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Need information in arranging our first family trip to Europe

Need information in arranging our first family trip to Europe

Jan 23rd, 2010, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I'd encourage the kids to make their own scrapbooks of the trip. My 6 1/2 yr old granddaughter began hers on the flight over to CDG with paper, colored pencils, markers we had packed, drawing a picture of the plane, etc. We saved ticket stubs, post cards, printed napkins, coasters, etc., and with her drawings and photos her mom and I took, she completed a very cute scrapbook when we got home.>>

g'mere - we did that too til they got too old. we also got them - and us - to write a diary of each day. at breakfast we would pass round a little notebook where we each wrote down what we'd thought about the day before. although it was meant as practice for DS who found writing difficult, we all had a lot of fun seeing what the others had written...eg "mum dragged us all round another garden and wouldn't let us have two ice-creams"
annhig is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 09:13 AM
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Annhig--what a super idea; will try that "next trip". It must be such fun to read family members' entries at the time and also years later.
grandmere is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Regarding switching time zones ahead of time, where do you live now? You said that you were looking for for flights from WAS, but you sound like perhaps you live further west based on your later comments.

When we went to Europe in 2007 by daughter and I flew from the West Coast and my husband and my son had a few days on the East Coast of the U.S. before joining us in Italy. Their jet lag experience was very different from ours. They basically had none, while my daughter and I took three days to get our clocks re-set. It may have made a difference that their flight landed around noon while ours landed at almost midnight.

I do think that if you can take some time further east before crossing the Atlantic you might reduce the impact of jetlag when you get to Europe just because you will have done some adjusting ahead of time.
cferrb is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:19 PM
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...we should try and switch time zones before we leave Canada. Has anyone tried this? .......

Nothing odd about that idea. We have done it for years. We have developed a pattern that in our experience min it not completely eliminates jet lag -- at least for us it does. Coming out of Denver, CO, we need to shift about eight hours. Our idea is to shift about three to four hours prior to leaving. We also try to book direct flights out of Denver or Chicago so we have a long first leg. Most of our flights depart around 7 or 8 PM.

About three weeks out we will move everything an hour -- up an hour earlier, to bed, meals, everything. Two weeks out we go to two hours. The last week is three hours. That is more difficult because you now you are of sink with your surroundings and with the sun.

Now it gets crazy but I think is a key element. On the day of departure we get up at 2AM or about the time we would be landing in Europe. Turn on all the lights, get very activity. workout, big breakfast, etc. Lunch around 8AM or so, catch the connecting flight if we have to go to Chicago or to the airport as early as 4 PM. Have a really nice dinner with wine at one of the better restaurants in the airport. Our plan is to be well fed and exhausted by the time we board the plane around 8 pm. Within 30 minutes of wheels up, we are settled in, ear plugs in, eye shades on, ignore all cabin activity - food, everything. The meals are not worth eating anyway. We can generally get five hours or so of marginal sleep but better than nothing. About an hour or so before landing we freshen up the best we can, use restrooms, eat whatever is offer in the way of breakfast. On landing we feel pretty good. We spend the next several hours in the daylight and moving. Around three to four pm local time will take a quick nap. I know, I know, that is against conventional wisdom but believe it is our second key. We always set the alarm for two hours but generally find we wake up around an hour and a half. The nap really sets us up for the rest of the evening. We feel great. Have a good dinner that evening and generally stay up till 10/11 pm and sometimes later. The next morning we may wake up a little earlier than intended but feel no effects of jet lag. Prior to adopting this pattern we would have tried to stay awake all day and gone to bed earlier. And we have tried a number of different patterns but this works best for us. While it may sound complicated, it is not that difficult to do.
fmpden is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:22 PM
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I thought I was the only one
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:37 PM
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About the journal--I probably ruined quite a bit of vacation time early on by insisting on the journal. My kids HATED it. Then one of my teaching buddies told me about her postcard method. Every day, her son bought ONE postcard that represented his experience that day, and he wrote a postcard-sized description and mailed it to himself. At the end of the trip, he was on the receiving end of all his great experiences.

