F&E is the way to go - sharing some thoughts from our europe honeymoon

daintyaqua

New Member
this seems very true for us at least.
will like to share my thoughts for those who are tied between joining a tour operator or on ur own.

we had just returned from our f&e honeymoon in paris, london & switzerland. we spent a total of 24 days (excl. flight times) and the trip cost us a little less than $8000 (for 2 person & incl. the following expenses):

- return open-jaw tickets (arrive in paris, depart from geneva) by qatar airways.
- 15 days swiss pass bought from sta travels
- return eurostar train tickets from paris <--> london
- tgv train tickets from paris --> bern
- 5 nights @ 2* ensuite hotel &amp; 1 night @ 3* ensuite best western hotel in paris
- 3 nights @ popular ensuite b&amp;b in london. comes with daily full english breakfast
- 14 nights @ top-rated b&amp;b in interlaken. comes with daily buffet breakfast.
- 4 days paris museum pass
- 3 days paris visite pass
- 2 carnet of metro tickets in paris
- 3 days travelcards in london
- all sightseeing in paris, incl. seine river cruise, st. martin canal cruise etc
- all sightseeing in london, incl madame tussuds, tower of london &amp; a speedboat ride on thames river etc
- all sightseeing in switzerland, incl trips to matterhorn glacier paradise, mt. pilatus etc.
- all food expenses. we had a 3-course french cuisine dinner which incl. escargot, frog's legs etc in paris, ate mussels with fries and sausages in london and a swiss fondue dinner in switzerland. for our other meals, we just bought nice pre-cooked food from supermarkets (monoprix in paris &amp; migros/coops in switzerland), that helped us saved quite a bit.
- travel insurance

a friend has recently booked a local package for 12 days switzerland &amp; paris &amp; ended up paying $3000++/pax after taxes. this price have not incl. tippings for bus driver &amp; tour guides which work out to EUR6/pax/day and only about 50% of the meals are provided so she is rather sored abt the price differences. and obviously, she wont really get to see alot of paris &amp; switzerland for they usually bring u to see sights that are already free or make u pay big bucks for optional tours! for e.g, the seine river cruise cost us just EUR14 for 2pax (with internet discounts), she was told to pay EUR40-50/pax!!

so for those of u still pondering on this subject, i would say go f&amp;e. you get to enjoy big savings + see alot more than with any package tours. this is our first trip to europe, i spent about a month reading up on guide books from the library &amp; on forums like rick steve's webby &amp; tripadvisors.

before the trip, i also had alot of misgivings such as the hassle of moving luggages from place to place, language barriers &amp; pickpocketing etc.
for us, its not really a big hassle of lugging luggages. we just left our big luggages with our hotel in paris (which we will return to stay for 1 night after london &amp; before heading to switzerland) &amp; just brought a hand-carry bag to london. in switzerland, we just used interlaken as our base &amp; stay put at the same hotel for 2 weeks.

language wise, i made efforts to learn some basic french for the trip. they came in quite handy. those french people that we approached are all helpful with directions. i also learnt some basic swiss-german for switzerland but they werent too necessary as its perfectly fine to ask for help/directions in english there.

pickpocketing is not a problem in london or switzerland. we felt very ease in both countries but one shd still be alert &amp; not too complacent.
in paris, u gotta be extra alert in metro stations etc. we have spotted shady looking black guys sizing us up on different occasions. and we also had a bad experience at sacre coeur. i already read abt the black guys with the friendship bands at the rick steve's forums. to avoid them, we took the furnicular up &amp; down instead of the stairs as they practically ambushed the stairways. however, after taking the furnicular down, one black guy still target &amp; came after us. he quite forcefully grabbed my hubby's wrist even though he had one hand in his pocket &amp; the other holding on to a cig. the black guy also grabbed my shoulder to keep us from leaving. i practically had to shout non merci, loudly a few times before he finally backed off. luckily he was alone when he came after us. these guys worked in groups. if he had more people with him, we are pretty sure we would end up paying for the stupid bands tied unwillingly to our wrists.

oh yes, just one more thing, if u take eurostar from paris to london, during the uk border checks, pls avoid any black officer. we had a most unpleasant encounter with this black lady officer who held us for questioning over like 20mins. we were treated like terrorists. she asked many ridiculous questions. for e.g, she asked what is the purpose of our visit in london so i said for honeymoon. she asked married since when so i said since june this year. then she asked how long we were together and i said 7 years and she responded with - 7 years and u only just got married??!! like wth right? is it any of her business or concern? in addition, i had to tell her what activities we did during the 5 days in paris, what we plan to do in london, showed her our museum passes &amp; hotel confirmation email as proofs &amp; also the GBP we are bringing to london. the money was in a money-belt, underneath my hubby's clothing &amp; when we told her that, she just said, i dont care, i need to see so my husband had to strip! at the end of it all, she just said, ur train is about to leave so i will let u go!? we had to run for our dear life to get on the eurostar train which promptly left in mere mins. we felt that we were treated so crudely becos she was racists against asians. luckily that was the only ugly encounter. we also met our fair shares of nice &amp; helpful people in these places though.

thanks to other forumers here who helped me with my questions before my trip.
i hope what i posted here will be helpful to other forumers too.
 


rtan

New Member
Hi Angel,

Nice... more people on our side. But it's still a tough battle to fight. Singaporeans are just not adventurous enough. It's funny really, considering how many of us will scrimp and save on many other items.

The problem in Europe is that a very small number of PRCs (I'm not generalising against PRCs here) have given Chinese-looking people a bad name. So as long as you look Chinese, they target you. I am very careful to mention that we are from Singapore, and Singapore is NOT part of China, and in fact it is geographically quite some distance away. You know how ignorant some of these Westerners are.

Do check out our pictures from our recent trip in May this year:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157622708129730

We also spent just under SGD 4k per person for my wife and I for 16 days 15 nights, everything inclusive. But that was because we drove around everywhere (rented and returned car to Frankfurt airport, so no need to lug luggage around on the public transport) and had at least one meal in a restaurant per day. You can see food was a big feature in our holiday, heh.
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daintyaqua

New Member
hi raymond,
nice to hear from u.
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i have to admit that initially we were tied between joining a packaged tour or go f&amp;e. we previously did japan f&amp;e 3 years back &amp; it was very enjoyable not to mention we only spent under $5000 for 2 pax for 16 days (excl. flight times &amp; all expenses in). we did not stay at fancy hotels of course but we made it a point to stay in highly-recommended &amp; cozy japanese guesthouses. we eat reasonably well &amp; even managed to spend 3 fun-filled days at tokyo disneyland &amp; disneysea. that said, we kept our travels in the kanto region only (tokyo, yokohama, hakone, nikko, kamakura etc) to keep costs low.

but for our honeymoon, my hubby was telling me why dont we pamper ourselves abit and let the tour group takes care of everything for us instead? so i did check out the local tour groups &amp; their itineraries etc. frankly, i was rather appalled with what i have read from each tour group.

