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I Want It All in 13 Days, But I Know I Can't

I Want It All in 13 Days, But I Know I Can't

Sep 10th, 2017, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3,085
Iowalacey- good luck! I do understand the 10 hour flight thing. It is so tempting to cram more and more in. Some people don't experience jet lag and some people do; since you're traveling with others, you may want to plan for the worst and hope for the best. No fun if someone is cranky and sleep deprived!

Be sure to check open/close times for your must see's, since you have so little time in each place.

I suspect you'll be hooked and want to return as often as possible anyway. I thought last year would be my only trip for a long time and here I am planning another, exactly one year later. So maybe focus on what would be memorable and a good pace for the group as a whole, and if Italy is your own particular interest, come back and do that solo when you can savor it.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Sep 10th, 2017, 09:00 PM
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Pick the 3 cities that matter most to you.

Do not take a night train to Venice. Fly low-cost, instead, if you want to go there. EasyJet has good rates. Investigate the periods for "acqua alta" - high water that stinks and is miserable in Venice.

I don't understand the appeal of Amsterdam, except for the Anne Frank house.

You won't be able to see much in Rome or Florence, so forget about it.

I would spend 4 days in Paris, maybe take the early Eurostar to London for 4 days, then go on to Barcelona or Venice (if the water isn't too high) for the rest of your trip.

You will undoubtedly experience jetlag, no matter what you do.
Take it easy on the first - and probably second, day.

Get hotels with air-conditioning because you will probably need it in June.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Sep 10th, 2017, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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You only have 11 and a half days on the ground not including time spent moving so Paris/Amsterdam/Italy does not work well except by shortchanging almost every destination. I think it is good to separate out Italy and save it for another visit as there is so much to see just in Italy and it is easy to move around Italy by train. I would personally do London/Paris and Amsterdam for your first European trip but there are certainly other itineraries that would work. Lastly it does not have to be 10 hours plus from ORD to CDG as thats what it takes to fly from SFO. Its probably 8 1/2 hours direct to and about 9 1/2 hours direct back so maybe not as bad as you think unless you are connecting somewhere for cost issues. Once you have decided on your destinations you should watch the direct airfares so you can book at a decent price. A really cheap but bad connecting fare might however be worth it although you not feel that good on arrival in Europe.
mjs is offline  
Sep 10th, 2017, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,540
>>janisj: AirBnB is definitely NOT OK IN AMSTERDAM. The City is cracking down<<

Good to know -- thanks. I was just throwing it out as a geberal example - not recommending it.
janisj is online now  
Sep 10th, 2017, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,451
I know, but now even Amsterdam's mayor and our king have ventured into the Jordaan to hear the concern of the people working and living there, so it's Officially Serious.

(google the photographs: Van der Laan, Amsterdam's mayor and universally loved has terminal cancer and is frail, but still working. In one photo, that had the nation in tears, WA offers his arm to support him during their walkabout)
menachem is offline  
Sep 10th, 2017, 09:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,540
>> Apparently there is a cultural difference in how to travel. <<

Not really a 'cultural' difference. Your original plan would be like "I want to fly in to Boston and check into an apartment, then take day trips to NYC, and Chicago, and Orlando, then return to Boston for a day" Wouldn't work in the States either.

>>I will completely forget about Airbnb.<<

That is only in Paris (and now apparently Amsterdam as well). For many place renting an apartment would be great for a group like yours. So if say London and/or Barcelona make your new itinerary -- definitely look for apartments.

Good decision to drop Italy from this trip -- you can come back another time and concentrate on just Italy.

Is Barcelona still on the short list? If not -- London/Paris/Amsterdam is a VERY easy trio. Fly to London, train to Paris, train to Amsterdam, fly home from Amsterdam.