It was BRILLIANT. No more fights. Both girls would take 1/2 hour to and hour every day carefully choosing their postcards, and then the husband and I had the really hard task of sitting back and drinking alcohol in some charming local cafe while they wrote their messages to themselves. While we usually carried pre-printed address labels (as we did for all the cards to others, too, we encouraged the kids to go to local post offices whenever possible to try out their language skills. And lots of time, the postal workers made a big fuss of helping them choose their stamps.

They now have albums and albums of pictures of what they saw and how they felt seeing those things without the Mommy Dearest attitude they were getting with that darn journal!
AlessandraZoe is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:36 PM
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After some thoughts I have this itinerary now:

Arrive at London on 27th, stay at London until 30th.
31st morning take a train/flight to Paris
Stay at Paris till 3rd
4th Morning take a train/flight to Amsterdam
Leave Amsterdam on 6th...

Is this doable? I know I am adding one more city... but want to see Amsterdam in tulip season...

Has any of done this before? Since we will be in Paris during Easter week how will it affect our trip?

No, this is not finalized decision yet... but want to come up with a pick of things before talking to kids and DH to finalize

Thanks a lot to all of you for putting in your time in helping me plan the trip.

junk4rp is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:44 PM
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I think this is good. Id' take the train to Paris and to AM
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:47 PM
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Is Eurostar from London to Paris and Thalys from Paris to Amsterdam the best options?
junk4rp is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:58 PM
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I have not looked at train schedules between Paris and A'dam in a long time, but it used to take us overnight to get from one to the other. Unless there is a bullet train now, which is expensive. Maybe you have looked at that.

A'dam is lots of fun because of the canals and because it is flat and easy to walk around. It's very full of bicycles, too, which makes it different. You have to take a train to the countryside to see the tulips, but everywhere in Holland is only a short train ride away.

If you are staying 4 nights in a city you an probably find an apartment to stay in, too.
charnees is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 03:04 PM
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We did the Paris Amsterdam trip during Easter of (OMG) 1984. We drove so we could see more
colduphere is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 03:07 PM
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Overnight? It takes less than 3.5 hours to Amsterdam from Paris by train. Much less than it takes to fly when you consider getting out to CDG/advance check in/security. Gare do Nord to Central Amsterdam easy as pie.
janisj is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 03:15 PM
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charnes did not say 'overnight in todays world. Quote was 'I have not looked at train schedules in a long time'.
iris1745 is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 04:08 PM
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Yes, it's only a few hours from Paris to A'dam.

But has your budget increased significantly since you first posted? Because travel between these places is going to cost a fair bit for your group, and you're absolutely not going to find accommodations for 5 for $150 a night.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 04:22 PM
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Amsterdam is a good choice because you can see a lot in a couple of days.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 05:18 PM
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First I have to come up with the place choice and then I have to check the price for apartment etc. Its all ballpark now. But the Open fork tickets from US to Europe is coming to be close to $4K. Then the train tickets from London to Paris for 5 is bout $300 and for Paris to Amsterdam is about $150. Not bad so far. Will check apartments to estimate the cost. What is the approximate food expenses in these three cities per day? What about tours etc? Is there any place which gives these info? Am I missing anything?
junk4rp is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 05:29 PM
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@colduphere: When you drive do you rent a car a Paris and drop at Amsterdam? What are car rental option in Europe? How is the driving between these cities compared to US?
junk4rp is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 05:56 PM
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You probably don't want to drive it. It will take much longer, plus drop off charges when you pick up a rental car in one country and drop it in another can double the cost.
janisj is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 06:03 PM
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Agree with janisj.

It has been awhile since I made that drive. We usually pick up and drop off cars at airports to avoid driving in cities. But that can add to the cost. I looked quickly at Expedia and one other site. Looks like it would cost you at least $600 to pick up the car in Paris and drop it off in Amsterdam. Then there is gas and additional insurance. There are people here who know a lot more about renting cars than me.

It's a pleasant drive, although I did once swear I would never drive through Belgium again. The drivers seemed a tad aggressive. Easy driving in France and the Netherlands.
colduphere is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 06:45 PM
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So, driving is not fun or inexpensive in Europe. I will explore the driving option, but would not put high priority on it.
junk4rp is offline  

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