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

rtan

New Member
Hi Jessica,

That's great. We'll be happy to help with any advise you need.

Whether it's better to get open jaw tickets or not depends on your itinerary and the costs involved. Usually open jaw tickets are more expensive, and depending on the airline, they can be quite a bit more costly. But if the prices work out for you, then by all means, go ahead.

Why would you want to get it from the agency, when nowadays it is quite easy to book the tickets online directly from the airline's website? I don't think you'd like to pay extra money to the agency, i.e. middleman fees, right?
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When exactly are you going? How many days? Where do you intend to visit?
 


jessica_lee

New Member
Hi Raymond,

yeap true.. Thanks in advance and apologise for any inconveniences. I might ask lots of qns here as is our first trip to Europe :) I am planning to go for our HM in mid june next yr. Roughly 20-24 days and I intending to go to Paris, Milan, Switzerland (if possible london as well)

I am abit loss how should I go abt planning it. Thanks in advance. :)
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Jessica,

No problem.

What's your budget per person? What is your main means of transport? Have you looked at a map to see the distances between these few places?

One advantage of going F&E is that you can choose exactly where you want to visit. That means, visiting places that Singaporeans have never heard of. Places like Paris, Milan, London, Rome, etc. etc. are so predictable and touristy. And boring!

Are you open to other suggestions besides these places, so that your honeymoon doesn't look like basically every other couple's honeymoon?
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You can do a mix of the standard places as well as something different.

If you wish to stick to these places, it's fine; I'll let others here help you though since I don't do "standard" itineraries. Just wondering if you're adventurous enough to explore off the beaten path.
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Here are some pictures of our holiday in May this year. You won't see any "standard" photos here.
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flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157622708129730
 

iceqoo

Member
Hi Raymond,

You seem like you have travelled quite alot and covered most of the places in Europe. I'm planning a F&E to Italy. Looking to go during late autumn or winter as I prefer cooler weather. Any suggestions or itinerary to share?
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Thanks so much.
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Angelsaints,

Sorry to disappoint you; I specialise in France.
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Actually I wonder why few people want to go to France. Besides Paris, there are many other interesting towns and sights around. France is a large country. The food is fantastic, the wine speaks for itself, the people (outside of Paris) are friendly, and it is fairly easy to get around using the trains; of course driving around is the best and not too difficult too.

Best part is, it's actually cheaper compared to Switzerland and Italy.
 

jessica_lee

New Member
Hi Raymond,

thanks. Loved your pics. My budget is ard 5-6k per person but sure whether is enough for 20 days. I have roughly take a look at the distance for these countries. Understand I could take the train to other countries.

I will definitely explore elsewhere but I have limited knowledge of europe :p

But is June a good period to travel to europe? Thanks
 

rtan

New Member
Hi Jessica,

5-6k per person is plenty for France. For Switzerland and Italy, it should probably be just about enough.

Here is a rough itinerary I would do for just France:

Tours (Loire Valley Chateaus, Wine) - 3 nights
La Rochelle (Seafood, charming seaside town, street market) - 2 nights
Bordeaux (Wine, Food, History, Village of St. Emilion) - 2 nights
Carcassonne (History) - 2 nights
Avignon (Provence, Walled City, Food) - 3 nights
Nice (self-explanatory) - 2 nights
Lyon (Great food, historic city) - 2 nights
Paris (self-explanatory) - 4 nights

Bed and breakfast accommodations offer good, comfortable, and charming places to stay. Check out virtualtourist.com or tripadvisor.com for reviews.

The above is just a very rough itinerary. In fact, Provence is so nice, you could spend weeks there.
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See for example:

http://www.beyond.fr/

May is the best time to travel; June is usually more expensive and more crowded, but early June is usually still quite ok.
 

jessica_lee

New Member
Hi Raymond,

sorry for late reply. thanks for the information :) the website is very useful and it introduces me to different parts of France.

