Europe in 30 days - How to Travel? ?
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2012 10:14 AM Last Post By: mickyfinn
Dec 5, 2012 2:28 AM
Europe in 30 days - How to Travel? ?Hey Guys,
My Partner and I are planning a trip to Europe for June 23rd to the end of July.
We fly into Paris and are thinking of an Itinerary like this...
Paris > Brussels > Amsterdam > Berlin > Switzerland > Italy (Venice, Rome etc.) > Madrid > Barcelona then up to London for a couple of days then a few days in Birmingham with family. Most place's it will be a 2 or 3 night stay.
Now the big question.... TRANSPORT :)
So many options to choose, we are limited on funds but are willing to pay a little extra if we save alot of time. Time is our biggest factor. Tossing up between Busabout, Trains, or Planes. I love the idea of busabout but we don't want to spend most of our time there on buses! I've heard many mixed reviews about catching trains, or are we better to do a combo of all 3??
THANKS heaps guys! :)
Dec 5, 2012 2:38 AM
Dec 5, 2012 2:46 AM
2Suggest Paris >train Brussels >train Amsterdam >plane Berlin (skip Switzerland) >plane Venice >train Rome >plane Madrid >train Barcelona then by plane up to London for a couple of days then a few days in Birmingham. Google for low cost companies like easyjet, Ryan air and others. Bus or coach travel is loosing time.
Dec 5, 2012 2:56 AM
3Most place's it will be a 2 or 3 night stay
I would seriously reconsider travelling 100s of kilometres and spend half a day or more in transit to another place if you're going to spend only 2-3 nights (1-2 full days) there.
Besides that, you're making a few common first-timer's mistakes (seeing only capitals, treating a whole country as a "place", packing in far too much) - see http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2153476
I love the idea of busabout but we don't want to spend most of our time there on buses
I wouldn't want travel this length by bus surrounded by other Anglophones, and limited by Busabout's schedules - using the local public transportation network gives you much more freedom.
I've heard many mixed reviews about catching trains
I wonder what reviews you heard - please share what you've heard and we experienced train travellers can give their opinion.
Dec 5, 2012 2:59 AM
4hi newbie, welcome to thorntree,
busabout imo worst for this, since alone Paris > Madrid will require a minimal of 27 days due to their system of mandatory stopovers, i.e. your trip would be mostly bussing and 1day 'mandatory' sightseeing each place...
describing your itinerary as rushed would be an understatement, on this board we usually recommend 3 nights/2 full days in bigger places, and rather more for the real heavyweights like Paris, Rome etc. - though your plan is physically doable, I'm doubtful whether you'd enjoy it.
make sure you've checked this thread: Itinerary or budget question?
drop a line if you wish further ideas.
p.s. posting almost same time as aribo, I'd be curious as well about the 'mixed' reviews on rail travel ;-)
Dec 5, 2012 3:26 AM
5To have some time to see the things you want to see instead of just hopping off and on trains and planes, I would save Madrid and Barcelona for a next time. These cities have been there for a long time and will remain there for the foreseeable future.
And I would take the train from Amsterdam to Berlin. It's only some six hours through the not spectacular, but nonetheless agreeable plains of northern Germany, so the time you save by flying is minimal.
Dec 5, 2012 3:29 AM
6Train travel is safe,efficient,not too expensive and easy.....
You can certainly use planes if you have a very long journey....and it can be cheaper than the train.Don't forget to add the time/cost getting to/from the airport (a lot if you use Ryanair;-) plus the checking-in time etc.
In general you seem to be moving very fast..I'd think about cutting out some destinations first,and THEN look at the travel options between those....
Dec 5, 2012 4:07 AM
Dec 5, 2012 6:34 AM
8I second #2. Book 3 months in advance for cheapest price.
However, you have 30 days and 11 destinations. The minimum for me is 3.5 days including downtime for transit to/from airport/train stations to/from hotels, orientation in new cities, stopping for lunch/dinner, sleeping, laundry, phoning/calling home, sleeping in, hangover recovery, jet lag recovery, etc.
By default, at least 2 destinations need to be chopped therefore. Otherwise this is one hell of a punishing itinerary.
The amount of time I'd suggest for each destination for a first time visitor is:-
Paris 5 days + jet lag recovery = 6
Brussels = 1 day
Amsterdam = 3 days
Berlin = 3 days
Switzerland = 3 days (go to the Bernese Oberland)
Venice = 3 days
Rome = 4 days
Madrid = 3 days
Barcelona = 3 days
London = 5 days
Birmingham = 3 days for the family thing
Total = 38 days.
