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Should I pre book in-country transportation (before leaving US)?

Aloha!

We will be traveling later this month and into next month to England, Hungary, Czech Republic, France and Italy - we'll be in Europe a total of 10 days, leaving the 11th day. I've just booked a day trip (flying) from Paris to Venice on Easy Jet - we aren't renting cars anywhere - and we're flying to each country.

I currently have transportation by our Czech Republic hotel from the airport when we arrive - should I do the same for the others? Now?

Also, for the daytrip, Easy Jet offers transportation from the Hotel in Paris (I'm sure I could book a return as well) for a total of $42 US dollars - is this a good price? Should I book it now?

Thanks very much for any help - I haven't been to Europe since the late '90's and this is my boyfriend's first trip - any help/suggestions is appreciated!

Posted by
843 posts

Would you be able to provide a bit more information, such as the specific airports/hotel locations, and your itinerary. On first read, traveling to five fairly far flung countries in 10 days seems pretty daunting and your experiences will be somewhat limited given that you'll have such limited time in each spot (it almost seems that your travel time would equal your on the ground time). Am I reading it correctly that you are flying to Venice from Paris and then returning that same day? Knowing what airport and from where in Paris you are traveling to would make it easier to give an idea the cost, and with that said, would you be willing to consider public transport to cut down on cost?
Consider purchasing a guidebook (Rick Steve's are great for first timers or infrequent visitors) for each city you will be traveling to get more information on logistics (such as transport to and from airport). You can check them out at the library if purchasing five separate books would be too much.

Posted by
5661 posts

I'm sorry to be blunt, but please seriously reconsider trying to see 5 different countries in 10 days. You will undoubtedly feel jet lag when you arrive, so you won't be at 100% right away. Just to push yourself (and boyfriend) to a new place every other day is a recipe for exhaustion, travel burnout, and high expenses if you have to rely on a few flights to get you to the next location. You have to keep in mind that you lose a number of hours every time you "move" (in transit and getting to/from any mode of transport). Right now the days are shorter as it gets dark a lot earlier. Plus the weather may not be ideal either, so give yourself more slack to enjoy any one place rather than being constantly on the move.

Less is more. You'll have a better trip if you cut down substantially. In 10 days, a rule of thumb is to see no more than 3 cities (preferably close together or within a reasonable distance).

Posted by
375 posts

Wow. I would be interested in seeing your actual itinerary. It seems like the bulk of your vacation will be in transit—just trying to get from 1 place to the next.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you - absolutely!

We arrive in London on the morning of November 26th, take the "Chunnel" to Paris the morning of November 28th- we are staying at a hotel that is told to be a 9 minute taxi ride to the 'chunnel' station - We then take the RER to CDG and fly to Budapest and stay until December 2nd. Flying to Prague on December 2nd - 5th when we fly to Paris (CDG) - our day trip to Venice is on December 6th - yes we leave in the morning and return that night - and we leave CDG for JFK on the morning of December 8th.

We would consider public transport to cut down on travel time, but we are from the Kona side of the Big Island in Hawaii and are not used to cities and public transportation so we want this to be as simple/easy as possible - we're country folk!

Again, any assistance/guidance is of the utmost help and greatly appreciated -

Posted by
18 posts

to Agnes:

I don't mind 'blunt; - : )

Guess I should have asked sooner - too late now, hotels and flights are booked!

We think we will be ok after reading some suggestions for jet lag, fingers crossed!

The flights were very affordable, to us, coming from living in a state where it can cost $450 round trip to get to Oahu from our location! I did factor in the 'lost time' for the moves and hopefully have booked so that our time in each country is maximized - but I know what you're saying . . .

Like I said, hotels and flights are booked (without travel insurance) so we'll just hope for the best - I should report back here after the trip and let you all know how we fared - - -

Thanks for your input!

Posted by
18 posts

jehb2: I kinda posted our itinerary - it will be a challenge, to say the least - but my glass is always half full - - -

We're high energy people in our early 70's and I have confidence this will be a good trip - I will post here afterwards and will be honest if it turned out otherwise . . .

