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Europe Travel Thread....


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#26 seayork2002

Posted 06 March 2018 - 08:50 AM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 06 March 2018 - 08:47 AM, said:

Sure, my point is some places specifically require the printed booking.  Not on the phone, not a written down booking number.   Post offices and libraries are not necessarily open when you need it.

I've actually got all the booking confirmations sorted in folders in my email. That won't be much help if there's no electronic access though.

Good to know you haven't needed it often, that's really what I was looking for - how common IS it, to need hard copy?

I should add we mainly stay in chain hotels so maybe that is why it has not been needed?

#27 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:06 AM

179 sleeps until I leave for Switzerland and Italy on a three week group tour following the Medieval pilgrim trail to Rome. Thankfully we are going in a bus,not on foot. Start in Geneva then Montreux and over the St Bernard Pass into Italy then down through Pisa to Rome. Going with a company specialising in history tours. Have been with them twice before to Spain and Southern Italy and am getting moderately excited for this trip.

#28 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:16 AM

View Postseayork2002, on 06 March 2018 - 08:50 AM, said:

I should add we mainly stay in chain hotels so maybe that is why it has not been needed?

Yes, that would be different.

The tour I'm talking about is one to Belfast from Dublin.  You hand over your printed ticket to the driver, no alternatives.

That's the sort of thing I'm talking about.  I'm not worried about our Airbnb bookings.


I'm thinking of things like the places in Ireland where they suggest pre booking due to demand (Dublin castle, Bru na Boinne) or the Paris walking tours mentioned above.

#29 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:18 AM

View PostFeral Grey Mare, on 06 March 2018 - 09:06 AM, said:

179 sleeps until I leave for Switzerland and Italy on a three week group tour following the Medieval pilgrim trail to Rome. Thankfully we are going in a bus,not on foot. Start in Geneva then Montreux and over the St Bernard Pass into Italy then down through Pisa to Rome. Going with a company specialising in history tours. Have been with them twice before to Spain and Southern Italy and am getting moderately excited for this trip.


Can I ask the name of the company?

We did a small group food and wine tour of Sicily in 2016, and were so happy with them that we're doing another - Venice to Milan via Bologna etc next year.

We've organised the whole five weeks of this year's trip independently, which was a lot of work.

#30 eachschoolholidays

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:19 AM

I havent been to Ireland but I have been to Europe 4 times in the last 4 years. I haven't taken a printed copy for any of those trips.  Just pdfs in iBooks. Even these haven't been necessary.

#31 lizzzard

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:24 AM

I haven't had issues and never print anything!

#32 spr_maiden

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:29 AM

Thank you for the tips on airlines born.a.girl.

How many days would you suggest for each  place? We had in our heads around 3wks for the entire trip but is that crazy???
We would stay with friends in the Netherlands.
Our children are 5 & 8, so will be guided by their walking stamina.

And there's a possibility three of us may be eligible for german passports. Do you think travelling on those  (if applicable) is easier than using aussie passports?
Will I even have time to apply?
Is there enough time to even plan a trip from scratch for May? Lol
Total novice!

#33 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:43 AM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 06 March 2018 - 09:18 AM, said:




Can I ask the name of the company?

We did a small group food and wine tour of Sicily in 2016, and were so happy with them that we're doing another - Venice to Milan via Bologna etc next year.

We've organised the whole five weeks of this year's trip independently, which was a lot of work.

I'll tell you if you tell me who you did the Sicily trip with.

Mine is Academy Travel. They specialise in history, art, music and architecture tours. Most people cringe when they see the cost but the hotels are centrally located and very nice, entry to museums etc is included with no waiting in line and the tour guides are outstanding and the food.....



#34 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:49 AM

View Postspr_maiden, on 06 March 2018 - 09:29 AM, said:

Thank you for the tips on airlines born.a.girl.

How many days would you suggest for each  place? We had in our heads around 3wks for the entire trip but is that crazy???
We would stay with friends in the Netherlands.
Our children are 5 & 8, so will be guided by their walking stamina.

And there's a possibility three of us may be eligible for german passports. Do you think travelling on those  (if applicable) is easier than using aussie passports?
Will I even have time to apply?
Is there enough time to even plan a trip from scratch for May? Lol
Total novice!

We've only done ours in the last four weeks. Prior to that hadn't even thought about this year.  It was having next year's decided for us that made us focus on this year. The great thing about doing it at relatively short notice is that you can actually book things.  I think Eurostar only book six months in advance.  We're only waiting on one more booking, our train trip from London to mid-Wales, as they don't release the cheapie tickets until ten weeks beforehand.