firstly, the tour fares were insanely high. we still need to pay for tippings, remaining meals not covered, optional tours etc. next, the sightseeing - i was dismayed to read that most famous sights are literally just 10-15mins photo-stops. some sights u only pass by them &amp; view from ur tour bus. how pathetic is that? in fact, i have friends who went with packaged tours to paris and they did not know that you can actually go up the top of arc de triomphe or towers of notre dame for a panoramic view of paris city + eiffel tower (both of which are incl. in the paris museum pass).
and i also hate the fact that day 1 is usually the meet up point at the airport close to midnight so ur actual holiday only begins on day 2. for f&amp;e, our sightseeing begins on day 1 itself and on our last day, we also did our final sightseeing before heading to the airport.

so i started asking myself what &amp; why are we paying so much more for?? we arent exactly spending more days, definitely not seeing more sights. better food? yes but i also heard that most of the time u eat the same old american breakfast and chinese meals. they may add one or two speciality meals but u r perfectly capable of having these meals on ur own too. better hotels? yes indeed i think the hotels are more fanciful when compared to a b&amp;b of course. but honestly i work out the sums &amp; i told my hubby that still did not justify for the hugh extra amounts that we have to fork out. we just need a roof over our heads at night since we spent most of our time sightseeing. that said, i find the b&amp;b we stayed in are clean, cozy &amp; comfortable. 2 of them have flatscreen tv and one comes with a bathtub, so i dont feel we are shortchanged much.

yes, we witnessed our fair shares of embarrassing behaviors from the chinese nationals in both paris &amp; switzerland. for e.g, in the lourve museum, they will just disregard any people standing in front of them and just roughly pushed their way to the very front of a famous sculpture or painting. i have noticed other europeans or americans throwing scornful looks our way becos we probably all look the same to them. it can be rather humiliating.

raymond, thanks for sharing ur beautiful pics here. makes me wanna go plan another f&amp;e europe trip, this time to scandinavia or italy or greece perhaps. but they will have to wait till next year or so. lol.

i have uploaded our pics from versailles &amp; paris on my fb. london &amp; switzerland are not up yet cos there are many and i need to do some color editing etc. i am happy to email or pm u the link if u like. as the pics have our faces so i din want to post the link onto a public forum.
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Angel,

I'm glad you've caught on the F&amp;E bug. After doing so, there's no going back. We'll never ever join a tour package when going to 1st world countries.
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I'm not sure if joining a tour package is really pampering yourself. I don't consider daily 7am wakeup calls, rushed meals, limited time at each destination, extended time at souvenir shops, and having to put up with inconsiderate Singaporean behavior throughout the whole trip (screaming kids, perpetual latecomers, people who are always complaining about every single thing and how Singapore is always better, etc.) etc. etc. as pampering myself. Not to mention before the trip is even confirmed, you're worrying and begging more people to join the tour group. We've seen postings about how people had their tour group cancelled just two weeks prior to departure. That's a disaster for the honeymoon. I don't think the cons of doing it on your own outweigh the cons of going with a tour group.

Better food? I beg to differ. Look at our flickr photos. Did you see what we ate? Most of our food is way better than the meals provided by the tour group. I'm not going to travel tens of thousands of kilometers just to eat pseudo-Chinese food. Give me the local food or give me nothing.
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Even the stuff we bought from the local supermarkets were great!

But I completely agree with just about everything you say. Now, how many will see the light? I'm pessimistic. I say very few. Few, if any, will be persuaded by what they read from our posts. I put up my pictures publicly in the (small) hope that perhaps just one or two couples will decide to go F&amp;E. If that is the case, I am very happy already.
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Better hotels? I'm not sure. You can't choose the room you get, the hotels are usually boring chain hotels, and the breakfasts are usually rationed; one bun for everyone, one egg, etc. Our accommodation throughout was great, and we didn't have to fork out a bomb for it. Each B&amp;B was charming, and yes we did go for the IBIS chain of hotels, but they provided a reliable standard and they were pretty inexpensive! Since we drove, getting breakfast was a simple matter of popping by the nearest supermarket, or bakery, or pastry shop. We loved stocking up at the supermarket for lunches, especially if we were travelling between towns that day.

At one particular B&amp;B in Belgium, we stayed for three nights, and we were the only ones in the B&amp;B, while the owners stayed just 50 metres away in their own house so if you needed help, they were not far. Needless to say, it was very peaceful and quiet, and it was like having a whole house to ourselves! The room was the largest in the whole inn.

In another B&amp;B in Leiden, Holland, we stayed in effectively what was a typical Dutch house. It's nice to see how the locals actually live and share in their food; in this case, the breakfast. Being locals, they offer the best advise on what is worth seeing, and what's not.

The other aspect we really enjoyed, as you've already mentioned, was interacting with the locals. I think going on a tour group is really sad because it's like a mini Singapore moving around. You eat mostly local stuff on some tours and you interact only with your tour guide and fellow Singaporeans. What's the point?

We loved chatting with the B&amp;B owners and various other friendly locals we met along the way. We found the people in the countryside to be always particularly friendly, warm, and hospitable, and we always felt very safe, even in Lyon, which was the biggest city we visited this time.

I'm glad you took the effort to learn a little French. That really helps because you get much friendlier people, instead of people who ignore you or are rude to you. My lousy French paved the way for very pleasant experiences both in Belgium and in France.

I'd encourage you and your husband to drive around next time; it gives you even more freedom and there's no need to rush for trains, and no need to lug your luggage up and down trains. Also it actually saves costs because you can choose accommodation which is far away from train stations (which are usually cheaper), but yet very comfortable. Just drive straight up to the hotel or B&amp;B!

As you know, driving around lets you visit villages and attractions that are not easily accessible by public transport. Also you just leave your luggage in your car when in between destinations, and it's like a virtual second home; we often stop by at a highway rest stop or some park when driving longer distances for a leisurely lunch or tea break and eat in the back seat of the car. Of course, sometimes we have a "picnic" when the rest stops have picnic tables. Needless to say, we enjoyed every aspect of our trip, even the travelling!

In Lyon, we stayed in an IBIS hotel near the outskirts of the city and took the local bus (just a 15 minute bus ride) to the old city center. It was easy because you could buy single trip tickets on the bus itself, and the ticket machine on the first bus was not working. That means we could use the bus ticket on the return journey, and so we got a free bus trip.
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That really saved costs because there was free parking near our hotel, and we could spend as much time in the old city as we liked without worrying about escalating parking charges. The food in Lyon was just amazing, especially the pastries!

I could go on and on but then I would be babbling... if you have any questions about my photos I'd be glad to discuss them here.
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alhp

New Member
F&amp;E is definitely the way to go! All my previous holidays with hubby-to-be were all F&amp;E. But it takes a lot of hard work and patience to do the research on the country that you will be travelling to. But it is definitely worth it if you don't want to be stuck with a group of annoying people for 2 weeks, 7am wake-up calls, lousy hotels, lousy food, touch-and go type of sightseeing.