Toss in 1/2 day for each leg for above mentioned reasons and it's 43.5 days total.
Dec 5, 2012 6:38 AM
9PS - "limited on funds"... Absolute bare minimum for accom + minimal sightseeing + self catering = 50 euros a day, per person. Given the amount of moving around and the price of some cities you intend to visit I'd budget 70 euros per person per day, even allowing for the free accom in Birmingham with the family - and that doesn't include intercity travel, just inner city travel + sightseeing the main attractions + the odd bit of alcohol and occassional meal out.
Total therefore = 30 x 140 euros = 5,240 AUD for the 2 of you and that's not including your flights in and out, nor travel around Europe. For train info, refer to http://www.bahn.co.uk for the timetable and http://www.seat61.com for general train info + a review of passes vs point to point tickets. Still, at least the AUD is heavily in your favour...
Also, where do you fly home from? Cos flying back to Paris is pointless and a waste of time. Emirates fly to Dubai direct out of Birmingham where you could connect to anywhere major in Australia.
Dec 5, 2012 8:15 AM
- Are you coming from outside of Europe? It might make sense to fly "open jaws," which means you fly into one city, and home from another city. This saves you time and money of having to return to your original destination city.
- You'll be doing a lot of traveling for a 30 day trip. If you visit 10 cities, and use up a half-day of travel between each one, you will burn 5 of your 30 days on transportation. Many first-time visitors like to do the sprawling, city-to-city tour of Europe. But most regulars here enjoy a slower, more sedate form of travel. Let's put it this way...if I had 30 days of travel in Europe, I'd probably pick two countries, and stay two weeks each. In that system, your transportation needs are minimized, and you can see much more in terms of small towns, the countryside, non-touristy locations, etc.
- Note that even though you may pursue "one hour" flights, your transportation will not take you one hour, and it will end up costing you more than just the cost of the flight. You need to get to/from airports, which can be time-consuming and expensive, especially for the budget flights that often depart from airports that are more difficult to get to. Not to mention arriving early for security.
- Trains are convenient and simple to catch. Most cities have a very centrally located train station.
Dec 5, 2012 2:02 PM
Dec 6, 2012 10:28 AM
12... or start in Rome and slowly work your way to London (and Birmingham). It gives sense to your journey.
Switzerland would not be a logical destination after Venice, unless you go on to Paris, but Austria is. Nothing wrong with Austria (okay, something went wrong in the 'thirties, but that's long ago). From there on you could continue to München and then Berlin.
Take a map, if only Google Maps, and try to figure out a route which can fully be done by train. Trains are so much to be preferred to planes: you arrive in the centre of cities, which spares a lot of time of travelling to and from airports; there are no passports check, no luggage checks, no waiting times, which spares you even more time. And the train journey is a joy in itself instead of just a necessity. Sitting comfortably in your chair, you can nicely enjoy the landscape rolling by. Www.bahn.co.uk/, mentione above, is the perfect tool for your planning.
Dec 7, 2012 7:41 AM
13Hey Nautiker, Not sure If I am replying in the correct way? Really can't figure out how to work this board! Thanks heaps for your input, as much as busabout did sound good I can see alot of the negatives of using them now. The only worry I had with trains is from reading reviews which said if you used a "global pass" you could potentially not be able to get a seat due to the limited seats allocated to the pass holders. I also read and have heard from friends that Italy's train system is really easy to use but isn't included in global passes? I'm not sure how much of this is true. I will speak with my partner and try cut it down. The more i've read/spoken to people the trains do sound convenient and affordable, I think it's the passes that seem to not be as popular?
Thanks so much for your input, and for welcoming me :)
Dec 7, 2012 7:50 AM
14Hey Fwoggie, I guess we're not that limited on funds. How I originally calculated the savings we would need was through looking at the tours. I couldn't justify spending that much on a contiki or the likes of if for the price when your on a bus alot of the time. I saw the 30 days topdeck one was about $5500 each so I told my partner I would organise it myself and not necessarily do it cheaper but do it our way :) Obviously the less money we spend on accomodation will mean more $$ to do things etc.
Thanks for linking me to the page, Can't figure out this thorn tree.. I was trying to find another couple doing the same thing as me then figured I might aswell ask myself!!! Thanks :)
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