I honestly wouldn't allow that much time in Dubai, unless you love 40 degree heat,  but happy to be corrected by others. There were a few things in Abu Dhabi that we weren't interested in that would be great for kids, like Ferrari world.

Personally I'd say three weeks is a bit crazy, that's down to almost two by the time you allow for travelling time AND a day of recovery.

Could you use the Netherlands as a base, and go for short trips to other parts with just carry on luggage?  It's amazing how those fast trains can take you places.  I ridiculed the idea that we could to Pompeii in a day from Rome, but true enough, fast train was just on an hour.

#35 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 09:57 AM

View PostFeral Grey Mare, on 06 March 2018 - 09:43 AM, said:

I'll tell you if you tell me who you did the Sicily trip with.

Mine is Academy Travel. They specialise in history, art, music and architecture tours. Most people cringe when they see the cost but the hotels are centrally located and very nice, entry to museums etc is included with no waiting in line and the tour guides are outstanding and the food.....

Thankyou!   It's very easy to forget how much you spend along the way on food, tours and extras when you're doing it yourself.

This is with European Travel Experts in Melbourne.  My husband is learning Italian, and his Italian teacher is friends with Iva, who runs ETE, so it came about in a roundabout way. I needed a kick up the bum to sell my business, and this was the perfect incentive, so I said 'we're going' to which my husband replied 'but I haven't told you how much it is'.  I said I didn't care, if I didn't have a deadline, I'd never do what was necessary.  So really, we took quite a punt on it all, but were so happy with Iva's organisation we've committed to next June.

It's 18 days, 17 nights high standard accommodation (much better than I'm used to!) All breakfasts, 15 dinners, some lunches wine at most meals, all local tour guides. $7748 pp, but, that is based on 14 people, so will go up depending on how many commit.

I was seriously wary of the 'floating' price in 2016 but once we'd been, I wondered how on earth she'd done it for the price.


We didn't travel beyond NZ for 30 years, and I kept my business going for a few years longer than I'd have liked, in the fully knowledge I was earning our travel money, so we're trying to make the most of it while our mid sixties knees and backs hold out.

#36 carls888

Posted 06 March 2018 - 10:00 AM

Great thread! We are off to Italy in April for 8 weeks. So joining in here. xo

#37 spr_maiden

Posted 06 March 2018 - 10:02 AM

Dubai is a work trip for DH.  Was going to tag along. But we could easily meet him a few days in then go from there. I just have a weird fear of wanting to be together if we travel just in case lol.

I thought 3wks was not enough, but DH disagreed. Dh mentioned Netherlands as home base.  The kids would love the trains no doubt.  Will look into that, thanks.

#38 Cimbom

Posted 06 March 2018 - 11:39 AM

Is anyone going to Russia over the World Cup? We may if DH gets selected for this program he has applied for. I've never had a free trip before! *fingers crossed*

#39 Apageintime

Posted 06 March 2018 - 12:43 PM

View PostCimbom, on 06 March 2018 - 11:39 AM, said:

Is anyone going to Russia over the World Cup? We may if DH gets selected for this program he has applied for. I've never had a free trip before! *fingers crossed*

yes we are! We are also going to Paris, Estonia, Finland and Belgium around it.

#40 mayahlb

Posted 06 March 2018 - 12:54 PM

I still haven't booked anything and am getting nagged by the MIL. If she wants it done then she needs to nag her damned son who can't make up his mind. I'm in the midst of getting passports sorted. At this rate we will end up doing Wales and that's it... I really want to get back to Rome but DH is umming and ahhing. Only reason he said yes to Paris is because of Paris Dineyland :rolleyes: I'm contemplating just stuffing him at his parents house in Wales and taking the kids to explore another country by myself.

Does anyone know how expensive it is to hire a car and maybe wander around Scotland/Wales? Because that's the alternative at this point.

#41 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 06 March 2018 - 01:20 PM

Last group tour I took was to Southern Italy. I ticked the box asking if I was interested in room sharing and was paired up with the world's nicest room mate. We've stayed in contact and have caught up with each other several times since even though she lives near the NSW/Vic border and I'm mid way up the NSW coast. Saved us each almost $2000. The risk is that you get stuck with a bore or a person with questionable habits I guess.

#42 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 01:37 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 06 March 2018 - 12:54 PM, said:

I still haven't booked anything and am getting nagged by the MIL. If she wants it done then she needs to nag her damned son who can't make up his mind. I'm in the midst of getting passports sorted. At this rate we will end up doing Wales and that's it... I really want to get back to Rome but DH is umming and ahhing. Only reason he said yes to Paris is because of Paris Dineyland :rolleyes: I'm contemplating just stuffing him at his parents house in Wales and taking the kids to explore another country by myself.

