Ok I am plannnig a 12 day trip to Europe for 2 couples, we are in our mid fortys and want fun, site seeing and some history.
I am thinking of New York to London to Brussles to Paris to Rome then home to NY. Like 2 to 3 days each.
We will fly to London and then not sure if we should use trains or planes to get city to city. I would like to do it as cheap as possible. But also somewhat comfortable and quick.
Questions?? do you think we are trying to do to much?
what about hotels? any good cheap hotels out there? whats the deal with these Hostels I keep reading about?
Are they for "Young" people only ? Are they safe? clean? whats the deal with bugs? can you leave your stuff in your room while you are out?. Is it just a party house? I see they are cheap but why? They look like fun.
Also I was thinking like $4000 per person. To much? not enough?
Any and all info would be great
If you are going to Europe for a short trip than don't try to see too much. 2 or 3 days for cities like London, Paris and Rome, is really short. 4 ro 5 days would be closer to the number of days they deserve. Of course this also depends on the things you and your friends like. (artlover can go to the Louvre for 3 days, and don't see everything).
take into account that you need time to adjust to the European timezone. I would suggest to don't plan too much in the first day. If you locate 4 days to London, Paris and Rome, you are already at 12 days. I suggest to either lose one of the big cities (Rome would be obvious, as London and Paris are really close to eachother). or loose Brussels (I would prefer Brugge in Belgium to Brussels anyway), and to be happy to spend maybe a little less time, then needed in the major cities.
Also take a look at Open-Jaw tickets, these are tickets that give you the opportunity to fly into one airport and out of another (in your case fly into London, and out of Rome). These tickets are more expensive, but safe you time, and the costs of the return journey to London. Your travelagent, should be able to give you more advise, on which tickets/airlines are available feom your city.
From London to Paris you can use the Eurostar, but you need to make reservation upfront at their websites. If you book ahead, this usualy is the best option. If you wait too long, and prices rise, you can also check on some budgetairlines. Paris - Brussels (or Brugge) can be done by train. If you would go to Rome, then I would check some of the airlines (check Vueling/don't use Ryanair for this route as they fly from Beauvais), for this also make you reservations on time (the closer to the date of the flight, the higher the prices get). Depending on the kind of ticket you get for the flight to Europe, and back, you need to see if you need to fly back to London or not.
I think that I would go London (4 days) - Paris (4 days) - Brugge (2-3 days) - London (1 day, so you don't have to worry about connections, and delays). (a third major city, needs more time)
(Youth) Hostels are no longer, reserved for young people. A lot of older people also use these, as they can save you a lot of money. Most hostels, are still visited by younger people, but the age doesn't matter that much. The quality differs a lot, and you should check websites, to make sure you make a good choice (you can also ask at TP, if people have slept there). Most hostels have dorms, and maybe some double rooms. Some are run very well and have a bar, breakfast, internetconnections etc. Some are party places, other are pretty quiet, but always bring earplugs! With 4-6-8-10-12 people on your room it will never be as home. If there is no curfew
Most hostels have a locker, or a small vault. (most will also offer to keep valuables in the vault at the reception). I would not leave a camera, notebook or something like that unattended at the room. (not even if you go for a shower). If you worry too much about this, then book double rooms at a hostel, this give you much more privacy. (just like a hotelroom would).
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 29, 2008, at 4:52 AM by Herr Bert ]
I agree - pick 1 or 2 cities, tops. You're going to end up on a whirlwind trip where all you see are airports and busses and trains. I'd even suggest you pick one country and see that - under two weeks is barely enough time to really see a big city, and you've got 4 on your list! Paris/London/Brussels may be your best bet with the Eurostar - but try to get an open-jaw ticket so you can fly into one and leave from another. At least you'll save some travel time.
And $4,000 is plenty (as long as you don't splurge in London)! Look up alternative accommodation like B&Bs, guesthouses and hostels (book ahead and yo may be able to grab a private room).
Enjoy!! Ask away if you have any more questions - this is a great site for info.
Whilst I agree that Paris, London and Rome require a lot longer than 3 or 4 days to appreciate fully, I still think you can have an enjoyable 12 day trip which incorporates all three. It depends on what you're looking for. A travel purist would possibly spend all 12 days in Paris and still feel that the trip was too short, whilst a couple on a city break can be content with a long weekend. Not all trips must be about fully immersing yourself in another culture, time can be just as well spent enjoying the sights, restaurants and nightlife of these cities for a few days. With that said, I would say 4 cities is stretching it a little, but London - Paris - Rome can certainly be done.
Connections by Eurostar to Paris are now close to the 2 hour mark and 4 days in London followed by 4 days in Paris is certainly time enough to have a good experience in my opinion. Rome would obviously be a lot more hassle as it would require flights, but if your heart is set on going to Rome then it can be done without sacrificing a full day to travelling time.