I am not too sure about the costs though, as I always feel that tour package seems to be "value for money" as they cover many places (because the tour bus that you are in pass by that place, it is included in the itinerary). You just need to look hard enough and cost savings can be made. I am still in the midst of learning in that aspect. We spent more than 8k (shopping and restaurant expenses excluded) for our road trip in Brisbane and Melbourne (10 days) last year and we didn't visit that many tourist attractions as we spent most days driving around and checking out the food places.

So ultimately, it really depends on the type of hoilday that you have in mind. Especially for a honeymoon, I am strongly against the idea of a tour package. Maybe in my old age, when I am too old or too lazy to do my own research, then I will join a tour group. So to those who are still considering whether to take up a tour package or go F&amp;E, the choice is clear, go F&amp;E! The idea of travelling to a foreign country with no knowledge of how things work there may seem daunting at first, but after some reading up on travel websites such as tripadvisor, you will be able to get started. If you have not done it before, take the plunge, you will not regret it.
 

daintyaqua

New Member
hey raymond,
yes, yes i did see ur pics... wow, thats quite a variety &amp; delectable spread of food in there.
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certainly the food with packaged tours are incomparable and not to mention, mostly bland stuffs.

and i really second that b&amp;b lodgings can be very, very charming. i took care to read up reviews on tripadvisors. we prefer to stay in highly rated b&amp;b that are reasonably priced. i mean there's no point in staying at a cheap but lousy place. i believe these b&amp;b are top-rated for a very good reason and so far, we have been very pleased with those we have stayed in.

for e.g, we stayed at a top-rated guesthouse in nikko, japan. even though our lodging did not incl. any breakfast, our wonderful host actually made us lovely sandwiches for us to take on the go each morning. its kind gestures like this that really makes one's stay sooo memorable.

i also highly recommended our lodging in interlaken - rugenpark hotel b&amp;b. i recently left a rave review for them on tripadvisor. our hosts are just amazing! knowing that it was our honeymoon, they bought us a box of swiss chocolates with a beautiful card to congrat us and left them on the table in our room. imagine our pleasant surprise when we checked-in! and thats not all, when we left, they also bought us a hugh block of toblerone chocolates as farewell gift!! we are just so overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. staying at b&amp;b definitely has an added personal touch in my opinion. we learnt from one of the host that he first visited switzerland as part of a 2 weeks vacation from the US. he fell in love with switzerland in the process and ended up staying for 17 years and has since operated this b&amp;b for the past 6 years.

the interaction with locals are great! while taking the mountain railway from mt. pilatus, an old man seated next to us, asked how did we like the mountain in english. we told him we enjoyed ourselves very much. he said he is very happy to hear that and that he is from luzern. that paved the way for another 20mins of pleasant conversation.

and when we were in geneva, we approached a trio of guys for help on some directions. one of them asked if we are from china and proclaimed he loves chinese kungfu and even proceed to show us some of his moves on a busy street. its kinda hilarious. we told him we are from singapore and all of them started to say they love singapore... and bruce lee too! lol. we had a good laugh.

i regret that driving is not an option for us at all. i do not have a driver's license and although my hubby does, he has not really "drive" in more than a decade. in the very rare occasions where he did, he was mostly very nervous and tensed as he thought his driving skills had turned rusty etc. so driving in a foreign land will scare him (and me) to death. lol.

btw, my hubby and i both feel that paris is not as romantic as we envision. dont get me wrong, paris is nice and eiffel tower and its great museums are an eye-opener but the many metro stations and riverbanks are reeked of urine. we also saw grown men urinating in the corridors of metro stations on more than one occasion. that was somewhat of a culture shock.

london is very pleasant on the other hand and we actually regretted not spending more days in london. switzerland is totally gorgeous, very charming, very clean &amp; orderly.
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Angel,

Paris is a large city, and as with any large city, there are poor people around. You were unfortunate to encounter the poor people in Paris, and missed meeting the poor people in London.

To me, the true romanticism of Paris is not in the cliched and overcrowded touristy places, but in certain arrondissements; the less tourists, the better. Some examples are Marais and Bastille, and the 6th arrondissement on the left bank (rive gauche).

A good way to discover the romantic Paris is through Mireille Guiliano's guide:

http://mireilleguiliano.com/node/622

We've been to Paris several times and each time, there is something new and exciting to discover.
There's also so much great food, wine, and chocolate to discover!

Finding the romantic side of Paris does require some ingenuity and resourcefulness; but for those who find it, there is no turning back.

Maybe I should come up with a package tour entitled "French Romance"; for honeymooners and couples only. It will be a snapshot of all the romantic towns and villages that we've encountered in our various travels in France. Or I could also do a "Wine and Champagne Gastronomic Tour of France". Yum yum!

For example, most people don't visit Lyon, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Epernay, Strasbourg, Avignon, Nice, and many many other romantic places like the Loire Valley, Champagne region, Burgundy, Provence, Cote D'Azur, and the area around Bordeaux. There's just too much to list, hah.

I should send a bill to the French Tourism Board...
 

rtan

New Member
Hi alhp,

Wow, 8k for a 10 day trip to Melbourne. That sounds expensive. We spent slightly under 8k for a 16 day trip to Germany / Netherlands / Belgium / France in May this year. This included everything (flight, car rental, petrol, all meals, all accommodation, highway toll charges, entrance fees to all attractions, souvenirs, etc. etc.)

I guess your shopping and meals were quite extravagant.
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alhp

New Member
Hi Raymond,

The 8k excluded shopping the restaurant expenses! We had a few restaurant meals that we paid with our individual credit cards and we did not include in the holiday expenses and of course I have to pay for my own shopping expenses!
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That's why I think I still have a long way to go in learning how to plan for a more cost-effective holiday. Have to look harder for bargains and like what I've mentioned before, it's mostly because I'm too lazy to look for cheaper alternatives and not as resourceful as the seasoned travellers. We have set a budget of 10k for this honeymoon and from the way it looks, I am not too optimistic that the expenses can be kept below the budget. As of now, 3k is spent on the air tix, first 4 nights of accomodation cost 500 euros in all. So I am working hard to keep within the budget. The Chamonix hotels are so ex (I'm left with 2 hotels to choose from), 2 nights will cost about SGD1k and it is the high season so the rates are at least 1.5 times the normal rate.
 

daintyaqua

New Member
wow, that's quite alot of money spent!
for airfares, you may want to check out webby like airfares.com.sg etc, sign up for their newsletter, they will email you whenever there are any airfares promo. when you shortlist certain airfares by certain airlines, do check out that particular airline's official webby too becos their prices may be lower than the consolidators' (when they are having a promo).