I am thinking of going ard 2 week of June. As for the transportation, how should I rent a car? (At the airport?). Sorry for asking so many qns :)
 

daintyaqua

New Member
dear all, sorry for the lack of response here. been unwell for past few weeks, turned out i'm expecting a baby!
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kristine, do note that the period u like to travel, e.g feb-mar is likely to be cold and wet. days are short and some places of interest are closed during these times of the year.

jessica, sorry for the delay. i've emailed my itinerary to ur email addy. let me know if u got it.

angelsaints, i've been reading up a fair bit on italy myself becos we had the intention to visit italy next may (that's before my pregnancy of course). u can go to any library & read up on its guidebooks. autumn is relatively a good time to visit italy but do note that venice is likely to get flooded during this period though.
 

deerixp

New Member
Hi all

I am still tied up between F&E and tour package. We are interested with either Hokkaido or Switzerland (F&E) in June next yr. can send me the itineray and some idiot proof tips.. if budget (including food) is around 5k - 8k.. is it workable? hee.

[email protected]
 

rainette

New Member
Hi All,
Just to share a little on F&E. Just came back from a short Seoul trip. F&E as well. First impression most people have is that "It is tough to do F&E in Korea". Well, I cant say it is easy for whole of Korea as I only did Seoul and not other parts of Korea but even then, I found F&E for Seoul managable and of cos, relaxing. I do not have to wake up early in the morning. Transportation via their subway is easy. I had also encountered no problems with purchasing of tickets, going to the correct platforms at the interchange. My itinerary also included the usual tour agency itinerary like skiing, visiting of palace and even photographs taking in the Korea traditional costume. I had lots of time to shop, make comparisons and decide and to try out the street food in Seoul. All these were done with "finger pointing" and the use of a calculator.
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Of cos, having visit Seoul only and not other parts of Korea makes the trip easier, I wouldn't deny that fact. But I would like to bring the point across that F&E is really do-able, even for non-English speaking countries.
 

sahdeau

Member
hihi...after reading the very resourceful post and have decided to go on F&E...thinking of going this June for abt 15 days for HM..
thinking of covering France, Switzerland and Italy. i'm not really sure if it's possible..
and i really have not been to europe b4..so i hope 6 mths is enough for planning and realisation.
Angel: is it possible that i get a copy of your itinery too? to kick start how to plan a F&E trip.
heard u all talking abt open jaw tic.. what exactly is that? i been looking into air tickets...it's much more expensive than what i see here.
im thinking of going sing-paris then Rome- singapore.. but the ticket is ablt 1.7k-2k per pax woh..Qatar airway..can anyone advice...
Thanks alot..
 

ariesta

Member
when does natas fair comes around again? 1.7k is pretty ex, but if its direct flight, then its quite well worth it. previously i used emirates, which had a stop-over at dubai, it was cheap tink 700 to 900 per pax... but it was a damn long stop-over at dubai, abt 6hrs.... i waited until mushrooms grew... u see wat u wan, its a case of money vs time. wait for promtions from the airlines. tink during mar-apr, normally there are promotions from the various airlines.
 

sahdeau

Member
26-28 feb is natas fair..
but most of the time i go there i cant get any thing..
if i were to book in mar apri will it be too late for june holiday?
 

ariesta

Member
hmmnnn, mar, apr booking for jun hols is abit late sia, but i can't rem if i booked it 2 mths in advance or not. coz i just rem tat i missed the emirates promo during mar timing. and only got the tics via natas fair...btw i need to tell u tat i did the multi-city stop about 2~3 yrs again... was looking at the prices now and its disgusting. even emirates is going 1.5k per pax for a stop-over of 4hrs. another way is tour operators or pricebreaker.
 

sahdeau

Member
hi peeps...guess wat..i've just book my tic to europe..so it's F&E for sure...
i will be going sing-paris, rome-sing...
hope to cover some france and italy...in 16 days...now got to come down to proper planing the details....
btw..is there anyone tat has got contacts to photographers in paris or rome...do share with me the contact k..
thanks thanks..
next step...we got to plan how many days to stay in paris, venice, florence, milan,rome...and how to book lodging and train ride...any tips?
 

superfamous

New Member
sahdeau when did you book for? we just booked ours yesterday too! going in May for about 3 weeks and planning paris, rome, florence, venice and milan.

we're flying into paris and leaving from milan, cheaper and daily flights out of milan. rome only had flights on friday and sunday.

for train within italy, its much easier to buy when you are there. apparently its rather difficult to book online.

for flights, i'm not sure if i should book my paris to rome flight now or wait till i'm over there.
 

pinkglove

New Member
Hi All, I've always travelled F&E ever since I embarked on my first F&E trip to Japan for 1 mth. It's totally doable! Especially when we're able to read and converse with English, even if the locals can't, you'll still be able to figure ur way around and using sign languages is helpful!

