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Help! - To Go or Not to Go, (To Germany That, Is)

My husband is going to Frankfurt, Germany for a week in July 2010 for business. I've never been to Germany or Europe for that matter, and would love to see Europe. The cost of airfare is running me about $2700.00 usd. The price includes airfare for me and my 5yr old daughter. My question, is does this sound like a reasonable price for airfare? I'm somewhat of a shy person, and not sure if I would be able to tour the city by myself and daughter, since I don't speak a word of German. I don't want to spend $2,700.00 to stay in a hotel room.
My husband will work 6 days straight, then we would probably stay another 5 days, to sightsee (castles, Austria-Sound of Music). Do you think it's worth me spending the money to go? Or should I just wait and go a different time?

Posted by
3115 posts

Have you checked www.kayak.com for airfares? $2700 seems like a lot of money even for short notice flights. If your dates are a little flexible and you look at other German cities to fly into (Stuttgart, maybe?) I think that you get a better price. Go if you can--it's a great opportunity.

Posted by
1369 posts

For $2700 you could come close to buying three tickets at another time.

If you think that you will be reluctant to get out for the 6 days that he is working.... Five days might not be enough time to absorb much, especially if traveling to Austria for the Sound of Music Tour is what you want to do.

It might work better to put the $2700 towards a well planned full vacation in Germany/Austria if that is the best fare that you can get.

Regards, Gary

Posted by
2297 posts

I understood the OP that $2700 is for 2 tickets. That is not a bad price for tickets at such short notice. I'd do it in a heart beat if it meant to be in Germany on July 11th :-))))

Posted by
8168 posts

Frankfurt is very easy to get around in even when you don't speak German. There are lots of playgrounds, many, many parks, a childrens museum, swimming pools, the Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, the Senckenburg Natural History museum and they just opened a fabulous new Giant Dinasaur exhibit in a complete extra hall.

There is no reason to stay in a hotel room. Do you know the hotel your husband is booked in?

Posted by
1035 posts

On the language barrier: if you can learn 20 words and a few phrases, you can conquer most of the language barrier for basic tasks. Also, way more Germans speak English than Americans speak German.

Since you have never been to Europe, Germany is a nice first stop for lots of reasons.

Go!

I will warn you of one thing though....if you go, you will want to go back. You'll also wonder why you ever hesitated.

Posted by
18373 posts

I also agree that $2700 sounds like an awful lot for airfare, but airfare is up this year, which is why I'm not going this year.

As for Frankfurt, talk to Jo. She runs a walking tour company for Frankfurt and knows the area.

Second, do a little research. The middle Rhine is just and hour or two away and has a lot to see (Bacharach, St. Goar, Rheinfels, Loreley). Get a local (RMV) ticket to Mainz, and then a €28 Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket will give you on/off travel on regional trains from Mainz to Bonn, and up the Mosel to France.

Posted by
1357 posts

You'll have to make the decision about the airfare. As others have said, it's really pricy this year.

Jo's a great source of info on things to do in Frankfurt, including kid-friendly things. Taking the train up the Rhine is a great idea, too -- what 5-year-old girl wouldn't love to see more castles?

We've found Germany to be one of the most kid-friendly places to visit. There's lots of playgrounds and other things for kids to do.

As far as the language barrier goes, you'll find most people in Germany speak at least some English, if not being fully fluent in it. Get a dictionary to translate menus, and you'll be fine. Don't let the language barrier keep you from going, there's really not much of one.

Posted by
2297 posts

I'm surprised that most here find a $1350 ticket on short notice so expensive. When I had to buy a ticket to Germany with 24 hour notice the cheapest I was able to get was $1700 in the middle of August. And a friend of mine missed his father's funeral because there was no ticket for under $2K to be found (compassionate fare is 50% of the FULL price).

If you have time to plan your trip and search for airfare there are more deals out there: my friend was able to see his dying father some weeks earlier as that trip was planned. But with a week or so notice that is very difficult to find, especially during the high season in summer.

I assume this is a business trip where the company pays for at least one ticket, the first 6 days of accommodation and a small portion of meals - that kind of saving can't be made up by a better airline deal for 3. If this is a business trip where ALL the cost are on you that would be a completely different story.

Posted by
119 posts

My question is do you AND your daughter already have your passports? I hope so and hope you can make the trip.

Posted by
12 posts

My husband is also going to Germany (Frankfort area) for work in July/August. We decided to take the kids this year and enjoy having his airfare and hotel paid for - the kids are 9 & 8. We searched airfare for several weeks at different times of the day and found $1300 to be an average price for travel in July. We lucked out though, having purchased the tickets well over a month ago - by finding a rate just under a $1000 a ticket. Unfortunately, it involves flying out on a Tuesday (by myself with the kids) and a 5 hour layover, which I am already dreading!

