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Old 8th March 2017, 18:49   #391
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Hi Highway Buddha,

Here are some of the answers that you are looking for. I had done this travel around 7 years ago and hence will advice you to recheck the current status.

For a similar trip of ours, Swiss pass was a lot cheaper that buying tickets for individual journey and will recommend it. In our case, children below 16 were eligible to travel freely with parents and hence, unless this has changed, you need to buy the family pass for two persons only. That was a big advantage.

Not sure about validation process though. There will be subsequent trains between Basel and Lucerne although with a gap of 30 mins or one hour. During my trip, I have an impression that our Swiss pass allowed us to travel in the train upto Germany. Please check that angle also.

Overall, I thought your daily itinerary was a bit ambitious - Not sure whether you can do both the mountains on same day ie Day 2. Similarly, going to Juangfrau plus the Falls plus spending time in Interlaken - all in one day is also heavy. You are separately doing Schilthorn on the next day. Unless you want to tick everything off the list, I will recommend that you drop one or two places and spend more time at the other ones.
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Old 15th March 2017, 10:26   #392
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Default Europe Roadtrip

Hi bhpians,

I have read a lot of travelogues of people who have done road trips in Europe. Me and my better half are planning to do a 10 days road trip in Europe in September. I have got a highly recommended route from Paris - Zurich - Milan - Florence - Rome. When I checked the car rentals, they are around $800 + fuel and toll etc for pick up at Paris and drop off at Rome. Whereas flight tickets for 2 is around $250-300. I realized that if we start from Paris and then come back to Paris then car rentals are very cheap as compared to one way. Need your help in planning this trip. I am open to other destinations or routes too.
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Old 15th March 2017, 11:09   #393
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Default Re: Europe Roadtrip

There's a couple of very active threads where a similar itinerary is being discussed.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post4161933 (Vacation in Italy : Suggestions!)

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post4160006 (Travelling to Europe. Need advice)

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When I checked the car rentals, they are around $800 + fuel and toll etc for pick up at Paris and drop off at Rome. Whereas flight tickets for 2 is around $250-300.
Don't leave out train travel; Paris-Zurich is extremely convenient. So is Zurich - Milan.

Considering your baggage, trains will work out easier than flights, and cheaper than car rental. Plus, you can utilize the night for traveling.

If you're particular about taking flights, also consider easyjet. They have dirt cheap fares, but at the compromise of baggage allowance.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 15th March 2017 at 11:11.
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Old 15th March 2017, 11:14   #394
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Default Re: Europe Roadtrip

Note from Support: Please continue in the threads mentioned above. Thanks
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Old 16th March 2017, 11:43   #395
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Default Re: Europe Roadtrip

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
There's a couple of very active threads where a similar itinerary is being discussed.
Don't leave out train travel; Paris-Zurich is extremely convenient. So is Zurich - Milan.
Considering your baggage, trains will work out easier than flights, and cheaper than car rental. Plus, you can utilize the night for traveling.
If you're particular about taking flights, also consider easyjet. They have dirt cheap fares, but at the compromise of baggage allowance.
I checked car rentals if I start from one city say Frankfurt and end my trip at Frankfurt then it becomes quite cheap at around $200 for car rental for 10-12 days. This way I can explore the countryside better. Please suggest doable routes for these 10-12 days.
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Old 18th March 2017, 20:26   #396
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Guys,

Almost on the verge of finalizing the following plan for my Europe trip. I will be travelling in the last week of June and first week of July. Places of interest are Switzerland and Italy.

Day 1 - Arrive at Rome
Day 2 - Rome City tour
Day 3 - Vatican City tour,
Day 4 - checkout, go to Venice
Day 5 - Venice
Day 6 - Venice to Lucerne
Day 7 - Mt Titlis
Day 8 - Lucerne to wengen or lauterbrunnen,
Day 9 - Jungfrau
Day 10 - Klein Matterhorn
Day 11- Zurich and fly back

Hoes does this plan look overall?
I am trying not to cram too much into this trip and have some breathing space.

Some questions -
Should I try to squeeze in Florence and Pisa somehow?
In Switzerland, I am choosing Titlis/Jungfrau/Klein Matterhorn for mountain excursions. However, there are many more like Pilatus/Rigi/Schilthorn etc. So, what's the suggestion. I think Rigi offers some variety and hence might be a nice choice.
Should I stay in wengen or lauterbrunnen,? Or some other place?

