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Old 4th January 2017, 23:11   #331
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by vinayrathore View Post
Hi Anand, Firstly you do not need an IDP to drive in Europe. Your Indian DL if its in English is good enough for you to drive. I have driven a lot in Europe and all with just my Indian DL.
One question - I took my IDL about 18 years back and it has my surname as an initial. So it is Sxxxxxxxxx. K. Whereas my passport has the initial expanded - Sxxxxxxxxxxx Kxxxxxxxxxxx. Will this be a problem when I hire a self-drive car in Europe? Will they compare the license with my passport?

I could renew my IDL, but the problem, it is valid for another 2 years and apparently will not allow me to renew until about a month before expiry. Thanks
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Old 4th January 2017, 23:16   #332
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
Same for Rome - I am told major Rome attractions + Vatican can be done in one day?
Very difficult to cover everything in one day.

Btw, recommendation - I was in Rome and stayed in this Airbnb. Great location and nightlife here on a Saturday night is simply awesome.

https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/5465816
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Old 5th January 2017, 09:25   #333
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
Thanks. In Paris, I am not that interested in the museums and so I am guessing 1 day to do the Eiffel + river ride + Champs Elysees will do. Is thjis right?

Same for Rome - I am told major Rome attractions + Vatican can be done in one day?

Also, what are the implications of "Please keep in mind theres Brexit coming from next financial year."? Thanks
Rome in a day is close to impossible. You have the colloseum, The original Pantheon and the Vatican, all of which are crowded places and would be taking time even if you decide to run inside them or just visit it from the outside(Book the Vatican and Colloseum tickets online and take the printout)..If you're interested in other side tours like the Angels and demons trace, then its gonna take further more time. Plus the charm of Rome is in its Piazza's where you would have someone or the other performing during evenings. So my suggestion would be to not rush Rome but to take in its various delights gradually (not to mention the wonderful food).

At the end of the day, Europe is all about the experience, its not about the amount of places you go. Most of Europe is historical, Rome and Paris albeit more so. So my suggestion would be to narrow down the countries and focus more on the places instead of the neither here nor there method.

And i stayed at this airbnb place, the host is a wonderful man, very helpful and nice. Picked me up from the airport even though my flight arrived at 23:30. He explained how to get to various places, provided me with a city map, helped me with getting the bus pass, pick up and drop to the airport and train station respectively and also some good eateries suggestion. His place is in a residential locality but well connected by Bus and tram.

https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/788400

Last edited by shadows123 : 5th January 2017 at 09:29.
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Old 5th January 2017, 09:53   #334
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
For me, I want this to be a once-in-a-lifetime Europe vacation for my family. So If I go to a place X, I want to go there when it is in all its glory. I am ok to travel anytime after 21 April, until June 4th 2017 and I am looking for a full 12 day vacation(excluding to and fro travel from Chennai).
......
Please advise. Also should I target to go in April, so that I can go to Switzerland (transit via London) first to see a bit of snow before it melts and then do the rest of the cities?
Well, there are 10 day Europe tours which cover major places of interest in these cities. They will allow you no more time than to click a couple of pictures at every place and move on. Then there are others who would like to visit and spend time at places of their choice than to cover it all in one trip. To each their own preferences, so it is your call really.
If you want to, you could cover the main sights of Paris in a day. Here is my old TL (which I didnt update with the other parts later). I hope it helps you plan your visit to this fabulous city
Paris-black-forest-bavaria-switzerland (Paris, Black Forest, Bavaria & Switzerland)

As for the other places you mentioned, I would recommend prioritising the places you really want to visit. If there is a place which you could visit later, then you could bump it off the list for now. You could focus on the schengen countries and do Paris, Switzerland and Rome in this trip. London/ Scotland could be another trip. Or you may want to consider extending the trip duration.

I guess whatever you can shop in London would be available in Paris or Rome too? But then this is the opinion of someone is not a shopaholic.

Within Switzerland too, it depends what you want to do. If it is only Interlaken/ Jungfraujoch then a couple of days is ok. Otherwise there is a couple of weeks worth of things to do there. You will have snow there (on the peaks, not snowfall) even in May/ early June, so you need not plan for April. I am not answering for Rome as I have not been there.

Last edited by selfdrive : 5th January 2017 at 09:55.
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Old 5th January 2017, 10:50   #335
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by vinayrathore View Post
Hi Anand, Firstly you do not need an IDP to drive in Europe. Your Indian DL if its in English is good enough for you to drive. I have driven a lot in Europe and all with just my Indian DL.
I have to emphasize you cannot drive in Europe on Indian DL _without_ IDP, in most countries of Europe. From my travels, Germany allows you to drive without IDP, but I know for sure (confirmed by rental companies, and government websites), that France, Italy, Austria and possibly Switzerland need IDP. Infact, if you're renting a car from Vienna for example, they will ask the IDP. In recent times, I have been asked to show IDP even in Germany (though it is not mandatory).
If the Police flags you down or checks at the borders, you don't want to explain to French or Italian police why you don't have IDP when you must. They'll not let you drive further.

