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July Trip (2 Weeks or So) London, Paris, Venice, Rome - Possible?

July Trip (2 Weeks or So) London, Paris, Venice, Rome - Possible?

Jan 28th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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July Trip (2 Weeks or So) London, Paris, Venice, Rome - Possible?

I'm in the very early stages of planning a trip to Europe for July 2012.

The major hits are London and Rome. Thought it may be wise to spend a day or two hitting the countryside of England (Bath? Brighton?), travel through Paris just to see the Eiffel Tower and say I was there, Overnight to Venice for a day or two and then down to Rome.

Flying from Rochester, NY, area to London. And then out of Rome and into Rochester area.

Would be willing to reverse this order.

Is this trip possible for less than $5,000 for two people? Suggestions?

Am I better off doing all the planning myself or using a travel agent?

I would be open to using VRBO or other off the beaten path options to save on price.

JerLon is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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It may be possible to do as you now plan but the real question is, is it advisable.

After many years of travel my trips have gotten longer and the number of places I visit, even when going to a country for the first time, fewer. I think, after reading forums for some time, I'm not alone in this. So a less experienced traveler, reading this advice over and over, might take from it the concept that fewer places is better. But alas, I think it's one of those lessons learned by experience and over time. We do it until we get it right, if we ever get it right. JerLon, please don't read criticism of you in this. I think it's a journey, so to speak, we all take if we travel. Human nature, I presume.

The upside of learning it sooner rather than later is that it can be much less expensive, given discounts for longer stays and fewer transportation expenses. I also find that towns & cities become more interesting to me after being there for a time as I actually begin to see them more clearly and make, if not friends, certainly acquaintances.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jan 28th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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Definitely not reading it as a criticism.

I'm high on London, my wife is high on Italy. Any suggestions to overcome this?
JerLon is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Oh, good. Then go to 2 cities for your 2 weeks. Rent an apartment in each and do a couple of day trips into the countryside or to smaller towns to get a feel for "elsewhere".

I'd been to Italy several times before I went to Rome, thinking I might not like it, too big, too "city". But I was encouraged by a friend and went finally 2 springs ago. I loved it. So I'd recommend London and Rome. There are many wonderful day trips by train or bus from both which you'll discover while having the pleasure of planning, often one of the best parts of a trip so don't neglect it.

Staying in apartments is not only more comfortable and generally less expensive but you're inspired to go to markets to cook some of your meals and will see an entirely different side of a place than you might otherwise see. It adds dimension as nothing else will. And you'll have neighbors, not just other strangers to the city.

Once you decide on which cities we can give you more ideas. And don't forget, you can fly into one city and home from another to maximize you time.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jan 28th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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That sounds like a decent plan.

So, lets plan on London and Rome.

Quick research has indicated the cheapest way to travel from London to Rome is Air, which surprised me.

On my list of questions:

1. Easiest/Safest/Cheapest methods for renting apartments in each city?

2. Best day trips out of each city? How to plan?

3. Must see in each city?

4. Traveling from London to Rome - Best? Cheapest? Most convenient?

5. Any chance of getting from London to Manchester for a day?
JerLon is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 11:42 AM
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1. There are loads of online agencies for apartments. Besides the actual apartment and price I look for an agency or owner that has reviews from other travelers and (big one) accepts credit cards. This is a convenience and a protection. The alternatives such as wiring money can be expensive lessons in how to lose one's money and vacation. I like AirBnB very much http://www.airbnb.com/ and others here will give you their favorites.

2. Best day trips depend on your interests. Give us an idea what those might be.

3. Again, a function of your interests so borrow or buy guidebooks with particular emphasis on the cities you've chosen. To take with you I especially like the Knopf city Mapguides that fit in one's pocket and have small fold-out maps for sections of the city. For planning you'll want more comprehensive guides. Borrow from your library before you spend a lot.

4. Yes, with a short amount of time for your trip, fly. keep in mind that the low fare airlines charge lots of fees and restrict baggage size and weight so do your homework to find out what it will REALLY cost before you buy. And keep in mind sometimes the big airlines, British Airways for example, match the fares of the budgets without the restrictions and it has been my experience that London-Rome is one of those routes.
Shop around. http://www.whichbudget.com/

5. You could but there must be a reason I haven't thought of. Look here for trains:
MmePerdu is online now  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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JerLon, why don't you research both cities online and reading guide books. Then the forum is great for asking specific questions. Or run a search and you will definitely find the main sights to see in both London and Rome discussed.
Tentek is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:13 PM
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Hi Jerlon go a bunch doable if a bit rushed
in the time you have have done it.
Afforadabletours.com many good options
also smartours.com out of NYC BBB.org A plus rated
I do NOT rent apartments many scammers poor quality EXPENSIVE.
Cheapest for me fly RT NYC LON cheapoair.com then easyjet.com
cit to city seat61.com train is also doable usually more.
eurolines.com buspass very cheapest not best though.
eurocheapo.com for budget hotels tips WAY cheaper than apartments vrbo.Do beaware many for profit apartment touts lurk on the boards and it is illegal for an individual to rent to you most are taxcheats.Pay only with CC never wire money.Have a look at those websites you will see hotels are WAY safer and cheaper.