This is my first time to Europe with family. So, any suggestions welcome

Last edited by adimicra : 18th March 2017 at 20:28.
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Old 19th March 2017, 18:16   #397
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by adimicra View Post
Hoes does this plan look overall?
For the Italy and Lucerne part, looks fine to me. Don't try to cram Firenze or Pisa in.

I hope you don't have kids on strollers. Venice can be a PITA with such kids in tow.
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Old 20th March 2017, 15:53   #398
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by adimicra View Post
Guys,

Day 4 - checkout, go to Venice
Day 5 - Venice
Day 6 - Venice to Lucerne

Should I try to squeeze in Florence and Pisa somehow?
Take an early morning Freccia train on Day 4 to Pisa from Rome. You will reach Pisa by around 1030 or so and can spend a leisurely 4-5 hours in Pisa, eat Pizza and then take another Freccia train to Venice. We did the same and trust me it was not at all tiresome (thanks in part to the awesome train journeys). Visit loco2 for train bookings. Cramming in Florence will not really help as you will not be able to do justice to this beautiful city in half a day.
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Old 21st March 2017, 07:51   #399
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by racer_ash View Post
Take an early morning Freccia train on Day 4 to Pisa from Rome. You will reach Pisa by around 1030 or so and can spend a leisurely 4-5 hours in Pisa, eat Pizza and then take another Freccia train to Venice. We did the same and trust me it was not at all tiresome (thanks in part to the awesome train journeys). Visit loco2 for train bookings. Cramming in Florence will not really help as you will not be able to do justice to this beautiful city in half a day.
Thanks a lot. This was exactly what I was looking for.
I have one question regarding luggage (which will be plenty). Where do we keep the luggage for 4-5 hours? All the stations have secured luggage rooms?

Also, with this itinerary, I will reach Venice around evening time. So, will I have enough time to experience Venice? I understand it's a small place unlike Rome but I wanted to visit some islands like Murrano/Burano etc
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Old 21st March 2017, 14:46   #400
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by adimicra View Post
I have one question regarding luggage (which will be plenty). Where do we keep the luggage for 4-5 hours? All the stations have secured luggage rooms?
Roma Termini has them, am not sure on Pisa. Its a small station really. The painless but time consuming option would be to drop at Termini, goto Pisa and return. Pick the luggage back at Termini and catch a train to Venezia. There are many Roma-Venezia fast trains, most often I've transferred to one such at Bologna.

Quote:
I will reach Venice around evening time. So, will I have enough time to experience Venice
You are travelling around Summer Equinox, expect sunlight 5:30 to 21:30. You'll have twilight all the way upto 22:00. So it boils down really to your energy levels.

Venezia will be buzzing with activity even at 23:00. Sightseeing spots obviously won't be open, but you can roam around.

Murano is a half day trip, Burano another half. Both are about an hour's journey on the vaporetto each way. You can find enough excuses to extend your stay and see in Venice
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Old 21st March 2017, 15:14   #401
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by adimicra View Post
Thanks a lot. This was exactly what I was looking for.
I have one question regarding luggage (which will be plenty). Where do we keep the luggage for 4-5 hours? All the stations have secured luggage rooms?

Also, with this itinerary, I will reach Venice around evening time. So, will I have enough time to experience Venice? I understand it's a small place unlike Rome but I wanted to visit some islands like Murrano/Burano etc
There are two stations in Pisa. The Pisa Centrale and the other (which is closer to the leaning tower complex) named Pisa San Rossore. AFAIK, Pisa Centrale has a luggage storage (though I haven't personally used it), but the San Rossore station definitely doesn't have it since its a very small station. Please do check online forums like tripadvisor and I am sure you will get definite answers to this particular query. Please note that luggage is charged on a piece basis and not set basis.

Where exactly do you plan on staying in Venice? Mestre or Venice island. If you ask me, staying in Mestre which is on the mainland and taking the frequent 9 min train to Venice island is a no-brainer and it also proves much cheaper.

You can even check out the Venezia Unica card which you can purchase online and collect at the many Venezia Unica collection points outside the train stations in Mestre as well as the island. It gives you unlimited travel on Vaparettos to all Venice Islands as well as transfer between Mestre and Venice island. You can even include an airport transfer to your card and it will take care of your journey to the next destination. Do note that Vaparettos are very expensive; last I heard they were around 7.5Euro for a single journey, so do check out the Unica card and it may prove economical.

