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Travel from Cincinnati area to Budapest area

This comes up when we travel to Europe. I’ve looked a bit. Want to limits connections, layovers. I have found a nonstop from Chicago to Vienna. Pro: No connections or layovers (did this on a flight to Warsaw and Dublin). Con: tired driving back to Cinci area upon return. Unfortunately not many options. Looking at 1-2 layovers each way. Anyone got creative solutions or something I am overlooking?

Posted by
18793 posts

There are no direct flights to Budapest from the states. Vienna is not in the "Budapest Area" as you would still have a fairly lengthy train trip from Vienna.

I go a few times a year to Budapest. I fly out of Austin or Houston but either way I have to change in AMS or FRA or IST. For quality i prefer IST (better airline, better airport). For cost who ever is cheaper (lately Lufthansa through FRA). I am a Basic Economy sort of guy so it always comes down to cost with two requirements, 1) one change, always in Europe 2) Minimum 1:45 layover and maximum 4:00 layover. Those two requirements generally add $250 to the cost of my ticket.

All you can do is go to a site like google Flights and put in your parameters and see what comes up. The filters are good and you can narrow down the results pretty well. The best tool on google flights is the Date Grid that shows the cheapest combinations of departures and returns. If you arent tied to a very specific day I save hundreds just be leaveing a day earlier and returning a day later or what ever the chart shows as cheaper. Go here, click on "Date Grid" and you can see how changing a few days can make a difference https://www.google.com/travel/flights/search?tfs=CBwQAholEgoyMDIzLTEwLTA4KAFqDAgDEggvbS8wMXNubXIHCAESA0JVRBolEgoyMDIzLTEwLTE0KAFqBwgBEgNCVURyDAgDEggvbS8wMXNubUABSAFwAYIBCwj___________8BmAEB

Posted by
7016 posts

As someone who drove back and forth from Cincinnati to Minneapolis for over 13 years 3-4 times a year (which meant driving through Chicago), I feel your pain. It is NOT a pleasant drive, and quite frankly, I would put up with several layovers to avoid it. Especially on the way back as my jet leg is always worse then, and affects me for at least 2-3 days. I would not want to be driving long distances then.

Think about it - you're adding in a 5 hour drive (plus all the tolls) each way, so 10 hours of driving time and the gas involved just to save on one layover? I would really reconsider this. One layover is not bad - I do it all the time, and in fact, it's almost become the norm now unless you are flying into a place like London or Paris.

Posted by
7016 posts

I just saw that you live in Georgetown (which, by the way I love - beautiful town!), but that will add even more time to your drive. I do hope you will reconsider. :)

Posted by
960 posts

I did a google search, out of curiosity. One suggested route was Delta, Cincy to Paris(Charles de Gaulle), then Budapest. Around a 7 hour layover at CDG. Not the shortest layover, but at least very little concern for a missed connection due to a late arriving plane! I'm missing why this routing which would begin close to home, even with the layover, is less preferable to driving to and from Chicago and being in Vienna vs the ultimate destination of Budapest?

I've done the train from Vienna to Budapest. Rather dull across the Hungarian plain. My opinion, of course. Or would you add another flight from Vienna to BUD?

Sadly, some destinations have no direct or convenient flights from the US. Even using ORD as a home airport, I was "stuck" with connections to several of the Asian countries I visited regularly for about 10 pre-Covid years. It just became part of the overall journey. It does help if you have lounge access for a long layover. Could you consider looking into getting access somewhere? (ticket class, American Express for some lounges, direct pay, etc)

Posted by
7016 posts

One suggested route was Delta, Cincy to Paris(Charles de Gaulle), then Budapest. Around a 7 hour layover at CDG.

That's a nice option. I had a 7 hour layover last year at CDG (flying Delta) and was able to purchase a day pass to the Air France lounge, which was VERY nice. You could relax, have coffee or drinks, eat (and the food was absolutely delicious), take a shower, have a nap, watch TV. It was a very nice way to spend a long layover there.

Posted by
122 posts

Thanks all. Having personally dealt with multiple cancelled/delayed flights due to storms, the benefit of a non-stop from Chicago to Vienna and then meander around Central Europe feels less stressful than hoping two connections work smoothly from Cinci. It’s also cheaper. We spend time in Chicago as tourists too. We’ve done it twice in the past and it worked fine. So I am aware of the “cons”. I was just curious if anyone had found a route that they recommended, given the limited options, from this part of the country. I appreciate the suggestions as I go back to the drawing board. They give me some good ideas.

Posted by
960 posts

The route I found from Cincy was Delta to Paris with one layover, then an Air France Paris first to Budapest flight. One layover, not two. Random date, perhaps not available for your dates. As noted by myself and Mardee, 7 hour layovers in an airport lounge are not the worst things possible. I have done similar multiple times.

However, it is your trip!! If you are pleased with a route through Chicago, I agree - lots to do! I have done similar routings through Hong Kong or Tokyo that others would find crazy, but I know the cities and can manage the extra time. Sometimes the known is much more enticing than a trial of unknown routes and conditions.

It is frustrating when unable to find good non-stops. I can sympathize with your dilemma as I am trying to route something for myself that I thought would be obvious. I've also been trying to be creative, but no luck so far!

Posted by
1379 posts

I'd focus on the CVG-CDG non-stop on Delta. If you can't find an efficient connection you can always catch the train into Paris for a few hours. The drive between Georgetown, OH and ORD is probably 6.5 hours each way. Seems to me time in Paris would be better than the drive. BTW we took the CVG-CDG flight several years ago and drove from suburban Indianapolis.