Aloha!

Posted by
11291 posts

Can’t wait to hear hope your trip went - it would exhaust me , but hey you’re made out of sterner stuff !

Do you mean that easyjet provides transport between your hotel in Paris and airport or twin station ? Which airport or train station ?? Could be a deal or a rip off depending on that ! And what is hotel name ?

Posted by
6373 posts

I'm glad it's you and not me trying to execute such a trip. It's a trip to European airports rather than cities. Don't let your trip be such a big blur. Limit yourself to 3 cities. And flying into Venice for one day will not work well.

Posted by
2291 posts

You'll have to pardon me, but I think your idea of a day trip to Venice is a huge waste. From what I can find, the earliest direct flight gets you into the Venice airport at 10:45. It will take about an hour to actually get into Venice- 11:45. But the latest direct flight back to Paris is at 1815. You would have to leave for the airport by 1515 or so. That gives you less than 4 hours to see anything (and presumably have a meal). Unless, of course you're taking the 2045 into Orly. So you would be looking at over 12 hours of travel time to spend 4 (or 6) hours on site. Are you really sure that's how you want to spend a vacation day, instead of enjoying the sights of Paris?

Posted by
18 posts

David -
I MAY have over - booked us, but we'll just have to find out -
We both play sports (him, softball, me, tennis) so I'm hoping that with that in our background we won't poop out!
Like I said, I will post after the trip to update -
Aloha!

Posted by
18 posts

CJean -
I've been to Venice (not this time of year) so I think the 'experience' of it is worth it -
It's just breathtaking and even a few hours will be good - it may be awhile before we can get back to Europe -
I'm a retired flight attendant, so a 'whirlwind' trip is nothing new - I went with a friend who was working a trip to Barcelona recently for 29 hours - it was FABULOUS!
But if I'm wrong, I'll have no problem admitting it . . . : )
Aloha!

Posted by
18 posts

Pat -

Yes, Easy Jet offers transportation from our hotel to the airport based on the departure time - it's CDG and the hotel is Hotel de L'Empureur - it sounds reasonable to me but maybe that's because we live far from the Kona airport and it would be more here...

Posted by
4991 posts

Not to rain on your parade ... but December 5 has a MAJOR rail / metro strike scheduled. Your RER from deGaulle may (probably) not be running. Keep an eye on this as it unfolds and consider pre-booking transportation.
(We are arriving from SFO that day, so the date is burnt into my brain.)

Posted by
487 posts

Hôtel de L’Empéreur is a lovely choice! A romantic escapade for sure, have a great trip!

Posted by
18 posts

Laura B

Mahalo nui loa for the heads up!!! Had not heard about that . . .we leave Prague for Paris that day with no metro plans, but good to be aware of regardless!

Aloha!

Posted by
18 posts

Barbara -

Thanks for your comment - it sounded good on paper so I'm glad to hear what you have to say -

Aloha!

Posted by
529 posts

I know its a bit late now but you dont seem to be avtually spending any time at all in Paris? Just using it as some where to travel through, why? Surely it would be quicker and cheaper to just fly London to Budapest???
And 'chunnel' is not a word used any where but on this site! You will be going on the Eurostar.
I wish you good luck😁

Posted by
18 posts

Caro -

You're 'sort of' accurate that Paris is our thoroughfare . . . but we want to experience the Eurostar train (not 'chunnel') which is why we've added it to our adventure - certainly flying to Budapest would have been a LOT quicker!

Although we seem to be going only through France, there is a method to the madness - Venice was only added today as a last minute idea - it was always a thought to try to see a part of Italy, and today was decision day . . .

I'm confident we will be able to get to the Eiffel Tower and more during our time in Paris on December 5th (arrival) and on the 7th -

And as a retired flight attendant, our getting back to the US is standby so I had to look at our options for success with that - we have tickets to a Broadway play in New York when we return on December 8th! If you read my previous posts: my glass is half full (and my fingers are crossed!) I appreciate your wish of good luck!

