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Longer trips to Europe vs. multiple shorter ones?

Longer trips to Europe vs. multiple shorter ones?

Oct 23rd, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Longer trips to Europe vs. multiple shorter ones?

With the list of places in Europe we'd like to visit ever growing, we're struggling to decide do we:

(a) go to Europe once a year for 2-3 weeks and make it a long trip; or
(b) do two shorter 7 or 8 day trips-one in the spring and one in the fall each year.

We've always done the "one big trip a year", but then it's a whole year until we get to travel again. We've been talking about doing two shorter ones, but with the prices of airfare and given the travel time, I wonder how practical that is?

What are everyones' thoughts on this? It does seem that there are some posters that do the shorter trips--do you find those as rewarding?
travelbunnies is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 10:24 AM
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If you are content to basically stay in one area, from a cost perspective, one trip makes more sense. If I were making multiple trips, it would be to two, differing locales.
SAnParis is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 10:31 AM
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I do one short trip 7 to 9 days and usually stay in one or two places. Then I do a long trip 14 - 21 and I go to as many places as possible.

The longer trip is, the more budget minded it becomes, i stay in cheap hotels with no fancy dinners. It comes out to about the same dollars wise.
Lostmymind is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 10:36 AM
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I take two or three short trips a year, including one long weekend "girls' trip". I just cannot live with one super-blowout trip per year. Life is short, and I want to spread my fun over a longer period of time. It is harder to make it cost efficient now with airfare so high, but we have managed to find some deals. We usually stay about 5 nights per trip.
marty is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 10:38 AM
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My vote is for multiple trips. But it really depends on what you like to do. Many people like to sit in one place and find that less than two weeks doesn't give them the time they need.

With the exception of Italy (which we spent 2 weeks in), we usually go to Europe and see two countries - so one country/one week. We've also gone once for a week (to Ireland) and that worked out fine.

My opinion is go to Europe as often as possible

alyssamma is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 10:43 AM
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I'd love to do 2 - 3 trips, but it's just more cost effective to pay once a year for the long flight over. We did 2 1/2 weeks this year.

nbodyhome is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Since the plane ticket is by far the most major expense, I think it is better to stay longer when you go. Plus I don't do real well jet lag and the time change, so longer is more enjoyable for me.

I only go to Europe every-other year. Then take trips to Hawaii or Mexico and occasionally to visit friends in other states, so do mange to have 2 big trips most years.

suze is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:20 AM
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I usually do several trips in a year and next year it will be three.

BUT, I think money-wise a LOT depends on where you go..staying in the UK for two to three weeks could very easily cost more than the flight over and back.
Dukey is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Thanks for the replies so far!
I feel the same way as marty--it's getting hard to live with only one big trip a year with a long time in between. I'd rather have something to look forward to a couple times a year.

I do agree that it depends on where you're going and how much the airfare is. If you go off-season, I'd think you're likely to get a better deal.

Some shorter trips that I had in mind (8-9 days)would be: Lake Como & Venice; Cinque Terre & Venice; Rome & Amalfi Coast; Rome & Southern Tuscany (do you see an Italy theme here!).

Some others would be Switzerland (Berner Oberland and Lake Geneva); Greece (short stay Athens, Santorini, and another island); and Ireland.

Although, I'm thinking maybe Italy is better to do 2-3 weeks at a time. We've been there once before, but still so much to see...
travelbunnies is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Do I HAVE to decide?

It's an interesting question to consider. Our trips are dictated by the school calendar, and will be for the next 8 years. It's interesting to ponder what we'll do when there are more options.

This summer we took an almost two week trip; it's the longest I've been away from work ever. I'd say that after about 10 days, we all could have come home. However, that was a non-stop sightseeing trip. On a three week trip, it would be fun to plan varied activities to break up the sightseeing - a few days at the beach, a few days in a country villa, hiking in the mountains, etc.
missypie is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:33 AM
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very good points. It's getting harder for both me and my husband to be away from work for 3 weeks at one time.

We've also found on our last couple 2+week trips, we started getting pooped out around the 10th or 11th day! Maybe we're trying to do too much and not building in as much relaxing time as we should.
travelbunnies is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 11:56 AM
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travelbunnies, regardless of how short or how long a trip is I firmly believe that one needs some down time. Try to stop and relax before you get overly tired. I think a lot of people get during the trip or after they come home colds because they run themselves ragged.

