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Old 25th May 2015, 15:02   #1
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Default 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Dates - 2 weeks in late July or early August
Travellers - Myself and wife
Budget - 3-4 lakhs INR (max budget of 4 lakhs should include everything like VISA or any other charges)
Objective - To make this our best & most memorable vacation so far!

Points to consider when suggesting -
  • My wife has never travelled abroad and I've only been to Poland (Warsaw) once.
  • I've driven extensively in India but never outside India.
  • I hold a valid Driver's License, wife doesn't know how to drive
  • My sister lives in PA so a trip to the USA (East Coast) is something that we're contemplating as it'd help cut down some of the lodging & food expenses
  • I really want to drive from East Coast to West Coast, cover the likes of Grand Canyon, Vegas and LA but not sure how the rental cars work out in the US. As per my sister rental cars and insurance for an outsider works out very expensive, she's not sure though.
  • How about a cross-country drive in Europe, doable in my budget?
  • What about outside Europe & US, what other options am I left with?
Thoughts?
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Old 25th May 2015, 15:52   #2
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
Dates - 2 weeks in late July or early August
Travellers - Myself and wife
Budget - 3-4 lakhs INR (max budget of 4 lakhs should include everything like VISA or any other charges)
Objective - To make this our best & most memorable vacation so far!

Points to consider when suggesting -
  • My wife has never travelled abroad and I've only been to Poland (Warsaw) once.
  • I've driven extensively in India but never outside India.
  • I hold a valid Driver's License, wife doesn't know how to drive
  • My sister lives in PA so a trip to the USA (East Coast) is something that we're contemplating as it'd help cut down some of the lodging & food expenses
  • I really want to drive from East Coast to West Coast, cover the likes of Grand Canyon, Vegas and LA but not sure how the rental cars work out in the US. As per my sister rental cars and insurance for an outsider works out very expensive, she's not sure though.
  • How about a cross-country drive in Europe, doable in my budget?
  • What about outside Europe & US, what other options am I left with?
Thoughts?
I think your budget is adequate for a lot of options. 4 lakhs is more than adequate to have a great 2-week holiday for a couple. Couple of pointers from my recent experiences:
1. Last year, (when EUR was between 80 & 85 ), my wife and I (sans kids) went on a 15-day driving holiday across north & central Italy, with a detour in France. Spent a total of ~5 lakh all inclusive, but this was after staying in some fancy places in Venice, Tuscany, etc. With EUR relatively lower in value, I could easily do the same trip today within 4 lakh if I wanted to economise.
2. This year, our family of 4 traveled to France and Spain on another driving holiday for 18 days (of which 9 days was driving and the rest was in Paris and cities where we did not drive). Total cost ~5.6 lakh. If I remove just the kids air tickets, the cost is down to 4.75 lakh. Consider that we stayed in apartments everywhere because of our family size and the cost of additional heads. If it were only 2 of us, I guess we would have done the trip at much less than 4 lakh.

BTW, the above includes ALL expenses as well as moderate shopping.

To my mind, the questions are:
- what kind of places do you want to go to (nature, beaches, views, cities, history, art)?
- do you have any favourite places you want to visit?
- are you are prepared to take a chance on driving, considering your lack of familiarity with foreign lands? Please think about this carefully, especially if you are traveling alone.
- if you want to travel overseas on a budget, SE Asia is one of the best regions to travel.

Please give some more pointers, and maybe we can suggest options.
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Old 25th May 2015, 16:06   #3
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reverse_gear View Post
To my mind, the questions are:
- what kind of places do you want to go to (nature, beaches, views, cities, history, art)?
Nature & views! Long scenic drives where I can stop my car to take a pic whenever I want.

Not much into visiting museums or art but yeah, would like to take pics of famous buildings etc. just to show off that yeah, we did visit that place

Quote:
Originally Posted by reverse_gear View Post
- do you have any favourite places you want to visit?
I want to drive a powerful rental car on autobahn if possible. If not that, a Mustang in USA somewhere maybe? We don't really have any favourite places simply because we haven't been anywhere and on the TV every place looks great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reverse_gear View Post
- are you are prepared to take a chance on driving, considering your lack of familiarity with foreign lands? Please think about this carefully, especially if you are traveling alone.
While every bhpian might say this, but I'm an extremely good defensive driver who makes full use of all RVMs and respects the car and the road. So yes, I'd be more than willing to take a chance driving in foreign lands. Worst case scenario, a few tickets or I might not be able to cover adequate distance, but I'd be more than willing to take this chance. In fact, I really want the trip to be a road trip if possible but skeptic of the language barrier if it turns out to be a roadtrip in Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reverse_gear View Post
- if you want to travel overseas on a budget, SE Asia is one of the best regions to travel.
Likes of Singapore/Malaysia might not call for such budget so we thought of heading to America or Europe. May be sometime later we can do SE Asia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reverse_gear View Post
Please give some more pointers, and maybe we can suggest options.
I'm fascinated with driving on wide roads, stopping by at rest stops for gas and food, you know do a loooong road trip if possible and see as many places as we can in these 2 weeks. Our first priority is to make this a road trip if possible unless high rental charges make it impossible in our budget.
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Old 25th May 2015, 16:41   #4
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

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Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
I want to drive a powerful rental car on autobahn if possible. If not that, a Mustang in USA somewhere maybe? We don't really have any favourite places simply because we haven't been anywhere and on the TV every place looks great.