I've did F&E to Korea and non-first world countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, totally no major hiccups at all! Just do proper prior research before that and stay in a decent place that has safe reviews will be good.

I've also visited non-English speaking European countries like Budapest whereby there're not as many tourists, true that we have some difficulty reading the menu but you can just look around u and order some safe looking dishes. It's def. creates more unforgetable memories!

I also often check Tripadvisor for hotels/guesthouse reviews. You can get the personal touch when staying in guesthouses =) Moreover, I've made a couple of lasting friendship with pple from other countries through staying in guesthouses and hostels. This is something which most tours are able to fufil.. And I can choose how long a place I wanna stay, there's this time when we only plan to stay in Zermatt for 2 days but we ended up spending 5 days simply because we love the place so much. FLexibility is the key advantage! We can also take photos till we happy den leave...

not superfamous, u can just buy the train tickets in Italy 1-2 days before u leave for the destinations, from the look at the cities u're going there should be freq. train trips.

For flights, I would recommend u to book now if e prices seem alright now because if e flight ticket were to be sold, u might have a difficulty getting from Paris to Rome..Just take note that if it's budget airline u are taking for these flights, check to see where the airports are located cos for some budget airports, it's at quite inaccessbile places and will need more time to get there.. Remb to give quite a bit of buffer time..

I've experienced tram breakdowns in UK and almost missed the flights! But now I think back, it's really unforgettable memories!
 

daintyaqua

New Member
sahdeau,
sorry for the late reply! do leave ur email addy & i'll be happy to share my itinerary with u though it wont be too relevant to where u r planning to visit since we din cover italy.

nevertheless, i did read up on italy as i was looking at planning a trip there this year but this will have to wait till i've given birth. lol. if u can read up on travel guidebooks on italy, it will help u with ur planning within italy.

here are some lodgings i have shortlisted, have not stayed there personally but they are highly recommended in guidebooks or from tripadvisor.
http://www.locandalevele.com/home-hotel.php?lang=ENG&id_hotel=21
http://www.nicolasinn.com/en
http://www.residenzadeipucci.com/index1.htm

for train tickets, i read that its better to buy them 1 day in advance while u r there cos italy has alot of train strikes.
 

superfamous

New Member
pinkglove thanks! for flights, how far ahead do you have to reach the airport? i'm planning to fly from paris to rome & travel by train upwards. not sure which airport yet but i checked briefly the other day and flights were all less than 100 euros. if say the flight is at 12pm, should i be at the airport 2 hours before? more or less?

for trains, most likely we will book when we are over there.
 

pinkglove

New Member
not superfamous, I think it really depends on the exact airport u are flying from. From Paris to rome, what's e name of the airport? E.g If it's Beauvais airport in Paris, there's a paying bus from a certain station to bring u to e airport and it's around 1hr+ away n there's fixed timing meant for diff. timing of buses, hence for this flight, u've to arrange accordingly.

But I think u shld try to be at the airport at least 2 hrs in advance because the system there's never like Spore, u never know when anything can just crop up..

Some airport have tighter security, e.g. London esp after e terrorism acts.. They really question u super long esp. when we're obviously visitors, so u will need to bring ur return ticket with u because some airport staff will ask to see it. The 1st time we were there my bf left them in e luggage and we also have not booked our accomodations there, so we sort of became highly suspicious character because looks like 1 way flight without accomodations! haha....
You may need to buffer some time too.. But from what I've experienced, it's only London/UK that has such uncomfortable integerations and hopefully it remains only this place..

I'm also going to plan another trip to Europe this June =)
 

superfamous

New Member
pinkglove, i'm not sure yet! have not booked the flight coz not too sure on which timings to book. i thought it will be similar to 'domestic' airport so dont need so much time to clear but looks like it will be similar as changi...

which part of europe will you be heading to?
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pinkglove

New Member
Ya, if it's just a 'domestic' airport the clearing quite fast one.. I've been to one budget in italy, very relax one. No intergoration at all so don't worry so much! I'm just concern over buffer time like train strikes, breakdowns etc.. and it's usually international airport that has strict regulations only.. The London one was the international one.

