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Forums » General & Multi-Country » Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

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Shivasana

Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by Shivasana »

Hi all! I'm looking into a 3-week Europe trip sometime in March or April next year. It's early, I know, but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed about where to go and how to go about booking all our hotels and airfare or train passes so that we get a good deal. Do you guys recommend going through a travel agent for this, or is it more economical to do it myself? Also, what itinerary would you recommend for a first time Europe vacation? I was thinking London, Paris, Venice, Rome, but open to suggestions. Thanks for any advice you can give me!

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mushroom

RE: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by mushroom »

What is your budget?  Would you rather go by train, or are you perfectly comforable with flying? 

There is no standard, one-size-fits-all first time itinerary for Europe.  If you want to see the cities you named, they are all highly rewarding.  What are your main interests?Are you looking for the picture postcard sights of the great historicl cities?  Or would you enjoy a more intimate, more personal and more people-oriented visit to Europe, enjoying markets, small town life, and the "gems" rather than the "wows"? Or vice versa?

Would you prefer warmer weather or are you okay with some chilly springtime temps in the north?  If you are open to other destinations instead of the ones you named, you need to describe your interests in more detail.  Lisbon is enchanting, but why go if you'd be more fascinated by Athens or Berlin?  For nightlife, you might feel more drawn to Barcelona and Antwerp than Venice or Amsterdam.  

Europeans themselves argue about which cities of Europe are the most important in Europe!  If you look at it one way, Berlin and London are much more important than Venice and Paris -- and yet, for many people, Venice and Paris are at the top of their lists for places to visit in their lifetimes.  So pick what makes you feel enthusiastic to see.

As for hotels, Booking.com is a great resource for selecting and booking hotels all over the world.

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Shivasana

RE: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by Shivasana »

Great questions, mushroom, and I probably should have included more detail in my original post. I'm very interested in history, and not interested in people-watching or nightlife. I'm also ok with chillier temps if it means less people in line to get into Versailles or the Louvre. Unfortunately, there are so many historical places to go in Europe that I can't make up my mind which ones I absolutely need to see first. Berlin and Athens are good choices, too, but so are Prague, Budapest and Croatia. AAAARRRGGGHHHH! 

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mushroom

RE: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by mushroom »

Sometimes history lovers get the biggest thrill by starting in Athens, then moving on to Rome, Naples -- and how many more days do you have?  But for others, their entry point to European history is the great English and French literature they have read -- Shakespeare, Dickens -- and the French and English revolutions (that  shed so much light on the American revoltuion).  There are historires of emprie -- Roman, Dutch, Spanish, Portugues -- and histories of war (or Renaissance art, or the Enlightenment).   

You don't have to stick to one historical focus -- the peculiarities and acheivements of hstoric urban Venice can make a fun combo when paired with the peculiarites of historic urban Paris and historic urban London -- but if you can definte for yourself which historical study of Euroe you want to undertake, might help you cherry pick out what you most what to experience and how you want to experience it. 

As you might have noticed this week, Europe is still arguing within itself about what Europe is,  so a trip gets easier to plan if you know you are not going to see "Europe" in 3 weeks

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EuropeTravelerJenn

RE: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by EuropeTravelerJenn »

I suggest spending some time doing some basic research.  Start by using the "Destinations" tab at the top of this page.  Read about your potential destinations and what you would like to get the most out of your trip.  Review the suggested itineraries as well, many of which cover "highlights" and some off-the-beaten path attractions. 

Remember what is a "must see" for you, may not be a "must see" for another person, so doing this research on your own will be extremely beneficial for you to decide what you do or do not want to see.  For example, I love history - but going to Greece is actually pretty low on my list, where it might be high on someone elses.

Also, when doing this research keep in mind that there are some areas where it is not advisable for you to travel to your chosen destination, in part due to weather and road access.  Another might be where the destination is not "in season" during March and April.  For example, much of the Croatian coastline doesn't "open" until May and "closes" down in October, making some attractions, hotels, and restaurant possibilites limited.

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warlord

RE: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by warlord »

  I've always booked my hotels separately from my airfare.  I normally always use Booking.com and cross check that with TripAdvisor to see reviews.  It's a much better way than having another person select where you stay.

  As for trains, don't get passes or such.  Other than trains that you want a over night sleeping compartment in, buying train tickets at the station the day of (or as I do, the day before just so I can get the layout of the station first) is often the best way to go.  That way you're not held down to a single ticket if things change.  Also there may be other train options that you didn't notice doing it in person.  

  For example with the trains, I once booked one from Warsaw, Poland to Ostrava, Czech and got that online before my trip to Europe.  The day I was at the station waiting for my train, another one pulled up that was going to Ostrava as well with a lot less connections and a lot faster.  Upon inqiery I found out it wasn't much more at all and a lot better deal getting me in a lot faster.  I bought that ticket, but didn't have time to get my other one refunded.  If I had bought it at the station itself, I would have seen this other train and saved me time and money... 

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jbritt

RE: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by jbritt »

If you do London and Paris, use the Eurostar.  It is a great trip.  Book 4 months out to get best rate.  The closer in to your travel date, the more it costs and the fewer choices you have. Almost the same time as flying and you wind up in London or Paris, not outside and have to get into the city.  In Paris, there is a sudio that I have used for the past 14 years or so.  It is a 15-20 walk from the Eurostar station -Gare du Norde.  

Nadine Giblin  Studio 30 sqm Paris 9e near Montmartre  E-mail : locationparis9@cogib.fr  Website : http://locationparis9.canalblog.com

If you can do an open Jaw  ticket - Fly into London, train to Paris, train to Venice, train to Rome, fly home from Rome. You can save a day or two of vacation. No backtracking to go home. It might seem to cost a bit more, but flying, training, etc. back to first airport wastes a day and costs.  You are also trying to get back and if there is a train strike, luggage handler strike, pilot strike, you may not make it.  Flying from last city cuts down the stress, in my opinion.  

Try to start booking airfare about  3 months out.  Skyscanner.com is a good airfare site to look at too.  

 

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ekaloci3

RE: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe

by ekaloci3 »

In Response to Re: Booking hotels and airfare/train tickets for Europe:[QUOTE]

Great questions, mushroom, and I probably should have included more detail in my original post. I'm very interested in history, and not interested in people-watching or nightlife. I'm also ok with chillier temps if it means less people in line to get into Versailles or the Louvre. Unfortunately, there are so many historical places to go in Europe that I can't make up my mind which ones I absolutely need to see first. Berlin and Athens are good choices, too, but so are Prague, Budapest and Croatia. AAAARRRGGGHHHH! 


Posted by Shivasana[/QUOTE]

I would advise you to visit Croatia, it's very beautiful country that offers plenty.
This website will help you to find out what to visit, where to eat, where to sleep, tips to save money...
Croatia is very cheap, pizza for £5.00!
I recommend for you to visit Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Rovinj, Split, Zadar, Pula...

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