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Please help - first European trip, round 2

Please help - first European trip, round 2

Old Jan 29th, 2005, 02:13 AM
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Please help - first European trip, round 2

Hello again! We've decided on four cities. We plan to fly into London for 4 days, take a train to Paris for 4 days, fly to Rome for 3 days, rail to Venice for 3 days and then fly back home open jaw. We'd like the trip to be centered around mid-June. Now, for the second round of questions.

1)Should we use Expedia or Travelocity to book our flights?

2)Do we check prices daily, twice a day, every hour?

3)What is considered a fair price to lock in at?

4)Are direct flights worth the cost?

5)Does it matter what day of the week that we depart as far as price is concerned?

6)Would it be better to start our trip in Italy and work our way back to London?

7)Should we book our PAR-ROM flight at the same time that we book our transatlantic flight?

8)We would like to stay at centrally located hotels for about $100/night, any suggestions?

Thanks Again!

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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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1. to get the best prices on flights you need to look everywhere - all the major web sites - include orbitz etc and the airline sites themseles as well.
2. When doing this I check the prices at least once a day.
3.No one really knows - it won;t be $400 and it shouldn;t be $1500. Where are you coming from - that will affect it significantly.
4. Direct and non-stop are different. there are many flights that stop but are still direct (no change of plane). For europe I do non-stop unless I have no other choice - but out of NYC that is easy. If direct is worth the extra money is up to you - but given the choice I would always do direct unless the savings is huge ($500 or more) - but then I suspect my disposable income is a lot higher than yours - and my patience a lot less.
5.Yes - day of week matters a lot. Midweek is least expensive (and you are most likely to get deals then); usually Fri and Sat are the most expensive days eastbound: Sat and Sun westbound.
6.No - for a first trip I would start in London - to get your toe in the water in an english-speaking counry and reduce culture shock.
7. You will want to do that flight on a budget airline - so it will not be on the same ticket - so no need to book at the same time. Wait for the best deal.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 04:34 AM
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In reviewing all your questions below.

1- why not try calling an airline? I have found that the airlines are cheaper than those sites.
2- I know on Wed the prices change for all airlines.
3- I would price it out and see where it is coming in at. June starts to get to be the higher rates since it is the summer.
4- I personally feel that direct flights are worth it. It just depends on where you are flying from. Why waste time in an airport if you can help it.
5- Yes the day of the week you usually depart can change the airfare. Usually leaving Mon-Thurs is better. I just found an airfare to Paris leaving Fri and coming back Tues from Chgo for $312. That is an awesome price
6-You have to figure that out yourself. I spent over an hour on the phone with the airlines trying to book my flight to Barcelona to see what the best way was.
7-You can do whatever you think is best
8- With the pound being where its at might be hard. We stayed at the Radisson Eduardian Vanderbilt hotel in London. In Paris I have stayed at the Emeraude Louvre Montana in the 1st Arr. but the price they just quoted me for Feb is $129 euros.

Overall there are many sites you can look. I think you really need to start looking on sites for hotels or ask a travel agent for help.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 04:51 AM
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Congrats! The trip sounds fabulous

On the q's: 1) Both travel web consolidators have a good reputation. However, I have found that if you have to do changes to the itinerary, dealing directly with the airline is much, much easier (not easy; easier). Try to find a flight and price and see if the airline website can match it and buy from the airline directly. 2) If you are going Mid-June, you may find that airlines issue good deals on Feb/March. Rule of Thumb: check as often as you can (but remember to have a live ). 3) the only way to give you a fair answer on reasonable price is to know where are you departing from. Northeast? Out west? Hawaii? If from the northeast, I would consider anything in the $700-800 range a good deal for an open jaw in Mid-June. 5) If you depart Mon-Thur the ticket price is cheaper by at least $50. 6) I would actually start the trip at the westernmost destination and travel your way back east from there; Venice-Rome (train in between), fly to Paris, train to London. I would prefer to deal with a London airport when at the end of this trip. 8) There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of centrally located hotels already suggested on this site. Research and see what grabs your attention. Post again once you have narrowed down to a List of Potential Hotels.