Does anyone know how expensive it is to hire a car and maybe wander around Scotland/Wales? Because that's the alternative at this point.

We've organised car hire in Wales - Aberystwyth to Holyhead.  Going with Hertz after a lot of faffing around.  Would have gone with Europcar but they wouldn't do one way hire, even though they have depots in both places.

We actually extended it by one day because it was the same price for six days as for five, so getting it a day earlier than planned (which now means we can visit Hafod).

$230, not including a second driver, which ain't cheap.


Haven't been to Scotland ... yet.


Have  you seen this?

https://bigtrainlittletrain.com/


We intend to take as many 'little' trains as we can.

#43 mayahlb

Posted 06 March 2018 - 01:52 PM

Bornagirl - just looked at Hertz. Their prices are not that bad actually. I paid more for 5 days car rental from Brisbane. And I'll likely get stuck doing all the driving (I don't drink, though DH is actually more experiences then me), so we wouldn't need a 2nd driver.

#44 Let-it-go

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:25 PM

In all my many years of hiring cars in many different countries in Europe, I always seemed to end up using Hertz.  They always seemed to be the cheapest.

#45 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:42 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 06 March 2018 - 01:52 PM, said:

Bornagirl - just looked at Hertz. Their prices are not that bad actually. I paid more for 5 days car rental from Brisbane. And I'll likely get stuck doing all the driving (I don't drink, though DH is actually more experiences then me), so we wouldn't need a 2nd driver.

I should have added, it's a manual car.  Autos were more than twice the price there and in Ireland. I'm fine with manuals, although mostly drive autos, so it wasn;t a huge consideration except for my husband's dodgy left knee.  Good thing my dodgy knee is the right one. :)  The second driver charge was what decided us as to me driving and him navigating in Wales.  I've got the spatial skills of a house brick, and he's excellent at navigating.   We can spend the money on welsh cakes. :)

#46 mayahlb

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:45 PM

View PostIce Queen, on 06 March 2018 - 02:25 PM, said:

In all my many years of hiring cars in many different countries in Europe, I always seemed to end up using Hertz.  They always seemed to be the cheapest.
A standard Australian Licence would be all I need for car hire in the UK wouldn't it? DH has got all sorts of "extra" licences but mine is just your standard manual licence.

Bornagirl - as long as GPS is available I'm fine lol. I get lost in my small home town, actually I got lost yesterday and even google maps had no idea where I was supposed to be going :rofl:

Edited by mayahlb, 06 March 2018 - 02:46 PM.


#47 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:53 PM

View PostIce Queen, on 06 March 2018 - 02:25 PM, said:

In all my many years of hiring cars in many different countries in Europe, I always seemed to end up using Hertz.  They always seemed to be the cheapest.

Yes, I was surprised, but I've never hired a car anywhere further than New Zealand before.

CPA australia have a 15% discount deal with Europcar, so they would have been cheaper in Wales, too, but only because of that - but of course I couldn't do one way.

#48 unicycle

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:57 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 06 March 2018 - 02:45 PM, said:

A standard Australian Licence would be all I need for car hire in the UK wouldn't it? DH has got all sorts of "extra" licences but mine is just your standard manual licence.



UK usually also wants two proof of address eg a utilitlites bill and a bank statement for car hire

#49 seayork2002

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:57 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 06 March 2018 - 02:45 PM, said:

A standard Australian Licence would be all I need for car hire in the UK wouldn't it? DH has got all sorts of "extra" licences but mine is just your standard manual licence.

Bornagirl - as long as GPS is available I'm fine lol. I get lost in my small home town, actually I got lost yesterday and even google maps had no idea where I was supposed to be going :rofl:

I think you have 3 months on an Australian license to use it in

#50 born.a.girl

Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:58 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 06 March 2018 - 02:45 PM, said:

A standard Australian Licence would be all I need for car hire in the UK wouldn't it? DH has got all sorts of "extra" licences but mine is just your standard manual licence.

Bornagirl - as long as GPS is available I'm fine lol. I get lost in my small home town, actually I got lost yesterday and even google maps had no idea where I was supposed to be going :rofl:

Well, GPS is extra too.

Rates sound good upfront, but from my recollection in Australia and New Zealand there are no extra charges for extra drivers.

I figure only one person can be driving at a time, and I'd have thought it was actually safer to share the driving. They say it's to do with extra insurance costs.




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