Honeymoon Discussions

How short of a trip is too short? Europe

We are getting married in September but don't have the time to take a trip until December over Christmas leave.  We recently started thinking about going to somewhere in Europe with the top options being Paris, London, or possibly Ireland. We know it will be cold, but we aren't really beach people so I think we would be okay!  I was wondering if anyone had advice about how short of a trip is too short?  Right now we have ten days (including travel) so really eight days and I just don't know if that is worth the expense of the trip? TIA.


Re: How short of a trip is too short? Europe

  • We once went to London for 3 nights from the West Coast! We have been before, but to us, it was worth it.

    Just keep in mind that most museums and attractions will be closed Xmas Eve, Xmas, and the day after. So, you will want to plan around that to make sure you aren't in one city for those exact three days and miss everything!

    Other than that, 8 days is surely fine as long as you don't have significant travel time between cities (like amsterdam to barcelona.) You'll be fine getting between Paris and London and even Ireland, though I'd probably want too spend 3-4 nights at each, so that may limit you to only two stops.

     







    Rosebubbly
  • With 10 days, I would only do two locations (with possible day trips from those locations). London & Paris are very easy to do together, as are London + Ireland. I think London & Paris would be better at that time of year though. The best parts of Ireland are out in the country which won't be nearly as charming in the wet + cold. In London + Paris you have plenty to see indoors and keep warm! Definitely take the Chunnel instead of flying-flights may be cheaper but the airports are outside the cities, whereas the trains leave from the city center and arrive in the city. It saves you so much time, and the hassle of getting to/from the airport!
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  • Thank you both! That's great information.  I think we would definitely only do two locations so we can really spend some time in both.  Maybe Paris and London would be a great start!!
  • You can also do Scotland very quickly and easily from London. The train system is excellent. I loved Scotland; planning to go back soon. 
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi mod
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    edited July 2014
    We did London and Paris with a stop in Bruge, Belgium during a 10 day trip.   It was a little rushed, but both (best friend) of us had been to London before so we didn't need as much time there.  I had been to Paris before too, but she had not.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • We like to have 4-5 days minimum in a place. So with 8 days, maybe choose two places. 
  • I once went to Germany for 4 days. I think 10 days is definitely enough time! 
  • Thank you all!  We were wavering because it's such an expensive trip and we didn't want to find ourselves feeling like it wasn't worth it.  It sounds like we should be fine in that aspect.  Now just to figure out what we really want to do!
  • Anything less than 5 days is too short IMHO.  Go to London, which is great for museums and indoor stuff.  Take the chunnel high speed train to Paris for a day or two.  Easy!
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    Marzipan13
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    I have nothing to add except for Joey saying "London, baby!" 
    pepper2015
  • Many, many years ago I did a 10 day trip to Europe (also included travel time). We did 2 days in London, 2 in Paris, 2 in Lucerne, 1 in Innsbruck, and 1.5 in Germany. Our official day in Germany was a couple of tourist stops and then we roamed Munich the day of departure before we had to get our flight home. It was one heck of a whirlwind (and a great weight loss program) so I think you can easily do what you have planned.
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  • You could absolutely do Paris and London in 10 days (especially if you're coming from the East Coast).  Split your time in each, try to sleep on the plane, and take the high speed train between them.  get a ticket where you fly into one and out of the other to maximize time.  Buy a couple of guidebooks and research to make sure you will have enough time to see your biggest priority sights.

     

    i went to London and Paris with my mom in November a few years ago.  We did 2 full weeks.  I could have used more time in both places, but i knew i'd probably go back some day!  We were fortunate in London to have beautiful weather aside from one day (seriously we had sunny and 60+ degrees for part of it).  It drizzled most of the time we were in Paris but it was still beautiful.  and we spent a lot of time indoors in museums, so the weather didn't really matter much.

