Paris,London, Rome

Old May 29th, 2002, 04:54 PM
  #1  
Casey
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Paris,London, Rome

I prefer to travel independently, though I would consider an Idependent Tour if it was cheaper. Go Ahead has one, any thoughts on it?
I will be traveling with my 19 year old son, and 12 year old daughter.We would prefer a triple room.
Do you spend too much time traveling between coutries? We have about 12 days (give or take).
Would it be a better use of time to just do two countries? My son wants to go to Rome, my daughter London and they are both interested in Paris.
We have traveled a bit, though we have only stayed in one country at a time.
Any advice? Thank you!
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 06:16 PM
  #2  
Rex
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The most important thing you can do to keep the cost down is think about when you could choose the "nicest" time for the lowest air travel price.

The lowest airfares are typically from about November 1 to Mar 1, though some years they will extend (unpredictably) into later in the spring. If you cannot travel during these periods, the cheapest trans-atlantic fares are usually into and out of London - - but you need to consider your intra-Europe transportation costs. You really have to consider every possible routing, and pay attention to possibilities for an open jaw (A to B, C to A), a "stopover" (A to B, B to C, C to A) or both (rarely are these a good deal - - but they can be - - A to B, B to C, D to A). Keep in mind that there are some very cheap fares between London and Paris, or London and Rome, but not between Paris and Rome.

And work on convincing your kids (and yourself) that there is so much more to see in Europe than these three world capitals. These are the three of the most expensive destinations for lodging in Europe. Every night you stay somewhere else will likely be cheaper, or nice for the same amount of money, or both.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 06:35 PM
  #3  
janis
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Casey: for three wanting to stay to some sort of budget I would TRY to convince your kids that two out of three is pretty good. I think 12 days - bearing in mind that the 1st day is lost to transport and jet lag and the last day is lost to packing up and traveling home is not long enough to do London, Paris and Rome.

Of course the most convenient pair is London/Paris but you could combine any 2 of the 3 cities.

London Hotels are generally more expensive than in Paris - but for a family the best deals are to rent an apartment instead. A 2 bedroom (or 1 bedroom with sofabed) flat would cost less than triple rooms in most hotels and you get the bonus of a washer/dryer and a full kitchen.

If it were me I would probably spend 6 or 7 days in London and 5+ days in Paris. From London I would plan one major day trip to somewhere like Bath, Oxford, York, Stonehenge etc.

But you could just as easily do Paris/Rome or Rome/London - especially with all the new low cost intra-Europe airlines.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 07:44 PM
  #4  
xxj
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You might want to find the hotels Go Ahead offers on a map & see how close they are to what you want to see in each city (unless you plan to do all of the optionals). We're going on a similar trip in August with a different tour group. For ours, the locations of the hotels are okay (not perfect), they all have good ratings and are very close to public transportation. I think the time between countries is about 3 hours on the train to Paris and about 3 hours by air to Rome (hopefully, someone will correct this if it's wrong). Of course, You lose more time getting to the airport, etc & to a new hotel. Since this is a first trip to Europe for us (we're also traveling with a 19 year old), we're thrilled to get to see so much in one trip, but also frustrated because there isn't enough time in each place to see everything we want.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 10:25 PM
  #5  
MJH
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My wife and I visited London, Rome, Florence, Venice and Paris in 14 days.

I cashed in frequent flyer miles on American Airlines for tickets from Los Angeles to Rome. Since AA does not fly directly to Rome, they had me go through London. I asked for a 3-night stopover in London and they said fine.

I also requested a direct flight back from Paris to Los Angeles and again they said fine. Thus, I got the stop-over in London and the open-jaw back from Paris.

We spent 3 nights in London starting on a Sunday afternoon visiting the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, the National Gallery, the British Museum, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Harrods, etc.

We flew into Rome where we spent 3 days visiting the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Coliseum, the Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, etc.

We then took the train to Florence where we spent all of Saturday and half of Sunday. We visited Michael Angelo's David at the Galleria de Academia, the Uffizi Museum, Ponte Vecchio, and the cathedral. We also roamed the streets like everywhere else.