Worst case scenario, a few tickets or I might not be able to cover adequate distance, but I'd be more than willing to take this chance. In fact, I really want the trip to be a road trip if possible but skeptic of the language barrier if it turns out to be a roadtrip in Europe.

I'm fascinated with driving on wide roads, stopping by at rest stops for gas and food, you know do a loooong road trip if possible and see as many places as we can in these 2 weeks. Our first priority is to make this a road trip if possible unless high rental charges make it impossible in our budget.
You seem to have made up your mind for a European road trip.

The economics would be like this:
- 2-weeks rental for a car 1 level above entry (Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, etc, which are comparable to i20 say) would be ~EUR 250. If you go in for Merc A-Class, my guess would be EUR 400. Check out www.economycarrentals.com
- say you cover 2500 km. You will probably spend EUR 200-220 on fuel (assuming EUR 1.5/ltr rate).
- Depending on the route, you will have to budget EUR150-200 for tolls.
- stay - EUR 75-100/day, food EUR 75/day, misc expenses & contingency EUR 50/day. So that would be EUR 2,800-3,150 for 2 weeks. Let's say EUR 3,000.
- Add Rs.1 lakh for tickets & visa, you will be at total trip cost of Rs.3,66,000 (in a Merc!).

On an average, I would say that driving is not more expensive than train. And, of course, it gives to flexibility to stop in the countryside (and stay in the countryside) which is not possible if you are on public transport.

Left over from the budget belongs to the wife for her vanity spend.

Europe is absolutely wonderful to drive around, whether you do Scandinavia, or Scotland, or central Europe or even Italy/ Spain. There are a LOT of sensational driving routes across the continent, if you are prepared to veer off the motorways and autobahns. Language barrier can be overcome, though it's useful to know a few words of the local tongue and be familiar with road signs that are not in English. We have been across Europe to numerous countries and managed on English (and a smattering of French).
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Old 25th May 2015, 16:46   #5
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
  • My wife has never travelled abroad and I've only been to Poland (Warsaw) once.
  • I've driven extensively in India but never outside India.
  • I hold a valid Driver's License, wife doesn't know how to drive
  • My sister lives in PA so a trip to the USA (East Coast) is something that we're contemplating as it'd help cut down some of the lodging & food expenses
  • I really want to drive from East Coast to West Coast, cover the likes of Grand Canyon, Vegas and LA but not sure how the rental cars work out in the US. As per my sister rental cars and insurance for an outsider works out very expensive, she's not sure though.
Rental cars in USA cost same for them and us. Only additional expense is about 14$/day for insurance which you will need(Loss damage waiver + third party)


Quote:
  • How about a cross-country drive in Europe, doable in my budget?
  • What about outside Europe & US, what other options am I left with?
Thoughts?
In USA, you can save food and lodging only at one point. When you start driving to west coast, it will cost you atleast 50$/day.
As for Europe, you can go anywhere in Europe. You can do
Alps (See my Austria-Switzerland-Hungary trip). In 2011 even with skydiving it came to something like 2.5L for about 20 days or so.

The only caveat is you should not eat in restaurants and cook your own food.
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Old 25th May 2015, 16:51   #6
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Have you gone through travelogues of our moderator tsk_1979? He has quite few good ones on Switzerland / Austria / Norway / Iceland with lots of information on budget, planning and rental cars. You can find excellent tips there.

Last edited by GTO : 26th May 2015 at 12:34. Reason: No PM'ing for assistance. Defeats the purpose of a community
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Old 25th May 2015, 17:23   #7
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Quick check on cleartrip tells me that tickets alone cost 1 lakh more for US compared to Europe (I looked at flight to Rome and return from Budapest). So is Europe going to be ~1 lakh cheaper than US?
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Old 25th May 2015, 17:39   #8
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
Quick check on cleartrip tells me that tickets alone cost 1 lakh more for US compared to Europe (I looked at flight to Rome and return from Budapest). So is Europe going to be ~1 lakh cheaper than US?
No, not 1 lakh. You can find accomodation for 50$ in USA. Europe can cost between 60-100 EUR. So I would say for 2 weeks, it will be about 75000 cheaper
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Old 25th May 2015, 18:02   #9
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

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Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
Quick check on cleartrip tells me that tickets alone cost 1 lakh more for US compared to Europe (I looked at flight to Rome and return from Budapest). So is Europe going to be ~1 lakh cheaper than US?
US roundtrip ticket should be 75-90k (depending on origin, destination, dates, etc). Europe round trip 45-55k.

