Where to Begin?

Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:43 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 997
" I was thinking London, Paris, Rome-3 nights each"

This requires 3 flights plus one train trip

PHPhoenix) to LHR(London)
London to Paris (train)
CDG(Paris) to FCO(Rome)
FCO to PHX

When I searched on Orbitz I came up with $1245 using multiple destinations for 3 flights, multi airlines ( Delta, Alitalia, Air France, AA)

London to Paris (train) est. $100

3 nights will give you 2 1/2 days of touring. You will be able to have the following experience:

LONDON
Big red bus tour*
Tower of London***
British Museum***
Westminister*** Abbey,Tower Bridge,
St Pauls Cathedral**
Choose from
Buckingham Palace*
Trafalgar Square**
Piccadilly**
Tower Hill Pageant*
Hyde Park*
Harrods*
Pubs, Fish and Chips, English breakfasts

PARIS
Historic Paris walk-Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame***, Latin Quarter*, Sainte-Chapelle***

Louvre***
Eiffel Tower***
Champs-Elysees**walk-from Arc de Triumph*** to Tuileries Gardens
Orsay Museum***
Army Museum and Napoleon's Tomb**
Cruise the River Seine*

Choose from or substitute
Rodin Museum**
Pompidou Center**Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre**
Paris Sewer*
Continental breakfasts, caffes,French food-sauces, presentation

ROME
Night across Rome walk-Campo de Fiori,Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain,Spanish Steps

Colosseum***,Arch of Constantine*

Roman Form***, St Peter-in-Chains Church*,Nero's Golden House, Palatine Hill, Mammertine Prison, Trajan's Column

Capital Hill/Museum**, Piazza Venezia, Victor Emmanuel Monument

Pantheon***
Spanish Steps*
St Peters Basilica*** Pieta***
Vatican Museum*** Sistine Chapel***
Churches*, Churches*, Churches*

Perhaps
Borghese Gallery***
National Museum***
Cappuccin Crypt*
Appian Way/ Catacombs**
Bathes of Caracalla
Continental breakfasts, pasta, pizza,cappuccino, gelato

What to budget(per person):
Airfare Getting there- $1245 includes 1 inter city flight
Train London to Paris-$100

Surface Transportation
LHR to London(bus)-$30
Paris to CDG(taxi)-$20 (sharing with 5 persons)
FCO to Rome (round trip)-$30

Intra city trasportation(buses, subways, taxis)-$10/day

Room (sharing with 1-2 persons)-$80/day/person

Food per person per day-Breakfast-$15(eat out or add to room cost), $20 lunch, $40 Dinner, $10 drink or ice cream during the day

Sight seeing and entertainment- Major sites $10-$15, minor sites $5-$10
Splurge experiences, concerts, broadway type shows $30-$50
Daily average $30.

If you decide on 2 cities you will save $100 on airfare/train fare

If you add a day in any city you can add a day trip such as:
London- Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Coventry Cathedral
Paris-Versailles
Rome-Naples/Pompeii
There will be additional costs.

You can add it up or modify per your specific itinerary and knowledge of your family.
dugi_otok is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:03 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 997
An excellent licensed guide will cost you 160 to 180 euros per half day, 270-350 euros per day. You get what you pay for.
dugi_otok is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 05:16 PM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 9,171
We just did three nights in Paris, four in Normandy doing the D-Day beaches and then three nights in the UK. We did the Battle of the Bulge on a previous trip. My Dad was in from North Africa to Anzio to the Battle of the Bulge. He spent time in Paris and Rome. I love Bavaria and you can do the train from Paris to Munich. If you do a night train it saves on a hotel and they have sleeping rooms that are reasonable. The cost in the Uk was much more. We stayed our last night at the Hilton Gatwick and took the train into London. Much cheaper. We love buying fresh fruit, cheese, bread etc and eating in. Lunch is best deal and we would have a light dinner in our apartment when we had an apartment. In the UK we had to eat out as we never even had a frig. I love using public transportation, We did rent a car for Normandy. Prices there were very reasonable compared to Paris.
flpab is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 07:32 PM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,584
flpab: my father was also in the battle of North Africa and landed at Anzio. But the rest of his war was spent in Italy.

Liljill8: you have plenty of information to get you started here.