So, I advise any wanting to drive in Europe, get an IDP which is an easy process, and valid for 1 year.
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Old 5th January 2017, 15:32   #336
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
I have to emphasize you cannot drive in Europe on Indian DL _without_ IDP, in most countries of Europe. From my travels, Germany allows you to drive without IDP, but I know for sure (confirmed by rental companies, and government websites), that France, Italy, Austria and possibly Switzerland need IDP. Infact, if you're renting a car from Vienna for example, they will ask the IDP. In recent times, I have been asked to show IDP even in Germany (though it is not mandatory).
If the Police flags you down or checks at the borders, you don't want to explain to French or Italian police why you don't have IDP when you must. They'll not let you drive further.

So, I advise any wanting to drive in Europe, get an IDP which is an easy process, and valid for 1 year.
Sorry, my bad. What I meant was I have an Indian DL(not an IDP) and intend to use in the UK/Scotland(where I guess it is allowed). My question is - if the name in the DL is initial-unexpanded and the name in the passport is initial-expanded, will it be a problem?
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Old 7th January 2017, 17:58   #337
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Default Europe Vacation - confused

I had started a thread earlier on my upcoming Europe travel, but guess somehow it has become dormant. Hence starting a new thread - moderator, please excuse.

I am a bit confused about how to plan my Europe trip. I am looking for London, Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, Interlaken and Lucerne. I am ok to travel anytime after 21 April, until June 4th 2017 and I am looking for a full 12 day vacation(excluding to and fro travel from Chennai). I am planning this on my own(no travel agency or group tour) and want a good experience - Emirates and BA for flights and decent but cost-effective hotels where possible. Overall budget is about 5.5 lakhs excluding London shopping.

This is a vacation with wife and 13 year old son. I want this to be a once-in-a-lifetime vacation with life-long memories. So If I go to a place X, I want to go there when it is in all its glory. My questions are:

a) I guess this timeframe is not the best to see snow in Switzerland at lower altitudes, so am I missing too much by going to Switzerland in April/May? Will it be like going to Manali but seeing snow only in Rohtang Pass?
b) Should I target Edinburgh+Glasgow(4 days), Paris(2 days), Switzerland(3 days) and London for shopping(3 days) ?
Or should I target - Edinburgh+Glasgow(4 days), Rome+Vatican(2 days), Switzerland(3 days) and London (3 days) ?
Or Edinburgh+Glasgow(3 days), Paris(2 days), Switzerland(3 days), Rome+Vatican(1 day) and London (3 days) ?
Yes, I know i am trying to do too much in too short a time etc etc., but this is how some of the participants want it . My personal preference is for the third option above(that includes both Paris and Rome). Someone on this forum has said Rome + Vatican can be done in one day. And in Paris, we just want to do a few things, see the Mona Lisa+Last Supper and be done with.
c) Also should I target to go in April, so that I can go to Switzerland (transit via London) first to see a bit of snow before it melts and then do the rest of the cities?
d) Can i do this in the 5.5L budget with stay in decent 3 star hotels if I book well in advance?(I was thinking of hotels that cost around INR10K per night in London and Edinburgh, INR12K in Paris and INR 16K in Switzerland). Is this doable?
My proposed itinerary is attached. Though right now it says we start on May 20, I am actually thinking of going in April itself to catch the snow in the Alps.

I am looking to book my tickets very soon, so need to decide fast. Any advise from veterans will be helpful.

Thanks
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Attached Files
File Type: xlsx Itinerary.xlsx (9.4 KB, 115 views)

Last edited by HighwayBuddha : 7th January 2017 at 18:00.
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Old 7th January 2017, 22:34   #338
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Default Re: Europe Vacation - confused

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Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
I had started a thread earlier on my upcoming Europe travel, but guess somehow it has become dormant. Hence starting a new thread - moderator, please excuse.

I am a bit confused about how to plan my Europe trip. I am looking for London, Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, Interlaken and Lucerne. I am ok to travel anytime after 21 April, until June 4th 2017 and I am looking for a full 12 day vacation(excluding to and fro travel from Chennai). I am planning this on my own(no travel agency or group tour) and want a good experience - Emirates and BA for flights and decent but cost-effective hotels where possible. Overall budget is about 5.5 lakhs excluding London shopping.