Aloha -

Posted by
4852 posts

Unfortunately, the major strike to which Laura refers on December 5th is likely to continue for several days — if not several weeks!— thus also impacting your ability to get to the airport and back on Dec 6 for Venice and for departure on Dec 8 too.

The problem with these major strikes is that not only will public transportation not be running, but that then everyone who has to really get anywhere of any non-bikable or non-scooterable distance will take every taxi and Uber, thus making it nearly impossible to get a taxi (or paying out the nose for surge pricing on Uber).

I hate it for people who are coming to Paris Dec 5 and thereafter, but it is really likely to be a horrible mess. Given how packed your schedule is, it will affect you even more.

Can you explain if the EasyJet transfer to the airport is per person or for both of you, and to which airport (CDG or Orly) it is?

Posted by
937 posts

Very interesting itinerary. It´s a shame you did not ask about the logistics of such a plan before you made all the reservations. European flight conditions in winter are not the same as they are in Hawaii and you are relying on seamless transportation, expect airport weather delays. Add in a major strike in France which should bring complete chaos to all ground operations for an undetermined amount of time and a subsequent surge at airports of people trying to make last minute recover plans and you have a real transportation challenge to your itinerary which is based heavily on constantly moving.

Hope you return with a report after this is over and let us know how much of your planned trip you were able to complete.

Final note: the Easy Jet transportation from CDG into Paris has been known to have very irregular operations. Have a solid plan B in mind.

Posted by
6365 posts

Considering the massive rail strike starting on the 5th, you should just go directly to Venice from Prague, fly to CDG the 7th to spend the night and get your standby flight on the 8th. With your precisely timed itinerary, Paris won’t be worth the hassle after the 5th.

It’s a calculation of time vs money. If your itinerary does go off-track, check the credit card you booked with to see if it provides travel insurance, delay, lost luggage, etc.

I did a similar itinerary in September, midwest to Paris for two nights before meeting French family for a flight to Tiblisi, Georgia. Day five I conked out and ended up sleeping 20 hours and on Imodium. I’m active, early seventies and travel to Europe 2X a year. Don’t forget the Pepto and Imodium.

Posted by
3956 posts

We arrive in London on the morning of November 26th, take the
"Chunnel" to Paris the morning of November 28th- we are staying at a
hotel that is told to be a 9 minute taxi ride to the 'chunnel' station
- We then take the RER to CDG and fly to Budapest and stay until December 2nd. Flying to Prague on December 2nd - 5th when we fly to
Paris (CDG) - our day trip to Venice is on December 6th - yes we leave
in the morning and return that night - and we leave CDG for JFK on the
morning of December 8th.

I just had to map this out.

Nov. 26 - Arrive in London from Hawaii
Nov. 27 - London
Nov. 28 - Train from London to Paris then get to CDG and fly to Budapest
Nov. 29 - Budapest
Nov. 30 - Budapest
Nov. 1 - Budapest
Nov. 2 - Fly from Budapest to Prague
Nov. 3 - Prague
Nov. 4 - Prague
Nov. 5 - Fly from Prague to Paris
Nov. 6 - Fly from Paris to Venice to Paris
Nov. 7 - Paris
Nov. 8 - Fly from Paris to Hawaii

Why aren't you just flying from Prague to Venice and then Venice to Paris? You also say that you have 10 days in Europe and will fly out on Day 11. By my itinerary above, you have more than 10 days. Is there a mistake somewhere?

Posted by
755 posts

Agree with Bets. Your chances of even getting into Paris on the date you've planned are minimal. Cover Paris in another trip but forget about it this time.

This bespeaks the need for visitors to be alert as to what's actually going on at their destinations. Ashley posted this strike info on Oct. 17.

Posted by
4852 posts

Also as Emily’s summary highlights — why not fly directly from London to Budapest? Why are you going to Paris in between, not even to stay?

Please listen to the advice from Bets and Tocard.

