Planning a trip to Europe

Old Mar 30th, 2005, 05:44 PM
  #1  
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Planning a trip to Europe

My husband and I have never been to Europe or Scandinavia. What city or country would you suggest for a first visit, and at what time of year to get the most for our money?
Thanks for your suggestions. They are very much appreciated!
victoriamn10 is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Victoriamn10, I find Spring and Fall to be a great time for traveling because it's not peak tourist season in most of Europe; therefore, you get better airline + hotel prices.

I went to Switzerland two weeks ago during my Spring Break vacation. The airfare ($450) was half that of the peak summer season ($850+). The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and cool -- perfect for walking and sight seeing.

I also went to Brussels & Brugge during my Thanksgiving vacation last year. The airfare was $380. Great weather when I was there.

And I went to Cabo San Lucas, MX in the summer, which was non-peak tourist seasons either.




I'm a teacher so my vacations follows the school calendar. Summer is peak tourist season in most of Europe and airline + hotel prices are at their premium.

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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Have never been to Scandinavia but know of friends who have and love it. My first trip to Europe was Italy and it still is my favorite. Agree that Spring or Fall are the best - less crowded and weather is great. Early Fall as by October, we found it is starting to get cold. What country depends on your own personality but I put my vote for Italy - Rome, Florence, Tuscan and Umbrian hill towns ah, what could be sweeter.

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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 06:23 PM
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Since Scandinavia IS part of Europe, that part of your question jumps out at me. Did you mention Scandinavia specifically because you suspect that's where you'd like to go? I loved it, but to be honest, mostly Scandinavia will run the budget much higher than most of the rest of Europe.

Now the big question. What are you looking for? Culture, museums and attractions of big cities? Hiking in the mountains? Relaxing by a beach? Visiting small villages?
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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cmt
 
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Your title seems to suggest you're "planning a trip to Europe." Where are you planning to go?
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 08:01 PM
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I would also like to add that cities like London and Paris are big enough to provide a week worth of culture and excitement. Other cities like Brussels & Brugge (Belgium), Basel & Zurich (Switzerland) are small enough for a 3-4 day visit.

Good luck!
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 10:16 PM
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rex
 
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Previously posted (by me)... more or less...

Sometimes the best way to get you to give us the additional info needed, is to be intentionally provocational, and challenge the very notion that you really do want to go to Europe. What makes you think that you would like to go to Europe (or specifically Scandinavia) at all? What is it that you think can/will find there that you can't/wouldn't find in Aspen, or south Florida, or New Orleans, or New England, or the Caribbean, or San Francisco and the Napa Valley?

This is not meant to say that you shouldn't go to Europe - - but if you can elaborate on what you hope to see/find/experience there - - that you can't get "here" (wherever your "here" is), then it will help to guide you to the best destinations for YOU.

For some, an obvious answer to the question is that in (most of the countries on the continent of) Europe, you will find people using (one or more different) languages, other than English. Is that part of the appeal to you? - - it is to me - - but there is a different level/nature of that appeal for France, since I am personally quite comfortable and enchanted with French, versus say... Hungary (where I have never been) - - and where the language is one that I will not likely achieve even modest familiarity without a lengthy and considerable effort. For others, language is neither part of the appeal, nor an obstacle that worries them. They figure out how to enjoy the destinations through limited and/or alternative means of communication.

Perhaps you hope to find living (and/or "dead/well preserved") history, or cuisines, or wines or fashions, or gift shopping that you cannot find "back home". If you have your heart set on Greek or Swedish or Provencal cuisine, well then, it won't do much good for "us" to propose Switzerland to you, now will it?

So, close your eyes, and tell "us" what images you see, when you think "I can't wait til I can get to Europe, so that I can ...."

- - and finish that sentence five different ways for us.

Even beter tell us what pictures come to your mind's eye, and "we" will bring back to you some suggestions that make sense for YOU (and your husband).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 05:52 PM
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We are starting to plan a trip to Italy. When does the Summer peak season begin. If we leave around May 20th, the last day of school for my son, are we beating the peak season before the rates go up?
Thank you!
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 06:29 PM
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No. The low season in europe is generaly November to mid or late March. After that you will be paying regular prices for things - although a lot of searching may find lower air prices for specific routes on specific days.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 06:36 PM
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rex
 
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Although I am glad to see that you posted this question separately, I am forever trying to understand the things that are puzzles and obstacles to newcomers... to using this forum best (how did I know that you are new here? click on your own name - - this is one of the valuable tips that Fodors fails to tell you when they send you that initial e-mail confirming your registration).

How is it that you dug up this six week old post, and (initially) decided it best to "piggyback" your question on, here?

This is not critical - - like I said, just always trying to figure out the challenges that this forum presents to newbies.

Welcome to Travel Talk.

Best wishes,

Rex Bickers
Floyds Knobs, Indiana

p.s. - - maybe see http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34612225 - - and e-mail it to [email protected] if you are willing...

The editors need to hear from newcomers.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 06:37 PM
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Laurie
see rex's excellent advise on the other thread you started about peak season

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34613404
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 06:38 PM
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oops, advice that is
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 11:28 PM
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Not knowing your likes/dislikes makes this hard. However, I love Berlin. You could spend time in Germany or go 4 hours on the train to Prague, Czech Republic or over to Krakow, Poland. You will have no trouble with people speaking English and it is less expensive than London, Paris, Rome. My favorite time of year is the fall. If you go at the end of November/first of December, you will encounter Christmas markets which are lots of fun. The prices are lower off season and the towns less crowded.
That being said, seeing "The David" and eating gelato (ice cream) in Florence, Italy were such great experiences.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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rex
 
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I appreciate the supportive remarks, elaine...
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