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Apr 4th, 2016, 11:09 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Nov 2015
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London-Florence- Venice-Vienna-Budapest-Prague

Hi all! My family and I will be arriving in London and have our first time Europe trip in July. We are returning from Prague at the end of our trip. We plan to visit must-see places but at the same time have tight budget. We are going to spend 3 weeks in Europe and we would appreciate if you can give us advice.

1) How many days should we stay in one city?
2) What mode of transport is the best to travel among the cities?
3) Any other cities would you recommend to visit as well?
4) Any safety issues concern?

Thank you!
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Apr 4th, 2016, 11:28 AM
  #2
 
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Trains are you best bet as you are mainly going to large cities where cars are useless - many city centers have banned private vehicles and public transportation is so so great as are trains - going up to nearly 200 mph on high-speed routes - cars would be much slower - anyway for lots of great info on European trains check these IMO superb sources: www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - peruse the latter's online European Rail & Planning Guide for lots of rail itineraries.

Renting a car in one country and returning it in another can result in steep drop-off surcharges so fly London to Rome (if never been to Italy don't miss Rome!) and then train to Florence, Venice, Vienna, Budapest and Prague -flying home from there.
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Apr 4th, 2016, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Ways to reduce costs:

1. Reduce the number of stops as moving more costs more. Do day trips for variety instead of moving.
2. Rent apartments instead of hotels rooms for more comfort, opportunity to have some meals at home, rent on sites such as Airbnb. Renting for a week will often get you a discount.
3. Buy train tickets as soon as they become available for a given route. For more information see seat61.com, as PQ mentions above.
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Apr 4th, 2016, 12:03 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You have gotten some good advice so far. In general, moving around so much will cost you more and you will see less. Remember that it takes four nights in a place in order to have three days to explore. I'd recommend that you cut one city, and plan to spend a minimum of four nights (three full days in each place)
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Apr 4th, 2016, 12:26 PM
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With just 3 weeks and what I consider a too-long wish list, I recommend removing Italy from the itinerary. The quality of this busy trip will improve markedly while the cost will go down. Not because Florence & Venice are less desirable destinations, but to visit them well, I believe, takes more time and might best be combined with other places in Italy on a future trip.

Fly from London to Budapest on one of Europe's low-fare airlines, then train on to Vienna & Prague.
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Apr 4th, 2016, 12:31 PM
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Each city requires different amounts of time, depending on attractions in that city, size and what you want to do there.

You must allow time to get from place to place, usually much more than most new travelers think. You need time to get from your hotel, apartment, etc., to the train station or airport, check in time at airports, actual travel time, time getting from station or airport to next hotel, apartment, etc.

How many people are in your family? What are their ages? This will greatly affect travel times.

What are your interests? Major sights, architecture, museums, food, city life like cafes or country side, archeological sites, etc.?

That many bases is really pushing it time wise and will be costly for transportation.

Start by planning your trip, day by day or night by night. Include travel days. Never count the same day twice.

Example
Day 1, arrive London, get to hotel, check in, etc. probably at least some of the family will be jet-lagged. Plan on an easy afternoon.
Day 2, London, whole day
Day 3, London, whole day
Day 4, Day trip to Hampton Court Palace.
Day 5, Travel to Florence, Fly. Will take at least half a day. Afternoon to explore
Day 6, Florence, whole day
Day 7, Day trip to Siena or to Pisa and Lucca.
Day 8, Travel to Venice, afternoon to explore
Day 9, Venice, whole day
Day 10, travel to Vienna - train? most of day for travel
Day 11, Vienna, whole day
Etc., etc.

You can see that out of 11 days, you have only 7 whole days for sightseeing with 2 whole days and 2 half days of travel. The half days can be very tiring, depending on age and number in group. Be realistic when planning total travel time.
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