Planning my 1st Europe trip

Jun 30th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I always wonder what happens to a poster like this. How they find the forum in the first place, then register to post a question, but never check back? Or maybe reads and doesn't like the advice, so doesn't say anything?
suze is offline  
Jun 30th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Scosner -

Well my advice is a little different, evidently, from everyone else's. My family and I did a two-week trip to London, Paris, Rome and Venice last summer and had a great time! It was my second trip to Europe but the first trip for DH, DS, and DD.

(I posted a trip report about it - click on my username and look for the post in August last year, if you're interested.)

Anyway, I'm not saying it's the theoretical ideal way to do it, or for everyone, but we didn't regret going to all four places for one minute - quite the opposite - we were very glad we didn't leave one of those places out. And due to various constraints, we flew both into and out of London, so retraced our steps on the trip. It was still wonderful. So I say if you want a quick overview of all four places, do it!
NorCalif is offline  
Jul 11th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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<My family and I did a two-week trip to London, Paris, Rome and Venice last summer and had a great time!>

when i first went to Europe i did similar fast moving travel and liked it a lot.

speed of travel is a personal choice and there's nothing wrong with a quick look at several places then use future trips to dwell on places you like.

IMO you need not spend a week in Paris to start to appreciate it - a few days is fine the first time.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 11th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Hey! Thank you so much for all of your advise. I really do appreciate you taking time to help me out!!! Once I got some of the first few reponses, I started re-examining my trip plans. My husband and I have decided to narrow down our trip. Now we will be doing:

London (5 nights)
Paris (4 nights)
Rome (3 nights)
Venice (2 nights)

We will fly in to London and out of Venice. We will train from London to Paris, fly from Paris to Rome and train Rome to Venice. I have been using tripadvisor, expedia and travelocity cites to help research hotels (and a few guide books). Once we get a bit closer to our leave date, I will do a bit more research on the hotels and then book! I am a huge planner and have spent many, many hours researching! I think my husband is most excited about London (I think we might do a Harry Potter tour while there). I am excited about Disneyland Paris (I have been warned it is not the greatest but do love Disney and have been to DisneyWorld tons of times- we even took our honeymoon there!). I must say that I am most excited about Rome. I studied Latin for 6 years and am quite excited to physically see what I read about! Again, thank you so much for your advise. Please post any comments on my newest revision!
scosner is offline  
Jul 11th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Consider reordering your trip to London-Paris-Venice-Rome. That will give you a little more time in Venice, and there are more -- and more non-stop -- flights from Rome. MyAir flies from Paris-Orly (close-in, easy to get to)to Venice Marco Polo. Plus you get a break from intensive big-city sightseeing.
Mimar is offline  
Jul 11th, 2007, 08:38 PM
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Also, flights from Venice to the U.S. (assuming that's where you're coming from) leave very early in the morning, and based on what I've read here on Fodor's, it's a hassle getting to the airport at that early hour. If your last stop is Rome, it'll be easier to get to the airport.
Lexma90 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 06:37 AM
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You could make a day trip to Bath from London -- it is about 2 hrs each way. But the other two on your list (Edinburgh Amsterdam) are a little to far out of the way.
capxxx is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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Welcome! Europe includes the area between Iceland and the Urals. Between then and now read 'tour services'. If you really want to see a lot of Europe this first trip buy a package. Summer venues in Europe are jammed with vacationers. How old are you? Sports? The opera? Professions? Night clubs or parks? History buffs? A business connection in Europe? One suggestion..a canal boat trip.
GSteed is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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I have to weigh in here. Please see my post from last year at I did London, Paris, Geneva, Venice, and Rome, in 12 days with my 74 year old, arthritic mother! Oh yeah, I also had a broken arm! Yes, I would have loved to have had more time but wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Seeing the Eiffel tower lit up at night was worth the price of the plane ticket. We traveled to each place by train and enjoyed the scenery and found this was an excellent time to rest.

To see the most in the shortest amount of time, do the hop-on, hop-off tour buses in each city. You can get off wherever you wish, spend as much time as you want, and simply hop on the next bus to the next destination.

I planned hotels carefully so they were closest to the train stations (most were within walking distance).

Yes, it's agressive and tiring. But well worth it.

One thing that can't be stressed enough and you will hear over and over--PACK LIGHT!

My favorite was Venice and I am planning to go back and spend more time there. But everyone has their favorites depending on what they enjoy doing and seeing.