for e.g, from airfares.com, i got to know that qatar airlines is having a promo then i went to their website and found out that prices are actually a little cheaper (if u can booked online via their website directly). we pay less than $1800 for our open jaw tickets for 2 pax. and just to add, we think that qatar airlines' service and food are comparable to SQ.

have you check out booking.com for hotel bookings? i used them for my last min booking on my paris and london hotels previously. sometimes, they have very good deals like 50-70% discounts for 3-4* hotels. we got a very good price for a 3* best western hotel in paris thru this webby. the room will normally costs about EUR199 per night, we got it at a bargain price of EUR71 per room/night (incl. all taxes)

hope the webby are useful to you.
 

alhp

New Member
Hi Angel,

I have used booking.com for all my 8 nights of accomodation for 4 hotels in France. The prices are competitive. I will be flying by SQ and it costs 3k for two, hopefully anyone who comes across this thread will see this and know that there are indeed bargains out there. I have contacted Ursula and Chris via email to enquire on the vacancies at Rugenpark. I am surprised that they replied promptly even though they are on holiday during this period. They seem like really nice people. They were so kind to manage my expectations at their humble B&amp;B. But I told them I am well aware that Rugenpark is not a luxury hotel =) but I am looking forward to experiencing their warm hospitality as mentioned in various forums by the guests who have stayed there. They are left with only a handful of rooms so I hope that I am not too late!

To all newbies who are planning their F&amp;E trips:
(1) Start by reading up on the destination of your travel to obtain information on the regions in that country, places of interests etc. (I have looked at the maps of France umpteen times in order to decide which regions I should be covering) I have zero knowledge of France before planning for this trip, besides the impression that Paris is a romantic city. =) Reading websites like tripadvisor and virtualtourist will be a good start, if not just google and read like the first 10 links, it always work!
(2) After you have obtained some basic knowledge, book you air tix using websites like airfare.com (as mentioned above by Angel)
(3) Read up on the transport network in your destination to learn how to get from place A to place B.
(4) Book your accomodation from tripadvisor, many windows will pop up from various websites to allow you to compare prices. Personally I found www.hotels.com and www.booking.com very user-friendly. I have used wotif before as well, it is not bad too as at a glance you can compare various hotels' prices, though they charge a booking fee of like $5 if I don't remember wrongly.
(5) Book or reserve train tickets for trips from region to region.
(6) After all of the above, start planning on a day-to-day basis, what are the places you intend to cover. Buy passes or any discount cards if you find that it is more worthwhile to do so.
I am no expert at planning for F&amp;E, but just hope that the above will help some newbies like myself in getting started. Not every one of us is a seasoned traveller, but you got to start travelling on your own and learn along the way.

After completing (1) to (6), you will find that it is indeed very fulfilling. Even though I always get the feeling that I have already been to that place even before I go for my trip, but only through doing research beforehand then you can appreciate and understand what you see during your trip. I am at stage (5) and (6) for my planning, so still a lot of hard work to be put in. =) But I am kind of enjoying it!
 

rtan

New Member
Hi alhp,

This is a very good guide you have written. I think for use who have gone F&amp;E a few times, we take it for granted that everyone knows these things.

I'm sure it will be useful for many people. I think many Singaporeans are too used to package tours and this is not good. Perhaps since many of us have a maid, we do not know how to even do basic housework.
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I think planning an F&amp;E trip is an essential skill everyone should know; you cannot expect to be going on package tours all your life. How boring!

I generally avoid airfares.com.sg since usually booking the tickets directly from their website is most cost effective as you avoid paying all the middleman charges.

Another useful website that some people have used for hotel bookings in Europe is http://www.venere.com/
 

kriskris

New Member
hey angel..its great to hear your experience! i am planning my honeymoon to Switzerland, Paris n London(if sufficient time)next year..planning for 16-18 days..Am doing my budgeting and it seems to already cost 10K for 2 pax for Switzerland and Paris based on 3* hotel. How did you do $8K for 24 days?will you mind sharing the hotels you stayed? my email at [email protected]
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Kristine,

Perhaps if you could give us the breakdown of your costs, we would be able to suggest ways to cut down on them.
 

rainette

New Member
I am another F&amp;E supporter! I strongly encourage everyone to be adventurous and go for F&amp;E instead of paying for package tours. The fun comes in from the day you start your planning. The excitement comes when you managed to book cheap flights and accomodation. The earlier you plan and make your bookings, the more cost savings.

Just to share my own experiences with package tours. You spent like hours on the bus and maybe 30 minutes to an hour at that place of interest. In all, majority of your time is spent on the coach and in your hotel sleeping. You dont get to experience the local transportation system of that country, neither do you have the time to slowly explore every corner of the place. You dont get to have a good night's rest cos you need to wake up early every day.

Be adventurous and do your homework and you can find lots of information and help from people to help you with your planning and itinerary. So cheers to everyone to who wants to go for F&amp;E way and I will also provide my inputs to help in any way I can.
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rtan

New Member
Hi Rainette,

That's great! Maybe if you can share with us your experiences, it would persuade more people to go F&amp;E. I was looking through the posts and you went to Paris?
 

rainette

New Member
Hi,
I went to Switzerland for 10 days. As it was my first attempt to go F&amp;E so I did not travel to other countries. But after that experience, I just got addicted to F&amp;E. Compared to my package tours to Japan, the satisfaction was amazing.

For Switzerland, as I arrived in Zurich at night, therefore I stayed the first night in a hotel near Zurich Airport. Then we based ourselves in Lucerne for 3 nights and Interlaken for another 3 nights and finally back to Zurich. By basing ourselves in Lucerne and Interlaken, we were able to make day trips and also avoid changing hotels every day (which will happen if one goes for package tours :p) In fact, in the hotel that I stayed in Luceren, I saw a tour group coming in the evening, and next day morning, they check out of the hotel. So plan your base carefully. Then we get to try the efficient public transport of Switzerland which till today, I am still impressed with. Of cos, we make reference to the standard itinerary provided by the tour agencies, except that we got time to slowly explore the attractions.

Kristine, if you need some recommendations on accomodation, I can provide some suggestions. In terms of cost, I paid slightly less than what I would pay for a package tour. The cost also depends on the type of accomodation and the air tickets. Of cos, the cost savings come in when u make ur bookings early.

Just to share, my next F&amp;E destination is Korea. Another destination that usually people take package tours. Of cos, it will be a challenge. But that's where the fun and excitement is.
 

lovenco

New Member
rainette, please could u share with me your hotels and itinerary for f&amp;e swiss?!!!
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i am planning one for my own, hehe.....if you like to take it offline, may we chat [email protected] or you may post this i will check this topic often!
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thanks, thanks!
 

rainette

New Member
Hi, I do not have a detailed itinerary as the day trips are decided when we reached. But of cos, we have a general idea of where to visit. But we did not have a strict itinerary to follow. But here's the general itinerary. But as my trip to Switzerland is limited, I did not covered extensively. So use my itinerary as a reference and explore more of Switzerland.
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It's a beautiful and great country to visit.

