhere near the cities they're associated with, so you have a long trek (often in that expensive cab noted above) from the airport to where you want to be; and (c) miniscule luggage allowances that result in significant charges for the luggage you'll be carrying on your trip. And no support/back-up if something goes wrong with your trip. It's often possible to buy cheap one-way tickets, once you arrive in the country where you're visiting, on just a day or so's notice. I've bought tickets from Barcelona to Madrid for 50 euros on Iberia, in Barcelona (they were much more expensive when I tried to book them from abroad).

In terms of your Italy trip and your Spanish trip, why exactly do you want to see the cities you've mentioned? Which are the most important? Do you really have to see them all on this one trip? You might get more out of staying in one place for a few days and really exploring it. Having expressed that preference, I would now acknowledge that the only place where I think you're really trying to fit too much into too little time is Italy. Three cities in 4-5 days is not enough time; 2 days per city is a minimum.

Train passes are often not worth the price. If you investigate prices on the trains' websites, you often discover that the aggregate cost of the tickets you need is much cheaper than the rail pass. The rail pass is a good value if you qualify for the youth rate and you're planning to make lots (e.g. a dozen or so) stops.
Kate_W is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 09:12 AM
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wug
 
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I agree with Kate_W. The Italy portion of the trip I feel is too much. You'll be spending all of your time traveling and I don't think you'll feel like you've see anything. It's normal to want to "see it all" but, I've often heard that when people take the whirlwind trip, their memories are more of train stations and airports (while lugging suitcases around) than of the places they visited.

I would suggest cutting out one country, perhaps Spain. Maybe do a Spain/Portugal trip at a later date?

Ideal would be to spend the entire time in a single country but, things aren't alwasy ideal.

Perhaps this is a trip of a lifetime and you may never get back to Europe? Thus, trying to see it all?

As far as flights, take a look at EasyJet. They have some pretty inexpensive flights around Europe. You'd need to see when and where they fly and perhaps plan your itinerary that way.

Good Luck!
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Old Mar 16th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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ira
 
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Hi C,

>..leaving asisde the fast that we're doing a lot of cities in a short perios of time, does this itinerary make sense logistically?<

I cannot leave aside the fact that you have 8 destinations in 16 days. Do you have some sort of matter transporter?

You will lose about 1/2 day each time you change locations. That gives you 12 days to visit 7 cities.

However, I suggest that you fly into London, train to Paris, fly www.myair.com to Venice, train to Florence, train to Rome, fly to Spain, fly home from there.

OR fly into Spain and out of London.

See www.kayak.com and www.1800flyeurope.com for open jaw flights.

See www.trenitalia.com fro trains in Italy.

See www.eurostar.com

See www.whichbudget.com for intraEurope flights.



ira is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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It's certainly doable if you don't mind riding on various low cost carriers in Europe. Use www.whichbudget.com to check your itinerary. Note most will offer very low base fares, then whack you with high taxes and (especially) high extra charges for baggage above a given weight. Figure no less than €50 per "LCC" segment, plus associated costs with getting to and from airports, etc.

For travel within Italy and Spain, trains will probably be cheaper and not a lot slower, given the additional time you commit to airport transit, checkin, etc.

Unfortunately BA serve Gatwick airport nonstop from Tampa, and their Paris service all goes to Heathrow, so an open jaw (TPA-LGW//CDG-TPA) would entail huge hassle getting to Gatwick (cross-London transfers, or some weird routing.)

Which brings me to a final comment - yeah, too many towns in too short a time. Too many taxis to too many hotels with too many bag unpackings... one missed or canceled flight, one stormy day, and your timetable (or the benefit of going to a place) is messed up. Don't discount the crowds and hassle (and cost) of all these places too. Just my opinion.

To book open-jaw flights, use the "multiple destinations" option on any of the major booking sites, or the airline site itself (although BA's website is seriously sucky.)
Gardyloo is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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Wow...4-5 days to do Rome, Florence AND Venice? I would spend all of that time in one of them, not all of them. This trip will leave you exhausted and you won't really see anything. You have 7 cities listed for 16 nights. I would do 3 or 4 cities max.

Open-jaw tickets are very easy to book online. No need to call anyone. When you get to a website click on "multi city" or something along those lines. I have booked open jaw on travelocity, orbitz, expedia, and American Airlines website without a problem.

Travel between the three cities is best and easiest done by train.

Regarless of how you choose to plan your itinerary, check out railsaver.com to see if buying a pass would be best. Be sure to click on "only if rail passes save me money" before you submit your itinerary.

