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Old 22nd June 2014, 14:13   #151
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What's the best way to carry money for Italy and Paris? Should I carry travellers cheques, use my credit card, use a foreign exchange card or what? What is the currency in these 2 countries - is it Euro now or is it their local currency?
Its euro. Carry some cash and rest in foreign exchange cards. Nothing more convenient than a forex card
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Old 22nd June 2014, 14:55   #152
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What's the best way to carry money for Italy and Paris? Should I carry travellers cheques, use my credit card, use a foreign exchange card or what? What is the currency in these 2 countries - is it Euro now or is it their local currency?

Forex Visa cards are the best. Check with the bank that is issuing the card on the fee per transaction. So don't use the card for small transactions like coffee etc. suggest you use it to withdraw cash.


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Old 22nd June 2014, 15:09   #153
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Forex Visa cards are the best. Check with the bank that is issuing the card on the fee per transaction. So don't use the card for small transactions like coffee etc. suggest you use it to withdraw cash.
Can I use it to withdraw cash from ATMs? Will there be a transaction charge for that?
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Old 22nd June 2014, 18:39   #154
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What's the best time of the year to vacation in London, Paris and Italy? .

Early July - Mid August would be the best time to visit U.K. & Europe in terms of the weather barring sudden weather changes which can happen a lot in UK , busy and expensive months for hotels and flights as well due to school holidays.

The vacation is going to be fairly short - 7-8 days totally. How do I distribute this among the different places & where do I start & where do I end? Any suggestions?

I would Strongly Suggest India - London - Paris - Italy - London - India .
London - Paris by Eurostar is a cheaper,convenient journey compared to the flights into Paris from London and is also worth the ride as you pass some picturesque locations.

I want to see Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower in Paris.

2- 3 days in Paris will give you ample time to cover other places , its a beautiful city and I can Chalk out a list for the must see places. Believe me as I have been to Paris around 5 times and I keep going back as there are so many places to visit and so much to see , and if you are going with family including Kids then Disney is a must visit.

I want to do a Gondola ride in Venice and wander around for a few hours

Venice is again very beautiful and worth a visit , however I'm not a big fan of Gondola ride as it happens to be in the canals which are littered with city sewage and it is stinky , spoilt my Venice experience .

I want to spend a full day in Rome and a full day in Vatican

1 Day is mostly sufficient for both Rome and Vatican as they are close to each other , can use the extra day else where to optimise your trip.

I want to see the leaning tower of Pisa.

2.5 - 3 hours train ride each way from Rome and costs 100 euros round trip if booked in advance , worth it IMHO.

Where should I start and what should be order of the cities (I am thinking to start in Italy & then go to Paris, but not sure what would be best order of cities inside Italy)

Paris -Rome - Pisa - Florence - Venice - Rome - London

Paris to Rome via Flight and rest within Italy by train and then you can do either Rome to London or Florence to London by Flight.

am very scared that I will reach a place and I will not have enough time to do what I want to do. Also if anyone has suggestions as to at what locations I should request hotels at these places, that will also be very helpful.

Went to Italy on a packaged tour from London so cannot comment on hotel stay in Italy , I regularly do London - Paris on the weekends and I would strongly suggest either Ibis or Novotel in La Defense , primary reason being both hotels are 15 mins ride on the metro from all the major tourist spots of Paris with a metro station bang opposite the hotel , also hotels in central Paris are mighty expensive and the distance between the above mentioned hotels and central Paris is too short to justify the costs , in fact you have rooms with Eiffel view in Novotel , which just shows that La Defense is not too far off .
I would again strongly suggest hotels in the Ealing area in London as hotels in Central London are a blatant rip off , it will cost you a fortune to get into Central London from Heathrow Airport , Ramada Hotel in Ealing is quite close to Ealing Common Tube station which can get you into Central London to visit all the major attractions within 30 mins time, the taxi ride to the hotel from Heathrow will set you back by 15 - 20 which is a decent cost , please avoid Black Cabs in London as they are very expensive , can definitely pass you some call taxi numbers in London if you require them.

Should I arrange for transfers to & from airports to hotel or is it something I can go there and figure out?

It's very easy to figure out both in London and Paris , you will be absolutely fine.

One tour guy told me flight would be cheaper to travel between Italy & Paris than a train. The other said train would be cheaper.

Depends on time of the year and also time of the day , both are right in their own way , advantage of the train journey would be the travel to picturesque locations whilst the flight will be mundane travel , depends on your time and cost elements.