I took a afternoon flight from Singapore and hence reached Zurich at night. So I stayed at Hotel Allegra which is near to the airport. At the same time, there is a free shuttle service to the hotel from the airport, so that solve my transportation to the hotel. The hotel is also next to the train station, which makes the start of my train travel easy.

Then I based myself in Lucerne for 3 days. For accomodation, I chose Hotel Flora Best Western. A 5 minutes walk to the train station and 3 minutes walk to Chapel Bridge. From Lucerne, you can take day trips to Mount Titlis, Mount Pilatus etc. Information and tickets can be bought from the Tourist Information Centre which is situated at the Lucerne train station.

Then my next base is in Interlaken where I stayed another 3 nights. Chose Hotel Blume which is a nice comfortable hotel in Interlaken West. Not exactly near to the Interlaken West station. If i recall correctly, at least a 10 minutes walk. But not to worry, there are bus services to the station, and mind you, the bus services are punctual! From Interlaken, you can also make day trips to Bern, which I did; day trip to Jungfrau etc.

I did not have time to explore further to Zermatt or Geneva as, sigh, due to work, I could not take long leave. Hence, I make my way back to Zurich where I stayed at Swissotel Zurich and explore Zurich before catching the flight back.

In fact, for my itineray, it was more worthwhile getting a Swiss Half Fare pass instead of buying a 3 days or flexi pass. So plan your itinerary and do your maths.
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I will share whatever I remember.
 

daintyaqua

New Member
angela,
yes, ursula &amp; chris are really very nice folks!
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actually, their rooms are very nice &amp; spacious (big by europe standards). their windows look out to mountain views.
we are very pleased with our room at rugenpark &amp; much prefer it to our room at 3* best western hotel in paris. it feels like a home away from home, very comfortable &amp; cozy.
btw, not sure if this will pose a problem, they have a dog, monty, at the premises. he is very tamed &amp; sweet though. the owners will leave a note on the fridge in the kitchen that says "pls do not feed monty" but we still very often see monty pop by in the kitchen to see if he gets lucky. lol.
if u do stay at rugenpark with ursula &amp; chris, do send our regards to them ok. i think they should still remember us. haha.

kristine,
i'm glad to be of help here.
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our expenses for the trip are all listed accordingly in my first post. due to various reasons, i could only plan our honeymoon trip in slightly less than a month. usually, i would plan for a trip approx. 3 months in advance &amp; that would include securing airfares &amp; hotel lodgings too. some highly recommended hotels or b&amp;bs are booked out real fast.
luckily, we still managed to get cheap last min airfares. my hotels in paris were booked using booking.com. we managed to get a good deal for a 3* best western hotel at EUR71, however it is only available for 1 night &amp; full for the rest of our dates so we got to stay at another 2* hotel for 5 nights. the 2* hotel costs EUR85/night. due to time constraints, we are not able to get a good bargain hotel for all our 6 nights in paris hence it pays to book ur lodgings in advance, especially those that allows you to cancel ur bookings up to 1 weeks before the actual date at no costs (if there's any changes).
i wont recommend the 2* hotel in paris though, the room is the tiniest ever but its clean &amp; ensuite with bathroom/toilet &amp; convenient enough for travelling (we are never more than 30-45mins away from any famous sights, with the exception of versailles) but they arent really honeymoon materials.
the 3* best western hotel is fine though &amp; of decent size with bathtub, aircon, safe deposit box etc. the hotel is also equipped with an elevator (like the usual chain hotels, u can check out best western webby).
i will recommend my b&amp;b in london - macdonald hotel. u can read my reviews on them at tripadvisors. it is very close to st. pancras station, ideal if u are travelling by eurostar. the room is cozy &amp; clean with ensuite bathroom, tea &amp; coffee facilities etc. the price also include daily full english breakfast.
and of course, i highly recommended the b&amp;b, rugenpark hotel in interlaken (as mentioned in my earlier post). u can also read my reviews for them on tripadvisors.
i do have an itinerary for my honeymoon. i can share with u if u like.
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besides bargain deals on airfares &amp; lodgings, there are also other ways to save up. for e.g, u can pre-book ur boat tickets (seine river cruise or st martin canal cruise, both in paris) on the web with internet discounts (these tickets are valid for a year). save u the hassle of queuing up &amp; buying on the spot too. why pay more anyway?
next, if u plan to sightsee in london for at least 3 days or more, u can get their days travelcards. not only are they useful becos the cards are all that you'll ever need within london city, they also give you big discounts on admissions (2for1). check out: http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/
we pay 2 for the price of 1 for admissions to madame tussauds, tower of london and a RIB voyages speedboat ride on thames river. that helped us saved a fair bit cos the admissions tickets are very costly!
 

daintyaqua

New Member
rainette,
its nice to hear of ur experience in switzerland!
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and wow, u r planning for korea next! thats cool. when is this trip taking place?perhaps fellow travellers can cross reference ur f&amp;e trip there in the near future.

we spent 2 weeks in switzerland too. of course, we barely covered half of switzerland but we did manage to cover the towns we wanted to sightsee &amp; explore in.

i'll just mentioned towns/places that we found particularly endearing.

neuhausen (rhinefalls)/schaffhausen/stein-am-rhein - we visted these 3 towns in a day. its a long trip since it took 3hrs+ to reach schaffhausen from interlaken where we were based in. then we took a bus to neuhausen. the rhinefalls (largest in europe) is very pretty. we spent nearly 2 hrs there walking from one end (from schloss worth) to another end. its a very scenic walk. then we went back to sightsee in schaffhausen itself. we went up to the munot where you have a nice view of the town from the top. and lastly, we went to the town of stein-am-rhein. its recommended in guidebook as one of the prettiest swiss town. and they are certainly not wrong there. the town oozed alot of charms. the frescoes houses (side by side) are just gorgeous.

the ballenberg openair museum near brienz - its a wonderful place to spend an entire day and just lose urself within. u see hundreds of farmhouses (from different regions of switzerland) &amp; farm animals. you'll see alot of craftworks there too - cheese making, chocolate making, weaving etc. alot of fun &amp; very interesting.

chateau de chillon - very rustic &amp; charming. we spent approx. 2-3hrs, leisurely exploring there. the riverbanks also make a very pleasant 1hr walk to the town of montreaux. we visited vevey &amp; lausanne as well. the olympics museum is nice &amp; the park outside has alot of interesting sculptures for photo-taking.

i also like luzern &amp; bern too. besides the lion monument, do make time to see the glacier garden (just beside the monument). there are alot of things to see inside and the mirror maze is alot of fun.

these places i mentioned required admission fees but they are free with ur swiss passes. we used our 15days swiss passes to travel all around switzerland. we travelled by trains, trams, buses &amp; cablecar too (free to &amp; from murren). we also took various cruises on lake thun, lake brienz &amp; from luzern to fluelen etc. and needless to say, we visited many museums too. we did not want to have an overdose of art museums (especially after paris) so we visited all different types of museums. the philip patek museum in geneva is very interesting &amp; well-worth a visit. my hubby enjoyed it alot. even though i dont particularly fancy watches or clockpieces, i did find the museum very fascinating too. we actually plan to spend an hr there but ended up spending 3hrs.
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rtan

New Member
Hi all,

I'm very impressed and glad that all of you are sharing your (very interesting and helpful!) experiences here. I'm always learning something from each person's post.

