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Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:16 am
by ILswatcop
Hello all! Thank you in advance for any assistance you may provide.
My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe for fall of this year, October/November roughly. The longest we can be gone is 19 days, that includes travel days to/from CONUS (Chicago). We will fly in to Dublin, and spend roughly 4-5 days in Great Britain, visiting sites in Ireland, Scotland and London. From there, we plan on riding the train to get to the beaches in Normandy, then on to VIenna, Munich and Berlin (No certain order just yet).

Please advise of places that are must sees, as well as places that are a no go (high crime areas, civil unrest, etc...). If you can, maybe provide guidance for how long to spend at each city.

Thank you again!

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:58 am
by DannusMaximus
ILswatcop wrote:Hello all! Thank you in advance for any assistance you may provide.
My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe for fall of this year, October/November roughly. The longest we can be gone is 19 days, that includes travel days to/from CONUS (Chicago). We will fly in to Dublin, and spend roughly 4-5 days in Great Britain, visiting sites in Ireland, Scotland and London. From there, we plan on riding the train to get to the beaches in Normandy, then on to VIenna, Munich and Berlin (No certain order just yet).

Please advise of places that are must sees, as well as places that are a no go (high crime areas, civil unrest, etc...). If you can, maybe provide guidance for how long to spend at each city.

Thank you again!
A lot of my advice would be centered on what type of travelers you and your wife are. Do you want to race from place to place and hit the major tourist attractions, or do a bit of wandering around, kind of going left if it looks like there is something cool on the left and driving right if the road on the right looks cooler, and killing an afternoon in a pub in Scotland if the mood strikes you?

Part of figuring THAT out is trying to determine if this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip (like you don't think you'll ever be back and need to see everything you possibly can) or if you are able and open to taking separate trips to see separate areas.

I've been fortunate enough to travel to across the pond several times, and my overwhelming advice to most people is to drastically shrink the amount of area you want to cover. I would give you the same advice. My wife and I spent 10 days in Scotland during one visit, and 3 weeks in France on a separate trip. We determined right off the bat that we didn't want to try and see everything (because we wouldn't do it justice) so we picked a 1/2 dozen 'must-sees' in each area and wandered from place to place checking them out. You're realistically looking at 15 days in Europe, because you're losing a day on each end in airports and another day on each end either recovering from jet lag (on the trip over) or freaking out and frantically packing because you fly out the next day. You could very VERY easily spend 15 days just in Scotland, and still just scratch the surface. If you try to hit all the targets you're naming you'll be miserable, spending most of your time in transit. Imagine trying to cover the entire state of Texas in two weeks including hitting Dallas, Houston, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Austin. You're head would explode!

Of the areas you've mentioned in Europe, which ones would you pick if you could ONLY pick three of them to visit?

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 4:51 am
by wee drop o' bush
If you like Guinness then when you're in Dublin you should go to the Guinness warehouse in Dublin, in particular it's Gravity Bar where the Guinness is piped up to.
You haven't given yourself enough time really to see much of Ireland or the UK. :clownshoes:
If you are travelling up into Northern Ireland to fly or take the ferry across to Scotland then you could always go to Belfast's Titanic Quarter or if you've more time go to The Giants Causeway, Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, Ballintoy Harbour etc in the North Antrim Coast. It all depends which route you are taking through the Republic of Ireland and whether you are travelling into Northern Ireland. Both are strongly geared towards tourism and are friendly with lots of places to stay and eat in :D
Edit: if you want any more specific advice about either the R.O.I or Northern Ireland then pm me and I'll do my best to help.

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 5:49 am
by KYZHunters
100 percent with Dannus Maximus on this, you will be spending most of your time traveling and very little time visiting. Personally, I think 19 days would just be enough to give Scotland,Ireland and London the once over.
Reduce your list, leave time to linger, explore and enjoy.

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 8:20 am
by Murphman
I have been fortunate enough to go to Europe on a few vacations, and I agree with all the others that you need to drastically scale back the number countires you wish to visit, unless you are set on getting everything in. It is your vacation after all. Some travelers like to go all out when overseas. My wife and I did it when we were younger, but as I got older I realized, I like to mix "meeting the locals" at a nearby pub while relaxing as much as I like visiting ______ (historical site).

