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Europe Travel Thread....


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#76 born.a.girl

Posted 07 March 2018 - 05:02 PM

View Postlittlemen, on 07 March 2018 - 04:48 PM, said:

We thought the Paris train system was great. Found it easy to navigate our way around. It was strange to see a train 'curve' around on the track. We tend to still build relatively straight train tracks in Oz, if that makes sense.

I did print out all the tickets/ confirmation etc that we had before we headed over. Whatever i purchased whilst travelling, I found that the places didn't have an issue checking the electronic ticket on the phone.

I was concerned with 1 particular train trip that she purchased whilst travelling as the website stipulated a printed ticket be shown. I then rang them and explained I do not have access to a printer and they said not a problem, show your phone. No issues luckily.

As mentioned above St Pancreas is the station to catch the Eurostar to Paris. We were a little disappointed by the Eurostar after taking the fast trains in Italy.

We arrived in Rome at 1pm and by 8pm the kids were well and truely ready for bed. I think you adjust to the time zones on the way over well because you are on holiday. It is the adjustment back that really sucks :)

I should add in Southern Italy we did have to show our international license. We used www.driveaway.com.au They are based in Australia and find the best deal for you. Any issues you can ring them 24/7 and they will sort it out.


In what way were you disappointed?  I've been on Italy's fast train but not Eurostar.


Re the adjustment, I experienced that two years ago, and have read that it's actually true for adjusting to the time zones - easier to go backwards than forwards.  There was a full explanation of why, it wasn't just anecdotal.

#77 born.a.girl

Posted 07 March 2018 - 07:37 PM

Any of the Irish travellers here been to Skellig Michael?

#78 purpleduck

Posted 07 March 2018 - 07:39 PM

Just a reminder - good to register with http://smartraveller...es/default.aspx and get email updates about the countries you are visiting.

#79 littlemen

Posted 07 March 2018 - 09:03 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 07 March 2018 - 05:02 PM, said:




In what way were you disappointed?  I've been on Italy's fast train but not Eurostar.

Minor things like carriages looking tired and no charging socket for phones etc. More luggage areas would be good also, there was a storage area when you entered the carriage but not big enough to accomodate the stockpile of luggage. On other trains we had been on there were luggage spaces at the back of the seated area and you could squeeze a carry one bag in between/ underneath the seats.

Re the adjustment, I experienced that two years ago, and have read that it's actually true for adjusting to the time zones - easier to go backwards than forwards.  There was a full explanation of why, it wasn't just anecdotal.

I thought my return jet lag had more to do with not wanting to come home & my holiday ending 😄😄

#80 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:27 PM

About arriving into heathrow at 6am - this is how we usually do it. We then drive for a few hours to get to relatives. A bracing hill climb to blow out the cobwebs, then into bed by 8pm. It works really well.

#81 Cimbom

Posted 08 March 2018 - 08:00 AM

View Postlittlemen, on 07 March 2018 - 09:03 PM, said:



I thought my return jet lag had more to do with not wanting to come home & my holiday ending 😄😄

I find the flight back home always seems to take longer because of this too

#82 mayahlb

Posted 08 March 2018 - 11:40 AM

What do people do about phone + internet overseas. I just looked up the international roaming costs with telstra. Ouch. Likely cost me around $260 for the trip and that with only 200mb per day. Go over and they slog you with an extra $10 for that day.

#83 seayork2002

Posted 08 March 2018 - 11:47 AM

View Postmayahlb, on 08 March 2018 - 11:40 AM, said:

What do people do about phone + internet overseas. I just looked up the international roaming costs with telstra. Ouch. Likely cost me around $260 for the trip and that with only 200mb per day. Go over and they slog you with an extra $10 for that day.

We don't use it overseas, well from our mobiles that is I mean and we don't take a laptop/tablet with it.

If we have to look something up we use the hotels internet (or IL's) but otherwise I just find it is another thing to have to organise.

#84 Moukmouk

Posted 08 March 2018 - 12:02 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 08 March 2018 - 11:40 AM, said:

What do people do about phone + internet overseas. I just looked up the international roaming costs with telstra. Ouch. Likely cost me around $260 for the trip and that with only 200mb per day. Go over and they slog you with an extra $10 for that day.

