Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Planning first trip to Europe - Feedback requested

Planning first trip to Europe - Feedback requested

Old Apr 21st, 2011, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,536
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
You need to look at your transportation expenses because I think they're going to blow up your budget. Three-week larger vehicle rental (possibly including a one-way drop fee), expensive gasoline for all those miles/kilometers, highway tolls, overnight parking charges...

IMO, your budget would go much farther if you stayed out of large cities and maybe left Italy for another trip.
Jean is online now  
Old Apr 21st, 2011, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You need to up the hotel budget or make some alternative arrangements. Some quick thoughts:

(1) I'd drop Madrid and concentrate on Paris/Tuscany/Rome.

(2) I'd consider a week in Paris and a week in Rome with a few days in Tuscany (with attendant school bus rental for all those people you're carting around) in between. Fly a cheapo airline from Paris to Rome. The drop charge from France or Spain to Italy will be astronomical -- far more than your flights. THIS IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH YOUR PROPOSED ITINERARY -- the drop charge will do serious damage to the budget and the fuel charges will similarly crush you ($7.50+ per gallon for gas, about $6.80+ for diesel). You likely also need an international drivers' permit for Italy.

(3) IF you do the week in Paris and week in Rome with your brood, you should look into a large flat/small house for hire. It's conceivable that you can get something for around 700E for the week that could fit everyone and be decent. It will be outside the center of town, but you can take public transportation to offset that (especially in Paris, which has a better train system). You WILL NOT get two rooms in Europe for $50/night each for 3 and 4 persons (however you split up the menagerie) that are not essentially papered-over latrines at a hotel. Simply will not happen. It wouldn't if the dollar were at 1.30/Euro and it definitely won't with the weak dollar policy of this (and the last) administration operating at full force, which is unlikely to change soon.

(4) If you go to Tuscany, go to Siena.

(5) If you live in a desirable area of the country (to a Parisian or Roman visitor), consider swapping your abode for someone's in Paris or Rome, etc. There are various home exchange services, clubs, websites where you can look this up. This lets you stay rent-free over there while the visitor stays rent-free in your place.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2011, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 20
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I will discourage driving in Paris or Rome. It would be worse than Manhattan, especially with a large vehicle. We've used trains to move from city to city and rental cars for traveling in the countryside and to smaller cities. The cheap airlines look like a good alternative to trains but we haven't tried them yet.
DKA is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2011, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 448
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Glad you enjoyed the blog.
dgassa is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 01:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hostal Orleans in the El Born area of Barcelona is some 50-65€ for a double/triple. Basic but the best location, and I found it to be great value: http://www.hostalorleans.com/index_eng.htm

Do as the Spanish and have your main meal at lunchtime (from about 1:30 pm). Then most restaurants serves excellent value three course meals with drinks included for some 10-15€. In more local restaurants it might be 7-8€.
kimhe is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kimhe -- 50-65E for a triple is $70-90 times 2 = 140-180, which is 40-80% over the OP's budget.
BigRuss is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,829
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Will echo that driving in Rome is a big hassle. In fact, it's the only place I've seen worse drivers than those in Boston, and that's saying something. Vespa (little motor scooter) drivers make things even worse, as they're pretty much a law unto themselves. You won't need to drive in Rome anyway, and I'm guessing parking would be a nightmare both here and in Paris, on top of it all.

And if things hold true in Italy food-wise now as they did back when I was there, it's always cheaper to stand and eat at the bar. Prices go up notably when you sit down at a table, as a "coperto" or cover charge is tacked on, for one thing.
bachslunch is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2011, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,607
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your budget for hotel rooms is unrealistic. $50/night is 35 euros. You think you are going to find hotel rooms in Paris and Rome for 35e/night for 3-4 people? Paris is not Peru. Even looking at hostels, that seems unlikely for that many people.
cheryllj is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2011, 04:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 52
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks all for the replies. Been doing more research/thinking. It looks like we need to reduce our stay to two weeks. Here's the new budget numbers...

Hotel/B&B/Hostel: $300/night
Food: $225/day
Travel: $1400 (includes rental of a minivan for a few days)
Entertainment: $75/day (not including Aunt)

Again, I appreciate all of the feedback, positive and constructive
IronBenderII is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Jun 17th, 2008 10:13 AM
Jun 1st, 2008 04:44 PM
Jul 31st, 2006 04:39 AM
Jul 15th, 2003 01:48 PM
Aug 2nd, 2002 07:33 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:04 AM.