But I guess that is compensated somewhat by lower cost of stay, food, fuel, etc. And, of course, your sister's hospitality.

So, all things considered, total trip cost may not be so much higher for US. I don't think that's going to be a dealbreaker either way.
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Old 25th May 2015, 18:12   #10
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
Objective - To make this our best & most memorable vacation so far!
My sister lives in PA so a trip to the USA (East Coast) is something that we're contemplating...
Are you looking for 2 weeks of *together alone* time, or *family reunion* time?
What about your wife's opinion? Where does she want to go?

I am certain the opinions and responses on this thread will leave you more confused than before you wrote this thread.
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Old 25th May 2015, 18:33   #11
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

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Originally Posted by reverse_gear View Post
US roundtrip ticket should be 75-90k (depending on origin, destination, dates, etc). Europe round trip 45-55k.
I can't do a roundtrip if I go to US as 2 weeks would already be less for doing an East to West coast drive. So 1 lakh for ND to NY and another lakh from, say LA, to ND.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Are you looking for 2 weeks of *together alone* time, or *family reunion* time?
What about your wife's opinion? Where does she want to go?

I am certain the opinions and responses on this thread will leave you more confused than before you wrote this thread.
So its more of a *together alone* time that we want but since my cute little niece is in PA (US) we thought of spending a day or two with them before embarking on our roadtrip.

My wife is pretty straightforward in her want, she wants to go "anywhere" till the time she's in awe of the views that place offers. We both love road trips so that has to be an integral part of these 2 weeks.

Let me try to articulate my confusion.

I'm thinking that an East to West coast road trip might make it more of a 'touch-and-go' but driving on long wide roads of the US is a dream! I mean movies like Due Date tell me that there's nothing like driving on west coast desert roads.

Its more of US long wide roads vs mountains & curves of Europe.
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Old 25th May 2015, 18:47   #12
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

End of July, First 2 weeks of August is the peak travel season in Europe. Everything from flights, hotels are likely to be expensive and in demand. Also it is peak summer, North Italy will be around 38-42. Going further south like Spain, Portugal will be much more hotter. Also you will have crowds everywhere

I'd suggest late August atleast or mid September if possible where you could get much better flight and hotel rates. The entire vacation going crowd would have settled and schools open by 2nd week of September.

If you are planning to explore nature (not art and museums) in Italy. I'd suggest to drive, even though Italian driving is ultra aggressive, you should be at home coming from India
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Old 25th May 2015, 18:57   #13
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

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I can't do a roundtrip if I go to US as 2 weeks would already be less for doing an East to West coast drive. So 1 lakh for ND to NY and another lakh from, say LA, to ND.
This is still a round-trip since you start and end in New Delhi. Please search for multi-city round trip in MMT or Cleartrip, you should get reasonable offers. DEL-NYC, LAX-DEL.

Quote:
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I'm thinking that an East to West coast road trip might make it more of a 'touch-and-go' but driving on long wide roads of the US is a dream! I mean movies like Due Date tell me that there's nothing like driving on west coast desert roads.
In my personal view, I don't think 2 weeks is enough time for you to plan this kind of trip. You need 3-4 weeks I think, especially if you are also going to spend 1-2 days in PA with your sister. Keep in mind that the driving distance coast-to-coast is the best part of 3,000 miles (4,800km). I would rather drive slightly less and spend more time taking in the places that we pass through. Also, this will be peak summer and the heat can be quite oppressive when driving across the US.

But then I haven't done a coast-to-coast road trip in the US. So what do I know?
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Old 25th May 2015, 19:07   #14
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

If its Europe then I can definitely change the dates and make it late Aug or Sep. As for a coast-to-coast drive in the US, 2 weeks don't look adequate and that's what my sister also told me.

So, alternatively, how about just an east coast trip of the US or a west coast trip of the US? East coast doesn't look very fascinating, I mean I have no clue what all it offers but does it have enough to keep as in "awe" for our 2 weeks of trip?

South America is ruled out but is New Zealand / Australia worth considering or I better restrict my planning between Europe and US for now? :P
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Old 25th May 2015, 19:11   #15
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Default re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

I took a 2 week vacation in Europe (France, Swiss & Germany) last year with family. You should be able to do 4 countries with 4L.

Some sites which were absolutely helpful during my trip,

booking.com --> No reservation or cancellation fees for most hotels until say 5 or 10 days before actual date of check-in.
vroomvroomvroom.com --> BEST rates for Rental cars. A AVIS/Budget VW Touran Diesel Top End cost only 32 Euros/Day.

Jet Airways flew Chennai-Bombay-Paris-Bombay-Chennai for only 42000 INR Economy.

If you want to drive, please please please keep Swiss, Germany or Austria in your list.

Hotels in City center usually cost more than ones on the suburbs. Since you are going to drive, you can skip hotels in the city center and save quite a bit.

Driving through Europe was my best vacation Do PM me if you need any more info.
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