If I go back over my trips to Europe, my fondest memories are of people, not places. Don't lose the cultural aspect of a grand trip by packing in so many things to see that you fail to miss the true treasures of Europe...the people.

As far as where you are going. Ring of Dingle, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle (simply because) and Galway (my favorite "city" in the world) are my "can't miss" recommendations for first-timers in Ireland. Stonhenge, Bath, Tower of London in England. I haven't been to anywhere else you are going, but will go to Vienna one day.

Unsolicited advice... :ohdear: ...PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. DO IT NOW. DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200 UNTIL YOU ARE DONE!!!!! If you truly want to fit everything in you have listed, planning, and having a good back-up plan, will be key to fitting everything in. Be prepared to lop some things off your list after the first week, depending upon how you are holding up. Even the best laid plans will go awry, so be prepared for anything. For our two big trips to Europe (Ireland and Greece), we researched everywhere we wanted to go in the whole country, made a list of how high up on the list that location was, then literally mapped the driving routes, with alternates, from location to location. Twice, in Greece, we were diverted due to construction, so we had access to other routes simply because we planned appropriately. Funnily, looking back on my top 5 places I wanted to go in Greece, only The Parthenon ended up being in my top 5 favorite places I had been!

Good luck, and most importantly...HAVE FUN!!!

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 12:31 pm
by Boondock
Been to Europe a couple of times. Looking forward to visiting again. A few suggestions off the top of my head:

The village of Bath, England is real nice and if you get a chance to take in a day trip, do so. I found the Normandy region of France also very cool and the locals friendly.

Bring rain gear and a light fleece. Also, try to pack as light as possible. I like wash and wear clothes and underwear that you can rinse and dry in your hotel. Keeps you from hauling dirty laundry in your bag.

On the subject of bags, I'd try to opt for something that can be easily carried. Most train stations and other transportation venues don't have elevators. It's a pain hauling a heavy suitcase up flights of stairs.

Paris. Go. Enough said, I don't care how expensive or rainy the city is. It's lovely, especially in the fall.

I don't recommend wearing cargo pants. It screams tourist and there's a lot of travel pants that work for sight seeing in the daytime and during a nice dinner in the evening.

Same with footwear. I packed Merrell hiking boots my last trip and regretted it. Try to find a pair of low-top hiking shoes or trail runners. Again, they're a multi-use item. Break them in, you'll do a lot of walking.

Most importantly, make sure you bring a friendly smile. Have a great trip. Let us know how it went.

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 10:33 pm
by duodecima
I've happily spent 4-5 days on 2 occasions wandering around London and going on day trips from there (Dover, York, Windsor, Bath). But - this gets to what travel-type of person you are - I really love having time to wander a little and thoroughly get the sense of a place/region. Our someday-we'll-go trip plans generally only involve 1-2 countries because of that. But other people like different kinds of trips! I went to Paris for 3 days once where we were on programmed tours pretty much the whole time and while it was great, my memories aren't nearly as distinctive. I'm with murph, my best memories are of little details that are off the usual path, or of a few conversations with local folks.

I agree with getting everything you can into a backpack and one small wheeled bag per person, that worked well for us.

We travelled first-class (nice hotels in good locations) or "no-class" (renting college dorm rooms during summer vaca , tho still in convenient locations). Both were excellent, altho my personal preference is for "no-class."

Not "dressing like an american" also seemed to serve me well.

But as far as planning - good guidebooks for where you're going, so you can plan new things on short notice! (And ebooks have GOT to have made this easier!) This is in addition to murph's suggestion of really thorough pre-planning and knowing the lay of the land.

We can't even think about this for a few more years at least - I am envious. Have fun!!!

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 4:37 am
by Ajira
If you're going to the Munich area, it might be fun to take a little side-trip to the village of Ulm to visit the Muller Schiesszentrum (http://www.mszu.de/en/) which is a HUGE gun store with all kinds of schooting ranges, including an indoor skeetshooting range.

Oh and definitely look for a "Rodelbahn" in the Munchen area. ;) They're like miniature single-seat rollercoasters that go down hillsides, very cool stuff.

Re: Travel to Europe Fall of 2014

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:19 am
by okidoki
Europe is the best - I especially recommend you to visit France (my country btw :D) but not only Paris. Go to French Riviera (Cannes, Antibes, Monaco) :)