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Old 11th January 2018, 14:35   #496
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by bharanidharang View Post
We are a confused lot. My wife just pushed the options to Christmas next year. I have a 13 year old brat who needs to be occupied too (Cars, Miniature stuff etc). I am fixing France (Paris) as a base.
With a 13 year old, you should consider going in May. Here are the pros:

- Its school vacation time in India.
- It will be spring time, with temperatures that would be like Christmas time in MH or GJ (5-15 C ballpark). It will be slightly cold for a tropical resident, but not as bad as December with wind chill.
- There will be sun and longer days.
- European school year finishes in late May/early June. Hence flights, hotels, trains aren't at peak rate or load.
- Italy will see some extra crowds around Liberation Day (25 April), Labour Day (1 May) and Republic Day (2 June). Not as bad as July/August though, but more than other bridged weekends.
- Keukenhof season falls around April-May

In December, the first 2 weeks that are good to visit for Christmas markets. Christmas time itself will see lot of restaurant closures, reduced transportation. Note that, Day after Christmas is also a holiday. Not all places get snow, the precipitation is also in terms of cold rain (which is a PITA than snow).
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Old 11th January 2018, 14:37   #497
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
By early next month of towards end of this month, I will be in UK....And any experience in getting car rentals...but if public transport is good enough, I dont think I will rent car for weekdays.
Your Indian license is valid and will be accepted by most rental operators.

I have used Avis, Hertz and Enterprise. All good. You have many more. Only suggestion is that please understand the 'Excess' amounts applicable on your insurance. What this means is that in case of any damage to the car, there is a portion of amount that you are liable to pay. This is limited to some amount. As an example, let's say that you damage the vehicle and the damage is assessed to be GBP 1200. Let's say that the damage waiver on your rental was set at an excess of GBP 1000, then that means that you are liable to pay GBP 1000 and GBP 200 will be waived of for you. You can pay a little extra and get this excess reduced to Zero. In that scenario, in case of any damage, you will not be liable to pay anything. Hence please check this term well before you sign on the rental agreement.

the next thing to check is the coverage of your damage waiver. Usually Tyres & Windscreen are not covered. I have been asked to pay for Tyre damage for one of my rentals. Had to put up a fight to get this waived off. Luckily I had taken pictures of the tyres at the time of return. So, if you opt for Windscreen and Tyre protection then you are waived off from any damage to this as well.

These additional protections will increase your price, but you will be fully at peace of mind. The only issue is that if you are renting for a long period then these additionals can become a substantial amount. So you will need to balance price with your risk.

Lastly, please note the driving rules and ensure that you follow them. If you are caught on camera for speeding then the car rental company will not only charge your credit card, but will also charge you an administration fee. So if you are in a 30 mph zone then be below 30 mph. I specify this particular speed because yours truly was caught on camera doing 34 mph in a 30 mph zone. Luckily my GBP 80 fine was waived off, but a I had to attend 4 hours class on safe driving, paid by her majesty.

Now - coming to public transport. Simply put - It's superb. Now this also depends on where you will be. In case you are in London then please don't bother renting a car, because one - it's pretty expensive to drive in London due to the congestion charges, parking is expensive and two - the underground and bus system is penta-fabulous. Not to mention pretty affordable. Almost all big cities have a pretty good public transport system. Even intercity transport is pretty good. So first check out your home to office route; if it has a good public transport connectivity then use that. You can always rent for the weekend for long drives.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 15th January 2018, 16:38   #498
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Package tours are not recommended if you want peace of mind during your travel. They are good only to save you some headache earlier and to ensure that you don't miss out on the key attractions in that place (whether those interest you or not).
It doesn't take too long to build an itinerary based on some reasearch on tripadvisor. In fact it could be a fun family activity where you can involve your daughter. If you want to get a template plan try a trip planner like inspirock.com. You can add/ remove destinations as you wish.

