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Old 11-15-2008, 07:58 PM   #1
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Default Planning a trip to Europe in May/June

A few friends and I are thinking about traveling to Europe in May/June of '09 for 2 to 3 weeks. We'll probably be getting the Eurail Global Pass... or maybe a flexipass. Anyways... I have been looking at the route we could possibly go to visit a decent amount of place in Europe during this time. Seeing as though Eurail doesn't cover England, we were thinking about flying into London first, and then flying from there to either Naples or Rome (depending on the price and the slots available) because my friends aunt lives in Naples. So here is a list of cities from first to last that we could possibly visit.

London (fly to from Boston)
Naples (fly to from London, then Eurail from then on)
Rome
Florence
Pisa
Milan
Paris (overnight train from Florence, Pisa, or Milan)
Lille
Brussels
Antwerp
Amsterdam
Arnhem
Düsseldorf
Cologne
Bonn
Heidelberg
Stuttgart
Munich
Salzburg
Vienna
Venice (overnight train from Vienna)

I realize that this is probably far too many cities for three weeks, but it's just a list of places that fit the route that we'd be going on the trains. Most of the cities are within 2-3 hours from eachother. I'm wondering if any of the cities listed are not worth it, or if any additional cities are a must that are within the route we are taking. Also... cities in bold are cities that are kind of a must for us to visit. Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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First of all, welcome to the boards!

You're right that those are definitely a lot of cities for 2-3 weeks. If you have 3 weeks, I'd say you could comfortably visit the 6 cities you have in bold. It would give you about 3 days for each city plus travel time. I'd definitely suggest going with 3 weeks because otherwise you'll either be rushing around too much to get to all your cities or you'll have to drop one or two (I'm talking about the ones that you really want to visit). I actually haven't been to many of the places you mentioned besides Paris, but for Germany, I'd definitely recommend Berlin. Good luck with the planning, it sounds like you have the right idea about things.
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Old 11-16-2008, 09:29 AM   #3
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Yeah, I'm usually one of the fastest travellers on here and even I'd suggest that your itinerary is too aggressive for 3 weeks. Last year I did 16 days and we saw 6 cities and that was A LOT.

Also, a Global or Flexi is pretty expensive for only 3 weeks of usage. I would eliminate some cities ( I know its hard, once you get over the Atlantic you want to see as much as possible) and then decide on which pass is right.

Any reason Naples is a must? I've been there - besides for acting as a jumping off point for Capri and Pompeii its really nothing too special - especially when compared to Rome or Florence.
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:25 AM   #4
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I agree, you should try cut down to the things you definitly dont want to miss. I spent 2 weeks in Italy alone. Rome is amazing and I suggest at least 3 days there to get in all the sights. Florence, didnt really enjoy, but alot of people love it. Pisa is a definite day trip from Florence. As for Milan, well, its just an industrial city. I would give it a miss.......
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:30 AM   #5
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Also, a Global or Flexi is pretty expensive for only 3 weeks of usage. I would eliminate some cities ( I know its hard, once you get over the Atlantic you want to see as much as possible) and then decide on which pass is right.
I definitely agree here. Especially if you're planning a flight from one of your cities, you wouldn't get the most out of a global pass. Someone posted a link on this site a while back that helped me out a lot when deciding what type of eurail pass to buy. http://www.railsaver.com/ . You plug in your rough itinerary, and they tell you whether it's better to buy the tickets individually or whether you should get a pass.
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Old 11-16-2008, 12:49 PM   #6
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I'd definitely skip Milan, and Pisa can be done in a day trip. As much as I love germany, I think you're going to have to skip a few cities there, too. I haven't actually been to that part of germany though so I can't make a recommendation. I will say that I think Munich requires less time than you might think, yes you can sit in a beer hall for days but you can actually see the sights and have a few good beer garden/beer hall sessions in about 2 days... the centre of the city is pretty small. Same goes for Salzburg, it's beautiful and you could spend a lot of time there, but if you're pressed for time, you don't really need to.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:29 PM   #7
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Yeah, I'm usually one of the fastest travellers on here and even I'd suggest that your itinerary is too aggressive for 3 weeks. Last year I did 16 days and we saw 6 cities and that was A LOT.
Haha, yeah I know it's far too many cities in such a short time frame... but I was just laying out some possible cities for the trip that would fit the route we were taking.
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Also, a Global or Flexi is pretty expensive for only 3 weeks of usage. I would eliminate some cities ( I know its hard, once you get over the Atlantic you want to see as much as possible) and then decide on which pass is right.
True. But I like the fact that a Eurail pass gives the flexibility to leave whenever we want. Also... I'm pretty certain we'd be taking the overnight train from Rome to Paris, and I have read without a pass a ticket for that can be very expensive. I don't know though... I'm definitely up for any sort of alternative if we'll save a lot of money.
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Any reason Naples is a must? I've been there - besides for acting as a jumping off point for Capri and Pompeii its really nothing too special - especially when compared to Rome or Florence.
Naples is a must because we'll be staying with one of my friends family members when in Italy... so that will save on a hotel or hostel while there. Also... seeing Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius would be pretty nice. Naples really isn't a city that we're going as a must see... just a must stay as we'll be staying there a few nights.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:34 PM   #8
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I definitely agree here. Especially if you're planning a flight from one of your cities, you wouldn't get the most out of a global pass. Someone posted a link on this site a while back that helped me out a lot when deciding what type of eurail pass to buy. You plug in your rough itinerary, and they tell you whether it's better to buy the tickets individually or whether you should get a pass.
Thanks, I'll definitely check that out.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:47 AM   #9
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Paris (overnight train from Florence, Pisa, or Milan)

I dont know the overnight train prices....but I flew from Rome to Paris, and Easyjet.com offers flights for +-40eur. I know it saves on accomodatoin for the night, but with the time limit you have it might be best trying to save on time. Its just a suggestion, but if you were to fly, you could go from Naples to Florence the back down to Rome.....
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:45 AM   #10
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I like the fact that a Eurail pass gives the flexibility to leave whenever we want. Also... I'm pretty certain we'd be taking the overnight train from Rome to Paris, and I have read without a pass a ticket for that can be very expensive.
Right, but you don't need the grand poobah of Eurail Passes to save on an overnight train, just any rail pass with a valid night on it.