We just use ours - it's actually better now that they have the daily rate. We need them for work though, so write the cost off on our tax returns. Calls, etc texts don't add up much.
I turn of all the roaming though,so you only use wifi - pretty much anywhere overseas has better free wifi than Australia!
We will sometimes take a spare phone and buy a local SIM card to use for data. That works well too.
There are map apps you can get which work without wifi access that are good for navigation.
The serviced apartments we are staying in in London and the hotel in Hong Kong both provide a smart phone to use while we are there. Sounds like a great idea.

#85 Apageintime

Posted 08 March 2018 - 12:36 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 08 March 2018 - 11:40 AM, said:

What do people do about phone + internet overseas. I just looked up the international roaming costs with telstra. Ouch. Likely cost me around $260 for the trip and that with only 200mb per day. Go over and they slog you with an extra $10 for that day.

we just use WiFi - its basically everywhere. I've never needed my phone connected to international roaming

#86 Let-it-go

Posted 08 March 2018 - 01:06 PM

Re the phone and wifi, I just turn off international roaming and use the free wifi.  In Europe it's everywhere.  I text and make very quick phone calls to Dh (meeting up that kind of stuff) and my bill tends to be $20-30 more that month for a 3 week trip.  My DH needs his for work so he buys the packages from Telstra but he had no end of dramas with them wrongly billing last trip.  

The weaning yourself off the internet while out and about is soooooooo refreshing tbh.

#87 mayahlb

Posted 08 March 2018 - 02:17 PM

Internet was mostly because I suck at directions... i need GPS at times just to navigate my home town. A foreign country? Yeah. What I might do is just pay a little extra each month before we leave. That way it's less. And yes free wifi will be used.

One of the main reasons I have concerns is that one kid tends to wander/not pay attention at times. So I always write my phone number on his arm when we are visiting places.

#88 littlemen

Posted 08 March 2018 - 02:39 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 08 March 2018 - 02:17 PM, said:

Internet was mostly because I suck at directions... i need GPS at times just to navigate my home town. A foreign country? Yeah. What I might do is just pay a little extra each month before we leave. That way it's less. And yes free wifi will be used.

One of the main reasons I have concerns is that one kid tends to wander/not pay attention at times. So I always write my phone number on his arm when we are visiting places.

We purchased a SIM on a cheap plan when we arrived and this number was used by our families if they wanted to contact us. We also used this number when making contact with the hotels etc we were staying at. We also used the data at times for GPS.

#89 mayahlb

Posted 08 March 2018 - 03:01 PM

View Postlittlemen, on 08 March 2018 - 02:39 PM, said:

We purchased a SIM on a cheap plan when we arrived and this number was used by our families if they wanted to contact us. We also used this number when making contact with the hotels etc we were staying at. We also used the data at times for GPS.

This is a good idea. PIL will be in the UK before us, so FIL might be able to purchase on for us to use and send it to the hotel.

Looked up train fares and almost died. Turns out it works out better for us to hire a car in Portsmouth and drive to Aberffraw (drop it at Holyhead) then to catch a train. Only adds about $100 to the car hire fee we were looking at anyway, rather then the $600+ to catch a train. It's only 530kms or so which is only a bit more then a return trip to the next nearest town where I live :rofl: so I'm not bothered by the distance.

#90 Apageintime

Posted 08 March 2018 - 03:01 PM

I've just downloaded the google mps instructions, or purchased a cheap wifi dongle

#91 born.a.girl

Posted 08 March 2018 - 03:07 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 08 March 2018 - 03:01 PM, said:

This is a good idea. PIL will be in the UK before us, so FIL might be able to purchase on for us to use and send it to the hotel.

Looked up train fares and almost died. Turns out it works out better for us to hire a car in Portsmouth and drive to Aberffraw (drop it at Holyhead) then to catch a train. Only adds about $100 to the car hire fee we were looking at anyway, rather then the $600+ to catch a train. It's only 530kms or so which is only a bit more then a return trip to the next nearest town where I live :rofl: so I'm not bothered by the distance.


When are you going?  Sorry, have lost track of your timing.


I'm only one train trip short of finishing our bookings, and it's the London to Aberystwyth section.   Took me a while, but I worked out that the train tickets become available about three months prior to the journey, but the APEX fares only become available about ten weeks prior to the journey.

