Honeymoon: San Diego to AK, or Europe?

Old Aug 21st, 2022, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by offhighway View Post
I agree with both of these most recent replies regarding kids. Although it would be hard to tow them up to Alaska, I think it would be harder to bop around Europe with them. And Annhig we don't know nearly all of what we'd like to see in Europe. We could enjoy things anywhere, humble things like exploring the landscape. I'd feel I'd made an error if I didn't see pieces of England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, and Romania.

Melproffit, in what way do you see Europe being too stressful for a honeymoon? That is one of my main concerns.. I know we could navigate the language barriers and unfamiliar customs sufficiently to survive, but I could see us falling into the trap of only seeing the most touristy, heavily visited areas, since they'd be the simplest to navigate for us, and that would be a bummer. Or even worse, making a real mistake or two along the way that would cost us significant money or time.

Finally, let's step back and re-focus just briefly on one issue: is Europe going to be way more expensive than the north American west? Ballpark?
will it be WAY more expensive? all depends on how and where you travel. especially looking out as far as you are. we've been amazed both ways during trips there. amazing hotel dirt cheap and simple motel style stupid expensive. amazing local wine so much cheaper than US and a one drink made with American liquor for more than a whole bottle would cost in the US.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by offhighway View Post
I agree with both of these most recent replies regarding kids. Although it would be hard to tow them up to Alaska, I think it would be harder to bop around Europe with them. And Annhig we don't know nearly all of what we'd like to see in Europe. We could enjoy things anywhere, humble things like exploring the landscape. I'd feel I'd made an error if I didn't see pieces of England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, and Romania.

Melproffit, in what way do you see Europe being too stressful for a honeymoon? That is one of my main concerns.. I know we could navigate the language barriers and unfamiliar customs sufficiently to survive, but I could see us falling into the trap of only seeing the most touristy, heavily visited areas, since they'd be the simplest to navigate for us, and that would be a bummer. Or even worse, making a real mistake or two along the way that would cost us significant money or time.

Finally, let's step back and re-focus just briefly on one issue: is Europe going to be way more expensive than the north American west? Ballpark?
Originally Posted by annhig View Post
Hi Offhighway, welcome to Fodors!

One point in favour of Europe this year is the almost parity of the Euro with the US$, which would make a trip to Europe cheaper than normal. Against that have been the very high temps at about the time you would be travelling and of course no-one can guarantee what the Ä and the weather will be doing next year. Another point is that you might find travelling in foreign climes easier without a baby or child in tow and in 6 weeks you could see quite a lot of Europe especially if there were just two of you who were prepared to rough it a bit. Do you have any idea about where in Europe you wold want to go? areas that might appeal to you are the Greek Islands, Croatia, the Dolomites, or even Central and Eastern Europe. I have seen others recommend Rick Steves' "Europe by the Back Door" for those who haven't been there before.
if Europe rises to the top of your choices, Rick Steve's Europe would be the number one choice IMO for planning-depending on how you want to travel. his planning is for a very specific (some say narrow) type of seeing Europe. but his attention to detail, off the beaten tourist path info, and his guidebooks/videos/planning service can be extraordinarily helpful.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 05:02 PM
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Gardyloo, you are nominated for the Fodor's Hall of Fame!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2022, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
Gardyloo, you are nominated for the Fodor's Hall of Fame!
+1
what an amzing trip that would be.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2022, 08:28 AM
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Gardyloo, thank you for your time and detailed thought putting that together! It is certainly an intriguing suggestion, and I'm an exception in my generation as a fan of long form writing and thought, so you found your audience. I'll wade through that and all the other thoughtful replies in discussion with Liz, and it will certainly help us move forward. Thank you all for your time!

Alex
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Old Aug 22nd, 2022, 10:23 AM
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Welcome, offhighway, happy honeymoon in advance, and bravo Gardyloo for an inspired suggestion. I also vote for going to Europe now. My best suggestion is to fly to the further most country first; work your way back by train to the closest, and fly home from there. My hub and I usually stayed 4-5 days in any town and took day trips by train or bus from our base town. In Rome, Paris and Venice we once spent the entire 2 weeks of vacation (that's all the time we ever had) there but still took side trips. As you work up your schedules, deduct 1/2 to one full day from sightseeing time with each change of venue. You can search on Fodors for each country and see various trip reports for ideas.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2022, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by offhighway View Post
Gardyloo, thank you for your time and detailed thought putting that together! It is certainly an intriguing suggestion, and I'm an exception in my generation as a fan of long form writing and thought, so you found your audience. I'll wade through that and all the other thoughtful replies in discussion with Liz, and it will certainly help us move forward. Thank you all for your time!