Your hotel budget is reasonable. We stayed in decent hotels for approximately $200 a night overall (and that was for 3 people). In Rome we stayed at Hotel Domus Praetoria near the train station. The brothers/proprietors were friendly, helpful, and spoke perfect English. In Paris, we stayed at Hotel Muguet. Catherine, the owner, had a bit of an attitude but it was a decent place to stay and near the Eiffel Tower. I would have to find my notes to give you the other hotels.

Make sure you allow plenty of time to get to the train stations and orient yourself with how the process works and know that there will be a bit of a language barrier. Overall, it didn't represent as big a problem as I thought it would. None of us speak any foreign language and we got by. So many people there speak English but it still can be a bit hard to understand.

So, if you want to visit London, Paris, Rome, and Venice in 2 weeks, the answer is "yes" it can certainly be done. This was our original itinerary and I just added Geneva for one night to break up the long trip between Paris and Venice.

I would agree with the others that you want to fly open-jaw. We flew into London and out of Rome with Paris, Geneva, and Venice by train. I found the flight to be quite a bit cheaper out of Rome as compared to Venice. The times were also more desirable as Venice flights leave early morning and most have two layovers back to U.S.

Whatever you decide, you will absolutely love it!

dherron is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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Hey. Thanks again for the great advice. I am looking in to re-ordering the trip. Would we then fly from Paris to Venice, then train Venice to Rome then fly back to the US? I have found some good hotels (please comment if you know about these)

London: Thistle Caring Cross or Grand at Trafalgar Square
Paris: Lenox Montparnasse hotel or Jardin De L Odeon
Rome: Capo D Africa or Cicerone Hotel
Venice: Locanda Orseolo or Violono Doro

We are trying to go late May/early June but don't want to run into the bank holiday so perhaps the first 2 weeks of June (too busy?). I have heard the advice about EuroDisney, but we are big Disney fans and went to Disney World for our honeymoon- it is really not worth it? We are going to see the big, touristy sites... just to get the big picture idea of each city. I really do appreciate all of you help!
scosner is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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I have stayed in the Cicerone in Rome. It's a modern hotel within walking distance of St. Peter's, across the beautiful Angel Bridge.

In the other direction, there is a nice square with restaurants and ATMs.
carolyn is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Hi Scosner

I believe the Jardin de l'Odeon in Paris has very good early booking rates. It is fine, and I think if it is within your budget, you ought to grab it. Nice location.

Of course, Locanda Orseolo is a favorite of Fodorites. I think you would probably love it .

I am not familiar with the London hotels, but think I might prefer the location of the latter, but that would also depend on the quality of the hotel. Tough call.

Ditto Rome. I know where the Capo d'Africa is and if your interests are mainly in Ancient Rome, that's probably good for you. People seem to like that hotel. I don't know the Cicerone.

I don't know your age, but when I was about 35 I made my first fast moving trip to Europe and really loved it. I am now much older and slower, and have been several times, so I stay in one place and travel about less. But for your first trip I think you will have a ball.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 02:59 PM
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" . . I might prefer the location of the latter, . . "

Not quite sure what tuscanlifeedit means about the locations of the two London hotels. They are practically next door neighbors so no difference in one way or the other.

Have not stayed in either since I normally rent flats when staying in central London. But both are in about the most central location imaginable.

I've been in public rooms at the Thistle several times but The Grand is brand new so haven't seen it. If it were me - I'd just take the one that had the best rates.
janisj is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Scosner, regarding your itinerary: yes, fly into London, take the Eurostar train to Paris (get your tickets early), fly from Paris to Venice, take the train to Rome, and fly home from there. That would be the best use of your 2 weeks. And no backtracking.

Allow time in London to recover from jetlag. With your time limits, I wouldn't leave London.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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Thank you all so much for the hotel help. My husband and I are both 26 (27 by the time of the trip) and are very excited! Once we both get confirmed time off of work, we will start booking... probably in February. Any more advise is completely welcome. Thanks for being so helpful!
scosner is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Hello. I am trying to figure out summer plans and was wondering if any of these dates are better to travel...
- last 2 weeks in May
- first 2 weeks in June
- last 2 weeks in June
We are plannnig on avoiding travel on Memorial day and the bank holiday in London. Any thoughts... as to when things would be less crowded and (importantly) cheaper? Thanks
scosner is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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The Bank holiday is not a big issue in London. Some tourist attractions like the Tower of London may be more crowded. But more locals leave London over the holiday weekend than come in to the city.

Bank holidays ARE a big issue in places like the Cotswolds, Lake District and Cornwall that get really crowded. But in London there won't be much difference which of those week you are there.
janisj is online now  

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