We then took the train to Venice where we spent 2 full days going to St. Mark's Square, got lost trying to find a restaurant, St. Marks Church, Rialto Bridge, and the main museum whose name I forget.

We finally took the night train from Venice to Paris. The train left Venice at 8pm and arrived in Paris at 8am.

We checked into this nice little hotel called Hotel du Champ de Mars near Rue Cler (a Parisian street marketplace). I highly recommend this area and the hotel. We paid about US$60 per night for a queen size bed and a small full bathroom. Great value.

In all the places, if you stick to the fixed price menus, then you can eat pretty well for a very reasonable amount. However, if you start ordering sodas, cafe lattes, and dessert, your bill will double! We knew this and we still ordered the lattes and the desserts which raised our bills from US$30 to US$50 for two for lunch or early dinner.

This has been the best vacation in terms of experiencing different things around Europe. We've been to Cancun, Jamaica, Hawaii, Vancouver, Mazatlan, Miami, New York, etc. on different vacations and the European vacation is by far the best because of all the cultures and history that we experienced in a single trip.

MJH
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 10:34 PM
  #6  
tom
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I am afraid MJH that you did not experience "all the cultures and history in a single trip". You merely rushed through checking places off your hit list. 14 days for LA > London > Rome > Florence > Venice > Paris > LA doesn't leave you time to "experience" anything.
 
Old May 29th, 2002, 10:35 PM
  #7  
MJH
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I forgot to mention in my post that I booked all the travel myself with the help of several travel books including those from Fodors and Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com)

In London, the underground is one of the best train systems in the world. You can get around without any problems.

In Paris, the metro is also one of the best train systems in the world. You can also get around central Paris.

In both Paris and London you can buy a day pass or a 10-ride card. There are stations everywhere in both cities.

In Rome, we used the bus system and we walked a quite a bit. In Florence, we walked everywhere (it's a small city centre).

In Venice, we walked and we used the boat system. Those boats are cheap transportation to get you around Venice. It's easy to get lost in Venice, but fun.

We averaged about US$100 per hotel night. We spent the night mainly in hotels located in central locations like right on the city centre or near a metro station. All our rooms had a full bath (shower and toilet).

MJH
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 08:25 AM
  #8  
Rex
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<<14 days for LA > London > Rome > Florence > Venice > Paris > LA doesn't leave you time to "experience" anything>>

This is silly snobbery. You can "experience" any of these cities in a single 12 hour visit - - at one level. You can experience them at another level - - which few Americans ever do in 7-30 days for each city. Or you can experience each of them for an entire lifetime.

My reality is not yours, and never will be and expressions of one reality being superior to another are unfounded.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 09:25 AM
  #9  
Mr. Go
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My opinion only...

1. Independent travel is more fun as a family activity than being part of a tour group.

2. London/Paris is a natural trip combo. Don't fight it. Use the Eurostar train; it's a lot better than flying.

3. Save Rome for next year, and combine it with Florence or Venice visit.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #10  
elaine
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Hi Casey
I normally would say keep it to two cities, but
if one of you will be disappointed if they don't get to see their first choice, then go for it, but consider this:
Any day traveling between 2 cities is essentially lost to sightseeing. You might get a couple of hours in, but if you do it's a bonus, unless you travel at night.

Paris, London, are complex places, and Rome and London especially are quite spread out geographically.
If you have some specific sightseeing you want to see in each place, do your homework in advance so that you can make maximum use of your time. If you just want to stroll and browse, you would still need a good map and a guidebook, or at least some notes about where you'd like to go.

I am not convinced that any one source, not even Go Ahead, has the lowest-price deals all the time. As Rex suggested, you need to compare all the options for air fares vs train fares, separate or included hotel packages, etc. Apartments might work, but if you are only staying 3 days or so in each place it's harder to find agencies that will work with that.

Since you've traveled, you already know that European hotel rooms can be small and rooms for 3 are few and far between.
You might want to decide when you are traveling, budget your airfare and other transportation, and then start exploring accommodations.

I have files on the cities you mentioned; if you'd like to see them, email me.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 10:18 AM
  #11  
elvira
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If you want to do all three cities, do all three cities. Take the Eurostar from London to Paris, either first thing in the morning so you have a full day in Paris, or the last train at night so you have a full day in London.