If you want specific itineraries for France, UK, Germany or Switzerland, feel free to as specific questions on this thread or pm me.
Understood but please understand that there are people who can appreciate the convenience of package tours. Since I would like a slightly slower pace and enough time to get a feel of the food and culture of the places I visit, I am thinking of slightly different package tours like the ones offered by http://www.cosmos.com
If anyone has experience with Cosmos, please suggest.

For my first Europe trip, I am thinking to focus on Greece and Italy Or Italy and Switzerland.

I am yet to do some deep research but something like
Athens (3)- Santorini (3) - Venice(2) - Florence(3) - Rome(3)
OR
Rome(3) - Florence(3) - Venice(2) - Lucerne(3) - Interlaken/Murren(4)

Please let me know your opinion
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Old 15th January 2018, 17:50   #499
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Originally Posted by adimicra View Post
If anyone has experience with Cosmos, please suggest.

I took a packaged tour starting from Rome and ending at London from Cosmos in 2015 and it was brilliant. Their choice of hotels was good and even the optional were worth the money.

My take on a packaged tour v. individual itinerary would be that in a packaged tour you have only one variable factor and that is the group that you end up with.

We were the only Indians on our group but the other members were fabulous. My dad was the eldest in the group at 80 and was the last person in the group whenever there was a walk involved but someone or the other from the group would always walk along with us.

Do not wish to sound elitist but Cosmos is expensive as compared to the Indian operators but well worth it as the higher cost ensures a better group.

Only thing to look out for is that Cosmos tours do not include Indian restaurants, so if you want Indian food you will probably need to look for it on one of the days when dinner is not included in the package.

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Old 19th January 2018, 07:39   #500
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

^^

Thanks for your feedback. This is exactly what I was looking for.
One of the reasons I am not considering most India tour operators is the fact that I do NOT want Indian food.
How did you find the pace? Did you have enough free time to explore things a bit on your own?
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Old 22nd January 2018, 07:33   #501
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Hi, I would be travelling to europe in the 1st 10 days of March. Can we apply for the Schenzen visa ourselves or is it too tedious and better to apply via a Agent? Also I need to apply to the consulate where I would be spending my maximum time during the vacation ( Austria in my case) or my port of Entry?
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Old 22nd January 2018, 08:45   #502
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
Hi, I would be travelling to europe in the 1st 10 days of March. Can we apply for the Schenzen visa ourselves or is it too tedious and better to apply via a Agent?
Do it yourself; it is very straightforward and documentation is easy (uncomplicated). VFS has a very detailed list of documents required by the Consulate of the country you are applying for on their website (specific Consulate page).

Just a note: take a photo at the VFS Centre itself. They are notorious for rejecting/finding fault in Schengen-specific pictures taken outside. My wife's pic taken at VFS Mumbai was rejected at VFS Pune

No matter what, you need to have the following ready beforehand:

1) Flight tickets to/fro: easy as some airlines offer free fare hold up to three days
2) Travel tickets for within Europe as per your itinerary
3) Hotel bookings: easy as most hotels/airbnbs in Europe offer pay-at-checkin
4) Medical Insurance (including repatriation of remains) for a min of 10 days, even if your trip is less than 10 days
5) Proof of occupation in India; to assure you are not an immigration-risk
6) Liquidity: 3/6 months' bank statement showing a closing balance enough to support your trip. Aside travel and stay, assume you'd need 100 Euro/person/day

Quote:
Also I need to apply to the consulate where I would be spending my maximum time during the vacation ( Austria in my case) or my port of Entry?
This is a slightly grey area; I would recommend applying at the Consulate of your port of entry.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 22nd January 2018 at 08:50.
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Old 22nd January 2018, 09:15   #503
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by adimicra View Post
Understood but please understand that there are people who can appreciate the convenience of package tours....
For my first Europe trip, I am thinking to focus on Greece and Italy Or Italy and Switzerland
Agreed, it is completely subjective.
I don't have any details about Greece or Italy. Interlaken/ Murren/ Grindelwald has a lot of activities and hikes. Please check the to do list there before deciding on number of days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
Just a note: take a photo at the VFS Centre itself. They are notorious for rejecting/finding fault in Schengen-specific pictures taken outside. My wife's pic taken at VFS Mumbai was rejected at VFS Pune ....
This is a slightly grey area; I would recommend applying at the Consulate of your port of entry.
How would they generate business for their photo booths otherwise

