Touring Europe

Sep 15th, 2007, 04:35 PM
  #1  
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Touring Europe

My family and I are considering visiting Europe next summer. We would like to visit London, England, Rome, Italy, Venis and Paris, France. Does anyone know the best way to do this? Should we plan ourselves, use a travel agent or a tour group? Any ideas?
DukeDogParent is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 04:54 PM
  #2  
 
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Whether you use a travel agent, join a tour group, or do this independently with the help of the people on the board, it's impossible to help you at this stage because you haven't given us any information except that you want to go to Europe.

How much time do you have?

What's your budget?

How many people...what ages?

What are your interests?

What inspired you to take a trip to Europe?

There are dozens of people here who know "the best way to do this," but not without a LOT more input from you.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Your question is like "We want to visit NYC, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco - how should we do it"

Just not answerable w/o knowing more about you/your likes/how much time you have etc.

Answer some of the questions StCirq asked and we can help more.
janisj is online now  
Sep 15th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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I am also planning a trip for June, 08 for my son, 15 and myself (mom). We will spend some time in Germany visiting relatives. Then, we have 2 weeks to see France and Italy. We both like to bicycle. We don't want to spend a lot of money and are even willing to stay in hostels and will like just pack a backpack. Expensive restaurants and shops aren't for us. We don't want to spend the whole time in the cities. I think he will quickly tire of churches and museums, especially if long lines are involved. He's a cellist, loves music, so we may go to Vienna, too. Any tips?
vera55 is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 06:07 PM
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Welcome, DukeDogParent. Great that you & your family are going to Europe. It will be easier & cheaper since you are planning well in advance.

"Does anyone know the best way to do this?" Basically this will just get you our opinions & most on this board are do-it-yourselfers. I think possibly what you are looking for is ideas of the pros & cons of tour versus independent - maybe? Don't know if this will help, but here is how I see the differences:

Guided Tours -
1. Great for those who want someone else to do the work - planning, driving, hotels, guides, baggage handling, to the door service, etc. It's so nice & easy!

2. Your bus mates - ours have all been wonderful; some we still visit. Some folks report bus mates from h**l!

3. Can all of you take bus time? Bored, trouble sitting for long periods of time, etc. Usually children do not like bus tours.

4. Can you accept no control on the hotels, food, & amount of time alloted for each site? Some hotels are not centrally located or as plush as you may like. Some of the included food is not the greatest. Some tours "rush" through sites or don't stop at all.

Planning the trip yourself -
1. Do you have the endless hours for reading travel guides & internet surfing? Will you family accept that your attention is directed elsewhere during the many weeks of researching?

2. Can you or someone in your family organize & plan well?

3. Will the others in the group politely accept the trip as planned by the "planner", who did a lot of work? Or will there be grumbling - that wasn't interesting; that took too long; hotel/food was lousy, etc.!

Travel Agent - This is an inbetween of the other two. Someone else does the work with your input & decision making. But you will probably pay more & sometimes a lot more than if you had made your own arrangements via the internet. Also, some travel agents are not good at their jobs. Once you arrive, you pay for their mistakes.

Personally, if I did not care about how much I would spend, I would do one of the following:

1. Take a Tauck tour with independent add-on days, OR
2. Have a travel agent do all of the work, BUT I would still research & make sure my trip was what I wanted & verify that all arrangements were thoroughly completed. Still some work, but not as much.

However, even though I can afford the 2 choices above, I would never spend money that I knew I could save if I just did it myself! But that is just me!

IMO, your family needs to decide which type of trip they want.

Good luck & enjoy, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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vera55, welcome to you too. I'm sure that you realize you cannot do France, Italy, & Vienna in 2 weeks, unless you do a guided tour. And of course, even those would be just be a whirlwind of each place.

So, maybe are you looking for suggestions of biking areas in France & Italy with some non-biking usual tourists local sites? If so, I would suggest starting another thread with the title something like, "Biking in France & Italy". Also, you should try "biking" in the search bar for Europe. Also, a google on "biking in Europe" would be a good idea. I know there are biking tours from hours to days/weeks.

Then your decision on tourist sites can be connected to your biking decisions. Same with "music in Vienna".

Good luck, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 02:52 AM
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Vera55

Biking depends on weight of laded bike and fitness of all in party. I no longer try to wizz up the alps and instead follow rivers or circle lakes. There are loads available and advice can be found on the web by googling the area or by buying a guide book for that river (there is a danish company which has done most of the main ones). In France my favorites are

Bordeaux (2 rivers), The Loire, the Loir and the Moselle. Of these the Loir is the most secret and you probably get more involved with the vrais francais
bilboburgler is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 02:54 AM
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Dukedogparent

A bit like the other guys I need some help here, a big place with an unknown amount of time and interest...
bilboburgler is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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DukeDogParent,

One of the internet's biggest impacts is on tourism and travel. The internet now allows the small, centrally located hotels to effectively compete against the likes of Marriott. So the internet gives you an option to using a set tour or a travel agent.

For a four city tour like you have listed, you should have a minimum of thirteen days. Any more days that you can add would be fantastic.

Those of us that frequent this website think that self-planning and independent travel is somehow better.
For you, the next step is probably budget. From the east coast, summer air-fare tends to run $1,000 per person. Hotels will have a wide range of prices. With work 'acceptable' rooms can be found for $125 per night. In the cities that you list, it is easy to splurge and spend $250 per room per night.

Good luck
Big_Red is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 11:14 AM
  #10  
 
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It depends if you like, and feel confident, to plan your own trip... or you would prefer to go on an organized tour, or use a travel agent to makes the arrangements for you. There's no one right answer.

How long's the trip? Hopefully at least two weeks if you want to see London, Paris, Venice, and Rome?
suze is offline  

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