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Author Topic: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?  (Read 319 times)

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Offline LadyMoondancer

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Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« on: January 11, 2018, 10:57:26 PM »
Hey guys!  I'm excited because I have enough airline miles to fly from the US to Europe.  (I bought my used car with my credit card that gives me airline miles . . . then immediately paid the credit card off so I wouldn't have to pay interest. :P )  I'd love to do a trip through Europe, spending a few days here and a few days there.  But I'm intimidated by the prospect of planning it! 

I'd love some advice.  Right now I just feel a bit overwhelmed!  (Though still excited!)
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Online RoseNoire

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 11:23:14 PM »
I'd advise you to begin your trip with the Netherlands, so that your stress will go away and you can enjoy the rest of your trip. :lol:

Offline Loa

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 01:48:34 AM »
Many, many times my friend... as a travel agent.

My advice is to pick what you can't miss. Like, do you need to see Prague but not Paris? Need to see ANZAC cove but not the Blarney stone?
So do that first. What are your 'must dos', your 'would be nice's' and your 'nah's'.  Once you have that, you can map out your ideas.
If you want to drive it, I highly recommend checking out http://www.peugeot-openeurope.com/en/ which is deeply affordable.

My other suggestion is to look at some tour sites and see what they visit. :)
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Offline Moonbreeze

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 03:57:11 PM »
I'd advise you to begin your trip with the Netherlands, so that your stress will go away and you can enjoy the rest of your trip. :lol:

Lol xD (If you would like to visit the Netherlands, then please don't only go to Amsterdam! There's so much more :P)

But that aside. It's very easy to travel around in Europe. F.e. I live aprox. 4 hours away from Paris (by car). So I'd certainly not stick by one country :)

Are there countries that are a high on your list? I'm sure all the euro people would love to help you out!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 04:01:29 PM by Moonbreeze »
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Offline LadyMoondancer

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 07:20:48 PM »
Thanks for all the advice so far, you guys!  :D   

I am altering my plans slightly--since I have limited time I decided to split my time between England (arriving in London) and ONE country on the continent--so I'm not 'on the go' all the time, if that makes sense.  I feel like Spain or France might be good bets for side trips, since they're close to the UK?  Thoughts? 

I'm also open to other countries.  :)  Or to fitting more into my schedule if I can.  I'm just unsure how much travel time it takes to get around, I guess.

I have about a week.  Hopefully I will be making other trips in the future to see other countries!

Edit:  I am arriving and leaving from London.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 07:40:36 PM by LadyMoondancer »
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Offline Artemesia's Garden

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 07:46:45 PM »
I've heard that inter-railing is a great way to do it!

Edit: Since you have 1 week:

You can get from London to Paris fairly easily on Eurostar, so maybe just do London and Paris.  I have had problems with airport connections near London via train, so unless you ant to keep paying out for taxis I'd avoid using the UK as a base for frequent air travel.  Just my experience.
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Offline Taffeta

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 06:59:38 PM »
Ok, your main base then is London?

You could even do Paris in a day from London, but I wouldn't recommend you try...better to stay over. But Artie is right, train makes most sense for France. Both paris and Lille have a direct train. You also have the option from London for a direct train to Brussels. Paris is about 2 and a half hours from London direct, Brussels is around the same, maybe a little less. Both leave from St Pancras station. St Pancras is fairly central - it shares a tube station with the next door domestic terminal King's Cross and that station is on many lines connecting across the city so wherever you stay it's probably not too hard to get there. There are also a lot of buses.

So your main options would really be Paris or Brussels if you wanted to do the train route unless you want to do connecting trains in Europe. I don't recommend Paris Nord station for anything, honestly...Brussels Gare de Midi was a lot better by my memory...

There's some talk of extending the Eurostar to Amsterdam but I dunno whether that's really happening.

If you're coming into London Heathrow, there's a mainline express train that they try to get all the foreign tourists to use because it's more expensive. Yeah, it's direct, but it's about 15 minutes into central London and not worth the price. It goes into Paddington, and you'd have to get from there to your hotel, wherever that is (unless you stay at Paddington). There's an underground train from the airport (all terminals) to central London on the Piccadilly Line which goes through a lot of the well known parts of central London. There's also service trains that do the route for a little cheaper, with a couple of stops...