Good luck,
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 09:57 AM
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Can only repeat what every one else has said.

1. Do an open jaws ticket - will make the trip much less complicated and probably cost less than all your flitting about

2.You MUST drop either Italy or Spain - there's no way you can cover all this territory - you will seen nothing but train stations and airports.

One of the joys of europe is learning a little about the lifestyle, spending an hour sitting in a cafe with a drink and watching thw world go by. With your timing you will be able to see perhaps one site in each city - and as mentioned above one day of bads weather or a one day strike and you're completely in the soup - missing citiies completely (many of these inexpensive flights fly only certain days) or having no place to stay where you are or re-arranging/losing all your ongoing hotel reservations.

Frankly - with the time you have I would do either London and Paris with day trips or London and the 3 classic cities in Italy - and the latter would still be a rush (London and Rome each deserve a minimum of 4 days and nights by itself - not counting arrival or departure days).
nytraveler is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 11:09 AM
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Totally crazy !
In 16 days you should pick 5 destinations and make each within 4 hours of the last. You will hate Europe at that pace and never go back--what a shame.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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Sorry, I don't have answers to your questions really. I just want to add to the other posters' comments. (I know you said to leave aside the fact that you are doing a lot of cities in a short period of time...)

I think if you really want to visit all those countries that I'd recommend picking 1 city in each country and spending the 4-5 days in one place. Even with cutting back as suggested, it would still be a trip where you'd feel like you are moving around a lot.


travelgirl2 is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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DITTO to just about everything above

Too many cities
Too many countries
Too few days
Too many flights/train trips
Too much packing, checking out, traveling, checking in, unpacking - all just to do the same thing in a day or two . . . . .
janisj is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 04:43 PM
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1. If you have to fly in and out of London, yes, that's an acceptable order (reversing Spain and Italy wouldn't matter, either). But it's still an awful lot of places to see in so little time (basically a day in each Rome, Florence, and Venice, when subtracting travelling time!?).

2. Train between the cities; fly out of Venice to Barcelona or Madrid (whichever is cheaper/convenient); or fly into Venice from London and out of Rome, check the various options.

3. That's a pretty good ways, train travel would take quite a while (at least 16 hours), definitely recommend flying, whether it's Rome or Venice to Barcelona or Madrid. That would only take a couple hours, plus the time getting to & from the airport, being early, etc.

4. Madrid to Paris is a 14 hour train ride (Barcelona is only a bit over 9); if it's from Madrid, fly; from Barcelona, fly or take a night train (leave around 8 pm, show up in Paris around 9 am, save a night in a hotel and a lot of time in transit while you sleep (the night train takes significantly more time than the 9 I said, but you're asleep for a lot of it, so who cares?).

5. railsaver.com, plug in the itinerary, click "only if it saves me money", but on this itinerary, I'd be quite surprised if it did (especially since train travel in both Italy and Spain is relatively cheap compared to France and Germany, for example).
grsing is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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Why not take a European cruise? Royal Carribean and Princess have excellent iteneraries. There's no unpacking from city to city. Your entertainment and food budget while onboard is taken care of. For example there's a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise leaving Barcelona May 27th visiting Naples, Rome, Florence, Nice, returning to Barcelona on June 3rd. You could fly into London (19th-22nd); take Eurostar to Paris (23rd-25th; take overnight train to Barcelona on 25th. Arrive in Barcelona on 6th, 1 day for rest, then board the ship the next day. Fly home from Barcelona when cruise is done. You can opt to take the sightseeing trips offered onboard or strike out on your own when the ship docks. The rest of the trip can be relaxing and less hurry up and go. There's also a 12 day cruise that adds Greece and Venice. Consider this as another option.
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Old Mar 16th, 2006, 06:21 PM
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Hi chernan, that would be more travelling than I would be up to or want to do but everyone has different travel styles.

Friends of mine in the region of Venice usuall visit Barcelona about once every 2 years. They fly from Venice to Barcelona.

But, I recently read about a ferry that goes back and forth between Barcelona and Genoa, Italy. Can't remember all the details but it sounded like fun.

You would not have time to do this but mentioned if for a future trip or in case anyone would be interested.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2006, 05:58 AM
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Thank you all for your advice. We are now seriously thinking about reducing the number of cities/countries. Perhaps we'd cut out Spain as some of you suggested. Again, thanks,
chernan2 is offline  
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