Posted by
2505 posts

"Also as Emily’s summary highlights — why not fly directly from London to Budapest? Why are you going to Paris in between, not even to stay?"
OP has already answered this question. It's so they can experience the Eurostar -- may not be the best reason but "oomph, there it is."

@ ocean4tricia,
Yes, do please come back after the trip and let us know how this itinerary turns out. This trip could be like the major renovation my husband and I did on a house -- a real test of our fortitude. I, for one, am extremely interested in how this turns out given that I am an exceedingly slow traveler but am always interested in how faster paced people make it work.

Posted by
4852 posts

Ah yes JHK thanks I had definitely missed that response somehow.

Posted by
18 posts

Hi everyone -

Thanks VERY much for your informative replies -

I'm in the process of attempting to redo our Paris reservation and re-routing our trip - here we go again with those 'fingers crossed' - LOL!!!

Since I've already booked the Venice day trip, once I know if I can change our Paris hotel I'll decide about looking at changing or canceling the Venice trip - UGH! It may be an expensive lesson ---

As for the posting about the strike on October 17th - I joined the forum just a few days ago so didn't see anything about that - - - it wouldn't occur to me to plan a trip after looking at upcoming strikes - - - not something that I'd naturally think to look into . . .

So here's the current itinerary:
November 25th Miami to London
November 26th arrive London AM
November 27th London
November 28th Eurostar to Paris, Paris to Budapest
November 29-December 2nd Budapest (we're staying here the longest - my first trip to Hungary and I'm 50% Hungarian)
December 2nd to Prague
December 3rd-5th Prague
December 5th to Paris
December 6th day trip to Venice
December 7th Paris sights
December 8th Paris to JFK
December 8th Broadway play at 7P
December 9th New York sights (I was based here my first six months of flying, my boyfriend has never been to NYC)
December 10th JFK - LAX dinner with friends
December 11th LAX - Kona

Proposed itinerary:
November 25th Miami to London
November 26th arrive London AM
November 27th London
November 28th Eurostar to Paris
November 28-December 1st Paris - cancel Venice (?)
December 1st fly to Budapest arrive 7P
December 1st - 4th Budapest
December 5th fly to Prague
December 6th Prague
December 7th Prague
December 8th Prague to Paris (depending on the flight times and being able to get there in time for our flight to JFK)
Of course the end of the trip remains the same
Plan B would be to leave from Prague on the 7th and stay at an airport hotel in Paris if the connection on the 8th isn't possible.

I've started the process and we'll just have to see how it all plays out - if there will be unreasonable cancellation fees, flight availability for the changes, etc -

Again, I appreciate all of the input - after thinking about everything yesterday with the responses I received it makes sense (even if it costs some money and it isn't an outrageous amount) to see if I can make changes -

Aloha!

Posted by
6365 posts

Much better, but I would definitely stay at a CDG hotel the night before. Otherwise you are on two disconnected flights and have to be at CDG three hours early to check in. If you have luggage, you’ll have to allow time to collect it and change terminals before checking in.

Posted by
4852 posts

The new plan looks a lot better. I agree with Bets that you should try for going to Paris the day before you have to catch your trans-Atlantic flight.

One question, are any of your flights on AirFrance?

I am sorry to have to send such a discouraging message on avoiding visiting Paris because of the planned strikes. Unfortunately they seem they could really have an impact.

That is very fun that you are half Hungarian and getting to go to Hungary for the first time. I have lived there twice and it is a place I just love.

Good luck with your re-routing and re-planning. It seems late but you still have time to salvage things since you have more information now. I think you will be lots happier with the revised schedule.

Posted by
18 posts

We're BAAAAAAAAACK!!!

Well, again, thanks to all for your input -

At considerable expense (to us) I re-routed our trip to avoid the Metro strike . . .

