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Old 23rd February 2011, 16:25   #61
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Paris to Italy - How should I do this - I think there is a 12 hour overnight train or I can fly - how much would the cost difference be between the 2 options?
The train will save you one night on hotel accomodation costs and you will be able to depart/ arrive centrally. With the flights you will have to reach an hour early and consider the travel times and costs to/ from the airports. In the end it will save you time over the train but overall costs may add up to the same. I would take the train, but then you should take a call if it would be tiring for you considering your travel itinerary.
In terms of costs, it depends on when you want to travel (in terms of season and day of the week). For flight options check www.kayak.com

Last edited by selfdrive : 23rd February 2011 at 16:26.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 16:27   #62
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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The train will save you one night on hotel accomodation costs and you will be able to depart/ arrive centrally. With the flights you will have to reach an hour early and consider the travel times and costs to/ from the airports. In the end it will save you time over the train but overall costs may add up to the same. I would take the train, but then you should take a call if it would be tiring for you considering your travel itinerary.
In terms of costs, it depends on when you want to travel (in terms of season and day of the week). For flight options check www.kayak.com
How comfortable is the train - i.e. will you really be able get overnight sleep?
Or will you arrive tired in the morning & spend the day sleeping?

Also how can I find out the times when trains leave Paris & reach Italy?
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Old 23rd February 2011, 16:39   #63
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
How comfortable is the train - i.e. will you really be able get overnight sleep?
Or will you arrive tired in the morning & spend the day sleeping?

Also how can I find out the times when trains leave Paris & reach Italy?
Please search on the net .There is abundant information about Eurail services. See a link below.

Paris to Milan Overnight Trains with Artesia Night Euro Railways
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Old 23rd February 2011, 16:47   #64
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

"2. Drive through Luzerne - does it come on your way to Zurich? I am not sure. I know it comes on your way to Zurich by train, one of the more scenic train trips that I remember."

Hey V10 if you are travelling from Interlaken to Zurich by car, you wont touch Luzern. You will be travelling this route normally: Interlaken -> Bern -> Olten -> Aarau -> Zurich.

if you have any questions about swiss and its route, dont hesitate to contact me.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 18:13   #65
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post

I will be going to UK for a 6 month assignment. My wife and son will join me after 3 months and stay with me for one month. Since she will be travveling to UK, she will be getting her UK visa done first. Then I was planning whether she could get the Schengen visa also done but at this point of time I dont know where in Europe would she travel. So how do I know which embassy to visit in Mumbai to get the Schengen visa?
Regardless of which European country you apply to, you will need to have your travel plan, tickets and hotel reservations before you can apply for the visa.

Unfortunately no European embassy/consulate issues anyone in India an "open" Schengen visa - meaning go when you like and where you like.

Most European countries will issue a visa for a week or 15 days and often for just one or 2 days beyond your travel plan (If this is your wife's first European visa)
The length of your Schengen visa depends either on your requirements or on how often you actually visit based on your previous travel history.

You solution seems to be to
  1. Decide which European country(ies) you would like to visit from the UK.
  2. Prepare a rough itinerary yourself
  3. Book a hotel or two based on this itinerary (you can use any of the scores of travel sites for this)
  4. Book the travel tickets
  5. Prepare the overseas medical insurance
  6. Apply for the visa in India itself.
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Old 23rd February 2011, 19:10   #66
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
Paris to Italy - How should I do this - I think there is a 12 hour overnight train or I can fly - how much would the cost difference be between the 2 options?
Last year I got some fantastic deals from the budget airline easyjet.com, for travel b/w Rome-Geneva and Geneva-Paris. I just did a quick glance and found London-Paris tickets for as low as Pound 25 or so and Paris-Rome tickets fro Euro 65 (for last week of Mar). I strongly suggest checking out easyjet.com, as you can get very good deals when you book early. Do however, note that they charge for baggage, seat-choice and just about everything else. So, pl. compare the final price vs Eurail price.

