Paris, London and Amsterdam

Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Paris, London and Amsterdam


My husband and I ages 27 & 31 are going on a trip to Europe May 2013 for our anniversary. We have a tight budget and only have May 24-June 1 to travel including our flights from Miami. Just to give you a glimpse of what we are like: we like to party, we like romantic atmospheres, we love to eat and drink, love to talk and meet new young professionals like ourselves, not very outdoorsy, prefer middle of the road approaches not 2 star not 5 star but sometimes we do indulge in a little luxury. However Europe is so expensive this probably won't be one of those times.

The options we are considering for our trips are below.

Railbookers - Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam

European Destinations - Paris, Amsterdam and London

Gate 1 - Paris, Amsterdam and London

Booking ourselves.

My questions to you all are:

a) Are we going to be burned out and unsatisfied trying to go to 3 destinations in such a short amount of time?

b) Which location do you recommend we omit?

c) Have you had a good/bad experiences with any of the companies above?

d) Is it more pleasant going on your own vs a tour group? Are the convinces of a tour company worth it in your experience?

Any other tips for an authentic trip but highlights the touristy things and /or tips on how to be budget conscious and still have a good time.

Thanks in advance!
wowthemkris is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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A Yes, too much in a week
B London & Amsterdam, just go to Paris, save more of europe for when you have more time.
D Paris is easy to do on your own.

Being on A budget, rent an apartment for the week in the 5th or 6th. Start looking now! If you feel you want to get out of Paris, go on a day train trip to Brugge or Normandy or out into the countryside and see some castles/chateaus or wine tasting, maybe Loire Valley.
hpeabody is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 01:13 PM
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Book it yourself and choose two of the three - London and Paris, or Paris and Amsterdam, or better yet Paris or London or Amsterdam.
If choosing Amsterdam consider staying outside the city (Haarlem maybe) and visiting more of the Netherlands in your week. If it is early May you should still get tulips, unless we have a really warm early spring.
You are both young and have loads of time to visit Europe and see the other cities on your list, and a whole lot more.
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 01:14 PM
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Maybe do 2, not all 3 - if it were me, I'd go for Paris and Amsterdam - I think London is the most expensive of the 3 and to me, the least appealing. Plus you will save the traveling expense involved in moving to 3 places. You can fly open-jaw - into Paris and out Amsterdam or vice versa.

Easy to do this on your own! Apartments will be cheaper, Amsterdam has some decent hostels if you want to go that route. But I'd guess any tour you might do will cost more than going on your own and again, these two cities (and even London) have so many sights to see, you can easily plan your time with what you want to do and use public transportation to get around.
suec1 is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 01:48 PM
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I'd suggest doing one or two of them - my preference would be Paris (definitely the most romantic) with Amsterdam as a secondary location.You could probably book an apartment in Paris for a week for a more reasonable price than if you stayed in a hotel for a week. If you stay in a hotel in Amsterdam, I recommend the Aalders, near the Van Gogh Museum. If you have the time to plan, do it on your own. Even if you do a "tour," a lot of the time in the city will be "on your own," so you'll have to figure out where to go in that case as well. You can get a lot of good ideas for accommodations and attractions from this site!
tom18 is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 02:10 PM
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I would do the trip on your own. Most Fodorites seem to be independent travelers. With the amount of time you have, I would stick to one place, two at the most. Definitely Paris and, though I prefer London to Amsterdam, in your case since you have so little time, I'd suggest Amsterdam for a second city. It is more manageable than London and can be seen in a shorter time. Save London for when you have more time.

May is a prefect time to visit. Come back for more help when you have decided how to travel and where you are going.
mamcalice is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 06:55 PM
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You really only have 6 days on the ground. In that time I would do one city with 1 or possibly 2 day trips. Doing 3 cities would be a waste of your time and money. Two is possible - I wold do London, grab the Eurostar to Paris and spend a couple of nights there. But that negates any possibility of day trips.

So I would read some guide books on London and paris then list your must sees in each -then check the Michelin green book to see how long each will take.

as for you plan of "love to talk and meet new young professionals like ourselves" - I think you will find that europeans are, on the whole, much more reserved than americans. Certainly you can have your hotel help you locate where similar people would hang out and you can go there and will be greeted - but people tend not to make best friends in a day and I'm not sure that you can get into a lot of deep discussions.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 08:14 PM
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I would only do one place for such a short trip , yikes, but if I was going to do two I would choose Paris and Amsterdam, in that order of preference.
Amsterdam is definately more laid back, so easier to meet chat folks, especailly in coffee shops, but Paris is more romantic and there are way more things to see, plus so many amazing day trips,plus food is amazing and house wine is cheap and tasty.