This is a vacation with wife and 13 year old son. I want this to be a once-in-a-lifetime vacation with life-long memories. So If I go to a place X, I want to go there when it is in all its glory. My questions are:

a) I guess this timeframe is not the best to see snow in Switzerland at lower altitudes, so am I missing too much by going to Switzerland in April/May? Will it be like going to Manali but seeing snow only in Rohtang Pass?
b) Should I target Edinburgh+Glasgow(4 days), Paris(2 days), Switzerland(3 days) and London for shopping(3 days) ?
Or should I target - Edinburgh+Glasgow(4 days), Rome+Vatican(2 days), Switzerland(3 days) and London (3 days) ?
Or Edinburgh+Glasgow(3 days), Paris(2 days), Switzerland(3 days), Rome+Vatican(1 day) and London (3 days) ?
Yes, I know i am trying to do too much in too short a time etc etc., but this is how some of the participants want it . My personal preference is for the third option above(that includes both Paris and Rome). Someone on this forum has said Rome + Vatican can be done in one day. And in Paris, we just want to do a few things, see the Mona Lisa+Last Supper and be done with.
c) Also should I target to go in April, so that I can go to Switzerland (transit via London) first to see a bit of snow before it melts and then do the rest of the cities?
d) Can i do this in the 5.5L budget with stay in decent 3 star hotels if I book well in advance?(I was thinking of hotels that cost around INR10K per night in London and Edinburgh, INR12K in Paris and INR 16K in Switzerland). Is this doable?
My proposed itinerary is attached. Though right now it says we start on May 20, I am actually thinking of going in April itself to catch the snow in the Alps.

I am looking to book my tickets very soon, so need to decide fast. Any advise from veterans will be helpful.

Thanks
__________________
Europe is best in Summer which starts with June. Long Sunny days makes most out of day for you.

I do not know about UK as I live in Germany and UK requires separate visa. So London is not in my list of travel. According to me, following are the sites to visit in Europe

1. France - Paris
2. Italy - Rome/vatican - 2 days ( Pisa if you have time add 1 more day)
3. Italy - Venice
4. Switzerland - Lucerne
5. Switzerland - Mount Titlis
6. Interlaken
7. Germany - Black Forest
7. Germany - Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle ( if you have plenty of time )
8. Berlin
9. Amsterdam, keukenhof ( keukenhof in April only )

Some Tips:
1. You should experience driving in Germany. You can do Germany in the CAR. It is the only country where you do not have speed limits. Car travel is cheaper than any other mode of travel.
2. You should experience TGV in France for speed. Germany ICE are the most beautiful bullet trains though. (OFF Topic: I am not really happy that India chose really ugly looking Japanese Bullet trains )
3. You can buy 10 Day Eurorail Pass with which you can travel all the europe using any train for 10 days which may not be consecutive. Cost of Euro rail pass for Adult is approx €600, Pass is valid for two months. Please do study this option where you want to use your pass or not.
4. Do not rush through places, enjoy the vacation. You can skip some places.
5. Keep your feet healthy. Walking gives you lot of freedom and excellent experience
6. Save in cost for hotels. Go for Airbnb or budget hotels. Average day cost will be in between €60-€100.
7. Or you can book some tours as well if it fits to your itinerary. From UK some tour with Start Tours is good option for Indians. Tours will save lot of hustle but freedom will be lost.
8. Never ever drive in the Switzerland. You will loose fortune if you break the rule. For example if you overspeed by mere 27kmph then fine is imposed which is equivalent to 20 days of your income. There are some cases where this fine has ran into millions.
9. You can fix your itinerary based on budget airlines as well. Tickets are really cheaper if you are not flying on weekends, sometimes €5 only. Ryanair, easyjet are some of the few options for cheaper travel. go visit Ryanair website and find out deals and plan your travel accordingly. Do not forget to do online checkin otherwise you will be charged heavily for on the counter checkins.
10. I hope you have flexibility with food. This will save lot of headache.

All depends on you, you can extend your stay for more than 12 days with little impact on Budget. Just plan to have relaxed experience because that will make you happy. Rushing through places is not good option. Spend time in appreciating architecture, nature, traditions.

Last edited by sushantr5 : 7th January 2017 at 22:44.
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Old 7th January 2017, 23:22   #339
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Default Re: Europe Vacation - confused

Try out Thomas Cook, I had a vacation to Europe with them in 2012 and it's was good a 15 day trip with my family. They have some great plans and have travel desk at major airport hubs, just in case.
At the beginning of the vacation we had to depart leaving my son to complete his exams (that got postponed at the last minute). So my wife, daughter and me left for Rome with a heavy heart and my son had to join us in Rome all alone the next day. The travel desk of Thomas Cook at Fiumicino Airport, Rome/Chennai office took great care of my son and they chaperoned him to the rendezvous point in pouring rain and also a packed a hot Pizza for lunch for him to have on the coach, we had finished Rome by then and were heading to Pisa.
After that it was one blast of a vacation and it was the best vacation we have had till date.
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Old 7th January 2017, 23:59   #340
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Default Re: Europe Vacation - confused