Good luck!
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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"2 weeks or so" is the "so" more or less than the two weeks? That'll make a difference.

If it's more, I'd suggest adding Paris back into the mix. Well, heck, I'd still suggest adding in Paris even if it were only two weeks.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:17 PM
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I would be comfortable doing a bit more or a bit less depending on what we "need" to make it work. Finances are a consideration.
JerLon is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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Airbnb VERY risky NukeSafe here bad experience with them
Two threads by nukesafe have very bad discussions about airbnb http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...iliar-with-the...

Stick with regular budget hotels Globus also some wonderful tours I have done out of LON for 2 weeks 2K per person when
I wasa newbie. Best way to start out as a newbie for me.

London is ok but I am with your wife Ilove Italy. Last May
for me venice-tourism.com www.hotelpausania.it amazing little
canal view suite 59 euro www.otel.com
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:41 PM
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Not risky. I've used AirBnB a number of times, nothing but good. With anything and any agency one can find bad experiences and I can only relate what I've experienced and that of friends who have used the site with excellent results.

In the past year or so the site has become the most comprehensive of any, including their customer service. If there's a problem with a rental the site stands behind the offerings, unlike most online agencies. I've never had a problem, canceled one after I had second thoughts and received an instant (same day) refund from the company. Very unusual for an online agency. I trust them and currently have a week-long booking with them.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jan 28th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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I have travelled to all of the locations that you mentioned and I am surprised that Venice was so quickly edited out. I would absolutely lose some time in England to get to go to Venice. So many places look better in photos than reality but Venice is one of the most beautiful places you will ever experience.
Angela_Young is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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To see in London: British Museum (think it is free), Westminster Abbey, St Paul's, The London Eye, The War Rooms/Churchill; if you can make a day trip consider Canterbury.

I believe the Olympics begin in London in late July-so be aware of that for planning purposes. Hotels will be filling up if they are not full already!

Headed to Rome this Fall myself: the one thing I wasn't aware of before that gets high ratings and I am told I have to do...Borghese Gallery (I think you know the others, Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Vatican/St Peter's/Cistine Chapel)
denisea is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 06:07 AM
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personally, i would add Venice into the mix. with london and Rome you have two vast capital cities, which is hardly restful. Whilst Venice will be busy, you will have a completely different experience there, which by using the vaporetti [water-ferries] you can make quite relaxing.

I suggest flying into london, staying 5 nights, flying to Venice - 4 nights - train to Rome - 5 nights. you could still stay in apartments.

the Olympics start July 27th. if you haven't already booked your flight into London, I'd do it now.

Denise - you don't "have " to see the Borghese Gallery. We've spent 2 whole weeks in Rome and haven't seen it yet. perhaps next time!
annhig is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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do you have a specific reason to want to go to Manchester (family etc?), the only reason i say is that it is a good 3 hour+ train ride and there are so many closer nicer places in my opinion. I certainly wouldnt pick Manachester as a european highlight so unless there is a specific reason you need to go there then i would definitely reccomend sticking to closer places.

In 2 weeks i would also most definietly add in Paris. You can get the train there from central London easily in 3 hours or so.

Have a fab trip
HG001London is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 06:54 AM
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No one has focused on your question: "Is this trip possible for less than $5,000 for two people?" First followup question: Does that $5,000 include the airfare? If so, then it might be possible but you'll have to play it very, very close to the vest, financially speaking. Assuming the airfare is between $1,500 and $2,000 for a three-way reservation (US to London to Rome to US), that leaves $3,000-3,500 for all other expenses, which boils down to about $215-250 per day for the 14 days. That's tight, especially if you decide to take either or both of the side trips to Paris and Venice.
HowardR is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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I've used airbnb and think it's fine for the US, but did have two very similar problems in Europe. Both times the host refused to give the street number. There's nothing more frustrating to arrive in a foreign city late at night, call up the b&b only to have the host say: "Just come to xyz street" and when you point out that xyz street is very loong, he repeats "Just come to xyz street" and hangs up. Call him back and he doesn't even pick up the second time around. Now you're in a foreign train station late at night with all your luggage and no room for the night. But the worst part is to find that airbnb has charged you for that one night at the address with no street number, refuses to refund you, and also won't let you post a comment on their board about your experience.

I see from the other fodors' thread that mine was not a unique experience.

So, if you are going to use airbnb, caveat emptor.

Besides which, why use airbnb for Europe when there are other, Europe-based websites that are far more reliable?

Or look at the Rick Steves' guides. He recommends inexpensive places to stay and they become so popular that he has to list new ones with almost every new edition. Go to the library and go back into the past editions to get a few b&b names; the rates may have changed a bit.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 10:31 AM
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"...Besides which, why use airbnb for Europe when there are other, Europe-based websites that are far more reliable?" easytraveler

I'm not trying to twist anyone's arm here and did suggest that others would give the names of their favorite apartment agencies. But no one seems to have done that and I've found many mentioned in the past quite expensive. So Easytraveler, give JerLon some alternatives, what are your budget favorites?
MmePerdu is online now  
Jan 29th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Try www.eurocheapo.com
jamikins is offline  

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