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Help needed to plan my first trip to europe

Travel Forums Europe Help needed to plan my first trip to europe

1. Posted by Traveler78 (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Hi!
I am planning my 1st ever tourist trip to europe from pakistan in october. I ll b accompnied by my wife & 2 years old daughter. Just googled this site and found out to be very helpful. As its my first trip to europe besides excitement about the trip, I ve a few basic querries, will be greatful if someone can help me out in my planning.
Total days 15
Total budget is 6000$(includes my airfare from pakistan aswell :(
The countries/cities im thinking to visit are:-
1.France(Paris)
2,Germany(Munich+Frankurt)
3.Switzerland(Zurich+Lucerne+Interlaken)
4.Italy(Milan+Venice+Florence+Rome)

Q1 Which all cities/countries can i drop to complete my trip of 15 days in my budget, as i dont want to rush around and spoil all the enjoyment, two countries i wont like to drop are france n italy:)?
Q2 Im planning to land in a city and then look for any reasonable hotel....is it ok or do i need to confirm my accomodation at hotels rite at the start of my journey from pakistan?
Q3 Wat is the cheapest mode of travel within the cities and while getting from one country to another?
Q4 n how to carry my money like a credit card or cash?
Im all too confused with this.
All suggestions will be welcomed:)
Thankx in advance:)

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Aug-2010, at 17:37 by Traveler78 ]

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

1. Your schedule is impossible. Europe is a continent, you completely underestimate travel times. Italy alone (Milan+Venice+Florence+Rome) needs approx. 14 days.

2. You need a visa to enter the Schengen are if you are a Pakistani citizen, in order to get one you need to book your hotel in advance.

3. Depends upon when and where you go. There is no "cheapest way in Europe", there is only "cheapest way from A to B on a certain date"

4. Credit card and ATM card. When you need cash go to a bank and withdraw money from your account in Pakistan. Check which banks allows this.

Your money: Your "6000" - is that US Dollars or what? Is it for all three of you? Have you looked at airfare and know what it costs?

Travelling as a family you need to budget around 200-300 EUR per day for the three of you, so you need approx. 3000 to 3800 EUR plus the costs of flights to Europe.

3. Posted by Lonnie (Budding Member 13 posts) 6y

Definitely agree with t Maia, way to much to see. Consider just France and Italy. Fly into Paris. Book your hotel well ahead of your trip, you will be tired and confused and need to go directly to the hotel to chill. Paris is pricy but you can find reasonably priced hotels. Book a hotel in the center of the city and then move to the outskirts. Metro service is plentiful in Paris.
Train to Italy or book a flight. Book hotel in advance.
Pick Two or three cities and you will enjoy the trip rather than trying to run through so many countries.
Lonnie

4. Posted by Traveler78 (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Seems like i got it all too wrong their:(........ anyways thanks v much for ur suggestions
i think i may consider france n italy now n cut down may b a city or two in italy aswell....
i ll see my travel agent to put me right on the details of my visit:)

5. Posted by laurim (Respected Member 260 posts) 6y

I know it's almost a sacrilege on this site to suggest a whirlwind packaged tour but I don't have a problem with a person's first trip to be a "taste of" type of trip where you visit quite a few cities to get a feel for the area and then, later, you'll come back to your favorites for a longer, deeper visit. If you book an escorted tour, you'll be able to cover more ground and won't have the stress of figuring out how to get from point A to point B on your very first trip, especially with a small child in tow. It'll all be mapped out for you and you can just enjoy the scenery.

PROS:

  • You can cover a lot of cities in a limited time
  • Usually very comfortable transportation
  • Often get a guide who tells you about the places you visit
  • No need to figure out transportation
  • Meet the other people in your tour group, make friends
  • Often a good value for your money and easy to budget
  • Stay in decent hotels

CONS:

  • Your time is not all your own and you have to stick to their schedule. However, they often include free time in the daily schedule, usually the evening, for you to explore on your own
  • Many times you'll be taken to stores where the tour operator gets commission but you're not obligated to buy anything
  • Can't change your plans on the fly if you really like a place.
  • You go to the cities the tour goes, not necessarily where you want to go
  • You are not on your tour alone, sometimes a bad thing depending on the people but usually adds to the fun

Here's a typical itinerary I found online for $1,223/person land only (children 10% off)

Day 1: Fri. BOARD YOUR OVERNIGHT TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT.

Day 2: Sat. ARRIVE IN LONDON, ENGLAND.
Check into your hotel. Uniformed Hosts are available to help you make the most of your stay.

Day 3: Sun. LONDON.
A full day to savor our rich program of optional activities: take a panoramic tour of London’s landmarks, visit the Tower of London, or choose an excursion to Windsor Castle. Tonight, maybe a leisurely cruise on the River Thames? (B)

Day 4: Mon. LONDON–BRUSSELS, BELGIUM.
Leave in the early morning and head through the lush English countryside to the Channel port, where you board your ferry for the Continent. Here your Tour Director and comfortable coach wait to take you to Brussels for an orientation drive and an overnight. (B)

Day 5: Tue. BRUSSELS–RHINE CRUISE–FRANKFURT AREA, GERMANY.
Today, journey into Germany to the shores of the mighty Rhine to enjoy the afternoon cruise. Then, on to the Frankfurt area for an overnight. (B,D)

Day 6: Wed. FRANKFURT AREA–ROMANTIC ROAD–ROTHENBURG–INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA.
The Romantic Road is undoubtedly today’s highlight. See picturesque Rothenburg before heading towards Innsbruck for an overnight. (B,D)

Day 7: Thu. INNSBRUCK–BRENNER PASS–VENICE AREA, ITALY.
Journey south into Italy by way of the majestic “Europa Bridge” and Brenner Pass. Arrive in Venice, where the included orientation starts with a boat ride along the Giudecca Canal to Piazza San Marco. Time at leisure to soak up the magic atmosphere of this unique city. Also visit a typical Venetian glassblowing workshop. (B,D)

Day 8: Fri. VENICE AREA–VERONA–LAKE LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND.
Stop in Verona to see Juliet's legendary balcony. Over the Swiss border, begin the climb to the St. Gotthard Tunnel and descend to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Lucerne. (B,D)

Day 9: Sat. LAKE LUCERNE–DIJON, FRANCE.
Your visit this morning focuses on the main highlights of Lucerne. Also time for an optional excursion to the top of a mountain. In the afternoon, journey into France for an overnight in the charming town of Dijon. (B)

Day 10: Sun. DIJON–PARIS.
This morning, leave Dijon and travel via the autoroute to Paris. An afternoon’s included sightseeing with a local expert shows you many of the best-known Parisian sights. (B)

Day 11: Mon. YOUR HOMEBOUND FLIGHT ARRIVES THE SAME DAY. (B)

Just another option for you to consider :)

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Aug-2010, at 16:02 by laurim ]