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Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
I am looking to book my tickets very soon, so need to decide fast. Any advise from veterans will be helpful.
I'm not a veteran, but having lived and traveled in Europe now for 5 years, I would like to mention a few things which might be useful for you. First a question, do you intend to visit Europe again? If yes, I would suggest you to focus on just a part of Europe and discover the places / do sightseeing there. I've seen many Indians doing Euro trips where they are literally flying across places, doing FB-Checkin at touristic places and moving on to next destination. I prefer taking my time, soaking in the smells, see the local culture, taste local food before moving on. So I would suggest something like England + Scottland + Ireland in 1 Leg. France+Belgium+Netherlands, Germany or Italy+Austria+Switzerland+ in another leg, Spain+Portugal, Eastern Europe or the Balkans and so on.. If you ask me which is 1 country in Europe which you should not miss out, that would be without doubt Iceland, but then it's a matter of personal taste..


Quote:
Originally Posted by sushantr5 View Post

Some Tips:
1. You should experience driving in Germany. You can do Germany in the CAR. It is the only country where you do not have speed limits. Car travel is cheaper than any other mode of travel.
Clarification, it is the only country without speed limits on defined sections. There are speed limits in Autobahn as well.

Quote:
4. Do not rush through places, enjoy the vacation. You can skip some places.
Just plan to have relaxed experience because that will make you happy. Rushing through places is not good option. Spend time in appreciating architecture, nature, traditions.
Very true.

Quote:
8. Never ever drive in the Switzerland. You will loose fortune if you break the rule. For example if you overspeed by mere 27kmph then fine is imposed which is equivalent to 20 days of your income. There are some cases where this fine has ran into millions.
27 Kmph is not "mere", for a comparable offense in Germany the fines may not be so high but then in Switzerland a Döner costs 10€

Quote:
10. I hope you have flexibility with food. This will save lot of headache.
Very true.

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Old 8th January 2017, 10:27   #341
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Default Re: Europe Vacation - confused

Thanks mates. Agree - i need to cut down on the places a bit. I am sort of firm on London, Edinburgh and Switzerland. In fact I want to break up London into two with 2 days at the beginning(to catch a ManU match on day 2 - the last match for ManU of the season) and 1 day at the end for shopping(so that I dont have to lug my shopped items everywhere).

So the choice comes to between Paris and Rome. If you were me which one would you go for, for 3 days? Thanks
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Old 10th January 2017, 10:55   #342
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Default Re: Europe Vacation - confused

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So the choice comes to between Paris and Rome. If you were me which one would you go for, for 3 days?
If I were in your place I would go for Rome.
But thats because I have already been to Paris

Looking at it logistically, compare how much time/ effort/ costs if you take the Eurostar to Paris vs if you take the flight to Rome.

What sights/ experiences would you prefer is something only you (and those who travel with you) can answer. Somehow, Paris holds a different charm than Rome or even London. It is what you want to do after getting there that really matters.
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Old 10th January 2017, 11:50   #343
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Default Re: Europe Vacation - confused

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Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
So the choice comes to between Paris and Rome. If you were me which one would you go for, for 3 days? Thanks
I went to both Paris and Rome in June 2016. If I were to choose between the two, Rome is an easy easy pick. Stay in Trastevere in Rome and if possible spend a Saturday night there.

However, if my daughter were to choose, she would pick the 2.5 days we stayed inside Disneyland .

So net net - Disneyland (inside the park, not Paris city) if you have kids between 5-12 years old else Rome.
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Old 22nd January 2017, 01:30   #344
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

I might have to travel to Germany early next month for work. When that's done, I intend to spend 5-6 days travelling solo and have zeroed down on Italy as it's quite close to Munich. My return flight will be from Milan, so I will spend 3 days there. However, as every city in Italy looks quite beautiful, the more I research, the more I get confused on what I should do for the remaining 3 days. Genoa, Florence, Rome, or something else? Help me out guys. My major interests lie in exploring the city through walking tours and if possible, a bit of partying.
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Old 22nd January 2017, 03:46   #345
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by prateekm View Post
However, as every city in Italy looks quite beautiful, the more I research, the more I get confused on what I should do for the remaining 3 days. Genoa, Florence, Rome, or something else? Help me out guys. My major interests lie in exploring the city through walking tours and if possible, a bit of partying.
Rome(including the Vatican) is the best place I have been in my life. Nothing in the world comes close to that for me. 3 days if Rome would be wonderful.

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Originally Posted by Eddy View Post
I went to both Paris and Rome in June 2016. If I were to choose between the two, Rome is an easy easy pick.

True. But that's just because Rome is that good. Paris is also one of the great cities of the world.

Last edited by carboy : 22nd January 2017 at 03:48.
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