We were on the mainland in Florida so we flew Miami to London Heathrow. We were standby on the airline I used to work for - had hoped for business class, but settled for premium economy. We didn't have seats together but slept most of the way so it wasn't like it mattered -

0nce in London, arriving November 26th, we took the "underground" to our hotel. We booked a place in Strattford because of the proximity to the Eurostar station and the departure time for our train on November 28th which was 7:55A due to our original plan to go to Budapest on the 28th. It all worked out - we did the Hop On Hop Off bus tour on the 27th and had the best fish and chips EVER at Harrods!

Once off the Eurostar in Paris on the 28th we took the Metro to our hotel - there was a station a very short distance from our hotel.
Our hotel was walking distance to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, etc., or a short Metro stop to wherever we wanted to go. My partner WAS pickpocketed but he yelled "Where's my wallet??" loudly and quickly and the girl (three girls working together) 'dropped' it as though she'd found it and handed it to him -

On December 1st we flew to Budapest (took the Metro to the Charles de Gaulle airport) arriving to our BEAUTIFUL Parisi Udvar Hotel about 8:30P - we had dinner in the hotel restaurant and awoke to a beautiful snowfall! I'd wanted to go to the thermal baths in the snow, but my partner talked me out of it and I found a FABULOUS restaurant for Chicken Paprikash - we went to the Szechenyi Thermal Spa the next day and they said it was extremely busy the day before! It was an easy ride on the subway to get there and no pickpockets!

We went to the Christmas market and it was wonderful!

On December 5th we flew from Budapest to Prague and once in our room saw on CNN about the Metro strike we'd avoided - it wasn't pretty! That's when we became aware that going back to Paris on December 7th for our flight (standby) to JFK was probably not a good idea . . . air traffic control had decided to participate in the strike so who knows what might have happened?!? Which is the beauty of standby - you can change things (including dates and places) without any cost penalties and you're not stuck in the bubble of full fare travelers trying to compete for seats - so once again, I re-routed our trip.

Instead of going from Prague back to Paris, we went to London. And then we flew (standby) from London (Heathrow) to JFK on the 7th of December - this time we got business class . . . sooooo comfy!

Unfortunately we lost a day in Europe, but it would have just been to a hotel at the CDG airport. But, we got an extra day in New York and it was another place my partner had never been to -

All in all, it was a GREAT trip! We saw a little bit of four countries, more of NYC than otherwise planned, and the best part: we got to where we were going without problems!!!

One caution: DON'T use Jayride as your airport-hotel-airport transportation. It doesn't go as planned (finding them when you land mostly because they're not on time) and they cost more than other services you might be able to book through your hotels.

VERY EXCELLENT TRIP overall!!!

Posted by
23039 posts

whew!!!

Good thing you got the warnings here - so glad it worked out

Posted by
4852 posts

So glad you were able to rework things, and got in and out of Paris before the strike struck.

Posted by
4451 posts

tricia, thank you very much for coming back to report. Since I am one of many who counsels against such busy schedules, it is valuable for me to read about someone who got exactly what she wanted, and was really pleased. The fact that you are a travel professional may or many not be relevant to your satisfaction. I still think it is unwise to spend so many hours of a short trip on changing home bases.

It happens that my first visit to Venice was also a day trip, but we came by bus from Stra, a nearby city where we had business. I have sometimes taken long train trips for a single day in some city or other (for example, Lille from Antwerp), but I feel strongly that it is an inferior, superficial, visit. (I really only wanted to see the art museum in Lille, despite it being an interesting city.)