Port of entry is the one I have heard the most. If you are going in peak Indian vacation time and applying at the last minute (or around that time), you would need to account for delays in granting of visa. This may impact your hotel bookings and/ or any office holidays.
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Old 22nd January 2018, 10:46   #504
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
This is a slightly grey area; I would recommend applying at the Consulate of your port of entry.
Not a grey area. I have taken Schengen visas from counties other than my country of visit and my first port of entry has also been a country other than the one that has issued my visa. This is just a rumour being floated by some agents.

However, what you could look at is the visa regulations / requirements that differ from country to country. For instance getting a visa from Malta would be easier (less of documents and other requirements) than say Netherlands.
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Old 22nd January 2018, 10:57   #505
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Not a grey area. I have taken Schengen visas from counties other than my country of visit and my first port of entry has also been a country other than the one that has issued my visa. This is just a rumour being floated by some agents.
Ok; but I don't see a recommendation here.

Assuming one gets a multiple-entry visa, the first time they enter the Schengen territory, I'd say a good practice is having the port of entry the same as the visa issuer. Once you've travelled in and out, I doubt it really matters where you step in.

Given how strict visa rules have become, I'd rather err on the side of caution.

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I have taken Schengen visas from counties other than my country of visit
I don't understand this statement.
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Old 22nd January 2018, 21:00   #506
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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I'd say a good practice is having the port of entry the same as the visa issuer.
There is no such requirement or rule that stipulates this and hence it isn't something that becomes a good practice if you do or a bad practice if you don't. Your first port of entry can be any country in the Schengen.


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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
I don't understand this statement.
You can take your visa from a country where you may have connections / past record of doing business / several visits to that country which will facilitate an easier grant of visa.

However, your requirement for travel with that visa may be to countries that you may have not done business with earlier.
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Old 22nd January 2018, 22:33   #507
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Quoting from the Schengen visa website FAQ:

Quote:
If I am travelling to more than one Schengen country, at which embassy do I apply for a Schengen Visa?
If the applicant is planning to visit two or more Schengen countries, it is highly recommended to be applying for the visa in the embassy/consulate of the country you will be residing in for most of the traveling days, referred to as the main destination.
I guess this answers the question. It is the country with maximum stay.
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Old 22nd January 2018, 22:59   #508
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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It is the country with maximum stay.
It would be possible to assess this for a short stay holiday visa to the Schengen region. When you are applying for a 5 year multiple entry Schengen visa there is very little chance of you knowing the answer to that question. And that is why that FAQ answer is just a "recommendation".
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Old 28th January 2018, 15:59   #509
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

Hi I need some advice regarding the schengen visa application process.
1. Do you apply via the VFS centre or directly at the Embassy?
2. Also a friend told that you have to download the application form and then upload it, take a print out and other related documents to the VFS office. As per my understanding from the VFS site, I do not need (and I could not find also) to upload the form. I just need to download the application for, document check list and other related documents and schedule an appointment at the VFS site for the same.
3. Do we need photos or will they click the same at the centre? They clicked pictures while taking the fingerprints at the VFS centre when we applied for the UK visa.

Please help as I am looking to book the appointment for this 31st as I am extremely late in applying for the Visa.
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Old 28th January 2018, 16:17   #510
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need advice

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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
Quoting from the Schengen visa website FAQ:



I guess this answers the question. It is the country with maximum stay.
Yes, you need to apply to the country of maximum stay. If you stay in all countries same amount of time, then country of entry.
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