Alex
Alex, by all means take your time. I want to emphasize, however, that the trip I described is only an example, one out of hundreds of thousands of permutations that are possible with these products. You could swap South America for Africa or Australia/New Zealand, or limit the trip to three continents instead of four (Europe, North America and Asia) the base price for which from Norway is $1776.

But be warned, it's easy to find yourselves in analysis paralysis. What I'm suggesting is that this could be a very enjoyable quick survey of the world, getting to places that you may or may not want to visit in greater depth in the future.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2022, 07:01 PM
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tom_mm-OP would have zero reason to go anywhere near Edmonton while driving from anywhere on the west coast to access Alaska. north through BC (hwy37), a small time in Yukon (1) and head west to Alaska border.
Google is saying the fastest way from San Diego to Fairbanks is via Edmonton, not BC.

In any event, the drive from Boston to Fairbanks is only 12 hours longer than San Diego to Fairbanks. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the OP thought San Diego was quite a bit closer to Alaska.

Also, the drive from NE to Alaska and back is reasonable for the 6 weeks and the kind of adventure the OP seems to be looking for, and at a reasonable price since cost seems to matter. I donít know how the original itinerary suggested could work out in the time frame, and the one way rental car and one way flights could really add up to a high cost.

Last edited by tom_mn; Aug 22nd, 2022 at 07:16 PM.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2022, 07:56 PM
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Europe, no contest!! Or at least Hawaii or Mexico or the Caribbean
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Old Aug 23rd, 2022, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tom_mn View Post
Google is saying the fastest way from San Diego to Fairbanks is via Edmonton, not BC.

In any event, the drive from Boston to Fairbanks is only 12 hours longer than San Diego to Fairbanks. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the OP thought San Diego was quite a bit closer to Alaska.

Also, the drive from NE to Alaska and back is reasonable for the 6 weeks and the kind of adventure the OP seems to be looking for, and at a reasonable price since cost seems to matter. I donít know how the original itinerary suggested could work out in the time frame, and the one way rental car and one way flights could really add up to a high cost.
his original post says nothing about driving from NE to the west coast. no need especially with reasonable airfare available from his area to many places on the west coast. if you only have six weeks and he is hoping to drive the west coast to Alaska, driving from NE is a waste of his time. also, Google says it's exactly the same number of hours up the coast through Seattle as it is going towards Edmonton. only three hundred miles difference and you make better time driving north on I-5.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 06:00 AM
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I suggest you at least explore the possibility of a one way cruise to or from Alaska. I would not consider it a waste of time at all-you can visit areas you cannot drive to. No, you do not spend a lot of time in any one place but you can do a lot in that time. Its a great way to get to Alaska without the long drive and once there, you can spend as much time as you want exploring places you can drive to, then fly home from Alaska. (Or fly into Alaska, spend time on land and then cruise to Seattle or Vancouver and continue the trip southward.
I think the 6 week time frame does give you time to explore a lot-think of it as 3 2 week vacations (without the travel home at the end of each 2 week segment). Have fun planning and taking this trip.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 06:39 AM
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If you are budget conscious, then not all of Europe is equal! Places like Romania and Bulgaria are so much less expensive. and still provide fantastic landscapes, cultural highlights and dramatic experiences. Think about leasing a car.