     

    Some sights are a bit of a letdown in the winter...for example, the gardens of most of the palaces/chateaux aren't at their full potential (and in the garden at Versailles in November, the statues were even covered up to protect them from the cold/rain!), and we didn't have much of a view from the top of the Eifffel Tower.  But we still had a great time.  You could adjust your itinerary to avoid some of the outdoor stuff if you think it might be a letdown in the winter.  You should have some great street markets to check out in December...there are holiday markets in many large European cities.  I'd love to see one of those some day.

     

    If you don't mind a long-ish day tour, you can see Stonehenge from London (we did this as a bus tour that also visited Bath) or yu can take the train to Brussels for a day from Paris.

  • Thank you everyone for your input! I've heard about the holiday markets in some European cities and would absolutely love to see those!

    I had one more question that is regarding budget.  I know it's hard to say for sure because everyone travels differently, but we are having a hard time setting a budget to start planning with.  Assuming we each end up paying $1,300 for our flights (which is what it is looking like, I don't know if that is high or not?), stay at a decent hotel and nothing too fancy, and visit a few nice restaurants, does anyone have an idea of how much we should be thinking?  I feel like I'm not thinking of all the little expensese that can add up!
  • Price out the hotels you are interested in, try to find some online menus for restaurants to get ideas of pricing.

    Then factor in taxi costs, transit passes, museum tickets, tour tickets and souvenir money.  You will also want to remember to add in the VAT costs if it isn't inclusive, and remember that you will need snacks and bottles of water while you are out and about.
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  • In London, unless you are extremely frugal, you are looking at 40-50 pounds per person for food each day at least, even more if you drink. Most of the museums will be free. I recommend seeing a show or two if you can-the National Theatre productions are always interesting and the tickets are pretty reasonable. They also have TKTS, like we do in NYC, for same day show tickets that can save you up to 50% off. Taxis are very, very expensive, use the Tube as much as possible. Buy an A-Z guide to help you navigate. Often it's really not that far to walk between tourist sites, and it's a waste to hop on the Tube. In Paris, I think we spent about 50 euro per day per person on food + wine (we drank a lot of wine. oh so much wine). The pre-fixe menu was about 25-30 euro, and it was always worth it, the food was so good. In Paris you will have to pay for the museums. I would budget about 75-100 pounds or euros per day per person for food, activities, and transit around the city.
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  • Thank you everyone for your input! I've heard about the holiday markets in some European cities and would absolutely love to see those!

    I had one more question that is regarding budget.  I know it's hard to say for sure because everyone travels differently, but we are having a hard time setting a budget to start planning with.  Assuming we each end up paying $1,300 for our flights (which is what it is looking like, I don't know if that is high or not?), stay at a decent hotel and nothing too fancy, and visit a few nice restaurants, does anyone have an idea of how much we should be thinking?  I feel like I'm not thinking of all the little expensese that can add up!
    That sounds reasonable for flights although you said you'd be going in December which is not tourist season over there so flights usually go down to about $900 in winter.

                                                                     

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  • Flights around Christmas are likely to be pricey.  Probably no way around that unless you have some FFmiles you can use.

     

    If you rent apartments, or hotels with a kitchenette in them, and can have some of your meals there (which is what we did on the London part of our trip for breakfast and dinner most days) it will save you some money on food at least.  but honestly, i assume $200/day/person (including hotel, exclusing flights).  I usually aim for hotels or apartments that sleep two people for about $200/night.  And that leavees money for public transportation, shopping, etc.

     

    A lot of attractions in London are free (just about all museums are) and you can look into the Paris Museum Pass if you go there for a decent discount (NOT the Paris Pass.  that one is kind of a rip off).  Museums are not free in Paris, and most people feel that the Museum Pass is worth it.  There is also a London Pass that we did get, but that one isn't beneficial to everyone...i'd look at the site and add up the cost of the places you want to go before buying it to determine if it makes sense for you.  it did for us.  but it all depends on your itinerary.