I would check USAirways out of Phoenix if I were you. We find that they often have the best prices to Europe. If you do decide to go with them, which I mostly suggest because you are in Phoenix, we prefer to use their Charlotte hub rather than Philadelphia, although we use both regularly.

Once you get your air, post back with specific apartment/hotel needs, with separate postings for London and Paris. You will get good information here, and there is a fabulous thread for Paris apartments.

Then, we can help you with itineraries.

Good luck!
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:32 PM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 187
London / Paris it is!!!
Osman is probably great, but I think your budget is pretty tight and that money may be better used as emergency lunch money in case folks get hungry mid-day.
Once you have your air and rooms booked you'll know how much you have to play with for the rest.
Phread is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:48 PM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 997
We took our three children, plus one spouse and one fiancee, to Paris for a week in 2006, and it was our "trip of a lifetime". They were in their late 20s, and we still talk about it all the time. We rented an apartment, and It was wonderful to be able to go out for pastries in the morning and visit in the evening in a big living room. Everyone could go their own way - museums, shopping, whatever - and we were together for most meals and some day trips. Paris has so much to offer within a small area (considering how good the Metro is). We were lucky enough to have Michael Osman for one full day, and he was great!

I agree with others, London and Paris would be amazing. You'll have time to relax and enjoy both cities, with only a train ride between them.

Our rental was a three bedroom apartment on the gardens of the Palais Royal from www.parisvacationapartments.com. You usually have to rent for a week, but I do see a four night availability from October 10-13 ("St Germain Luxury two bedroom"), just in case those dates and budget work for you. It says it sleeps 4-6, so I'm guessing that the sofa opens into a bed. I cannot recommend the company highly enough, and this location is pretty amazing (Metro: St Sulpice).

I'm sure there are other apartments available, just echoing the advice of the others. Have a wonderful time! You're giving all of you a precious gift.
Iwan2go is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 03:29 AM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,869
As for my recommendation of Michael, and there are many others here who also recommend him, he DEFINITELY delivers more than "what you pay for", and it is not close to the amount that the other person suggested, just as an FYI. I don't post his cost, because it is up to him to inform clients. Friends are using him later this month. He is much in demand so if you are going to contact him, do so as soon as your plans are made.
As for "saving that money for lunch money", if you want to optimize your comparatively short time in Paris, it's a GREAT investment to learn a LOT about Paris in a short time.
BUT everyone can make their own decision on that.
As someone else suggested, come back when you have your plans and get ideas for hotels--and meals.
consider a picnic on the Champ de Mars with the Eiffel Tower to view!!
Gretchen is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 08:56 AM
  #48  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 997
If you're leaving on October 5, you'll arrive at your destination on Saturday, Oct. 6. Say you decide on London-Paris: Oct 6-7-8-9 in London, depart am of Oct 10th on the train to Paris. Then Paris Oct 10-11-12-13, departing the morning of Oct 14th.

Is this correct? If so, you actually have eight full days plus one half day in London, and the morning in Paris; four nights in each city.

Total budget is $2300 pp = $11,500. If airfare is $1250 x 5 = $6250, and Eurostar is $60 pp = $300, you now have just under $5000 for hotels and breakfasts. Figure $15 pp for breakfast, that comes to $75/ day x 8 = $600. OK, so say $4400 for hotels.

Divided by 8 nights for a hotel, that means about $550 - 600 TOPS. Euro is now about 1.27, but figure 1.3, gives you 425 euros/night, or 215 Euros/room, if one is a triple.

That's why some of us are saying, try an apartment if you can. For example, the PVA apt. I sourced above is $500/ night ($3500/week), and you have a whole apartment - with a place to eat, wash clothes (comes w/a washer and dryer), and gather together.

Lots to think about. Good luck and happy planning!

PS If you DO decide to go w/PVA, ask Alex if you can rent one of their London apartments for less than a week, if you're interested in going that route.
Iwan2go is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 03:00 PM
  #49  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 24
I love this forum...you took me from "Where do I begin?" to we're going to London and Paris, we're staying in apartments and we are going to start each segment with a private tour guide.

I'm going to now look at prices of flying. My husband swears that it is better to go with a package deal from Expedia. I had originally thought of one of the vacation companies and he's is now thingking that those may be alternative. My goal now is to show him whey the apartment route is the way to go.