In the Untied States, the Eastern Sierra Nevadas are my favorite destination. Where the granite peaks of the highest mountains in the lower 48 drop down dramatically to a high desert plateau. Lots of geothermal activity. The Alabama Hills, Hot Spring, Hilltop Tub, Indian Petroglyphs, Rainbow Falls, Devil's Postpile, the tufa at Mono Lake, and the Twenty Lakes Basin. Combine that with hiking in Yosemite. Between that, Southern California and Northern California, that's six weeks right there. In So Cal there is Mt San Jacinto (fantastic cable car ride and hiking, San Diego, Santa Barbara, LA (Venice Beach, Santa Monica Mountains) kayaking at Channel Islands National Park, And in Northern California there is Point Lobos, SF, Point Reyes, Empire Mine State Park, Malakoff Diggins State Park, Nevada City, the redwoods at Jedediah Smith State Park, then Crater Lake in southern Oregon.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 07:41 AM
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With such a great amount of time, I would go someplace that would be more difficult later with less time. Australia and New Zealand, a Safari, etc. you could also see a good bit of Europe, but not nearly as much as you think.
You feel you would have made an error if you did not see something of 11 countries and a bummer if you saw mostly major tourist sights. That might make Europe not a very good fit for your travel style and what you enjoy seeing. First, many major tourist sights are not tourist traps. They are worth while because they are world class architecture (the Duomo and Baptistery in Florence, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona), art you can see only in the great museums of Europe, or archeological sites like Pompeii.
Second, you (like everyone) have budget concerns. The area all those countries cover is huge. It costs a lot of money and a lot of time to get from country to country.
Rather than just a list of countries, are there any specific places, cities or areas that you or your wife have read about, seen in films or dreamed of seeing? Some people dream of seeing the Swiss Alps. Others want to see the Sistine Chapel and Ancient Rome. Some want to go to an Opera in Verona. Others want a hot air balloon ride in Tuscany or Turkey or to see the canals of Venice or the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
For Europe to really work well for you, you would need to narrow your list of countries (or areas or cities) to visit.
You fear making a costly mistake in Europe. That is more likely if you try to see too much over a wide number of countries, because then you are more likely to see less of anything. It will become a blur. Allow at least three or four days for any city or small area of a country, and a week or more for small countries, more depending on the plan and what you want to see. Italy and Spain, for example, are huge, and each has a lot to see. Plan for some day trips from larger cities. Perhaps to start, pick three countries that you are most interested in. Plan the trip for those countries. Then add countries as there is time left.
Do not book any tickets or lodging until your itinerary is set.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 09:51 AM
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Europe! 100%
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 03:35 PM
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I vote for Europe. Since you have a nice amount of time set aside and you this may be your last trip without kids, I say go for it and see a bit of Europe. Regarding costs - as others have said, Europe can be cheap or expensive, depending on what you do, and even in expensive cities like Paris, you can be budget conscious. I would definitely recommend NOT trying to see everything on your list on this one trip though. The key to having a more relaxing European trip where you don't spend a ton of money and see more than the tourist highlights is to slow down. Don't try to see it all, just focus on really seeing the places you do go. Some of my best days in Europe have been low-key days where we are just wandering around without anything specific to do. One of my all-time favorite days on any trip was a blisteringly hot day we spent in Munich picnicking in the park and swimming in the river - totally unplanned day on which we spent almost no money and had a fabulous time.

Your initial list includes: England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, and Romania. I would cut the list at least in half, maybe in thirds, and pick countries that are closer together. Fewer countries that are geographically close together will save on travel costs and travel time, leaving more time for seeing the places you do visit. For example, you could visit France, Germany, and Austria quite comfortably in 6 weeks - plenty of time to relax and see more than the tourist highlights, good public transit even in the countryside so you can easily visit a variety of places without renting a car. These are also very easy countries to travel in as English speakers since plenty of people there speak English. Just learn a few words in French and German to be polite and you are good to go. If those 3 countries don't quite feel like enough, England is an easy one to add because there is a fast train between London and Paris. Or instead of England you could add Italy or Poland. I'd probably limit my trip to 4 countries though - that way you can average 1.5 weeks in each country, which gives you time to see cities and countryside, and visit in a relaxed way. Another option - how about France, Spain, and Portugal - maybe add England as well. Those are all easy to visit as a group, and Spain and Portugal are relatively inexpensive places to visit, so very easy on the budget. Again, good coverage by public transit, plenty of urban and rural places to see, and easy to travel in for English speakers. Spain probably has the lowest percentage of English speakers of that grouping, but even still, there is always someone who speaks English.
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Old Aug 31st, 2022, 10:08 PM
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I agree that three or four countries is plenty for a 6 week trip. Trying to do 11 countries is simply hectic.
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Old Sep 16th, 2022, 09:01 AM
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Budget wise check the pricing on airfares and car rentals, they have shot up at least in the US with all of the pent up demand. Gas is not cheap in California (back up to over $5 a gallon).

IMO a one way 7 day cruise Vancouver to Anchorage or vice versa as early in the season as you can go may be a time and $$ saver. It also gets you to Juneau, Ketchikan, one other port on the Panhandle and at least one glacier view day sailing. Early season one way inside cabin will run a bit over $200/night for both of you, that includes lodging, food and transportation over an equivalent vehicle distance of over 2,000 miles. A week's car rental and gas is going to cost you about the same, not even including hotels and meals. While I would normally say look at Princess or HAL they have switched over to Whittier as a port and I think Seward is more convenient (and worth staying a few days).

You would still have plenty of time to explore Alaska.

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 16th, 2022 at 09:17 AM.
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