Prasad
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Old 23rd February 2011, 20:36   #67
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
I have a question about itinerary. I am planning to visit London, Paris & Italy (Pisa, Rome & Venice) all in one trip - I have maximum of 8-9 days. I am planning 2 days in London ...
Goodness, from previous posts I thought you would be there for a week!

Still... in two days you should be able to cover,say, four things, I guess. some of them you can do in minutes: stand on Westerminster Bridge, for instance, and the Thames is underneath you, look up and you will see Big Ben*. London Eye is not far from there (do pre-book for that, by the way: you can book online).



*Actually, you won't... "Big Ben" is the name of the big bell that strikes the hours, not the name of the clock or the tower, but don't worry, because everyone calls the whole thing Big Ben!

Last edited by Thad E Ginathom : 23rd February 2011 at 20:38.
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Old 24th February 2011, 09:35   #68
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Sam,

Your above posts have been very detailed one but I do have some doubts, request you/BHPians to clarify.

I will be going to UK for a 6 month assignment. My wife and son will join me after 3 months and stay with me for one month. Since she will be travveling to UK, she will be getting her UK visa done first. Then I was planning whether she could get the Schengen visa also done but at this point of time I dont know where in Europe would she travel. So how do I know which embassy to visit in Mumbai to get the Schengen visa?

For me I would be getting the Schengen visa done once I reach UK.
The French Embassy in London is pretty busy and it usually takes 15 days to a month to get an appointment. One of their requirements is you should have your UK visa valid for atleast 6 months from the date of application of the schengen visa.

As a general rule, you are allowed to apply for another visa in a country only if you can claim to be a legal resident. If you are on a business visa, you will be asked to return to your home country to apply for the visa.

Sam is absolutely correct about getting the first stamp from the schengen country the visa was issued for. This should not however be confused for port of entry. This would be your first destination country. Usually visa matters are either a yes/no situation. Please plan carefully and enjoy your travels
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Old 1st November 2011, 14:27   #69
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Default Suggestions for 6 day Euro Trip

Hello Friends,

I am planning to have a trip to Europe for approx 6 days with my wife, she is sponsoring the tickets and I have to plan the itinerary.

My budget is ₹ 85000-100000 max.(this would include stay / exploring / food etc)

we have tickets from Mumbai-Milan and back.

I would be really thankful if the members here can guide / suggest something out of their experience or if they know someone who can help me with this.
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Old 28th November 2011, 13:29   #70
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Default Need help to plan a 15 day Europe Road Trip

Hello Fellow BHPians,

I am planning a 15-day road trip to Europe and opening this thread up to seek suggestions on the same.

The trip would be sometime in first or second week of April 2012.
We are a group of 4 friends who plan to do the trip by renting a car through out the trip.
The trip would be a budget oriented one and we plan to spend as least as possible through out the trip and also enjoy the trip to the fullest at the same time.

We plan to cover the following countries during our stay in Europe:
France
Belgium
Netherlands
Germany
Czech
Switzerland
Italy

and here's how the initial plan is chalked out:

The starting point would be Paris and we plan to end the trip with Paris as well.

Paris to Brussels: Distance: 309 time: 4 hours
Brussels to Amsdam: Distance: 211 time: 3 hours
Amsterdam to Bremen: Distance: 360 time: 4 hours
Bremen to Berlin: Distance: 397 time:4 hours
Berlin to Pragueistance: 356 time:4 hours
Prague to Vienna: Distance: 333 time:4 hours
Vienna to Munich: Distance: 455 time: 5 hours
Munich to Zurich: Distance: 315time: 4 hours
Zurich to Milan istance: 282 time: 4 hours
Milan to Venice : Distance:284 time: 4 hours
Venice to Pisa: Distance: 336 time:4 hours
Pisa to Lyon Distance:638 time:7 hours
Lyon to Paris Distance :466 time:5 hours

We have 15 days in hand and we don't plan to extend the no. of days as of now.