Or -- omitting London, fly in to Amsterdam, train to Paris, fly or (very long) train to Barcelona, fly home from there.
janisj is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 12:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
Airbnb is not ok in Barcelona neither, much is illegal and heavy local protests. https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...s-in-barcelona

Already plenty of excellent apartments for rent in wonderful Barcelona, for example in medieval and vibrant El Born, a cradle of Catalan identity and culture. We use to stay here, excellent in itself and close to "everything": http://devourbarcelonafoodtours.com/...orn-barcelona/
kimhe is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 12:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2016
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Oops AirBnb not ok in Amsterdam when my daughter rented one last year ?
(From a guy who is telling all the others to NOT rent illegally in Paris... )
Whathello is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 02:20 AM
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OK, good. I didn't think you were trolling, just inexperienced, so it's good to know that.

I would save Italy for another trip.

And <> I think you get the picture re: airbnbs in Paris, but in case no one has addressed this, do NOT check into anything near CDG, just find a hotel in Paris. Staying out by CDG airport (if that's what you meant) is a horrible idea. It's easy and fast to get into Paris, and you don't even need "train transportation." You can take an Air France bus or a taxi and be in the city in under an hour. Just about any hotel you could choose in Paris will be close to the métro system, so that's not a concern.

I would stop worrying about jetlag, too. Thousands, maybe millions, of people deal with it every day. It's not debilitating, just an inconvenience if it even affects you. Have you ever had a sleepless or semi-sleepless night? You get over it, easily. Maybe take a couple of melatonin once you're on the plane. Or just force yourself to keep going the first day even if you feel lightheaded and tired. Jetlag is just not that big a deal. Business travelers do this daily.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,491
I don't understand the appeal of Amsterdam, except for the Anne Frank house.>

Have you ever been to Amsterdam - probably not to make such a statement IMO - physically one of Europe's most beautiful cities - world-class art museums and for younger folk at least lots of diverse nightlife.

To me Anne Frank House is a footnote to Amsterdam's overall appeal.
PalenQ is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Pal, when was the last time you were in Amsterdam? IMO, it has changed a LOT, and much for the worse, in the past 4 years or so. It is now clogged with traffic, overrun with tourists and visitors, ridiculously expensive for what's on offer, and lacking in much of its former charm. The only people in Europe I know who enjoy going there these days are 20- and 30-somethings who want to spend a weekend stoned out of their minds.

It does have, obviously, world-class museums. It's also a city that has gone way downhill in recent years, IMO, and I do know it pretty well. There are far nicer places to visit in the Netherlands these days if you're not a young pothead. And canals are not that hard to find if that's what interests you - canals that aren't shoulder-to-shoulder with gaping tourists and a bike every two feet.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 08:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,451
Whathello: the situation with rent controlled apartments was going on last year too, but now, 6 months before the next municipal elections, it has politically exploded in a big big way. Residents have filed complaints and alerted authorities ever since 2014 when all this started to take off. Nothing was done, until now.

StCirq: I do agree, I have to go weekly to Amsterdam now and it's crazy. Hotel prices are just over the top.
menachem is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Well in 4 years since I was last there it must have changed a lot - Amsterdam! I have older (younger than me!) friends who just came back and loved it so some old duffs (who did not go for pot) like it but things do change.
PalenQ is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 212
3 cities....forget the thought that you are visiting 3 countries. Sure the cities might be in 3 different countries, but you won't have explored the variations of even one country. If someone visits Mexico City, Chicago and Ottawa, will they really have seen Canada, US and Mexico; or for that matter - North America?...you get the drift.
By the way, my last trip from Ottawa to San Antonio was 4 flights and 17 hours. Now that is painful travel. You would even survive a non-direct flight if direct either way is too expensive.
For your numbers of travelers, I would still consider short let apartments - if you stay put long enough in any one place. It is easy enough to find out what the current status of AirBnB is for the cities in question. Many are legal registered apartments and the registration number should be clearly posted. Or consider renting via agencies in that country or city. It means doing some homework, or perhaps checking out other destination specific forums, but not all AirBnB or other short let companies are ogres. Even the small local rental agencies list on AirBnB and it can offer a cushion and protection for both the renter and the host that isn't always available for places where you pay your money directly, ahead of time, and sight unseen. Read the terms and conditions and compare to some alternates.Consider the comfort of a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment with kitchen for snacks, often laundry included and often half or more the cost of one hotel room, let alone 2 or 3. Barcelona has hundreds of legal AirBnB apartments, by the way, as its registration laws have been in force for some months. True, for some cities just starting these legislations, AirBnB may not be the best consideration, but you can still look at local agencies or wait a few months. With only a few cities to consider, it is easier to learn the laws.
quiltingmamma is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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>>Or consider renting via agencies in that country or city. <<

