Open jaws-Zurich/Paris

Old Jul 12th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Open jaws-Zurich/Paris

We are planning a trip for May/June 2008 and have found a reasonable airfare into Zurich and out of Paris on US Air. We mainly want to go to Rome and Paris but the airfares to Rome are outrageous so I'm thinking this may be more economical and we'll see some of Switzerland as well. Do you know if there are overnight trains to Rome or Florence and what the cost might be? We are considering getting a rail pass, maybe 1 for Italy, France, and Switzerland if this is the most cost effective. And do you think we need to book the airline flight right away? There are 4 (2 parents, 2 teenagers)of us traveling and some uncertainty in our future. Your advice is greatly appreciated!
Karen
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:04 PM
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If time is a factor, consider flying from Zürich on to Rome right away and then from Rome to Paris - make Zürich into just a stopover.

What are your dates of travel and what would you be willing to pay for a Zürich - Rome - Paris leg?
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:29 PM
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Hi Babbitt,

You can use the Swiss rail site to research all of your rail questions, from schedule and timeing to fares. It's at www.rail.ch.

Children under 16 travel for free in Switzerland.

Good luck!

s
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:41 PM
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Well of course (!) I know it's "timing" and not "timeing"! Quelle gaffe.

s
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:59 PM
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You should look into trains, but also airfares, and it's far too early to book that intra-Europe flight. Wait until at least December.

For what it's worth, you can fly from Rome to Paris-Beauvais on Ryanair and that would be the best option there. It's a bit harder and farther to go from Zurich to Rome, and I'd actually advise you to spend your time in Switzerland and France rather than including Italy. So many people gravitate only to Paris and Rome, and there are so many other wonderful places that you should consider.

That's just one opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. And be sure to check www.whichbudget.com to find out the best air routings for you. You might find another interesting combination of cities based on very cheap flights.

If you are staying for 10 days to 2 weeks, then I think taking a Zurich to Rome train might be a fine idea, but if you are there for just a week, I think you're wasting far too much of your time and may end up spending more money on extra train tickets than you would spend by buying the open-jaw ticket that you actually want.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Thanks for your comments!
This will be a 2 week trip leaving May 24 and returning June 7.
Last month my daughter and I visited Rome, Florence, and Paris for a quick 10 day trip. It was a fantastic trip (thanks to wonderful advice received on this website!) and would like to take my husband and son next summer and add 1 other area. We love hiking and the mountains and know Switzerland would be a wonderful destination. So maybe Zurich would be a good choice, especially since this airfare is reasonable ($911).

If we book this early and the ticket is technically nonrefundable, will travel insurance cover a change in plans? My son is beginning college this fall and we aren't certain of what he'll do next summer.

Many thanks, Karen
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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It's doubtful that travel insurance would cover that kind of change. Travel insurance is meant to cover you in the case of an illness or family emergency, not simply because you have changed your mind. You can usually pay $100 to change your ticket, but not on all cheap flights, and I don't know USAirway's specific policies. I guess it depends on where you're flying from, but this doesn't seem like a particularly phenomenal fare to me, so if you think your plans might change, I'd wait a bit to make these reservations. You may not know until January, for example, what intra-Europe flights will cost on the discount airlines. I acknowledge that flights are more expensive these days, but booking an uncertain trip a year in advance doesn't seem like a good investment to me.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 10:27 AM
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I think there is some really very expensive travel insurance that might cover you if you just change your mind, but it's sort of dumb to buy it if you know you'll do that -- the change fee by the airline would be cheaper, probably. Insurance isn't meant for people just to change their mind.

It's funny but I am doing that exact same route this summer -- open jaw into Zurich and out of Paris. This is on United, not USAir, but it's probably the same thing as they are codeshares (mine is from IAD). I had reasons for doing that as I intended to visit Switzerland, though, because it sure wasn't remotely cheap. Switzerland isn't a cheap country to fly into. If you really want to go to Rome, I would think lots of other airfares would be cheaper -- such as on Air France into France and out of Paris. You can usually fly into Nice on AF at about the same price as from Paris (or very small addon fare), and Rome wouldn't be difficult to get to by train from there.

I wonder what fare you think is so cheap on that route? I ended up paying about $1400 but that was in July. May might be a little cheaper, but still, it was really expensive compared to lots of other itineraries. Railpasses are very expensive, also, so I wonder if you've checked those prices out.

I wouldn't ever book airfare this far ahead, unless you really got it dirt cheap, like maybe $500. Where are you flying from in the US, anyway?
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Thanks again for your honest comments! I think we will wait to book this as you all recommended. We are somewhat flexible as to where we fly in and out of but know we will go right when school lets out. We are flying out of MSY (New Orleans) and the fares now to Rome are in the $1200-1400 range.

We did spend a week about 16 years ago in the Lauterbrunnen Valley near Interlaken, Switzerland, with my son when he was a toddler and hoped to return again 1 day. Visiting Switzerland late next spring sounds wonderful so we may continue to monitor this and hope for the best.

Christina, the airfare from MSY-ZRH and CDG-MSY is $911 in May/June 2008. I guess it's not a great deal but we paid $700 + 10,000 frequent flyer miles last May to Rome and out of Paris (there were no seats out of Rome) so this didn't sound terribly bad.

Maybe Nice would be a smaller airport to fly to and more reasonably priced so we will continue to monitor this. Thanks,
Karen
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