Thank you all!
Liljill8 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 03:42 PM
  #50  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,869
I have gone often to Europe and don't "want" to stay in an apartment. I was also one of the people who have taken adult children.
A hotel will let you have the services of the concierge. If your family is into "less than 16*--I do embellish), you can stay in an adequate hotel for less that X amount.
If your family is willing to stay in 2* or maybe some 3* hotels, you can really do well. If you can find an apartment for that price, go for it.
There are hotels in Paris--IBIS is one--that offer REALLY low cost, SMALL rooms, triple rooms. BUT you are sleeping there.
AND you still have the concierge. We did this on one trip and it worked out well.
Gretchen is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 04:54 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
If you do decide to choose two cities, considering the age of your kids, in my opinion London would definitely come first choice, then second Paris. They are the two cities with the closest distance, and I do totally agree with what many suggested that it might be best that you take train and then fly out from Paris. Alternatively you could low cost airlines.

I love London, its diversity, its chaos, even in rush hour lol, its museums (like the Science Museum and Madame Tusauds which I had to visit every time I went to London), the historical sites like Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, the lovely huge parks, especially Hyde Park speakers' corner on a Sunday afternoon, such a laugh lol, the pubs where you can also eat a hearty meal, even during the afternoon when I used to frequent with my cousins long time ago, and might specially interest your kids, who are grown ups really, a trip to Windsor Castle or Greenwich, the shows I so much love, the shopping spress in Oxford Street or Petticoat Lane - I could go on and on and on. My uncle and aunt lived in London, and when I was in my teens and twenties I used to visit at least once a year, it was home from home for me.

So, not wanting to be biased,I asked my elder son who is now 20 (we visited all three cities as a family) which was his favourite city, and without hesitation replied London (which we visited together as a family just once). He loved the museums, the chaos, the historical sites, everything. London meant fun for him. My husband managed to drive in central London, we had a hired car as we were previously touring the south-west of England, but it was really a nightmare driving in London - worst experience of all cities, so we parked the car in front of hotel and used the underground trains most of the time. And it was not easy at all as our daughter is disabled and having to use the underground with their escalators etc was no joke, but we managed.

I know what you mean by saying it might be the trip of a lifetime. When kids start getting older and older, you start dreading the time when they won't come on holiday any more with you as a family due to work or study commitments, girlfriends, etc. Till now my two sons, who this year will be 17 and 20 still come with us to every single holiday, along with our daughter, who is younger, but they do moan a bit sometimes, so I always researched to make it as much fun as possible for them, till just a couple of years ago I even made sure I included a few days at a funpark or themepark in nearly every single holiday. That always made them want to come.

About accomodation, we always needed to book two rooms, sometimes connecting or alternatively suites, but I always managed to find good accomodation at a very reasonable price, with some hotels or B&Bs giving us very good offers since we were booking two rooms or a suite. Go to the websites of the accomodation you are interested in and ask them if they would give you a special offer since you would be a family and would need 2 rooms. Even 4 star superior hotels sometimes gave us incredibly good deals. same price I would have paid for a B&B. You just have to search and make enquires directly to the owners, long and hard.

Alternatively, you can book an apartment or apartment hotel that has two bedrooms, we do that sometimes. If you are on a budget, you do not have to eat in high class restaurants, you can buy a light lunch or snack or fast food, and also a light dinner or take-out in the evening,or even buy some food and drink from grocery or supermarket, maybe that you just have to heat up if you stay in an apartment.

Don't just go in the first restaurant you pass by, have a look at their menu outside first. Good restaurants are not cheap at any of the three capital cities you have shortlisted, so maybe on some days you have a good meal, on other days fast food or take-outs, or some quickly prepared meal. Carrying some drinks and sandwiches with you every day would help your budget as well for sure.

So unless you are really bent on doing the 3 cities, I would stay 5 nights in London and 4 nights in Paris. But IF you really really have to include the three of them, and have a whirlwind holiday, then I would do 4 nights in London, 3 nights in Paris and 2 nights in Rome, making sure that you arrive in Rome at least early afternoon, so that you would have gained a bit more time (in this case rent accomodation in the very centre of Rome) You can take an open bus tour and see the major sites of Rome, walk around its beautiful historical centre, and maybe fit in a visit to the Vatican and Coliseum. You might consider taking a low cost airline to arrive in Rome, like Easy Jet or Ryan Air. But honestly, I really do not think it is worthwhile the money and the hassle amd the loss of time in including Rome in your itinerary, as these are large capital cities you are talking about, not some small towns and villages.