No matter how long a trip is it is impossible to see and do everything. But it you don't get overtired you will enjoy your activities more. Or at least they has always been my experience.

As far as Italy I have no desire to go if it is just for a short trip. The flight from SFO to Italy is a long one. The cost of the airfare is expensive. If I had unlimited money for travel and could always fly business class I would no doubt have a different thought regarding shorter trips.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:01 PM
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I agree with a lot of the previous post.

To sum up:

If you live on the east coast and have the $$$, then two 7 or 8 day trips is great (it's what we do).

If you live on the west coast or have a set annual travel budget, then you are probably better off taking one 2-3 week trip.
bardo1 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:08 PM
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LoveItaly-thank you; you're right...the last two times we traveled, I did get a cold as soon as I got home! I think I ran around too much, so I am definitely considering slowing down on future trips and not "running a race" so to speak to see everything.
travelbunnies is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:13 PM
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If you make two trips in a year, you spend twice as much time per year on a plane (all things being equal) and on to/from airport/hotel logistics. Time zone adjustment must be done four times (each time to/from) yearly versus two. On a dollars-per-sightseeing-hour, you get a better ratio with a longer trip.

But yet - I can think of practical arguments for shorter trips. Like maybe you get a great airfare, or it's easier to be away from work for a short period, and so forth.
WillTravel is online now  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:18 PM
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I vote for the 2-3 week trip once a year - and I am jealous that you all get to go to Europe that often!

I only make it to Europe once every 2-3 years, and I stay for 2 weeks. But, part of that is my fault because I do like to travel other places (Asia, the US, South America, Carribean, etc).
firmgirl is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:26 PM
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I think a lot might depend on whether one is an easy sleeper, i.e. can change time zones easily, not to mention sleep on overnight flights. For us, Europe is wonderful, but getting there is an endurance test that requires some recovery time. This recovery time would gouge just too much out of two short trips of just 7 to 8 days apiece.

But if you can get it to work for you, and can handle the higher sunk cost of 2 airfares, why not?
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Hi travelbunnies, I got sick for a day about 3 or 4 days after I arrived in Italy one visit. It wasn't so much jetlag as it was that all of my various friends had overplanned our various times together. I hardly had a moment to breath. I had to gently have a talk with all of them and explain that I loved being with all of them and loved everything we did together but I was totally exhausted, lol. I spent a day in bed recouping and regrouping.

I have a friend visiting Italy right now who did absolutely nothing yesterday as he had come down with a bad cold and was feeling just awful. I think he is doing better now, at least I hope so.

It happens to most of us from time to time. Wishing you many wonderful trips.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 12:49 PM
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If you can afford the air fare and don't mind the flight, I think the two shorter trips can make sense. I personally don't have that much vacation time and am not really that crazy about 3 week vacations, anyway. I just get tired and don't want to be "on" for that long a time, but because you are in a different place and spending all that money, you can't just relax or stay home and watch TV much, those kinds of things you can do at home. At least not very much, or it's a waste of time and money.

There are many things I want to do and places to go other than Europe, so I don't view it that way--that my life is just divided into European trips. I hate flying, anyway, and really don't want to spend that much time on an airplane. I wouldn't probably want to do 7-day trips as flying takes up two of the 7 days (the entire return day, and when I go, that day is wasted also), it just doesn't seem a good use of time. And while I'm not terrible with jet lag, I do still feel something for a couple days, at best.

I take other trips to places that are closer so as not to spend so much time traveling. I usually only do Europe once a year, although I think I did it twice a couple years ago (about 8 days in March and then a week in August). This year, I'm going to Mexico for Thanksgiving, went to NYC for a long weekend over Labor Day, went to Vermont for leaf peeping for the long COlumbus Day weekend, and have a few other trips to relatives for holidays, family reunion etc. So I think Europe definitely would only fit in there once.
Christina is online now  
Oct 23rd, 2006, 01:31 PM
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No trips longer than 11-12 days for us, because we "can't" leave our dog for any longer. Some years we go twice, others only once.
Travelnut is offline  

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