It shows how much more one can get out of visiting a country by going F&amp;E rather than on a package tour. I believe our holidays are much more interesting, our experiences far richer, and our immersion into the local culture far more complete. Not to mention, as some have said, a great sense of achievement, excitement, and satisfaction in visiting a country well and interacting with the locals, as well as getting the cheap and good deals and seeing lots of interesting things that those in a tour package will never see. Not to mention the cost savings that are possible compared to a tour package.

Keep up the good work, everyone!
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For those who are still not convinced, take a look at our photos from this year's trip:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157622708129730

If that doesn't convince you, well at least we tried.
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kriskris

New Member
Hi Angel, below is my draft itinerary...feel free to comment..had wanted to go Zermatt but really seems out of the way so decided to drop Zermatt this time round..Since joining a very rushed tour package to Korea yrs back, i have chosen F&amp;E holidays as the way to go too. But so far, my travel been limited to asia region which is still rather easy...tis gonna be 1st time to Europe...if you don't mind, may i have your itinerary to do some references?

Day 1: Arrive Zurich. City tour of Zurich. Proceed to Lucerne.
Day 2: Lucerne - city tour of lucerne
Day 3: Lucerne - day trip to Bern
Day 4: Lucerne - day trip to Mt Titilis
Day 5: Interlaken - explore Interlaken
Day 6: Interlaken - Thun/Spiez
Day 7: Interlaken - Jungfraujoch
Day 8: Interlaken ->Montreaux/Vevey
Day 9: Montreux - Day trip to Geneva/Lusanne
Day 10: Montreaux - Paris
Day 11-15: Paris

Raymond-> my rough budget as below for 2 pax...excluding food, shopping and those add-on expenses for mountain excursions, already $7K+ for 15D Swiss &amp; Paris..for food, how much should i budget per pax per day? is $50 per day enuff for 2 pax? i heard food is expensive in Europe?

Angel, really need your advise how to do $8K for 24 days..i hope to include London in as well but tat will prolly require another 2K more for accomodation+transport..kinda over my budget..
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Return open jaw tickets(arrive zurich, depart Paris)- $3000
9N stay in Swiss(CHF150 per nite) - $1800
8D 2nd Class Swiss Pass - $1000
Train tickets from Lusanne to Paris - $400
5N in Paris(sgd200 per nite) - $1000

Total: $7.2K
 

reine

New Member
Hi All,

I'm also planning for my europe trip!

I bought a return ticket from Paris for 3k.

My itinerary as follows:

25 Dec 09: Paris
26 Dec 09: Paris to Rome
26 Dec 09: Rome
27 Dec 09: Rome
28 Dec 09: Rome
28 Dec 09: Rome to Florence
29 Dec 09: Florence
30 Dec 09: Florence
31 Dec 09: Florence to Venice
1 Jan 09: Venice
2 Jan 09: Venice to Milan
3 Jan 09: Milan to Nice
4 Jan 09: Nice
5 Jan 09: Nice to Paris
6 Jan 09: Paris
7 Jan 09: Paris
8 Jan 09: Paris
9 Jan 09: Back to SG

So far, I'm at a loss how I should travel from Paris to ROme. Not sure if it's better to take a flight or get the France-Italy Pass??

Typically, i kinda budgetted $200 for each night of accomodation(xmas, ny season), $200 a day for food(2 pax) and misc entrance fees, $200 for 2 pax, $2,500 shopping money for all 15 days.

Total will be about 13,500k. Is it a good gauge? Any good advice?
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Kristine,

Some questions and comments:

1. Are you flying by SQ? If so, the open jaw tickets are quite reasonable. If not, then you can probably get cheaper tickets if you're not using open jaw tickets.

2. Yes, accommodation in Switzerland is EXPENSIVE. That's about what we paid for last time too. In France, we can quite easily get decent accommodation for between EUR 39 to EUR 60 per night, outside of Paris.

3. 8D 2nd class swiss pass looks reasonable, but the train ticket from Lausanne to Paris is quite expensive. When exactly are you travelling?

I did some brief research and here you can see a screen shot of TWO tickets from Lausanne to Paris (travelling on Tuesday 19 Jan 2010) costing a total of EUR 50 (or total SGD 100); that is EUR 25 per person or SGD 50 per person. The catch is that you cannot cancel your tickets.

http://i36.tinypic.com/1zzj3ar.gif

I have written a guide on how to purchase these cheap tickets at:

http://rtan.net/sncf/

4. Food in Europe is expensive; keep costs down by sticking to the local inexpensive restaurants which locals frequent, and buying pastries, sandwiches, and bread from local pastry shops and local bakeries. Supermarkets are also a good place to stock up on food, though usually they have inferior fresh produce.

Hope this is helpful.
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rtan

New Member
Hi Reine,

Wow, your costs are very high. I guess it's a combination of a few factors: booking (relatively) last-minute, travelling during probably the expensive time of the year, visiting only the cities (which are of course always more expensive than the towns and villages), and well, Italy is just plain expensive.

I've never taken the budget airlines before, so they might work out better for you; do consider though that the airports tend to be some distance outside town, so do budget the extra inconvenience, travelling time, and costs in.

It is possible to get cheap tickets from Paris to Rome if you had booked early: here is a screen shot showing the costs of a train ticket travelling on 26/12/2009:

http://i33.tinypic.com/2q0kabl.gif

Here is a screen shot showing a cost of a train ticket travelling on 15/2/2010:

http://i36.tinypic.com/a5hvno.gif

As you can see, the price (total price for both passengers) ranges from EUR 234 (for two passengers to EUR 70 (for two passengers, that's only about SGD 70 per passenger!). On a side note, first-class train tickets costs only EUR 90 for two passengers; that's only about SGD 90 per passenger! That's very worth it for a 15 hour 20 minute train ride.
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Anyhow, it may seem that the Paris-Italy pass will work out better for you since it is certainly impossible to get train tickets cheaply at this late stage.
 