Needless to say, in Paris include a visit the Louvre, Notre Dame, a short river cruise on the Seine (there is even a hop on hop off ferry service that stops at some major sites - a very convenient way to reach them), Eiffel Tower, a walk along the Seine river, the Place de la Concorde,along Champs Elysee and Arce de Triomphe, and a visit to the beautiful palace in Versailles, and maybe the Lido show in Champs Elysee, if you go to the late night one, the cost for entrance to the nightclub is much cheaper. The only problem might be to return back to hotel or apartment in the night-time.

Enjoy your holiday with your family. Having a good time all together makes it doubly fun, at least it does for me (me and my husband did a few holidays before we had kids a long time ago lol) and I always tell my kids that, but probably in the not too distant future my only option in order to travel all together would be, like in your case, to bring along a girlfriend with us, lol.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 05:41 PM
  #52  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 943
If you select US when initially entering the Eurostar website you can generally book longer than that in advance
Maybe, but when I tried last week I couldn't book more than 90 days out.

I've never rented an apartment in London, but you could try one of the rental agencies to help you sort through the offerings (as opposed to a listing service). These two get good reviews:

Ivy Lettings: http://www.ivylettings.com/about-us (5 night minimum)
London Connection: http://www.londonconnection.com/main_menu.asp
walkabout is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 07:41 PM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 997
Oh my, Liljill, I know that I just blithely read your posts and took off at light speed... I know that, for my part, it is just so much fun to plan and re-live a vacation that it's hard not to share what worked for us.

Good luck! And I hope that your health improves. You have a great attitude about all of this, so you must handle your other challenges with good humor as well.
Iwan2go is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 03:42 AM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,523
Liljill,

I've travelled with grown up kids quite a lot, and i can tell you that we've enjoyed it a lot more when we've rented apartments. you just get much more space, and you can lounge about together much more easily plus you have the opportunity to eat in part of the time, which needn't mean cooking- just buy in made up dishes from the deli or traiteur.

some of the apartment rental companies have their own concierge facilities, but there's plenty of info here on suitable restaurants, booking theatre tickets, etc.

if london and Paris are your choices, it should be easy enough to book your flights into London and out of Paris, with eurostar to get you from London to Paris in between.

why not see what you can put together, then compare it with expedia - after all, DH might be right!
annhig is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 06:23 AM
  #55  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 208
With your interest in WWII, I am surprised noone recommended the Churchill War Rooms or Imperial War Museum in London - both very good. Imperial War Museum may take too much of your time, but Churchill War Rooms gives you a good idea of what life was like in the underground war office bunker and it's just down the street from Westminster Abbey. You can get through it in 2 hrs.
dorfan2 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 06:52 AM
  #56  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,667
I also think you might want to compare apartment rentals with an Expedia package, at least you will get to see if the cost variation is significant. On our first trip with the kids, and we were very new to Europe travel, we booked with an American Airlines package, airfares and hotels in London & Paris. Both hotels were lovely, and I think it was a good choice then. Now, with years of travel and planning under the belt, we do it differently. Find your comfort zone, and the price point and go forward.
socaltraveler is offline  
Jun 6th, 2012, 11:32 AM
  #57  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 534
along with the Churchill War rooms which dorfan2 suggested, i would also recommend the Grand Army Museum at Invalides in Paris.
tailsock is offline  
Jun 9th, 2012, 01:08 PM
  #58  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 24
Thank you. I appreciate all of the detailed advice. This is wonderful.
Liljill8 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2012, 04:21 PM
  #59  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 21
In Rome we stayed in an apt thru SleepinItaly, right near Piazza Navona. My 4 sons close to your sons age loved it. It was full of action and places for them to have a beer and enjoy. One night they even got invited to a house party and loved the people. Good luck
Julie_Swan is offline  
Jun 9th, 2012, 04:30 PM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,390
Have you been to either Paris or London?

If you've never been to Paris, you can easily spend an entire vacation there.

I love to travel and I love to save money.

Like others have said, get an apartment. Shop the markets and explore Paris. Enjoy the fresh food.

Start enjoying your vacation now by learning to speak some French (should you choose Paris or Italian for Rome) it's fun.
LSky is offline  

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