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First time traveling to Europe from the States --- Travel questions

Not sure how the rail pass work, any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Are singles tickets best for the following.

Paris to London
London to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Belgium
Belgium to Berlin

3 days in Paris
2 days in London
2 days in Amsterdam
3 days in Belgium
4 days in Berlin
Back to the States
Also we're taking the train from Barcelona to Paris.

Posted by
33336 posts

All the places you have mentioned are cities - except Belgium. Belgium is a whole country. Where in Belgium did you have in mind?

Thinking in terms of nights is easier than days. Two nights yields one full day. When you say 2 days in London do you mean 3 nights, or 2 nights?

Are your travel days in addition to these, or part of them?

Is there a reason you are backtracking out of London? More efficient would be London - Paris - Belgium - Amsterdam - Berlin, then it is all in the most efficient straight line.

London - Amsterdam - Belgium is also backtracking.

I'm also intrigued why you placed this question in the Belgium section of the Helpline? Is there a particular focus on Belgium, rather than putting the question in either Transportation or General Europe?

The reasons for the questions are so that we can best understand your plans and needs and desires, and best provide the answers that you need in return.

Posted by
5 posts

My apologies, this probably should be under the travel or general Europe section. I'm new to this.
Thank you for your quick response to answer your questions

In Belgium, we will be staying in Brussels.
Thanks for the clarification on nights verse days. Backtracking like going in the opposite direction?
The reason we selected the order cities is because we're returning to Barcelona from a cruise with some friends from Paris and well will be visiting with them right after the cruise.

Paris 3 Nights (staying with friends)
London 2 Nights (meeting up with some old Military friends)
Amsterdam 2 nights, Brussels 3 nights and Berlin 3 nights - We probably could switch Amsterdam and Brussels around but the last 3 night must be in Berlin.

Thank you for you advice.

Posted by
11294 posts

" Backtracking like going in the opposite direction?"

Exactly - have a look at a map, and you'll see. But, given that the order you visit your cities is largely locked in, you're stuck with some backtracking.

To look at train schedules and routes, it's easiest to use the Bahn (German rail) website, following Rick's tutorial: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/db_tips.htm. To get prices of tickets (except for the train to Berlin), you'll need to use the website of the authority that actually runs the train in question. Here's where to find that: http://tinyurl.com/bo8x6o6 Note that for all of your trains, prices start out reasonable if you buy far in advance and can accept non-exchangeable and non-refundable tickets, and go up (and up and UP) if you wait until the last minute.

A pass will not cover some of these trains at all, and others will have high supplements that make it not cost-effective. Also, most of these trains have mandatory reservations, so a pass doesn't give you more flexibility.

For more details on each of these trains, you should look at The Man In Seat 61. To get you started, here's his advice on London to Paris (just reverse his directions): http://www.seat61.com/London-to-Paris-by-train.htm#.U1Q8U1eZgVI and London to Amsterdam: http://www.seat61.com/Netherlands.htm#.U1Q8LleZgVI.

If you don't like the train times, you can investigate flights on Skyscanner: http://www.skyscanner.com/

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

If you are willing to drop Belgium, you can easily get to Berlin from Amsterdam. The CNL night train is one option. By day take the local train to Amsterdam to Duisburg, change to the ICE direct to Berlin. If you really must include Belgium, then take a local train to Aachen, transfer to Cologne, where the night train is also an option, Köln-Berlin direct. No need to get a rail Pass, the trip is too short, assuming you'll be staying just in Berlin for the 4 days, ie, no day r/t trips. The point to point tickets and discount tickets would better you better, if you're willing to sacrifice flexibility.

Posted by
16894 posts

When is this trip? Book several months ahead for the best prices on all long-distance tickets. US prices should be the same as European rates for the Paris-London Eurostar train. Then either return on Eurostar from London to Brussels (this does not count as a roundtrip Eurostar discount) or fly EasyJet from London to Amsterdam. You can buy the Amsterdam-Berlin train ticket with advance discount through DB (or through our link but you might find the exchange rate applied to be a bit high).

Posted by
5 posts

THe trip starts June 22, 2014. We really want to go to Brussels and we could drop Amsterdam.