daintyaqua

New Member
hi kristine,
i've sent my itinerary to ur email ([email protected]). let me know when u get it. since its a specific itinerary pertaining to our actual travel, use only those info that are applicable to urs. i hope they are helpful in one way or the other.
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if time permits on day 1, do make a short trip to the mountain of zurich - uetliberg. u can take s-bahn train from zurich's train station. while its not mt. titlis etc, its a surprisingly pleasant mountain with a wonderful view.
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day 2 - is there anything specific u like to do in luzern? if its mainly to sightsee the town, do visit bourbaki-panorama and glacier garden, they are very close to the lion monument and free with ur swiss pass.

day 3 - bern is nice. dont miss the astronomical clock, be there 4mins before every hr to catch the the mechanical procession of painted figures. congrats, the new bear pit (very lovely, just by the river) with 2 baby bears are now opened (it was still under renovation when we visited). thereafter, make a trip to the rose garden for a nice view of the old town. there are also a few museums (free with swiss pass) worth visiting. the swiss alpine museum is nice.

day 4 - actually we wanted to visit mt. titlis initially but we found out that the ice glacier park &amp; ice flyer are closed so that takes half the fun away. check the opening of related facilities on its webby. we opt to go mt. pilatus instead &amp; we had a very good time there. u can do the "golden round trip" - take the steamer (free with swiss pass) from luzern to alpnachstad, then the steepest cogwheel railway in the world (48%). there are various interesting and scenic walks u can explore. then u return by cable cars.

day 5 - do u have any thing specific to do in interlaken? cos there's nothing much to do for a whole day. why dont u spend half a day at open-air museum ballenberg (free with swiss pass)? or go to lauterbrunnen and see the trümmelbach falls. admission is CHF22 for 2 pax but worth the money spent. u can also take free cablecar up to murren. when we left on 16 oct, murren is already covered with snow.

day 6 - rem to take cruises on both lake thun and lake brienz (free with swiss pass). go thru the boat timings on the webby (stated in my itinerary) to make sure they dont clash with each other.

day 7 - actually jungfrau is very ex. only 25% discounts with swiss pass. i think u can more or less see the same scenery at matterhorn glacier paradise. this way u can also visit the town of zermatt. its a lovely town, do visit the matterhorn museum too (free with swiss pass). its not difficult to travel to zermatt from interlaken.

day 8 - do visit nearby château de chillon. its highly recommended. actually within the same day, u can also visit lausanne and its olympics museum. both free with swiss pass.

day 9 - u can visit site archéologique (below cathédral st-pierre). its an interesting visit. try to visit patek philippe museum too if time permits. its very fascinating. both free with swiss pass.

paris - if u plan to visit museums and monuments, it pays to buy a 4 day museum pass.

ahh, did u already spent $7.2k or its just an estimation?? i'm not sure why is ur 8 day swiss pass so ex? our 15 day swiss pass only cost us $1010 (from sta travels, they offer very competitive rates)

train tickets from lausanne to paris is $400?? that's expensive! our total train tickets (incl. return eurostar tickets paris <--> london and train from paris --> bern) is ard $430.

i see u'll spend 10 days in switzerland with a 8 day swiss pass so there will be 2 days u need to fork out money for travel. try to find out how much it costs to travel from montreux to geneva (in chf) and tgv trains from geneva to paris (in eur). it may be cheaper to break ur journey instead of taking tgv train from montreux directly. trains can be as cheap as eur40 for 2 pax from geneva to paris, if u book early.
 

reine

New Member
Hi Raymond!

Thanks for the advice.

I've managed to get a quote from theeuroholidays.com, who can booked my acc and train tickets as well as some of the additional day tours for about 1,400Euro.
Worth while to take?

I will have to fork out my own lunch and dinner, but that's fine with me, and prob some of the additonal museums in Paris.
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Reine,

Your post is very vague. EUR 1,400 per person? How many nights accommodation, and where? What day tours? What exactly is in the package?

The other question is; why bother? You know that you are giving them some of the profit, when nowadays you can do it yourself directly cheaper. I'm pretty confident I can do it myself cheaper.

That's just my thoughts; but I think if you answer my first few questions then we can help you better.
 

jesswee

New Member
Hi all,

Yes, I'd raise both my hands (and my two legs too) in support of F&amp;E rather than packaged tours!
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Personally, whether it's my own trip or my honeymoon, it was done F&amp;E. I realised that it's only through F&amp;E trips that you get to do REAL travelling and enjoying the REAL experiences of the country.

Anyway, I'm just wondering, what's your idea on getting someone/company to plan your F&amp;E trip for you? As in, instead of paying the extras like tipping and unnecessary charges for visiting those souvenir stores if you were to join a packaged tour, have you ever considered paying that, perhaps a lower amount even, as a fee to someone/company who can tailor-make your F&amp;E holiday? Especially when you find it so hard to set aside time to do all your research and bookings.

Just an idea or a thought I'd like to share and gather some feedback from whoever's reading this.

Thanks much!
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And to those who are holidaying/honeymooning soon, have a great time!
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Cheers,
Jessica
 

daintyaqua

New Member
hi jessica, welcome on board!
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i think u may have hit the nail on the head. i couldnt quite figure out why there are still many people who prefer to go with packaged tours? of course, there will always be those who feel that planning for a f&amp;e trip can be very daunting, especially in countries that may not quite speak ur language etc. these people basically gave up before they even make any attempts.

and now that u have mentioned here, i think there are also those people who joined packaged tours becos they simply do not have the time to plan for a trip. a f&amp;e trip is just not very feasible with no or very little planning.

if this is indeed the case, then i think its fine to seek the help of others to help plan ur f&amp;e trip. although i do think in most cases when people arent free to plan their own trip, they will just leave it to the hands of a tour operator.

btw, i'm just curious but did u ask this becos u r thinking of getting someone/company to help u plan ur f&amp;e trip or u are looking at planning f&amp;e trips for others??
 

jesswee

New Member
Hi Angel,

Thank you for responding to my post!
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Well, that's a very good question you've asked. Hee...

I've always been very interested in checking out accomodation, transportation and specialties of different countries, particularly Australia. I've done all the planning of my honeymoon myself, but with consultation of my husband of course. ;) That's why, I thought, since this is my passion and my strength too in a way, why don't I make use of it to serve others? But of course as a service that comes with a reasonable fee.

Are you thinking in the same line too? ;)

P.S. Anyone else wants to give any feedback? Thanks!


Cheers,
Jessica
 

kriskris

New Member
Hi Angel, i got your itinerary..thanks so much! 7k is the budget i worked out so far based on recent prices. No matter how, cannot possibly within 8K...Price for train tix/swiss is based on Rail Europe website. For Day 1, i did think of going to RhineFalls from Zurich, but the journey seems tedious? If i go, that means most prob i will spend 1N in Zurich on Day 1. Just to check, for 8D pass, on the last day from Montreux to Paris, will it be considered as 1 day usage? If i combine Day 2 and Day 3 into 1 day, will it be too rushed? For Day 5, if Interlaken itself not much to explore, i may consider shorten 1 day..as its a honeymoon, i hope to take a slower pace..hmm, think i need to fine tune my itinerary again..


