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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 11th, 2017, 11:26 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2,585
Eurail is not a train as far as I know.
Fast rains in Europe are called TGV (train grande vitesse) Thalys (er ?), ICE (inter city ? - German trains, great) Eurostar for those I'm used to take. Normal trains are much slower and stop more often, resulting in long trips.

What do you want for recs of hotels in Paris ?
Cheap ? Centrally located (most tourists want to stay in the 5-6, if they have bought a Rick Steve book, they want to be at rue Cler).

I would not forget AirBnb or other such sites completely - I wowuld forget them in big cities, where they are having problems, but not necessarily in smaller towns, however for short trips, I would not bother.

I rented two-three times an apartment in Paris (not Airbnb, and I hope they were legal, at least I had an invoice...) and it is a hassle for short stays : you must make a rendez-vous most of the time, so you must be there, the other guy is late, you lose a lot of time for ... not much for a few days.
(is it correct to make a rendez-vous ? Or do you rendezvous ? or do you make an appointment ? (I am always lost when US use french words actually).
Whathello is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 11:30 AM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,873
Stay OFF the Eurail site! It is not what you need to deal with train travel in Europe. It is a middle-man meant to make money off people who don't know how to use the national railways of each country.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 11:33 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,579
>>on the Eurail or otherwise.<<

Eurail is not a train -- it is a ticket agency that sells (often over priced) rail passes. For London/Paris Amsterdam a Eurail pass would not benefit you.

>>I expected the language barrier and the money exchange hassles, <<

Language barrier will be pretty much a non-issue. They speak English (of a sort) in London, anyone you run into in the hospitality industry in Paris will speak English, and I swear - most Dutch speak better English than we do

There are no money exchange problems either -- you do not 'exchange $$ anywhere. You just use you ATM card to get £ / € cash as you need it. And of course you can use credit cards just like at home.

I would consider flying in to London, then take the Eurostar to Paris (MUCH better/easier than traveling to the airport, flying, and traveling in from CDG. That is a HUGE hassle) You get on n central London and less than 2.5 hours later you get off in central Paris. Then train to Amsterdam (you will go via Brussels). Finally fly home from Amsterdam.

I'd get hotels or apartHotels in Paris and Amsterdam and an ApartHotel in London. An Aparthotel (like Citadines) will give you the space of a small apartment but the amenities of a hotel like a front desk, restaurant/cafe on site.

In London look at Dolphin Square -- nice flats, hotel services, in a nice neighborhood. http://www.dolphinsquare.co.uk/dolphin-house/
janisj is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 11:39 AM
  #44  
 
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Eurail is an agency selling rail tickets in Europe and making a profit. You will want to buy directly from the national railway sites. For more info on train travel, look at TheManinSeat61. com Once you have decided exactly where you want to go, we can help if you are unsure about buying train tickets.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 11:42 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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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?>

You are misinterpreting 'others' - everyone who has taken European trains will say how modern, fast and comfy they are in general - like janis says flying say London-Paris would take more time and more hassle than Eurostar trains city center to city center - ditto Paris to Amsterdam.

Many folks do not think Eurailpasses live up to hype and in your case no way. But doing rail London-Paris-Amsterdam is the best way to go - few would dispute that.

Europe's trains do IME and most others more than live up to the hype, whatever that may be.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 12:02 PM
  #46  
 
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Not really.

Would you rent an apartment in Mexico City and go for... 1 day to Guatemala & return to the DF to sleep? Then 1 day to Cuernavaca & return? Then the next day to Belize & return?

Well you get my point





Those three make an OK 13 day itinerary. Just book hotels, whatever you can afford, in a central location in each city.

Fly into London and out of Paris.
suze is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 12:49 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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What is your nightly budget for hotels/apartments and do all 4 of you want to be in the same room or apartment?

I am afraid I disagree with Suze and would suggest making Paris your middle stop between London and Amsterdam. As often as we have flown to Paris I dislike CDG airport compared to Schiphol and Heathrow.
Scootoir is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 12:51 PM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Getting to and from cities is very easy. I don't think the "Fly into Boston and day trip to Orlando " comparison is accurate. Except for Eurostar, you just show up, buy a ticket, hop on the train and it goes from city center to city center, several trains a day. Eurostar is more like showing up for a flight, so be sure to take that into account. You show up early and go through security.

It's just that there is so much to see in each city that a day trip from London to Paris would make no sense at all, especially when you already have no time in London.