If you're coming into Gatwick, it's further out from the centre. Gatwick Express train also exists. I would actually pay the extra on that one because the regular line train is generally packed and full of screaming kids in my experience. There's no underground from Gatwick. I think US flights usually come into Heathrow though?

If you have a hotel on the Piccadilly line (it's dark blue on the tube map) then you have a direct rail link to the airport and to King's Cross St Pancras to get the Eurostar, so may want to look at places on or around that line in Zone 1. Just thinking about ease of transporting luggage, since without cases and stuff it's easy enough to get around the city otherwise.

If you're using the Eurostar I also recommend booking in advance as sometimes there are cheaper rates and those trains book up quickly. I don't suppose you'll be there long enough for interrail - probably not worth it unless you plan on travelling to a lot of countries/places?

One other thing. NEVER use a taxi in London. It's very expensive. Taxi drivers in London (black cabbies) are actually very knowledgeable about the city and will know exactly where to take you. But the fees and charges in London to drive there plus petrol etc mean it's not worth it. You can pay £16 in a taxi for what is effectively the same distance for £4 on the tube or £1.50 on a bus. Also recommend you get an oyster card which allows you unlimited travel while you are here. Think you can get those at the airport, if not one of the main stations will sell them at the ticket offices. I am not sure about the machines.

Tube map. Piccadilly in dark blue.
http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf

Final point - I figure you know this, but you'll need Euros and £ to visit the UK and France. You can get Euros from some bank machines (they mostly take international cards) at certain places in London. I think St Pancras may be one of them. I don't know about bureau de change rates. £ has suffered against the Euro since Brexit vote (also against the $). I remember you saying you don't speak French (and believe me, most people in Paris, even if they speak English, like to speak to people in French. It might be easier to get the money all sorted before you travel.

Euros aren't accepted as currency anywhere in the UK.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 07:02:58 PM by Taffeta »
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Offline Littlesparklepony

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2018, 03:01:28 PM »
If you ever plan to visit Sweden let me know and I can give you some advice. It takes about 4-6 hours from London.

I can recommend the southest part, Skåne, in spring or summer when it´s most Beautiful here. Great nature and lots of wonderful beaches to relax on. Stockholm is a interesting city with a lot of history. Otherwise I can recommend Copenhagen in Denmark.

Offline Taffeta

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2018, 03:16:36 PM »
If you ever plan to visit Sweden let me know and I can give you some advice. It takes about 4-6 hours from London.

I can recommend the southest part, Skåne, in spring or summer when it´s most Beautiful here. Great nature and lots of wonderful beaches to relax on. Stockholm is a interesting city with a lot of history. Otherwise I can recommend Copenhagen in Denmark.

Is that how long it takes from London by train? By plane Copenhagen was 1hr 45 for me from Stansted which is officially a London airport even though it's a bit outside. Malmo is not far from Copenhagen by train, I remember that - though I never got to Stockholm. But I imagine flying to Stockholm can't be much more than to Copenhagen. I also did Helsinki and that was just over 3 hours. I am not sure what the train connections between London and Scandinavia are like though as it would have to go through paris or brussels or you'd have to look at boats maybe o.O.
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Offline Littlesparklepony

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 12:14:28 PM »
I was thinking by plane, but I was wrong sorry.

It was a couple of years ago since I flyed from Copenhagen to London so I guess I mixed it up.  :blush:

I have no idea about the trainconnections between London and Scandinavia.

Offline Moonbreeze

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2018, 12:04:23 PM »
I was thinking by plane, but I was wrong sorry.

It was a couple of years ago since I flyed from Copenhagen to London so I guess I mixed it up.  :blush:

I have no idea about the trainconnections between London and Scandinavia.

Oof, I wouldn't recommend that distance by train. I think a bit would have to be done by ferry as well? You can easily go with the Eurostar from London to Paris and Brussels. I'm pretty sure that the Thalys goes to the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany. But that's all I know :P

I think Taffeta got it covered pretty well :)
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 12:07:28 PM by Moonbreeze »
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Offline tuneful87

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Re: Has anyone planned a multi-country European vacation before?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2018, 12:44:49 AM »
I haven't traveled to Europe myself, but a co-worker of mine love taking European cruises that stop at several major cities.

Personally I'm not the type to travel, but if I did, I'd probably rent a villa or something for a few weeks and take long-distance trips from the "home base". My grandparents were born in Sicily, so I'd probably start there myself.