I am actually ready to pay the extra costs associated with these tour companies if they were experts at what they do, but atleast the reps I talk to don't seem to be.
Have you tried Taj Tours , they seem to be much better than any other for European Holidays , cousin has just done a 9 day European tour from London and he said it was great vfm ,apparently had many people from India on the same tour , the entire tour is on a coach and a quick look on their website right now suggests there are shorter trips available from London.

Please note that I do not have any connection with Taj Tours , I'm just mentioning it as per my own experience and observation.

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Visiting Paris in the middle of July - the online tickets for Eiffel Tower are already booked out - so what's the best way to see the Eiffel Tower without standing in the line for many hours? There are some city towers which include the Tower tickets. Also do they allow you to the top? Are there different levels with different tickets?
The ticket prices are different for various levels , you can always buy a ticket to the top most level once you reach the mid level , at times tickets are only available till the mid level due to congestion at the top , however the option to buy to go to the top is always available at the mid level.

I have queued up all the times for the tickets and if you are there by 930 AM , the wait is generally for 15 - 20 minutes , I would not suggest the stairs route until and unless you are a fitness freak and are at the top of your game.

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What's the best way to carry money for Italy and Paris? Should I carry travellers cheques, use my credit card, use a foreign exchange card or what? What is the currency in these 2 countries - is it Euro now or is it their local currency?
The currency for both France and Italy is Euro , Credit cards are a strict no due to acceptance issues in most of the places , I would carry about 200 to 350 Euros cash and the rest on a forex card , I personally used my debit card ( London Issued) and can say that there are loads of hsbc atm's at most of the tourist places in Paris and Rome , so a forex card accepted in their cash points will be quite helpful , however I'm not sure about the charges so please kindly check the small print .
Finally both Paris and Italy have a massive issue with pick pockets at tourist destinations , have seen some bad cases as these people have some innovative tricks up their sleeve and the best do get caught out at times

If you need any further info or help regarding your London and Paris legs of your trip then please feel free to contact me.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 18:41   #155
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Can I use it to withdraw cash from ATMs? Will there be a transaction charge for that?

Yes. There will be a transaction charge to withdraw cash. Check with the bank. It will be the same transaction charge weather you withdraw a 100 Euros or swipe the card for 1 euro. So makes sence to draw a size-able amount of cash in one transaction.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 19:11   #156
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Please note that there is charge for balance checking at ATMs. It was €1.35 during my last trip to Italy in Apr13. So better to check balance online and as Arjun said withdraw a sizeable amount in one go or else you incur transaction fees each time.
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Old 28th June 2014, 09:37   #157
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

Will my phone charger fit in plug points in Italy and France? If not what kind of adapter should I carry?
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Old 28th June 2014, 10:09   #158
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Phone charger will work in Italy if it's two pin charger. All plug points in Italy are mostly two pin.

So you will need three pin to two pin converter. Your hotel can also provide it for 5 euro.
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Old 28th June 2014, 10:55   #159
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy View Post
Will my phone charger fit in plug points in Italy and France? If not what kind of adapter should I carry?
Quote:
Originally Posted by F150 View Post
Phone charger will work in Italy if it's two pin charger. All plug points in Italy are mostly two pin.

So you will need three pin to two pin converter. Your hotel can also provide it for 5 euro.
Yes, Two pin plugs work in most of Europe. No issues with that. Just carry a two pin charger. That said, its always good to have a world adapter like this handy when traveling abroad
http://www.amazon.in/Genuine-WONPLUG...inhydr18418-21

Works everywhere
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Old 28th June 2014, 11:00   #160
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Yes, Two pin plugs work in most of Europe. No issues with that. Just carry a two pin charger. That said, its always good to have a world adapter like this handy when traveling abroad
http://www.amazon.in/Genuine-WONPLUG...inhydr18418-21

Works everywhere
Thanks, will the pin size & shape be compatible. i.e. I have seen some kinds of pins don't fit some sockets.
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Old 28th June 2014, 11:01   #161
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Thanks, will the pin size & shape be compatible. i.e. I have seen some kinds of pins don't fit some sockets.
There is a reason these are called world adapters. they come with multiple pins for Europe, UK and the US
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Old 28th June 2014, 13:40   #162
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There is a reason these are called world adapters. they come with multiple pins for Europe, UK and the US
I think you misunderstood my question - totally my fault - my post was ambiguous. I was asking about the plug which came with my phone - that's a 2 pin plug. Will it fit into an Italian or French plug point. Asking because my pin is cylindrical (like most India plug pins) where I have seen pins and holes in some countries (for eg. the US) which are flat.