You can use the evening time to stroll around Venice and maybe take a Gondola ride which if you ask me is even more romantic during late evenings with all the lights illuminating Venice and the Grand Canal.
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Old 5th May 2017, 14:09   #402
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Doing the paperworks for my Iceland trip. Some visa questions:

i> Do they accept card payment at the VFS centres.(hyderabad?)
ii> Is it necessary to give coloured xerox of ALL pages of passport!?
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Old 5th May 2017, 15:02   #403
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Edited: Sorry. I misread the date on HighwayBuddha's post and thought that this is a recent post. Some of the sites I have mentioned are useful though and can help people who are planning to but Swiss pass in India.
Mods - please feel free to delete this post if need be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
Q1 - Do I need a Swiss Travel Pass if the above is my itinerary? We are three - me, wife and 13 year old. Will it turn out to be cost-effective if I bought the Swiss Travel pass as compared to paying my way through? I don't intend going to any museums - except if it is a chocolate or cheese museum in Lucerne or Interlaken.
Swiss pass is quite cost-effective. And it gives you many more options on travel. It also gets you discount on the mountain trains upto 50%. And your child travels free. So overall it turns out to be very cost-effective

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
Q2 - Will I need to buy a pass for my son as well, or can i get a family card in addition to two travel passes and my son gets to travel free?
No. Not required to buy for your child. Make you that you get a family card. You can refer to this site. You can actually buy this in India and pay in Rupees. The Swiss pass and Family card will be delivered to your home. The Sometimes the India site has fantastic discounts.
Swisstours.com

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Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
Q3 - Can I use my swiss pass from the time I enter Switzerland itself? For e.g., can I get a ticket only from Paris to Basel on Rail Europe and then use the Swiss Pass from basel to Lucerne? Can I make it valid from as soon as I enter Switzerland(from the border itself)? Will the same as above apply (buy two, get child's free?)
Yes. You can use it as soon as you are in Switzerland. You must ensure that you have the pass & the family card with you whenever you are travelling the Swiss network. No validation required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighwayBuddha View Post
Q4 - If the above Q3 is true, will I need to do some kind of validation at Basel on the station/platform BEFORE I board the train at Basel? I have a changeover time of 8 minutes at Basel - will that be enough for me to get off the TER train from Strasbourg, get the ticket validated at the station and then board the train to Lucerne? All with luggage and a child tagging along? Or can I miss that train and take the next one? How frequent are these trains?
No validation required. I recommend that you download the SBB app on your Android or Apple phone. The App is awesome and will tell you the next available train from your location to wherever you want to go in Switzerland. It will give you multiple options and is very very easy to use. In reality 8 minutes is a good enough time, but since you will have luggage and the fact that you are new there, I will suggest that you take the next train instead of rushing. Check the SBB site here. There are trains from Basel to Luzern every 20 minutes. Always check the route - Some will be direct and some will be via some other location. The site and the App are extremely easy to use.

Enjoy your trip. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Last edited by ptushar : 5th May 2017 at 15:18. Reason: reason noted in post
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Old 5th May 2017, 17:30   #404
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by saion666 View Post
Doing the paperworks for my Iceland trip. Some visa questions:

i> Do they accept card payment at the VFS centres.(hyderabad?)
ii> Is it necessary to give coloured xerox of ALL pages of passport!?
No, they only take cash. At least in Pune before demonetization. Not sure if things have changed post Nov.

No, you can submit b&w copies of just the relevant pages:
First and last page (name and address)
ECR/ECNR stamp if relevant

And to be on the safer side, carry prints of all pages with visas and immigrations stamps.

Also, here's a tip:
Click the pictures for the visa application at VFS centre itself. From personal experience, I've found VFS (Pune and Mumbai) to be unnecessarily fussy about the pictures. Funnily, VFS Pune rejected a picture clicked at VFS Mumbai!

VFS is a very well-oiled business: they have a xerox machine, photo booth and even an insurance agent within their office.

EDIT: Not sure how long your trip is, but most Schengen countries require you to have travel insurance for at least nine days, even if your travel is for lesser duration.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 5th May 2017 at 17:33.
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Old 5th May 2017, 20:06   #405
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
No, they only take cash. At least in Pune before demonetization. Not sure if things have changed post Nov.
They seem to take cards. Pasted from vfs-france.co.in -

Quote:
Please note the visa fee for applicants applying to the France Visa Application Centre in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Goa is payable by cash and by debit/credit card .
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