There is absolutely no way I would do all three. No way, do you realize how jet lag will affect your first day or two, this is supposed to be a vacation , not the Battaan Death March lol

If you choose to do two centers, fly into one and out of the other, when checking airfares you are looking for an open jaw or multi destination flight , not two one ways.
justineparis is offline  
Old Oct 24th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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Go to Amsterdam you will have a great time and will go back, Paris and London will be there when you are ready.
PAplumber is offline  
Old Oct 24th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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Go to Amsterdam you will have a great time and will go back, Paris and London will be there when you are ready.
PAplumber is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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You can have a great trip just spending your 7 nights Paris:

A few thoughts:

0) Plan this trip yourself. It's SIMPLE and you'll have a much better time than with a tour. It will be a more authentic trip and you'll do the touristy things that suite you. Go where you want, when you want. This is my TOP suggestion. The folks here will advise you to ensure your trip is easy, within budget, and perfect for your tastes/situation.

1) Fly non-stop. WELL worth the slightly higher airfares. You'll save the "non-stop" premium many times over in other ways. Such as...

2) Go for an apartment. You can get twice the square footage at half the cost for comparable location. You'll also realize substantial additional savings by not having to eat EVERY meal out.

3) You'll also save a lot of money by not traveling between cities (especially between London and the continent).

London is a much more expensive city to sleep and eat in (and deserves 7 nights with a day trip or two). At 31 and 27 yrs, I am sure you'll be planning and going on many more trips to Europe over the next 40 years or so. Believe it. Really.

If you feel you must go for two cities, then you can squeeze in Amsterdam but split the time heavily in favor of Paris - 5 nights in Paris (still in an apartment) and two nights in Amsterdam (a hotel, since it's only two nights). In this scenario, fly "open jaw" and take the train between Paris and Amstedrdam. MIA-CDG on the way out (non-stop) and AMS-MIA for the return home (with one layover).
bardo1 is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2012, 12:46 PM
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wowthemkris on Oct 23, 12 at 3:04pm
Posted in: Europe Tagged: France , Netherlands , United Kingdom

My husband and I ages 27 & 31 are going on a trip to Europe May 2013 for our anniversary. We have a tight budget and only have May 24-June 1 to travel including our flights from Miami. Just to give you a glimpse of what we are like: we like to party, we like romantic atmospheres, we love to eat and drink, love to talk and meet new young professionals like ourselves,

For party towns: Amsterdam, London, Paris -- in that order. Amsterdam is far and away the best, and the most reasonably priced of the three.

All young Dutch professionals speak fluent English and love to impress "Yanks" with their ability. You will have a lot of instant friends. I suggest hanging out at the cafes at Spui, the Luxembourg and the Hoppe, to meet the locals.

Spring in Paris is very romantic (I met my ex there). The Amsterdam canals can also put you in a dreamy mood.

Don't even think about using a tour company for these cities. Get a Michelin Green Guide and do it on your own.
spaarne is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2012, 06:08 AM
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I just did all three in 9 nights (3 nts in each city). Ideally, you'd want at least 4 nights in each city, esp. London and Paris because they're much bigger, but it is doable and you'll have a great time. I stayed at 3-star hotels in each city, spending about $1100 total on hotels.
And believe me, it's much better to do it on your own. A Time Out or Lonely Planet guide, a 3-day transit pass and wanderlust will serve you much better than a bunch of time spent on a bus with tourists.
martytravels is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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My recommendation (similar to many others):

Don't do 3 cities. If you must do 2, then add a couple of days in Amsterdam, but I really think a week in Paris will more than satisfy you -- especially with a couple of day trips: Versailles [easy ride on RER] and Giverny [train/bus combo that is easy to do and takes no advanced purchase] would be my suggestions for that time of year.

Book it and plan it yourselves - go independent! I understand that this is largely a matter of preference, but at you age, I feel you'll have more fun, be more flexible (changes in weather, changes in what you want to do] and do more of what YOU want to do without a tour group. (We're in our 60s, been to Paris 4 times in the last 10 years, and have never taken a tour...planning is actually part of the fun.)

I absolutely guarantee that you will not run out of cool things to see and do in Paris in a week. And, IMHO, it is the most romantic, magical city I've ever been to. (If I could afford it, I'd go a couple of times a year. )

NOTE: We love London, but, even with the Eurostar, you will spend a half day in transit between the two cities, hotel-to-hotel. I know you are on a budget (My wife and I are notoriously careful about costs when we travel), but remember: TIME is your most valuable comodity on a trip such as this. You'll spend a lot of money to get there, so you need to maximize what you see and do and minimize your time getting from place to place.

Having said all this, I will temper my thoughts by saying that if you do not anticipate another trip to Europe in the next several years, then I would not blame you for ignoring my advice and trying to see a second city...but all three are a little hard to do effectively.

ssander is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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One additional thought about hotels in Paris.

The number of stars is NOT an indication of how nice, clean, friendly or luxurious it is. It is an indication of the types of amenities it offers.

A particular 2-star hotel can be a much better place to stay than another 4-star hotel...but won't have a get the idea.

For hotels, you have to do your research, including tapping into the vast experience of the folks here, once you give them an idea of your nightly budget and neighborhood preferences. Same goes for food.

ssander is offline  
Old Oct 27th, 2012, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 540
please don't do all 3. i did a Griswold trip like that over the span of 17 days and my wife hated me for it. As much as i love London i would suggest Amsterdam for the party scene and Paris for the culture and food
tailsock is offline  
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