Posted by
18 posts

Whew is right!
You have to be creative and flexible when things happen -
Not sure I'd say I'm a travel professional, just aware that changes can be made because I fly (mostly) standby -
As for the short time in each country, since my partner had never been to Europe and it was more an after the fact trip because we were already on the East coast, we didn't really know where we wanted to be (except for Hungary) and I thought him having a 'taste' of Europe for a future return trip was a good idea. For us, it worked! If we'd been able to have the full three week trip in just Europe, of course it would have been done much differently . . . : )
Two more things to mention:
1) Unless you're after just a train trip vs flying, I wouldn't bother with the Eurostar; you don't even realize you're underwater for that 34 minutes - I do believe that it's easier to process through security at the train station than it is at Heathrow, though, so there is that advantage.
2) Before we left Hawaii I canceled our day trip to Venice, which was a HUGE challenge due to EasyJet's website. Of the total costs, I was refunded the taxes. I've filed a dispute with my credit card company for the balance. During the trip I was notified that the flights had been canceled during the Metro strike and there was a link in the email to process for a full refund. Unfortunately that link didn't work for me (probably because I'd been proactive and had already canceled) so I'm waiting to see what happens through my credit card company.
Thanks to all for your comments -

Posted by
18 posts

BTW - we never felt jet-lag - as stated somewhere in one of the Forums here: we pushed ourselves and got out and looked around and kept going -
I don't know if it was the excitement of the new experiences together or that we knew our time in each country was short, but we never felt 'jet lag' - and as a retired flight attendant, I definitely know what that's like - UGH!!!
Re-entry (into our own time zone) was a little different: we were getting up at 2 and 3 am for about a week - that was crazy! But we're back on track now . . .

Posted by
4991 posts

Great to hear your (amended) trip went well.

A week after I posted my warning to you about the December 5 (and following) strike I also revised our itinerary to fly into Frankfurt, skipping Paris entirely. Like your situation, my pro-active adjustment cost me change fees BUT when I saw that United was later offering no-fee changes due to strike conditions I went back and requested (and got) a refund. Couldn't hurt to ask.

Posted by
1305 posts

hey hey ocean4tricia
great trip report. i felt the same way other posters commented about doing it all. you did it even with plan A to plan B to plan C. crazy but you guys had a great time. are you planning your next trip already and where would you go?
we were in paris end of september, no strike then, and it was so busy. memorial and funeral for past president jacques chirac, protesters, fashionista week, business convention, techno light parade. streets were blocked, had a tour planned which we cancelled till next day, driver said took 1H30M to go 2 miles. sirens from everywhere, police all over with their guns and rifles standing at main attractions, walking all around. we stopped at la cuisine de phillipe, had passion fruit and grande marnier souffles and glass of wine. it was so so yummy. you just deal with it like you glass was half full!!
totally understand about big island transportation, (slim to none) unless you have a car. i'm from hilo,the hamakua coast and waimea where my family still lives
mele kalikimaka & hau'oli makahiki hou
aloha

Posted by
18 posts

Aloha Princess Pupule -

Thanks for your note - the trip definitely had it's challenges with me getting the info on the Metro strike so late, but you're right, plan C was the one that worked! LOL!!!

We were at the Arc de Triomphe on a Friday evening and it was CRAZY!!! There was what seemed to be a small military parade as we came off the Metro - people at our hotel didn't know what we were talking about so not sure what was going on.

We stayed in the area for awhile and went into McDonalds (amongst the Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Gucci and other high end stores) for a cup of coffee so we could use the bathroom (without having to pay separately for toilet usage) and were AMAZED by the number of security people just within McDonalds!!! I bet there were at least ten of them!

At the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre there was a very strong presence of police walking three together, at least one of them with an AK47 . . . so unlike my trip in '93 -

It was surprising that even with our lack of experience of mass transit that we (he mostly! ; ) - were able to successfully use the subway systems in three different countries - we were pleased, of course!

Mele Kalikimaka and Houli Makahiki hou to you!

Posted by
18 posts

Laura B -

I'd been wondering how your trip went - thanks for the post. I'm venturing that you will get your change fees refunded.

I'd purchased intra-country full fare tickets for our travels and did so through Expedia without the insurance that they offer (except for the Venice portion), so in one case it was less costly to just buy a new ticket and forfeit the other. One ticket I paid a change fee for - part of the expenses I incurred involved being at one of the hotels over a weekend when I made the change; the original reservation didn't have a weekend date.

I do need to review everything - in hindsight the dollar amount incurred for the changes made does seem a little high...

Again, glad to hear your trip avoided Paris!