At the moment they're quoting 80 quid each (must find the pound and euro symbol on my keyboard!), however in a week or so, they will drop by about 60% to 36 pounds.  Then they slowly creep up, depending on the time and the day, until they're actually higher than their release price.

Check over the different times of the days, what the fares are.

I'm doing this with Arriva trains, but Virgin trains, and any aggregator gives the same results.

It was different with Eurostar where the first available tickets were never going to be any cheaper, and just got more expensive.

#92 seayork2002

Posted 08 March 2018 - 03:09 PM

For UK and Europe rail breaks the website

www.superbreak.com is great

#93 born.a.girl

Posted 08 March 2018 - 03:11 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 08 March 2018 - 11:40 AM, said:

What do people do about phone + internet overseas. I just looked up the international roaming costs with telstra. Ouch. Likely cost me around $260 for the trip and that with only 200mb per day. Go over and they slog you with an extra $10 for that day.


Our trips to New Zealand up to a decade ago were in the times of the horrific stories of people getting outrageous bills for just having used their phones for google maps a few times, so I'm still pretty wary.


No longer have a prepaid phone so that's partly solved.

Hoping to get a SIM for an old 4S that we've got though to use for directions, although as per a PP, you can download a lot of maps beforehand.

We also have an ipad that only uses wifi, and used that extensively last trip.

#94 mayahlb

Posted 08 March 2018 - 03:39 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 08 March 2018 - 03:07 PM, said:



When are you going?  Sorry, have lost track of your timing.


I'm only one train trip short of finishing our bookings, and it's the London to Aberystwyth section.   Took me a while, but I worked out that the train tickets become available about three months prior to the journey, but the APEX fares only become available about ten weeks prior to the journey.

At the moment they're quoting 80 quid each (must find the pound and euro symbol on my keyboard!), however in a week or so, they will drop by about 60% to 36 pounds.  Then they slowly creep up, depending on the time and the day, until they're actually higher than their release price.

Check over the different times of the days, what the fares are.

I'm doing this with Arriva trains, but Virgin trains, and any aggregator gives the same results.

It was different with Eurostar where the first available tickets were never going to be any cheaper, and just got more expensive.

We are going in June/July. Arrive in London June 16th, leave July 12th. I just did a price check on the end of May as June tickets were not available yet. 375 pounds for 4 tickets. We were planning to hire a car for 12/13 days anyway so it doesn't bother us. And wel we are the same people who drove 1400kms (each way) for a 5 day camping trip at Coral Bay. When I say 520kms doesn't bother us, it really doesn't. We live remote and are used to driving long distances. Actually the first part of the 1400km journey was just getting to the next town south of us and that's 600kms with two roadhouse as the only thing to break it up.

Edited by mayahlb, 08 March 2018 - 03:39 PM.


#95 Cimbom

Posted 08 March 2018 - 04:27 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 08 March 2018 - 03:11 PM, said:




Our trips to New Zealand up to a decade ago were in the times of the horrific stories of people getting outrageous bills for just having used their phones for google maps a few times, so I'm still pretty wary.


No longer have a prepaid phone so that's partly solved.

Hoping to get a SIM for an old 4S that we've got though to use for directions, although as per a PP, you can download a lot of maps beforehand.

We also have an ipad that only uses wifi, and used that extensively last trip.

Vodafone is good with this. You pay $5/day to use the normal data quota that's part of your plan. Their plans are pretty generous so it's easy to do. Probably a bit expensive for a very lengthy trip but fine for a few weeks, especially if you're going to a few different countries and would need separate SIMs for each. My recent bill came to about $140 (including normal monthly cost) for just under a month in the US

Edited by Cimbom, 08 March 2018 - 04:29 PM.


#96 born.a.girl

Posted 08 March 2018 - 05:12 PM

View PostCimbom, on 08 March 2018 - 04:27 PM, said:

Vodafone is good with this. You pay $5/day to use the normal data quota that's part of your plan. Their plans are pretty generous so it's easy to do. Probably a bit expensive for a very lengthy trip but fine for a few weeks, especially if you're going to a few different countries and would need separate SIMs for each. My recent bill came to about $140 (including normal monthly cost) for just under a month in the US


Thanks for that, will look into it.  Really only need it for three weeks.  $5 a day is a damned sight cheaper than the GPS extra cost of Hertz in Wales and Europcar in Ireland.