Now, here are some questions for which I would need your help on:

1. Is First/Second week of April the right time to visit?

From what I have read in various travelogues, I infer the winter along with the skiing season would just be completed.
I want to know if the "touristy" places would be open in April? and how would the mercury behave during this time?
We don't want to spend the whole day driving to a place and end up locked up in our rooms with cloudy and snowy/rainy weather.


2. The initial plan which is listed above is very skeletal as of now with no real details within it. The distances and the duration of travel is a straight lift from google maps and I know its not as realistic as it is seen.
As of now, we have 13 driving days ( out of 15 available days). I am guessing its a bit of rushed up plan, but still doable.
I can add/remove places based on your recommendation.

3. The plan is to rent the car from Economy car rentals, as of now a small car and the budget would be about 450-500 Euros ( including the insurance). Is this budget sufficient for a small car like VW Golf/Ford Focus?
Also wanted to know if these guys would allow us to drive through Czech (Prague) since I have seen some blogs mentioning about the rental companies not allowing their cars to Czech. It'd be of great help if people who have rented cars can have their views on this.

4. Food and accommodation:
With all of us being veggies, we plan to carry packed food from India ( MTR ready to eat stuff), with as light luggage as possible to reduce the food costs and plan to book hostels for our stays through out.
Do Hostels allow free parking during our stay there?
Also wanted to know if its good if we can plan to camp in the night.

5. Drive plans:

I am sure it would take at least 1-2 days for us to acclimatize ourselves to the roads and the signs. Any pointers which would make us getting the signs easier to our minds before we land there on the motorways totally confused.
I also wanted to ask if its safe to drive in the night, in case a situation arises?

6. Tolls, Parking charges and Vignettes:
I have known that except for Germany and Belgium, all of the autobahns charge for using the roads. From what I have seen in viamichelin, the toll charges vary from place to place and gets exuberant at some places ( for ex: From Pisa to Lyon, the toll is about 99 Euros for a distance of about 680 Kms), would it make sense for us to use alternative roads and reduce the toll specially in Italy?

What would be the cheapest/safest place for us to park the car?
I have heard the city outskirts provide parking at reasonable prices for the whole day. Is that true?
I have also heard about the disc parking, but have no idea what it is about. Any enlightenment on this would be of much help.

I guess Austria and Swiss operate on the Vignette policy. In swiss, do we have an option of buying the vignette for a smaller period say for 10 days or so instead of spending 70 CHF?

Any other pointers/suggestions thrown would be of great help. Please pour in.
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Old 28th November 2011, 14:28   #71
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

Oh boy, you sure are factoring around some real optimistic drive times.I suggest you use viamichelin.com instead of google maps.
Then add 15% to the drive times given by Michelin.

1. Weather in the alps turns cloudy-sunny-cloudy in no time. No point in predicting. But since snows have melted, you will get most places cheap as summer vacations have not kicked in
2. Google maps is hopelessly optimistic. Driving in Europe is very different from US. Roads are narrow, and traffic jams are common, even on freeways
3. 2 weeks rental will get you a small car for 400 EU. VW golf is not a small car in Europe. With 4 people, you will have luggage. Try getting a station wagon (500 EU with insurance). Different countries have different rental rates. So try making a cheap rental city as your base.
4. Most hostels do not have parking. Budget hotels with car parking offer 4 bedded rooms from 60-70 EU a night in Austria/Switzlerland/Germany/italy. France is expensive
5. Wikipedia and other sites have list of EU road signs. Get used to it. Driving a LHD Manual tranny is a challenge
6. City outskirts have Park and ride (5-10EU a day). Big cities have more expensive parking, smaller towns have easier parking. Swiss vignette is 40CHF, and you have to buy for entire year. Austrian vignette can be bought for a week.

That said, your plan is too optimistic. 309kms? Even with Freeway through and through it takes 5 hours, and if its a mountain road make it 6 hours. If there are towns and villages on the way,make it 7 hours.
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Old 28th November 2011, 16:57   #72
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srinivas.rao View Post
The starting point would be Paris and we plan to end the trip with Paris as well.