  • How about Germany-Paris-London? Ireland is beautiful but daylight hours are short in the winter and it's rainy season. The beauty of Ireland is in it's green landscape and I think it will best appreciated in the summer months. Germany is absolutely beautiful in the winter and there is SO much to do. The town centers are lively and decked beautifully for Christmas. Christmas markets are fun and are full of delicious food and Gluhwein with windmill cookies. The architecture and landscape are stunning. 

    I'd recommend: Rent a car and drive around Germany. Nuremburg-Wurzburg-Frankfurt/Mannheim/Heidelberg or Munich-Stuttgart-Mannheim/Heidelberg. (Or if you prefer not to drive do a three-city bus tour.) Take train from Mannheim to Paris. Spend 2 days in Paris then head to London for New years! Taking that route will ensure you enjoy the best these countries have to offer on the limited time you have. Germany 4 days, Paris 2 days, London 2 days.

    I'd budget minimum $100pp for each day, so $1600  for 8 days on just spending money.You can probably save a bit more on flight and with hotels you can mix it up. Choose more economic options for 75% of the trip and maybe splurge on the first and last night.
  • Thank you everyone for your input! I've heard about the holiday markets in some European cities and would absolutely love to see those!

    I had one more question that is regarding budget.  I know it's hard to say for sure because everyone travels differently, but we are having a hard time setting a budget to start planning with.  Assuming we each end up paying $1,300 for our flights (which is what it is looking like, I don't know if that is high or not?), stay at a decent hotel and nothing too fancy, and visit a few nice restaurants, does anyone have an idea of how much we should be thinking?  I feel like I'm not thinking of all the little expensese that can add up!
    We did the Christmas Markets on a river cruise.  One of my favorite vacations!
  • JoanE2012 said:



    Thank you everyone for your input! I've heard about the holiday markets in some European cities and would absolutely love to see those!

    I had one more question that is regarding budget.  I know it's hard to say for sure because everyone travels differently, but we are having a hard time setting a budget to start planning with.  Assuming we each end up paying $1,300 for our flights (which is what it is looking like, I don't know if that is high or not?), stay at a decent hotel and nothing too fancy, and visit a few nice restaurants, does anyone have an idea of how much we should be thinking?  I feel like I'm not thinking of all the little expensese that can add up!

    We did the Christmas Markets on a river cruise.  One of my favorite vacations!

    I thought of you and the Christmas Market cruise @joanE2012! I need something to look forward to, so we starting looking at the river cruises again. I think we're going to do something similar but by land next year. I deserve it!!

     







    JoanE2012
  • Thank you everyone for your input! I've heard about the holiday markets in some European cities and would absolutely love to see those!

    I had one more question that is regarding budget.  I know it's hard to say for sure because everyone travels differently, but we are having a hard time setting a budget to start planning with.  Assuming we each end up paying $1,300 for our flights (which is what it is looking like, I don't know if that is high or not?), stay at a decent hotel and nothing too fancy, and visit a few nice restaurants, does anyone have an idea of how much we should be thinking?  I feel like I'm not thinking of all the little expensese that can add up!
    We did the Christmas Markets on a river cruise.  One of my favorite vacations!
    I thought of you and the Christmas Market cruise @joanE2012! I need something to look forward to, so we starting looking at the river cruises again. I think we're going to do something similar but by land next year. I deserve it!!
    You do!!  And I'm sure you'll enjoy it!  We loved it so much we are hoping to do another one next year too to see the markets along a different river. 
  • Hi,

    Hope you dont mind me giving an opinion here - I live in the UK. 

    My honest opinion to London any time near christmas is dont do it. Even the londoners don't go 'into london' at christmas - the main aspects, Oxford street, Harrods etc are soo busy unless you are a hardened shopper - you will be tearing your hair out. The tubes are really bad that time of year aswell, as quite a lot of the time if it is not snowing it is really poor weather. You won't really be able to do the thames cruise - its freezing. 

