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Free quickie trip to a major world city. Where would you go?

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Sep 9th, 2009, 08:53 AM
  #1
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Free quickie trip to a major world city. Where would you go?

I have won airfare to anywhere in the world I want to go. (I know, lucky me)
The problem is that it has to be a short turnaround trip.

So the few sights that I would see would have to be near the airport.
(For example, I would like to visit Africa, but that's mostly out since I would have to travel out of the major city to see the wilds, etc)

Another good way to think about it is where would you like to have a very long layover to quickly get out and see some things before having to head back to airport.

Top general areas that I am considering are:
1_ Europe
2_ Africa (with previous example under consideration)
3_ Austrailia

Places that I will not consider are North America, South America and the Middle East.

I realize that the entire concept of this trip is an abomination (flyin/fly out and not really expereince the place), but it's the restrictions I'm dealt and would like to make the best of it.
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Sep 9th, 2009, 01:54 PM
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Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Prague
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Sep 9th, 2009, 03:26 PM
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It's not something I'd normally do but given your circumstances I'd definitely choose somewhere I'd been before and preferably a place I knew really well.
This just makes the logistics so much easier.
So with that in mind my top choices would be
1. London
2. Rome
3. Paris

I'd love to go to Sydney but just the thought of the endless flight and quick turnaround would rule it out for me. It's just too far to go for a week let alone a weekend or less.
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Sep 9th, 2009, 04:52 PM
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I agree that where you are starting out would have the MOST to do with my own decision. If you're in the U.S. no way would I take a 24-hour flight for this crazy idea. But if you're already in Europe and going to Africa, or in New Zealand going to Australia, that'd be different.
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Sep 9th, 2009, 07:37 PM
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London, Paris, Lisbon. Montreal, Quebec. Beijing.
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Sep 9th, 2009, 09:02 PM
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From where are you traveling?

From East Coast definitely Europe -- probably Paris, then Dublin (perhaps slightly closer than other Euro destinations) or Edinburgh; but ideally Paris, London, Rome.

From West Coast -- New Zealand is no farther time wise than Europe (direct flight about 11-12 hrs as I recall).

If Paris, I'd stay close to center/Louvre and make it a town visit. Paris would be my first choice for a short visit.
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Sep 10th, 2009, 04:46 AM
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It depends on how long the layover is of course.

The train into Amsterdam takes 20 minutes. You could book a tour at the airport if you wanted to - they specialise in tours to fit you layover time, or you could just aim for the things you want to see/take a boat tour/enjoy a cup of coffee/something stronger...

Fly to Kilimanjaro and get to Arusha NP. You may not see the big 5 but you can get to see some wildlife. Dar es Salaam and get the ferry to Stone Town, or what about Nairobi and visit the baby elephants. Or maybe fly to Ghana and see a slave fort?

Fly to Hong Kong, or Shanghai, Tokyo and get a taste of the orient.
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Sep 10th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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I guess it depends upon the booking class and if you will earn frequent flyer miles. If it is in coach and you earn no miles, then I would consider a European city with good connections to the city - Amsterdam and Copenhagen come to mind.

If it is in business class or if I could earn a lot of miles, then I would consider somewhere in Asia - maybe Singapore and catch a cab to a hawker center.
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Sep 10th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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You could fly to Johannesburg. Kruger National Park is about a 5-hour drive from there. You can't get much closer to wildlife than that except in Nairobi.

But for a really quick trip, I wouldn't choose Joburg. It's a really long flight. If I were going to fly more than 10 hours, I'd probably choose Hong Kong (closer than Sydney or Bangkok and more to do close by) or Tokyo.

The one thing you don't say is whether your free ticket is airline-specific and what airlines you can use. That will influence your decision. Not all European capitals will be possibilities, nor will most places in Africa for that matter.