You think that would give us enough to use the phone for directions?

(We would use the ipad with wifi where possible for amost everything else.)

#97 born.a.girl

Posted 08 March 2018 - 05:16 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 08 March 2018 - 03:39 PM, said:

We are going in June/July. Arrive in London June 16th, leave July 12th. I just did a price check on the end of May as June tickets were not available yet. 375 pounds for 4 tickets. We were planning to hire a car for 12/13 days anyway so it doesn't bother us. And wel we are the same people who drove 1400kms (each way) for a 5 day camping trip at Coral Bay. When I say 520kms doesn't bother us, it really doesn't. We live remote and are used to driving long distances. Actually the first part of the 1400km journey was just getting to the next town south of us and that's 600kms with two roadhouse as the only thing to break it up.

YIKES!  I don't mind driving, but ...


Yeah, they're the full fares. Fair enough about the driving, but have a look at the early May fares.    They're currently only up to May 18th, and we're going on the 24th.

I know the ability to buy moves on a day at a time, but I haven't yet fathomed how the advance purchase ones work.  I check every day, but they haven't gone beyond 18th, and that's been for about ten days now.

#98 Cimbom

Posted 08 March 2018 - 09:15 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 08 March 2018 - 05:12 PM, said:

Thanks for that, will look into it.  Really only need it for three weeks.  $5 a day is a damned sight cheaper than the GPS extra cost of Hertz in Wales and Europcar in Ireland.


You think that would give us enough to use the phone for directions?

(We would use the ipad with wifi where possible for amost everything else.)

I'm on their $45 plan (own phone) and this was more than enough for us to use Google Maps every day plus extras like Uber, occasional browsing, etc. I had several GBs remaining when we returned home. You can see info about the roaming here: https://www.vodafone...ational-roaming

#99 SeaPrincess

Posted 08 March 2018 - 10:13 PM

View Postpurpleduck, on 07 March 2018 - 10:22 AM, said:

I have a couple of questions re: jetlag when arriving in London and also where in London to look at staying...

If we end up on that daily Qantas flight to Heathrow - think it arrives about 6/7am, plan is to stay awake all day (less an hour nap at most) then crash about 8pm. No idea if this will work but anyway :sleep:

Also we're likely to be in London for about 2-3 days before heading over to Paris. I know that some people say to stay in cheaper areas that are further out, and if we were there for a month, sure, but we're probably only going to be looking at the main sights etc within central London, so I'd rather not add commuting on top of that.

Any ideas for some ok areas of the city to stay in? Trying to find serviced apartments so probably have some kitchen facilities, but really, for such a short time, we'll probably do takeaway and just bludge in the evenings if we're tired. Only other thing I can think of is if it is on a train line that is convenient to both Heathrow and whichever station the Eurostar leaves from (if possible).

Thank you :)
We flew into Paris, landing at a similar time. We went to our hotel, dropped off our luggage, had a swim to freshen up, then headed out for the day. Early to bed. Perfect. Coming home was a disaster. Always is.

We stayed in Clapham. Zone 2, Northern line. Easy to get to Victoria, which is close to Buckingham Palace, and on the same line as Kings Cross/St Pancras. It was quite noisy, but it was convenient.

DH managed to get prepaid Three SIM cards for the UK/Europe for about $50 each before we left, so equivalent of 10 days at $5/day. They were good for a month. I used all of mine up (all the family were mine), so then we just topped up one for the last week.

#100 mayahlb

Posted 08 March 2018 - 10:13 PM

Bornagirl DH just went to book the tickets from Wales to London and saw the price (300 pounds :o ). So now we are driving from Aberffraw to London the day before we leave :lol: He's happy to be the designated driver and the car for 2 weeks was $475. He likes driving though and does it for a living (sort of).

I wish we were with vodaphone. Unfortunately they get the most appalling coverage where we live (anyone bar Telstra does really). I'll sort it out later I guess.

Everything but Eurostar, Paris to Saint-Malo train tickets, the Ferry to Portsmouth and the overnight at Portsmouth has been paid for. $2500 spent in less then 30mins.

Oh and DH was excited by the big train little train website. He wants to do the one up Snowdon at least.




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