From Paris, take an overnight train to Rome. You save time (travel while you sleep)and money (cost of hotel room), and an overnight train will add a different experience to your trip.

Fly into London, out of Rome; or do the trip in reverse. Either way, try to avoid in/out same city and having to backtrack.

Triple rooms are not uncommon. Do book, though, as soon as you know your dates to be sure you get the hotel and room of your choice.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 08:26 PM
  #12  
up
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up
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 08:36 PM
  #13  
xxx
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I assume it's the first time you're all (or only your children) visiting these cities.

IMO you can cut London to four days and divide the remaining 8 days between Paris and Rome.

London hotels are so expensive for the quality that you get-tiny rooms and not many amenities. Restaurants are so overpriced and the food is awful unless you like fish and chips. If not for the historical sites, it's not a pretty city. Architecture is not as charming as Paris and Rome.

Paris and Rome you have the beautiful architecture, history, you have a variety of well-priced hotels, and the food is not only edible but nice to look at.
 
Old May 30th, 2002, 09:02 PM
  #14  
janis
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Casey - please don't listen to ANYTHING xxx says. Food in London is wonderful (unless you only go to nasty places visited by starving American tour groups). In fact, there is a cuisine club in Paris that regularly takes day trips to London for special meals. Of course the food in Paris and Rome is great too.

As I mentioned - London hotels are more expensive - but renting apartments is usually cheaper in London because of so much more competition - there are scores of holiday rental agencies and hundreds of private flats for rent so you will have many to choose from.

There are more beautiful parks in London than in almost any other city on earth. Sure there are some ugly streets in London - but a lot more in Rome - no where is generally as lovely as Paris but parts of London are magnificent.

Maybe xxx is the guy who posted the "so bored by London" thread??
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 09:24 AM
  #15  
ttt
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topping
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 06:35 PM
  #16  
casey
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Hi,
Thanks for all of the help.
In answer to a question, I have actually been to London and Paris once before and I took my daughter to London for a few days this winter to investigate "Harry Potter World."
My kids have been to Japan and to Germany but never France ,Italy and my son has not been to London.
As most people, I am trying to see the most in a limited amount of time for a reasoable amount of money...
I am just not sure about what is makes the most sense.
Thanks again for the input.
 
Old May 31st, 2002, 06:36 PM
  #17  
casey
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Hi,
Thanks for all of the help.
In answer to a question, I have actually been to London and Paris once before and I took my daughter to London for a few days this winter to investigate "Harry Potter World."
My kids have been to Japan and to Germany but never France ,Italy and my son has not been to London.
As most people, I am trying to see the most in a limited amount of time for a reasonable amount of money...
I am just not sure about what is makes the most sense.
Thanks again for the input.
 
Old Jun 2nd, 2002, 03:17 PM
  #18  
xxx
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You can do what I did with my children last year. Flew into London(7hrs), then took the Eurostar to Paris(3hrs) and then the night train to Rome (15hrs), you can then fly home from Rome. I found this the easiest way other than flying from country to country. The longest part of the journey was the train ride during the night when you're asleep and you wake-up in Rome.
 
Old Aug 19th, 2002, 05:31 PM
  #19  
crab
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We did GoAHead Vac's London, Paris and Rome last May. It was a wonderful trip in every way and would be great with and for older children. Your picked up at the Airport, travel between London and Paris is by train and you fly from Paris to Rome to maximize your time. The included city tours were educational and the visited sites, including optionals, were conducted with professional tour leaders avoiding lines. The provided meals were at local restaurants and were very good to excellent. The hotels were nice and except in Rome, decently located and close to public transportion. In each city the tour director gave instructions on how best use public transportation for your free time. Plenty of free time was offered but if you want more structure you can sign up for the optionals, which I felt to be of good value. There was no pressure to sign up for anything and we were not directed to tourist trap type shopping. Buses where used, such as going to Pompai or city tours, were comfortable with appropriate stops. It was a great vac for a first time European traveler. I plan to travel with GoAhead again.
 
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