>>Even the small local rental agencies list on AirBnB and it can offer a cushion and protection for both the renter . . . <<

That has nothing to do w/ legality. Almost ALL agencies in Paris for instance list mostly illegal apartments. And the agencies do not own the properties, merely list/perhaps manage them. If a flat is taken off the market because the city shut them down, all one could expect would be a refund of the deposit which does not help find a place to sleep at the last minute. There are enough cities where rental flats are legal, I would NOT risk it in the ones where most aren't.
janisj is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,261
For a first trip to Europe London, Paris and Amsterdam will give you a taste of the diversity of Europe. There are good flight options between these cities and the U.S. and good rail service between them. If you think you will return to Europe start accumulating miles. We focus on Delta Airlines when we can as they partner with KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Air France. They also fly to Hawaii where my husband's family lives and we can accrue more miles. Miles from our Air France flights in June were accrued to Delta.

I would stay in air conditioned hotels in June. It was in the 90s and humid when we were in Paris in June of this year. Felt just like Iowa to me. May 2015 was unseasonably warm in London and we were glad for the AC some days. An airbnb may not have AC and for a first trip to Europe it can be helpful to have hotel staff available 24/7.
Scootoir is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,607
Though not endorsing using illegal rentals, I do know the fact is Airbnb will relocate anyone immediately who finds a booked accommodation unavailable or uninhabitable. They have local phone numbers for the purpose.
MmePerdu is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,315
Since one of your party wants Barcelona and you want Paris and Amsterdam, consider flying into Amsterdam with the plan to visit (or even stay in) nearby Haarlem, visit Delft, train to Paris and Fly to Barcelona. That would be a great variety of culture, architecture and food with a couple of the world's greatests museums thrown in.
Sassafrass is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 11:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 6
Thanks again for all of the info! I am so grateful, honestly!

Do any of you recommend and certain hotel(s) in Amsterdam, Paris or London? I think these are the three cities that I am going to push for on our first trip over.
And thanks for the American comparison of flying into Boston and trying to get to all of those mentioned cities in one trip. ( I could be up for the challenge, however - LOL) But I get what you are trying to say. It's just I have always heard that it is so easy to get around from country to country in Europe that you can do it all! And I see tour itineraries that get you around quite quickly. Now that I have heard from you folks, I get that perhaps the WHOLE TRUTH is not told. For example: Time changes, possible jet lag, changing trains and waiting, checking in/out from stations, living on the tour bus vs. walking and experiencing, etc.

I expected the language barrier and the money exchange hassles, but that is part of the fun IMO. I know I'm weird....

And I get the feeling from quite a few of you that the train is not all it is hyped up to be. Maybe the Eurostar from Paris to London, but I am not seeing great reviews on the Eurail or otherwise. Am I correct on that matter?

I have decided based on your feedback to FORGET AIRBNB completely when traveling Europe.
iowaLacey is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,607
"...FORGET AIRBNB completely when traveling Europe."

Maybe. There are a number of us who use Airbnb regularly all over the world, including Europe, and love it. I'm looking forward to 2 in a couple of months. But like everything, common sense & experience applies. If you want no surprises at all maybe well-reviewed hotels will get you what you expect most of the time.
MmePerdu is online now  

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