But you will get more bang for your buck by choosing a large city with a lot to do within its immediate environs than a city that is a gateway to very (even more) interesting things within a day's drive. For a short turnaround, I'd always choose the big city, ideally European or Asian.
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Sep 10th, 2009, 07:57 AM
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Tokyo
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Sep 10th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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thank you for your replies thus far.

I live in the US, but will be starting this free trip from London which is one of the reasons Europe is one of the areas I'm considering to cut travel time and have more time one the ground.

The only places I have been in Europe are in Spain.
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Sep 10th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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What about Cairo? Pyramids are very close to the airport. If you want to see wildlife in Africa I'd recommend flying into Kilimanjaro and going to Ngorongoro Crater which is more crowded but excellent chance of seeing the big five. The other parks are prettier but you really need a few days to ensure seeing a lot of animals.

Let's see, in Europe it depends what you're interested in. If you enjoy wines you could go to Lyon, France (there's a major airport there), if you enjoy history you could visit Berlin, if you'd like to experience culture then maybe Prague. All I feel you could see within a day or two. If you have only half a day to see things I'd recommend Amsterdam as well. It's a very small and walkable city. I gave DH a tour once on a long layover.
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Sep 10th, 2009, 01:35 PM
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Ok so you are starting from London. That cuts out the Tokyo/Hong Kong/ New Zealand/Sydney ideas.
How long do you have on the ground? If you can give an idea of the terms of the ticket we can help more. Which airline is it?
You could do a short flight to Amsterdam, Paris or Dublin or a slightly longer flight and go to Berlin or Barcelona or even Moscow maybe. What about Morocco, Egypt or as I said Ghana?
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Sep 10th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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I would go for somewhere "exotic" and would vote for Cairo (we're going there in March) or Morocco (definitely on my list). If I were to go somewhere in Europe I would vote for Rome, Venice, or Florence - whichever I could get into and out of easily.
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Sep 10th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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probably would be flying british airways. And depending on exact iten. and flight times would have a day (maybe 1.5 days0 on the ground.

I like the kilamanjaro idea, but don't think BA goes there.

Out of all the folks I've talked to the places that keep getting mentioned are: Paris, Rome, Athens, anywhere in Ireland (Galway or Cork), and Amsterdam.
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Sep 11th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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BA do fly to Nairobi - so you could go and see the baby elephants and other wildlife - in Nairobi National park for instance, and eat at Carnivore (assuming you aren't a vegetarian!). For a free flight it sounds more fun than the usual suspects in Europe, provided you don't mind the long flight and have enough time on the ground. At least you won't suffer from jetlag. They also fly to Dar Es Salaam - so you could whip over to Stone Town in Zanzibar.

Having recently come back from Cork that might be a good choice, you could hire a car and head away from the city. It would be an Aer Lingus codeshare though, - I don't know if that is allowed.
I'd still go for a more exotic destination I think.

If you go to http://tinyurl.com/26gse5 you can have a look at all the places BA, and it's codeshares fly to.
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Sep 11th, 2009, 07:43 AM
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Amsterdam's brilliant for a short trip because it's so well organized and the airport's quite close to the city, easily & quickly accessed by train or taxi. It would maximize your time on the ground. Great city.
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Sep 12th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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I hope you have time to enjoy London too then. I would choose, in the following order:

1) Rome
2) Venice
3) Paris
4) Vienna
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Sep 13th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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My vote would be for Rome or Paris.
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Sep 14th, 2009, 02:41 AM
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I'd go for Amsterdam - it's a quick trip into town from the airport, a compact city with something for everyone, good transport or once you get central plenty in walking range, and you can pack a lot into a short visit.

I've been there for a 3 day break, twice been for day trips, and twice been through for about 4 hours. Enjoyed each trip as you can quickly get your bearings and enjoy yourself.

In a day you could easily do a canal boat trip, go up The Old church for a fantastic city view, have lunch, go to Anne Franks house and still have time to head for an art gallery/red-light district, whichever floats your boat.
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