Raymond, we have not confirmed the dates yet. Still in research stage.

Lastly, thanks everyone for the great info and advise here..Certainly helps in my planning.
 

bubbleunder

New Member
Hi Angel,saw your post on your Europe F&amp;E tour,glad you had a great honeymoon
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just wanted to ask you,cos our AD is next year in Nov as well..when did you go and how was the weather? cos we're just a bit concerned it will be cold and rainy/snowy and not so good for travelling during this period..what do you think?
 

bubbleunder

New Member
hi angel,could i have your itinery too if you don't mind?and any good contacts that you may have had...thanks so much..!would welcome any good contacts(eg b&amp;b ) from the resourceful people here on this forum
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daintyaqua

New Member
jessica,
u r welcome! and nope, i'm not actually thinking along the same line but nonetheless, i hope u can make ur passion comes true.
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kristine,
dont mention! i think the rail europe webby is more expensive. if u need to get a swiss pass, check out sta travels (google them), their rates are more competitive when compared to other local agencies who are selling the pass. if u need to buy train tickets from montreux to paris, check out the tgv europe (sncf) webby instead. again, i like to stress it may be better to start the journey from lausanne to paris as raymond has suggested (20mins from montreux).

u are thinking of going to the rhinefalls after ur zurich city tour and then sleep in luzern? is ur arrival very early in the morning? if its afternoon, i dont think its possible to manage both zurich and the rhinefalls together. if its very early in the morning, it might be doable although it will be a long &amp; tiring day for u and u are likely to arrive in luzern between 8-9pm. u can spent time touring zurich until 1-2pm, then travel to scaffhausen (1hr journey), then take a bus outside the station to neuhausen for the rhinefalls. dont bother to spend the night in zurich, hotels there are very expensive!

basically when u arrive in switzerland, u'll need to validate ur swiss pass at the sbb office. they will ask u when is ur start date, then they will stamp ur vouchers and write ur start and end dates and passport no.

u want to combine ur day 2 and day 3? again i think its doable but that will also mean u'll only get to see the highlights of luzern and bern (somewhat like those touch and go packaged tours) and u wont have much time for interesting museums in both luzern and bern. this is a pity cos they are definitely worth ur time and free with ur swiss pass too. pls feel free to post here again.
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under bubble,
thank you!
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we went ard late sept and came back mid oct. in paris and london, it was quite chilly during early morning and after dusk. during the day, when the sun is out, it can get pretty hot and humid. london is mostly grey and gloomy so u dont feel humid.

it was colder in switzerland. especially towards the last few days of our trip, we were dressed in winter gears even though we arent going to any mountains. temp is below 10 deg during the day and abt 0-3 deg at night.

in fact our host at interlaken told us that they have the warmest autumn last year but it actually snowed (at interlaken itself) on oct 25 and the snow stayed until winter was over so winter came 2 months earlier back then. anyhow weather is freaky nowadays.

if u do not intend to play any winter sports, u shd plan ur trip ard apr-may or sept-oct. lesser crowds and milder, more pleasant weathers. avoid july-aug if u can. we dont need hotter weather than singapore and horrendous crowds and expensive just-about-everything.

sure, i can email my itinerary to u. pls leave ur email addy on the forum or PM. u can google the names of the b&amp;bs i recommended in my earlier postings. they are for london and switzerland. i also left respective feedbacks for them on tripadvisors so u can check them out urself.
 

daintyaqua

New Member
btw under bubble, forgot to add that we had rainy weather in switzerland towards mid oct. that said, the rain is very mild (not those heavy downpour). we never did have to use our umbrellas, instead we just walked with our waterproof capes on. it rarely rain the entire day too, mostly its those come and go types.
 

kriskris

New Member
hi angel..the initial plan for Day 1 is to arrive Zurich in the morning, head to RhineFalls, cme back Zurich, explore the town and spend 1N...If i were to travel to Lucerne after RhineFalls, tat means i have to lug my luggage ard or can i make use of the rail baggage system? Combine Day 2 and 3 is just a idea..i will prefer not to else seems packed..i am that kind who like to sit down at a cafe, sip a cuppa watch the day go past kind..hahaha..

i hope to see a mixture of green pastures/snow landscapes..We are targetting Feb/Mar travel period which is supposedly still winter..so not sure i will get to see above a not...need to discuss again with HTB
 

kriskris

New Member
Alicia, if not wrong, they should be using Euro..with the exception of Switzerland which is using Swiss Francs..but seems euro is widely accepted in Switzerland as well
 

alicia_yong

New Member
Kristine> Oic.. So if i dun 1 2 change 2 currencies, den jus change euro will do lor, since most using euro? But den at tis point in time, we still got no money for HM yet! hahahhaha! Waiting for the travel fairs den we'll see how. =P
 

josh_tan

New Member
Hi Everyone;

I'm a beginner here and would like to get your advice on travelling tips and comments. I'm trying to plan for a trip with my bride to be to Europe on a 21 days free and easy tour. This is going to be our first trip to Europe and I am also intending to get married in Europe as well ( Barcelona is the preferred location for the church wedding) I like to get your recommendations on the places of interest and where to buy the passes and tickets at the cheapest price. Below are the places I like to visit not in any specific order:

1) London
2) Barcelona
3) Milan
4) Rome
5) Paris
6) Switzerland

I do not have a specific budget in mind at the moment but it should be around 10K to 12K SGD for this trip with everything thrown in. I am also thinking of driving myself in Europe from point to point. Would like to seek your recommendations on the hotel accomodations/ places of interest.

Hope you guys can be of help to drop me a note or two.
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Alicia,

Using Euros in Switzerland will get you more expensive prices than using Swiss Francs.
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Alicia,

Well think about it. Who is going to bear the cost of changing the Euros back into Swiss Francs?
 

jessica_lee

New Member
Hi all, I am planning my HM next June to Europe. As this trip is our first trip to Europe, I am torn between F&amp;E and package tours as I heard lots of stories about pickpocketing in Paris. But after reading this thread, I will definitely go for f&amp;e.

Hi Angel, is it possible to share your itinerary for Paris, london &amp; switzerland. My email - [email protected] Thanks.
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Jessica,

If one lets stories of pickpocketing deter us from going F&amp;E, that is, err... a bit weak, isn't it?

Even people on package tours also get pickpocketed in Paris, so the problem is not whether one goes on a package tour or F&amp;E. The problem is that people are just plain ignorant (read: suaku) and not following "best practices".

I've been to Paris several times (never on a package tour) and never encountered anything.

Here is something I wrote that will help you:

http://rtan.net/Paris/safety.html
 


jessica_lee

New Member
Hi Raymond, thanks for the advice. I will definitely go f&amp;e in europe although is my first trip to europe.

Understand that is better to get open jaw tickets, please kindly advise how should I go abt it to get open jaw tickets (thru the airline website or travel agency). Thanks
 

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