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With 2 adults, 2 teens - Fly or drive? Switz/France/Barcelona


Apr 19th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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With 2 adults, 2 teens - Fly or drive? Switz/France/Barcelona

Looking for input here. We're flying in to GVA - want to do a couple of days in Switzerland then up to Paris for maybe 4 nights... down to Barcelona then back through Lyon and ending up in Geneva. 2 weeks total. Would love to be able to take the train as much as possible but with 4 does it make more $ sense to drive btwn cities? Or do some of each?
This would be end of July/August if that makes a difference.

Thoughts? Thanks.
TMSpas is offline  
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Apr 19th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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Why not start in Paris and end in Barcelona.
From Paris to Barcelona is a very long way---about 11 hours driving.
bobthenavigator is online now  
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Apr 19th, 2012, 03:11 PM
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There is a lot more to this decision than just cost of train ticket vs cost of rental car.
1. Will having a car in the bigger cities be more of a pain? Plus the cost of parking while you're there.
2. Do you want the ease of leaving on your own timetable?
3. Do you want everyone to be able to relax from place to place? ie no one person having to drive or be navigator?

My husband does like to be on our own schedule, so we have driven in Europe many times, but really only makes sense if it is helpful to have the car where you are staying. ie a smaller town where parking is easy and use of the car for daytrips is helpful. Otherwise for long distances just to get from one place to another trains or even cheap airfare (Ryanair) can be simpler and more convenient.
jgg is offline  
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Apr 19th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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Check for point-to-point tickets on sncf.com three months in advance. You might discover that it is cheaper to take the train than to rent a car. In addition to the actual rental, take into account fuel prices and parking costs in cities. The car would have to be picked up on the French side of the Geneva airport and returned there to avoid cross-border drop-off fees. Use www.viamichelin.com for itineraries and estimated costs. For example, viamichelin estimates that it will cost 130€ in fuel and tolls to go from Geneva to Paris.
Michael is offline  
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Apr 19th, 2012, 05:19 PM
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Why not do an open jaws ticket rather than a big circle - then you avoid wasted days getting back to Geneva. We have done many road trips in Europe - but they have been ROAD trips - lots of countryside and smaller towns - with a bigger city anchor at either end. Then paying for parking for a few nights doesnt matter. But renting a car for extended periods when it would sit in a garage - at about $40 per night plus however much the car rental is - for seeral days at a time when you're not using it - doesn;t make sense.

I would look at flights for Paris to Barcelona and perhaps on to Geneva. Also check trains - but they will be very long trips.
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Apr 19th, 2012, 07:49 PM
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If kids are still free on rail travel in Switzerland (and I don't know what age your teenagers are) that might have some bearing on the costs. The economics of train travel in Switzerland is very confusing with all of the various pass options and I would suggest calling Budget Europe Travel Service (800-441-2387). I consider myself a fairly seasoned traveler but I found booking rail travel between France and Switzerland with my daughter to be challenging and Byron was great at helping me sort out my options (someone on this board recommended him to me and it was a great find!). The duration of the travel was fairly long and there were several changes of train but I still find it more relaxing and fun than air travel.
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