Also, I have another question - this time about the world adapter. It has 2 sides - the side where my pin goes - I can see from the photo that this will be able to fit in a wide variety of pins. What about the other side - i.e. the world adapter's pin which will go into the socket of the point - how is that made compatible to different sockets of the world - does it have replaceable pins? I think this is what you already answered.
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Old 28th June 2014, 14:25   #163
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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
I think you misunderstood my question - totally my fault - my post was ambiguous. I was asking about the plug which came with my phone - that's a 2 pin plug.
The pins and plug points don't match. You do need an adapter, mostly if you are staying in hotels they would have them. Or you can buy them in India as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy View Post
Also, I have another question - this time about the world adapter. It has 2 sides - the side where my pin goes - I can see from the photo that this will be able to fit in a wide variety of pins. What about the other side - i.e. the world adapter's pin which will go into the socket of the point - how is that made compatible to different sockets of the world - does it have replaceable pins?
Not replaceable pins, it is as foldable pins. The one I have has 2 foldable pins (like Civic styled car wipers) and a third that goes in out. This link does better justice pictorially.

Is this for laptops or smartphones. Mine was a Samsung, it comes with the PnP USB charger which works great for such scenarios.
--
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I have a total of around 9 days. I want to visit Paris, Rome/Vatican, Venice & Leaning tower of Pisa. I am trying to plan a detailed itinerary (i.e. what time to reach what place & what time to take a train etc) and am getting thoroughly confused about it. If anyone is familiar enough with France and Italy to help me make an itinerary, please let me know.

I want to see Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower in Paris.
I want to do a Gondola ride in Venice and wander around for a few hours
I want to spend a full day in Rome and a full day in Vatican
I want to see the leaning tower of Pisa.
A little late, but let me add some points.

- Vatican takes a full day to cover. Colloseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill again will take almost a day. Get your tickets in Roman Forum or Palatine Hill where its much less crowded. Buying tickets at Collosseum is a mess to say the least. Take the metro as much as possible, Bus 32 and 64 are infamous for pickpockets.
- Rome was pretty warm in December, so it will be hot in July. It was in low 30s in North Italy, so you can expect high 30s or 40s in Rome.
- If you are seeing just Leaning Tower, it won't take you more than 3 hrs. You have a Regional train that takes 45 min one way from Florence to Pisa.
- Avoid Beauvais Tille (so Ryan Air) from Paris, its one of the worst connected airports. Take a flight either from CDG or Orly.

Ideally I'd suggest fly CDG/ORY to FCO (Rome Fiumicino), take a Frecci* (fast train) to Florence. Take the Regional to Pisa and back. From Florence you can goto Venice. Either you can fly out of Venice or return back to Rome and fly out.
--
I would have more inputs end of next week for Paris if you need specifics

Last edited by narayans80 : 28th June 2014 at 14:43.
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Old 28th June 2014, 16:14   #164
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Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
The pins and plug points don't match. You do need an adapter, mostly if you are staying in hotels they would have them. Or you can buy them in India as well.
Staying in hotels.


Quote:
Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
Not replaceable pins, it is as foldable pins. The one I have has 2 foldable pins (like Civic styled car wipers) and a third that goes in out. This link does better justice pictorially.
That's that explained it.

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Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
Is this for laptops or smartphones.
Phone only.
Quote:
Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post

Mine was a Samsung, it comes with the PnP USB charger which works great for such scenarios.
My phone also has a USB charger, but what USB point do I connect it to?

--

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayans80 View Post
I would have more inputs end of next week for Paris if you need specifics
Thanks for all the suggestions. I am travelling in a couple of weeks - all bookings and plans are made now. Only thing I am wondering about is - how much money I would need - hotels, trains and flights are booked - I am a little confused as to how much to budget per day for 2 people for 10 days.

Last edited by carboy : 28th June 2014 at 16:18.
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Old 28th June 2014, 18:01   #165
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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
My phone also has a USB charger, but what USB point do I connect it to?.
Am talking about something like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy View Post
Only thing I am wondering about is - how much money I would need - hotels, trains and flights are booked - I am a little confused as to how much to budget per day for 2 people for 10 days.
In Paris, the museum and attraction tickets are pretty expensive. I'd budget 100 bucks a day just for that. Heck even Metro Pass for Zone 1-3 is 38 bucks/adult. You can explore Paris Pass depending on how much you are planning to cover. Budget another 100-150 bucks for food (you might end up spending lesser, but just to be on the safer side).

In Rome, tickets are on much lower side. Probably you'd spend 50 bucks on tickets and another 50 on food. Metro Pass is 16.5 bucks/adult.

Florence is on par with Rome. Pisa was a day trip, transportation use was minimal in FLR and PSA.

All amounts I mention are for 2 people. We travelled Rome as 2.5 tickets and similar budget for Paris as well.
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