Check cheaptickets.com as well. I have dealt with them twice and their service is flawless; i.e. I had to cancel a trip to Rome once due to a death in the family and all it took was one call, I got a whole refund and a sympathy card. That small detail put them at the top of the top.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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I would start in London. It's a shorter flight and the time difference is less than in Rome, so it is easier to adjust at the beginning of the trip.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Always fly direct. We flew into London last summer but London is very expensive. Check the British Airways site for $129 rate near the airport, or consider hostels in town along the Tube route. In Italy and France I would not book a hotel in advance, instead be adventurous, arrive and go directly to the state run travel bureau, very helpful finding rooms at your price. We travelled in the north basing out of Bolzano, Trent Verona and Padova. We did have a car though. Cheaper and nice climate. Book directly with the airlines for same or better price. Within Eurpoe you can find great rates on Ryan Air or other discount carriers, they are reliable, but watch the luggage restrictions very carefully. Must travel very light or you pay big bucks. I learned hard way. Enjoy
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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One point in our experience is to book thru the airline you are flying on. When a connecting flt to Paris from Rome was late, those who had booked directly on Air France, as we had, went out on the next flt back to the US. Others who had booked on Expedia had to wait till the next day.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 08:55 AM
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A lot of people successfully use Priceline for London hotels

For cheap flights, also check:


I used Let's Go for hotel suggestions back in 2002 when I went to Europe after finishing grad school. The hotels were cheap and usually centrally located. Definitely NOT luxurious. Clean and safe though.
We used Rick Steve's and Karen Brown for hotel suggestions for our trip last summer and we loved every hotel in which we stayed. There are some Rick Steves recs for under $100 a night in his travel books. Karen Brown's recs tend to be a bit higher than this.

Have fun trip planning!
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Hi sean,

Good advice above.

I have had good luck with this site for booking open-jaw flights.


For your Paris/Rome flight check out www.whichbudget.com

$100/nite is only 55GBP and 77E. That is very low for a dbl.

See what you can find on www.venere.com.

Start looking for tickets now. I think that you will find the fprices coming down in late Feb/early March.

ira is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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Hi Ira, isn't $100.00US more like $130.00 Euro?
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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I wish.
Carmen is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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I like www.mobissimo.com for flights because it checks several airfare websites at the same time. Priceline for London hotels is definitely a good idea, you can get better quality accomodation for a lower price. Check out biddingfortravel.com. I think if you manage to fly back before Jun 14 you'll get a lower price as after that date the high summer airfares really kick in.
Personally I think it's too much hassle to get to the airport and fly in the middle of vacation. How about taking a train from Paris to Venice, seeing some Swiss scenery in the process and ultimately flying back from Rome?
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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Your order of cities and number of days sounds perfect to me!

I research on Expedia, etc. but then book my flight with the airline directly.

I always try for nonstop flights (direct is not the same, as mentioned above, and could involve landing/takeoff at in-between airports, read the fine print of proposed flight and connections). I am also picky about layover times. I don't want to be stressed out running thru an airport on a 1 hour connection OR stuck at Heathrow for 6 hours (for example).

I research hotels on this BB, guidebooks, travel magazines, and their own websites then reserve directly with the hotel front desk by phone, fax, or email.

I can't vouch that my method is the absolutely cheapest possible, but I think it give me the most control, and allows me to control the quality of the flights and hotels much more closely.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Hi LoveItaly,
>..isn't $100.00US more like $130.00 Euro?<

Unfortunately, no.

130 USD = 100E

ira is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 02:00 PM
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Sean -

that budget really isn;t ompatible with pleasant hotels in the center of major cities. You may want to look into hostels and pensions/B&Bs - and be prepared to travel in from outer areas.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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Sean, just a thought or two.

If you had a European friend coming to the USA for 14 days, would you try to squeeze in four different parts of the country, or perhaps narrow it down a bit?

While London, Paris, Rome and Venice are wondereful places, you'll be doing a lot of fairly long distance travelling, and spending a lot of money on trains or in-Europe airplanes.

If, for instance, you skipped Rome and saved some transportation money, you would have more in your budget to cover nicer places or fancier meals or more admissions to interesting places in the other three cities.

On my first European trip, we tried to do too much, but at least realized at one point that we should stay put. We were to London, fly to Zurich, drive to Geneva and then Nice, drive to Monaco, and this is when we realized that driving over to Spain was too much, and dumb. So we stayed in Monaco for a few extra days. If we had the chance to do that trip again, we wouldn't.

We did not do enough research on things we would be interested in at the various places, so when we got home we learned about things we missed that were, literally in one case, just down the hall.

It's hard to find flights from Venice to the USA. Have you got this under control? It seems so, from your message.

If you skip Rome, you might fly to London, fly to Venice, train to Paris, fly to USA.

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