To help break up the days he is working, we found a hotel with a pool, as my kids define a good vacation by being able to swim!

Every situation is unique - I have been to Europe a few times and LOVE it and couldn't wait to go back. The last time I went alone for work and wasn't bothered by doing things on my own. As far as taking a 5year old - my daughter has always been mature for her age and I would not have questioned taking her at 5, my son however is a differnt story! He was the type who tired from walking easy and found museums, shopping and dining out boring.

Should you decide to go, make sure to contact Jo, she had many wonderful suggestions for things to do with the kids. Passports may be an issue too - we took the kids to get passports back in April - it took about 5 weeks to get them.

christi

Posted by
524 posts

Pay the airfare and go. You'll never regret it and after the first day out it will be a breeze. English is the second language of Europe and if you're in any kind of hospitality business, everyone speaks it.

Keep in mind that if your husband is going there on business you save the hotel cost that I assume his company will pay, and his airfare and meals as well. Those costs alone could prevent you from going any other time, or may have already. If he is self employed those are tax write-offs. Lastly, the Euro is about 1.25 to the dollar, much lower than the 1.50 when I last went. You save $.25 for every dollar you would have spent a few months ago, and may pay later when the economy turns around. Mostly, though, go because you can and think of the millions who would envy you for the opportunity. Finally, think of the momories you will share with your daughter for the rest of your life if you go, and those you will not if you stay home.

Posted by
1449 posts

Go! Go! Go!

Learn a few polite phrases in German and you'll be fine (eg. please, thank you, where is, good morning, etc.). Most Germans speak English pretty well, and you will be traveling with a good-will ambassador to boot (your daughter). Europeans love kids. An d for you, the chance to experience a different culture & to see things you won't see in the US, make this a trip you really should take!

I've never been to Frankfurt, but most major cities have a tourist bus tour company that takes you around and lets you get the lay of the land; they have headsets and you pick the language you want to hear the tour in. I do these every city I go to where they offer them and love them.

Since you're thinking of going this month, run to your local bookstore or library and get a tour book that covers Franfurt; you will find so much to do you won't have a minute to be bored. Be sure to look for for walking tours offered in English; the tour books will mention companies that offer these.

BTW if you go to Salzburg then take Bob's Special Tour for Sound of Music sights; book the morning tour so you're back for an afternoon in town.

Posted by
11450 posts

Go,, and for heavens sake do not stay in hotel room. If you are nervous to do things on your own consider taking some daytours.Many germans do speak english, and there are so many wonderful things to see, it would be a shame to pass up this opportunity.

As pointed out, the airfare is not that bad for two people( kids do not get much if any discount for airfare usually ) last minute and high season,, and since hotel is paid for ,, for 6 days, and hubbys airfare is already paid for, you really are still coming ahead for the three of you to vacaction in Europe for total of 11 days.

Posted by
171 posts

I don't know much about short-notice fares, but I would never pay that much. I plan my trips way in advance and pay about $900.RT. Anyone can learn a little phrasebook German - it's an easy language not unlike English. If this is your first trip with a five-year old, my advise would be to not try to do too much. Austria is quite a distance from Frankfurt and there's better things to do there than The Sound of Music tours. Salzburg has been ruined by tourism, but the surrounding countryside is lovely. Germany and Austria are both very child-friendly and you can go to any tourist info office for information on things for kids. There's lots of parks and zoos, stuff like that. Good luck!!!

Posted by
1357 posts

I don't know if I'd agree if Salzburg's been ruined by tourism. There's lots of fun things for kids in Salzburg -- the fortress, running around the gardens at Mirabelle (there's a playground around the corner, follow the signs to the bathrooms by the gardens and you'll see it), the fountain tour at Hellbrunn.

Posted by
1787 posts

In western Germany, when we asked a person (in German) whether he/she spoke English, the invariable answer was "a little bit." But, also invariably, that person's English was WAY better than our German! Go - you'll love it.

Posted by
18 posts

Take a tour from Frankfurt to Rothenburg for a day. It is beautiful, historic and fun to walk around. Take a day trip to the Alsac Lorraine wine villages- Ribiquiweir is the best preseved village. You only need to speak english in Europe to enjoy yourself Salzburg is wonderful . You will not regret going. Your airfare price is average for this time. You might save a little money if you book the air fair and rental car or hotel through Delta vacations I saved a little on the rental car that way .

Posted by
8168 posts

Mari, I hope you will come back and tell us what you ended up doing and how the trip went.