Also, I dont know how old you are, but 26 and under qualify for Youth passes. Also as long as there are two of you together, you can get the Saver passes. If you are positive you are going to be with your friends, look into the those, its a good way to save cash.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:27 PM   #11
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I dont know the overnight train prices....but I flew from Rome to Paris, and Easyjet.com offers flights for +-40eur. I know it saves on accomodatoin for the night, but with the time limit you have it might be best trying to save on time. Its just a suggestion, but if you were to fly, you could go from Naples to Florence the back down to Rome.....
Thanks. That is definitely something to look into as well.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:40 PM   #12
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Right, but you don't need the grand poobah of Eurail Passes to save on an overnight train, just any rail pass with a valid night on it.

Also, I dont know how old you are, but 26 and under qualify for Youth passes. Also as long as there are two of you together, you can get the Saver passes. If you are positive you are going to be with your friends, look into the those, its a good way to save cash.
Well, I have looked at some of the other passes besides the global pass and some of the other passes cost more money with far more restrictions. For 15 days (including promo it comes to 21 days) with the global pass would cost us $475. I am 22 by the way, and my friends who will be with me will both be 21. If I were to go for the select pass and do 5 countries (which I would need counting border countries we would go through) then it would cost us $369 for only 5 days within 2 months. 5 days is kind of ridiculous for that kind of money... and if we were to want to do day trips here and there then it wouldn't be worth it. For 15 days with the select pass it would come to $665. The regional passes would also end up costing far more bought separately than just going with the global pass as well.

As far as the saver pass goes... I would definitely go with that if I were over the age limit for the youth pass. It's $619 for 15 days plus the promo which makes it 21... and it's per person so it's probably not worth the money even though it allows first class travel.
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:49 PM   #13
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If you go with 6 cities and one of the journey's between cities being a plane from London to wherever you're going to, then you'll have enough travel days on the 5 day flexi pass. Price out the different rail passes and price out the individual train tickets and choose whichever is cheaper. If you think you'll be traveling much more, then yeah, the 15 day pass (or 21 if it's a promo) is worth it, but if you're only traveling 5 days anyways, why spend the extra 100 bucks?
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:34 AM   #14
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I would need counting border countries we would go through
You don't always need to include countries you're just going through if its an overnight train. For instance, I had a Select pass with France and Italy on it. We took the overnight train from Paris to Milan, crossing through Switzerland but didn't need to have Switz on there.

Are you thinking about extending your trip? Before you were talking about doing a 14-21 day trip. I doubt you want to be on the train everyday.

I hope you know we're all just trying to help you out, save you some money if possible, and make sure we do our best to ensure you have a great trip abroad.

One tip I usually do. I setup a spreadsheet (yeah i love spreadsheets as others might know). It has 6 columns on it and a row for each day. The columns are Day # (0-end of trip), Date, Day of Week, Morning, Afternoon, Night. I put in where I want to be for each of those last three. I found this is better than just listing the places because it really illustrates how one moves around during the journey (wake up in Milan, go to sleep in Naples for instance). Then I highlight in gray any time I'm getting on a train/plane/bus/boat/etc to go somewhere new. That is a great visual way of seeing how much traveling one will do while away. Then you see the nice relaxing white days, free of travel, when you know you can relax and just tour one place.
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:47 AM   #15
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I hope you know we're all just trying to help you out, save you some money if possible, and make sure we do our best to ensure you have a great trip abroad.
Ditto. Good luck with the plans.
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:00 AM   #16
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You don't always need to include countries you're just going through if its an overnight train. For instance, I had a Select pass with France and Italy on it. We took the overnight train from Paris to Milan, crossing through Switzerland but didn't need to have Switz on there.
Oh really? I was under the impression that even if we were not going to visit or leave the train in a country that we passed through that it would still count on our select pass. That actually changes a lot if it doesn't count a place like Switzerland because we were gonna take an overnight train from Rome to Paris and figured Switzerland would count on the pass despite actually visiting the area.
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Are you thinking about extending your trip? Before you were talking about doing a 14-21 day trip. I doubt you want to be on the train everyday.
The most we will be able to go for is 21 days I believe, and I agree that we definitely don't wan't to be on a train everyday.
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I hope you know we're all just trying to help you out, save you some money if possible, and make sure we do our best to ensure you have a great trip abroad.
Oh, I know and I appreciate everything you guys are saying here. I have already eliminated a lot of cities from the list to around six if I do the 3 weeks... and it looks as though I can now do a select pass instead to save money.
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One tip I usually do. I setup a spreadsheet (yeah i love spreadsheets as others might know). It has 6 columns on it and a row for each day. The columns are Day # (0-end of trip), Date, Day of Week, Morning, Afternoon, Night. I put in where I want to be for each of those last three. I found this is better than just listing the places because it really illustrates how one moves around during the journey (wake up in Milan, go to sleep in Naples for instance). Then I highlight in gray any time I'm getting on a train/plane/bus/boat/etc to go somewhere new. That is a great visual way of seeing how much traveling one will do while away. Then you see the nice relaxing white days, free of travel, when you know you can relax and just tour one place.
That's a good ideas as well, thanks. I have been putting all my info thus far in notepads but I do have excel and can put it to some use.
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