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Rome, Paris? Complex logistics, help please?

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Feb 3rd, 2013, 01:34 AM
  #1
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Rome, Paris? Complex logistics, help please?

Hi everyone,

First off, sorry if this is really confusing. I have been confusing myself for the past few hours trying to figure it out and hoped maybe someone here could lend some advice...

I am planning my first solo trip to Europe, for about 3 months starting in June. Before I can settle on an itinerary however, I have to figure out a complex logistical problem...

I would like to buy a 4-country Eurail select pass to get around Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and "Benelux" (Belgium and Netherlands really). I qualify for the Youth pass (saving about $200), but only if I use the pass at least ONCE within the first 5 days of my journey because after that I will be over 25.

Flights to Europe from Canada for me will be significantly cheapest ($200-300 less) if I fly into Paris or Rome. Neither of those cities will be part of my pass, however (I have read numerous times that the Eurail pass is not cost effective in Italy so I have left it off)

The final thing complicating my plan is I am really hoping to spend 3 weeks of June in Italy to try to beat the summer heat wave as much as I can.

So, I am wondering what would be the most efficient way for me to validate my pass within 5 days of arriving in Paris or Rome?

Some ides:
Paris --> Belgium --> fly to Rome as the start of my Italy leg
Rome --> Austria --> train or fly to Verona/Venice as the start of my Italy leg

Or, do I bite the bullet and roam Italy in the peak heat and tourist season of July?
Or, do you think it's too much of a hassle and I should just spend the extra $200 and get the pass later to use in July and August?
Or, should I spend ~$200 more and fly into Vienna instead?
Or maybe the Eurail pass isn't worth it for travelling 1 month between Brugges, Gent, Amsterdam, a city in Germany, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague...

Sorry for the headache!
kiesa is offline  
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 01:49 AM
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My suggestion is that you create the best trip you want to take and make up the $200 some other way. For a 3-month trip, that won't be difficult at all. You might really be unhappy if you delay your arrival to Italy and end up suffering a brutal heat wave. No guarantees you won't feel some heat in June -- but then you won't be blaming yourself!

Do some extra research to find out simple ways to economize that don't cut into why you are traveling in Europe in the first place. Free nights at the museums, free concerts, a couple of picnics and carrying your own plastic bottle for water fill ups (get a map of the drinkable fountains in Rome) will quickly make up that $200.
goldenautumn is offline  
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 01:54 AM
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 03:49 AM
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sorry, kiesa, i don't really follow what the problem is.

if you want the under 25 pass, you need to fly into somewhere where you can use it in the first 5 days of your trip and this would save you $200. this rules out Paris and Rome.

OTOH if you fly into Rome, you can do the first part of the trip in italy before it gets too hot, AND you save at least $200, perhaps more on the price of the flight.

so if you do that, there isn't actually $200 to make up during the trip as you've already saved at least as much by flying into Rome.

for whether the rail pass will be worthwhile, you could look at a website like www.seat61.com.

good luck!
annhig is online now  
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 11:22 AM
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Much appreciated answers! I think you're right, golden, that by spending the first month in Italy, I can make up for the difference elsewhere. Thanks for the map! I'll let you know what I work out in the end!
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 12:14 PM
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If you're going to europe for 3 months, while it's nice to save $200 that's such a small part of your cost that it really won;t make any difference.

I would get the best flights and start in the south to get through Italy before the weather and number of tourists is at it's worst.
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 12:44 PM
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How much does the Eurail pass cost? (both the under and over 25 versions). Do some research and see if you even really want it in the first place. Sometimes it can be tricky but there are ways to get discounted prices. For example in Italy there are promo fares. Several times last summer, without even knowing if one existed, I just kept pressing buttons on the ticket kisosk and ended up saving €20. Other times that didn't work, but often enough it does. If you know in advance which day you are doing the longer journeys you can usually get lower fares by purchasing up to 90 days ahead of time. Then are things like discounted fares I ran into in Belgium, but you had to buy them three days ahead. Most of this stuff I just found on the websites for the specific train line when I was researching schedules.

But bottom line, if you prefer to start in Italy, and the plane tickets are $200 less anyway, then there is no sense trying to start somewhere else. You'd just be eating up the difference. On the other hand, I have often found fares into AMS to be even cheaper than to Rome so check that out.
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