    If you are OK with it being super busy - then it really is a beautiful city. I would say do london more at night though - its when a lot of the tourist people go home, so you'll be able to get a lot more intro your time however it will be dark about 4pm!!

    I can suggest doing a couple of other bits which is 'near london' - So theres Cambridge and Oxford within an hour of London, both really beautiful. If you fancy a day at a 'proper english seaside' Brighton is about an hour away. If your happy to travel that little bit further I would suggest stratford upon avon where Shakespear came from, thats a really beautiful place.

    Train fares arent the cheapest in the world by a long shot though and petrol - 126.9 per litre and diesel 133.7ish per litre so hiring a car wouldnt be a favourite of mine - plus driving in london, dont.

    Dont worry about stopping too much in the centre of London - you will be paying an absoloute premium. Have a look at Stratford (not to be confused with stratford upon avon) and Hammersmith which are two suberbs that are quite nice, about half hour on tube and will be cheaper.

    I think three days if you are stopping in London would be more than adequate - the tourism part of london is actually in quite a small place. Little clue, dont always go on the tube, often you are spending more time walking to the tube than actually walking place to place.

    Germany do some amazing christmas markets. Potentially do that. Two hour flight is Italy - beautiful and so is spain.

    I would avoid bruge - apart from sweet waffels and a 'pissing boy ' (yes its real) theres nada to do there.

    I think you could do London - pick somewhere else in  England (Possibly stratford upon avon) which is close to another airport and fly onto germany or italy.

    If you are here for New year - SCOTLAND! 'Hogmany' is a massive thing there - they love it, the atmosphere is amazing. Dont eat haggis. 

    Hope this helps in some way
  • Also another thing about food in London - Yes it is expensive, however, come off the 'central' side of it - so oxford street etc and you will really find some good bargains. I would recommend a pub chain called ' weatherspoons' to anybody - you are paying £4 for breckie £6 ish for dinner and possibly £8 for evening meal - and they include a drink with that. Wouldnt recommend 'popping into a pub' for a drink if you can avoid it, pubs are expensive here - if your out in London, go to McDonalds a massive drink for like £1.50 versus about £4 in pubs. 

    Dont eat from any stall sellers on Oxford street - I picked up a really nasty tummy bug there :(

    Also - make sure you have LOTS  of 20p and 10p peices - you need them for toilets quite often.

    If your using our underground - get a 'oycster' card its the cheapest way they use them on buses too and it is capped at £7 per day so its cheaper than paying for indivdual journeys. No cash is accepted on buses from recently either.

    And just a little safety thing - and im sure its same in all cities. Seperate your cash into different pockets - never get your phone/tablet etc out on the underground 
  • @brunchbride14 Have you thought about what you'd want to do in each city? It's worth checking out the websites of various attractions you're interested in for opening hours. I went once in the beginning of January (admittedly ten years ago) and a lot of attractions were closed for the winter, or had very limited hours.
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  • London is beautiful at Christmas. The lights are all up and it is very cosy. 

    I would not recommend staying in Stratford as PP have suggested. It can be a bit dodgy, especially if you are not familar with the area. I would recommend looking up an Air BnB style flat to rent for your time here. 

    I would do London (4 days) and Paris (4 days). I love Scotland, but it isn't very close to London (5 hour+ train ride). Also, Hogmanay (new years) in Scotland is fun, but it is freezing and a huge party atmosphere. If you dislike crowds or very drunk people, I would highly suggest not going. Plus it is really, really expensive. 

    There is so much to see, you don't want to spend your time exhausted. Especially because a lot of things will be closed (museums, theatres etc) Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day and New Years Day (so that takes 4 days of sightseeing away).

  • We spent about 3 days in each city we went to and thought it was a decent amount of time. Of course, you can spend years in each city and not see everything, but we managed to see all the BIG stuff in each city (Rome, London, Paris) in 3 days
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