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Please, please help us plan our trip to Europe!

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Mar 8th, 2015, 12:52 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2015
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Please, please help us plan our trip to Europe!

Hello! Forgive me if this post is long, I want to give you all the extra details you might need. Any help or opinions at all will be very helpful. Even if the opinion is to not even go to any of the destinations (mainly Czech Republic) that we were thinking of; our ears are open to anything!

SHORT SUMMED INTO ONE QUESTION: We are going to the Czech Republic for sure but want to add additional cities to our itinerary that are cheap to fly into and get from there to the cities in Czech Republic. We also want them to be a lovely experience that is varied from that of Prague and Cesky Krumlov. Some cities we were looking at; Munich, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Milan, Venice, Dublin, but we would love any other suggestions! Our largest unnecessary cost is getting to Europe from the US. We are going end of June. We are young and want to try and minimize our budget as much as possible.

DETAILED: My boyfriend and I are planning our first trip together to Europe. I am 22 he is 23. We will probably not get another chance to travel out of the US together for a few years. I have already visited Vienna, Paris and Spain (multiple cities). It will be his first time to Europe. We will be leaving from Columbus Ohio (but can leave from another drivable airport if it is cheaper). We want to leave around June 24th (slightly flexible).

We want to try and stretch out our budget to last between two weeks or more if possible (so far with my first plan, it's around 12 days which is not bad).

Flying out of the US to Europe is very expensive. We have noticed that buying a one way ticket is more expensive than a two way, we think this means we can't fly into one city and fly out of a different one which is what we wanted at first.

I want to try and keep the budget under 6000 dollars (but if needed this can go up to $6500 maybe). So far this the trip I tried to plan is around $6206 which is higher than what I was hoping. This is considering everything from flight to entertainment and misc purchases (eg souvenirs). It looks like our plane tickets alone will be $3400 with additional transport in-between locations around $690.

Our original plan was to Fly in Amsterdam, stay there for 3 nights, fly to Prague, stay there for 4 nights, with one day-trip to Kutna Hora, take a bus to Cesky Krumlov, stay there for three nights, and somehow get to Munich, stay there for three nights and then fly back to Amsterdam where we will fly back to the US. We are going to use AirBnb for Munich and Amsterdam and stay in cute cheap hotels or bed and breakfasts in Cesky Krumlov and Prague.

How would you change the trip if you could? Do you have any suggestions on booking cheaper tickets (websites, destinations, days etc)? We definitely want to go the destinations in the Czech Republic but are willing to change our itinerary if that would cut the cost in tickets and transport/travel, especially if it were a city that would still give us a lovely experience and od varied from our destination in the Czech Republic.

The cities are we are thinking of (listed in the summed up question) tend to have cheap tickets from the US and hopefully are easy/convenient to get to either Prague or Cesky Krumlov. I haven't been to any of them (except Vienna) so which do you think are the nicest, most travel friendly, most valuable, enjoyable and different from our experience in the Czech Republic?

Thank you so much!
Artepthefair is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2015, 12:56 PM
  #2
 
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Do not price your tickets as two one-way tickets. Instead, use the multi-city (or multiple destination) option and you will see better prices for airfare.
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Mar 8th, 2015, 01:39 PM
  #3
 
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Yes, the first thing to do is to find an open-jaw ticket as per ellen's instructions.

Next, flights aren't always the most economical way to get from point A to point B. Also look at trains. Trains often go from city center to city center, cutting out expensive airport transfers (as airports are usually outside cities).

Overall, your plan looks pretty good. You haven't made the novice's error of trying to cover way too much. Your itinerary moves fast, but that may be what you want. Personally, I'd cut one destination so I'd have more time in the places I really wanted to see. But it is your trip.

If you can fly into Amsterdam and out of Prague, that would be ideal. You would save time. When you compare prices, remember that even if the flight out of Prague is a bit more expensive than a flight out of Amsterdam, you won't have the expense of returning to Amsterdam from Prague.

Happy planning!
Kathie is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2015, 01:55 PM
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Why are you flying from Columbus? Does Cincy or Cleveland have better flight coverage? Cleveland was a Continental hub but it seems United closed that; Cincy was a Delta hub.

You may find that even with parking expenses (vs. cabs to and from Columbus airport), flying out of one of the others is less expensive.
BigRuss is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2015, 02:01 PM
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Check flight options at:
www.matrixitasoftware.com
for different cities, dates and if allowing more than one stop.
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Mar 8th, 2015, 02:04 PM
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Actually,
matrix.itasoftware.com
is more direct
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Mar 8th, 2015, 11:24 PM
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Hi thefair-

There are good rail connections between Berlin and Prague and good bus & rail connections between Prague and Munich. If you could fly into Berlin and return from Munich (or vice versa)you would save the time and expense of getting from Amsterdam to Prague and back. And IMO Berlin has more to do & is more interesting than Amsterdam-unless you are into smoking funny cigarettes. But that's just me....

Or you could fly into Munich and do Munich/Salzburg/Prague and return out of Prague (or return to Munich to fly back to Ohio if it is significantly cheaper). This could also be reversed to Prague/Munich/Salzburg/Munich if it works out better.

Either of these options would cut the "additional transport costs" at least in half. And IME Amsterdam is more expensive than any of these other cities.

One other comment, it appears as if connections thru London on British Air have some kind of "extra" tax (security, government, or fuel surcharge) compared to flying directly between the US and Germany.

Have a great trip!!!

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Mar 27th, 2015, 06:12 PM
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It kind of sounds like you are first timers. When you think about a trip to Europe consider that London, Paris and Rome are the big three because they have the most to offer. From there you can rank the various cities in a number of ways. The most important thing is "where do YOU want to go?"

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in Europe. What did you imagine? Were you on the ramparts of a German castle or strolling through the Roman Forum? What did your travel partner imagine? Follow your dream. If you plan on flying between cities, it takes up some of your travel time but you don't have to think in straight lines. You can couple far-apart cities.

This doesn't have to be your one and only trip to Europe in your lifetime. You can always go to the places you missed later. Even if you don't use the website for your purchase you might look at EuropeanDestinations.com. You can put in all your cities and get a price for air and hotel costs. The dreaming and planning are the fun parts to me. Enjoy!
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Mar 27th, 2015, 09:09 PM
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Airfare:
End of June is peak travel season and cost reflects that. If you are not teachers or students, is there any possible way you can go after mid-September and look at some of the charter airlines like XLFrance, who's fares dropped a lot in past years?

I don't know why we use the term open-jaw. It may confuse you. The corrr
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Mar 27th, 2015, 09:41 PM
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Sorry - posted too soon.
As Ellenem used it, multi-city is correct. With some of the charters, though, destinations are very limited, so you may have to be flexible to take advantage of them.

Places:
Choosing a base with cheap, easy day trips saves money if you can find an apartment. Cities like Paris and Barcelona (there are many others) work great for that.

Choosing a small geographic area with lots of sights fairly close together makes it easier and cheaper to move around and see a lot. Southern Germany, Northern Italy and Southern Spain (also, many others, but these come to mind) are good examples of that.

You could split your time, four or five days in a city base and the rest in one geographic area.
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Mar 27th, 2015, 09:49 PM
  #11
 
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All this good advice is likely falling on deaf ears - The OP has never returned.
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