Tour companies go ridiculously fast, but they have two things you don't. 1) guides that know their way around and 2) preplanned and booked activities. I doubt they wait in the normal admission lines- they probably buy tickets before hand and everyone enters together as a prebooked group. You're traveling with other people, you'll get lost, or argue about where to eat, or anything else that slows you down.

Another thing: if none of you have been to Europe before, it's probably the main sights you want to see. Book ahead as much as possible. You won't believe the lines at some of the museums, or the crowd in front of something like the Mona Lisa. I wouldn't worry about adjusting to the food and money and transit. You've been to Canada and Mexico and presumably major US cities- no problem. What you need to worry about is planning your days efficiently, making sure everyone is on board, and knowing enough for everything to run smoothly.

Lodging depends on what your group wants. All three cities are expensive, and you want to be either central or convenient to transit or both.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 12:56 PM
  #49  
 
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Except for Eurostar, you just show up, buy a ticket, hop on the train and it goes from city center to city center, several trains a day>

True can always almost always buy tickets before the train but at full fare - if you know exactly when you want to go book ASAP to get discounted fares often much much lower than walk-up - like Paris-Amsterdam full fare about 200 euros -discounted tickets from 39 euros- same seats same train just a lot cheaper.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 01:01 PM
  #50  
 
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Fine with me, I don't care which order, my point was to not fly in and out of the same airport.
suze is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 01:34 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I've got this one in Amsterdam that may appeal to you: it's "apartment-like" and in a great location

Zoku

https://livezoku.com
menachem is online now  
Sep 11th, 2017, 01:36 PM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Good point, palenq, but I meant more that it was possible from a schedule standpoint. Not recommending it. It's possible in Europe, whereas it isn't in the US due to train and bus infrequency.

prebuying tickets can save a lot of money or waste a lot of money. It all depends on whether the group can make their train on time. I would be nervous doing so on a fast paced itinerary with lots of day trips, because if you're too tired to do the day trip, you're out of money.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 01:38 PM
  #53  
 
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Yes London-Paris-Amsterdam two direct train rides and fly into London and out of Amsterdam (whose airport is always near the top of frequent fliers easiest airports to navigate it seems).
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 01:49 PM
  #54  
 
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prebuying tickets can save a lot of money or waste a lot of money. It all depends on whether the group can make their train on time. I would be nervous doing so on a fast paced itinerary with lots of day trips, because if you're too tired to do the day trip, you're out of money.>

Agree on that - and that is a beauty of a railpass for folks making several train trips - decide once there which trains to take. But again not for 2 trains like OP is taking at max.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 02:03 PM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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I must be nuts because I ❤️ Amsterdam. And such a good base for many daytrips. Shoot me, I spent two weeks there last September and I'm sure I'll return in the future. Sure, it's not "like it used to be" but where is?

There was a time I was able to touch the stones at Stonehenge......time passes and things change.
catcrazyaf is offline  
Sep 11th, 2017, 10:37 PM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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I was just in London last week.
Spent over 1 hour and 15 minutes in line - after I had filled out my declaration - and then proceeded to French passport control, which took 2 minutes.
The real problem was the British passport line, which took up the other 1 hour and 13 minutes. Only had 2 agents working.
So give yourself plenty of time, if you're going to London.
You can only access the lounge when your train is 30 minutes from the time it departs.
Look at this website to get all information for European travel:
www.maninseat61

I have been to Amsterdam, and I still say it's a waste of time.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Sep 12th, 2017, 12:12 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
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'I have been to Amsterdam, and I still say it's a waste of time.'

You can apply for belgian citizenship ;-)

I've been twice in my life - that is soooo far away (1h30 min) and 500+ times to Paris.
Whathello is offline  
Sep 12th, 2017, 01:00 AM
  #58  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I really enjoy Amsterdam, just got back from a long weekend a few weekends ago.

The main road up from the station and the red light district is way too crowded for us but we never go there.

It is very easy to walk over a couple of canals and find lovely views, quiet cafes and lots of character.

A bit of research and we always eat well.

Pics from our trip in August 2017 and summer 2016:

https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]
jamikins is online now  
Sep 12th, 2017, 01:21 AM
  #59  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,873
<>

Again, don't know what you mean by "Eurail," but I live in Europe, use trains all the time, and absolutely love them. The Eurostar is actually one train I'm not terribly enamored of.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 12th, 2017, 04:14 AM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Many folks yes do like Amsterdam, warts and all. Veteran travelers and locals tend not to?
PalenQ is offline  

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