Paris to Brussels: Distance: 309 time: 4 hours
Lyon to Paris Distance :466 time:5 hours

In my experience, the Paris sections depend on where you rent your car from (city centre/ airport: 3 options). If you are renting from CDG airport it is in the Brussels direction. However, if you go from Orly you have to navigate the peripherique route or take an alternate route before hitting the road to Brussels.
If it is rented from central Paris (which I assume you will want to see), the timing of your entry/ exit could make a difference of anywhere between 2 to 5 hours extra. Typical weekend/ weekday traffic depending on the direction you are travelling in.

Now, here are some questions for which I would need your help on:

1. Is First/Second week of April the right time to visit?

I want to know if the "touristy" places would be open in April? and how would the mercury behave during this time?
We don't want to spend the whole day driving to a place and end up locked up in our rooms with cloudy and snowy/rainy weather.

Timings differ based on the month, so if you intend tod rive during the day only, then your options in that town could be limited. Or you need to prioritise and choose/ eliminate based on if you want to enter a monument etc. For group travel, it is always recommended to agree upon your destinations beforehand to avoid any disagreements/ disappointment later. I am sure you have this on your checklist already.

2. I can add/remove places based on your recommendation. I recommend prioritising and eliminating a couple of places to have atleast one day as buffer.

3. The plan is to rent the car from Economy car rentals, as of now a small car and the budget would be about 450-500 Euros ( including the insurance). Is this budget sufficient for a small car like VW Golf/Ford Focus?
As recommended by tsk1979, try a different starting point other than Paris and see how it saves you money

4. Food and accommodation:
With all of us being veggies, we plan to carry packed food from India (MTR ready to eat stuff), with as light luggage as possible to reduce the food costs and plan to book hostels for our stays through out.
Please ensure that the hostels you stay in have the relevant facility for you to cook/ heat food. Some of the hostels I have seen dont have kettles. Not sure if this is a regulation in some countries or used as an excuse by hotels.

5. Drive plans: I also wanted to ask if its safe to drive in the night, in case a situation arises?
If you drive through the day, I presume this will be more of a driving vacation than a sightseeing one. Of course you will take in more sights during the drive, but you will have to then ensure that you leave early in the morning or late in the evenings. Or perhaps drive twice in a day when you are visiting a town where you know you will spend only a few hours. Again, I feel this is itinerary is a bit crowded, but then it is totally subjective opinion. No offence meant, I hope you are able to plan this well and return to us with a lot of pics in a detailed travelogue!
My answers in bold above

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
That said, your plan is too optimistic. 309kms? Even with Freeway through and through it takes 5 hours, and if its a mountain road make it 6 hours. If there are towns and villages on the way,make it 7 hours.
+1 to that tsk. Especially worse when entering/ exiting the major cities. If we use the park/ ride facility, it also means dependencies on public transport availability and timings.
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Old 8th December 2011, 11:00   #73
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Default Travelling to Europe

Will be visiting UK and Europe for my 30th Wedding Anniversary-Air Tickets by Qatar airways have been booked-Landing at UK-2/3 days London-planning to drive to Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen and back (3 days)-Fly to Salzburgh and drive to Vienna-4 days in Austria onto Paris-Lourdes from there to Milan-Rome and back to Bangalore. Please help me on the following:-
a) Agency for car hire-any advice on driving in UK.
b) Places to visit en-route and to stay?-Edinburgh and London.
c) Stay at Vienna and Salzburgh -economical.
d) Driving in Vienna-any advice.
e) As Salzburgh is on the German border-is it possible to enter Germany and drive back-any issues-I am applying for a Multiple entry Schegen visa.
Thanking you all.

Last edited by Judemayne : 8th December 2011 at 11:03. Reason: spellings
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Old 8th December 2011, 11:08   #74
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe

Check the Travelogues section. For UK, this (Hayek's Road Trips : England, Wales and Scotland) is a good place to start.
a & b should be covered there.

For the rest, try this (Unplanned Road trip covering Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany) Austria-Switzerland etc. TL

Next time, try Searching before startin a new thread.
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Old 8th December 2011, 11:27   #75
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