I have one other post on this forum from 2008... We never made it to Europe because we ended up having a baby!
So. We'd like to attempt a trip again this year. Our daughter will be nearly 3 when we go- hopefully sometime around the end of September 2013.
Does this sound doable?
Florida to Dublin.. then travel to London, then Paris, then go to Italy.. maybe Florence and Rome? And then fly home.
We are definitely on a budget and will have to fly coach. I want it to be as painless as possible. I was going to try open-jaw to Ireland (less than 3 hours to NY, then around 7 to Ireland) and then come back from Italy. But the Italy flight will be more expensive and very long it looks like.
So I'm re-thinking Italy. My husband has family in Spain, but we were going to skip Spain this time and go straight to Italy.
I'm willing to re-think where we go so we can travel in a way that makes sense and wastes the least amount of time and money.
We've got around 50,000 starpoints (starwood) that I want to use toward hotels in the major cities. So I'm trying to figure out what type of budget we'll need to have.
We do really want to see Italy, but I'm wondering if it is out of the way... We do plan on going back to Europe again, but it won't be for quite a few years because we want to expand our family again.
Any tips on the best way to set up this trip price wise and time wise?
Post by madamtrashheap on Feb 9, 2013 5:23:55 GMT -5
Welcome back to GFE, bethanygm!
And congratulations on your daughter - an acceptable reason to postpone your trip last time, but great to hear you're going now. By your note that she will be 3yo when you travel, I'm guessing you're taking her with you?
At any rate, you don't say how long you have to travel, but the route you've mentioned is certainly doable. I haven't checked ticket prices on any form of transport mentioned below, but have listed budget airlines or tips on booking trains which may help.
Sticking with your original plan of Florida to Dublin, then London, then Paris, then go to Italy.. maybe Florence and Rome? And then fly home - you could do:
Dublin to London - fly (check Aer Lingus or British Airways. If you choose to go with Ryanair their excees baggage fees are hideous so travelling with a child might put you over.)
London to Paris - Eurostar; if you book 3mths ahead you'll get decent prices. Check www.eurostar.com
Paris to Italy - you could fly to Rome from Paris from Orly or CDG airports (not Beauvais as too far out of Paris)
Rome to Florence - train; the Eurostar Italia will be around Euro40pp and takes 1h30m, but if you want to spend less and take the regional train (around 3.5hrs) the tickets will be considerably less.
Florence to Dublin - this will be tricky to fly as to the best of my knowledge there are only 2 budget flights per week from Pisa (1hr by train away from Florence) and they are with Ryan Air.
With this in mind, perhaps you could look into an open jaw ticket for in to Dublin and out of London (I know airport taxes are high, but bear with me) or even in to Dublin and out of Paris. Which would mean rejigging your travel order a little in the middle, but certainly doable. If you can find out the prices on those two open-jaw tickets and report back, we can work out a route in between for you.
HOTELS - I'm not sure which hotels in Europe accept the Starwood points, you'll have to do that research - but I can tell you that cheaper hotels in central Rome and Florence are usuallly not part of a chain group or partner program, so might not accept points. Once you get to that part of the planning, let us know and we can suggest some hotels in these two cities.
Post by WillTravel on Feb 13, 2013 17:38:03 GMT -5
Starwood points in Rome can get you a beautiful central hotel like the Westin Excelsior, but they cost a lot of points, and availability can be limited. Similarly in Paris. However, they can be particularly useful to get a triple room, so make sure you book with that idea in mind (if that's what you are doing).