I'm going paris, scotland, finland and sweden =)
Ok, maybe after u've confirmed ur flight den it'll be easier for u to make arrangements and I can see if i've been to tat airport before =)
 

kriskris

New Member
can i know how do you book open-jaw air tickets? thru agent or direct from the airlines? i tried to check online for open jaw tickets but cannot seems to get the correct price info.
 

pinkglove

New Member
for some airlines, open jaw tickets are a lot more exp. U can try emirates for open jaw. But ya,i agree tat its a bit difficult online at times so if this's so maybe u can try agents, just tat have to pay a bit of admin fee..
 

superfamous

New Member
i booked directly through the airline. you gotta play around with the cities and dates. we were quite flexible in terms of cities, so that was to our benefit.

try SIA. book thru the singaporeair.com website, choose multi-city.

for example, i booked SIN-CDG (paris) and return MXP (milan) - SIN for $1500+ per person. if i were to book SIN-CDG (paris) and return FCO (rome) - SIN, it would have cost us about $300 extra per person. if i were to fly to rome and return from paris, it will cost us even more! think the reason is coz they only have flights 2x a week to rome and its more expensive. flying out is cheaper but not as cheap as milan (which has flights everyday except for friday).

changing my exit city from rome to milan is no big deal coz instead of going from paris to milan on my first leg of the journey and working my way downwards, i'll just take a flight from paris to rome (checked the rates and they were less than 100 euros at that time, hopefully it will stay that way
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) & work my way upwards instead.

it actually turned out to be slightly cheaper for me to get an open jaw ticket coz return flights from paris on the dates that i am travelling is $1600/person.

i'm not sure about other airlines but i basically played around with SQ's booking system before finally deciding to book. too exhausted to research on other airlines so i just went ahead to book with SQ
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do book soon coz i remember checking last month and the fares were even cheaper! i booked recently and the fare has gone up. i foresee it going up further
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sahdeau

Member
i decided to book it early and not wait for fairs...coz sometimes the longer i wait the more ex the price goes up...
now got to research on lodging.and those museum passes...and place of interest.
 

cuclainne

New Member
pinkglove, i read that you'll be heading to sweden .. that's nice, it's hard to find someone heading to a scandinavian country on the forum
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i've been to sweden a few times (my husband is from stockholm) and it's a gorgeous city.

hope you'll enjoy your days there
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sahdeau

Member
angel:
here are some hotel my fren stay.

Machiavelli Palace Hotel Florence
Hotel Milani
Hotel Abbazia Venice
Hotel Du Parc Paris
 

pinkglove

New Member
hi cuclainne, yup, we're really excited about gg to scandinavian countries! I'm thinking of going up Sweden from Stockholm and cross over the boarders to Finland, are u or ur husband able to give us any advice in this area? I know it's gonna be a long journey but we wanna go arctic circle but am a little concern about the time factor..
 

cuclainne

New Member
hi pinkglove, it's going to take some time to drive (read: many, many hours) up so usually one takes the overnight ferry to finland from stockholm. that same ferry will continue on to tallinn, estonia.

tallinksilja
viking line

how long are you planning to be in stockholm and finland (i'm guessing helsinki) for?
 

pinkglove

New Member
hi cuclainne, I'm thinking of taking train up to lulea of Sweden den cross over the boarders to Kemi in finland den down to Helsinski.. am wondering if 10 days's sufficient for this long journey.. From what I know from kemi to Helsinski is ard 10-12 hrs by train.. Am not so sure for sweden part yet..
 

cuclainne

New Member
the train from stockholm to luleå takes about 14 hours' .. then kemi is about 140kms away and apparently there is no more railway - just buses. so from luleå you have to take the bus to haparanda (swedish border), walk across to tornio (finnish border) and take bus to kemi. this takes about 3.5 hours, plus your 10-12 hours by train to helsinki.

that's a lot of travelling on trains!

and it'll be super cold too where you're going .. i've never been up to sweden any time other than spring and summer
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and i've never been further north than åre.
 

pinkglove

New Member
oh.. that's very useful information! Yup, I know abt taking bus from lulea to kemi, didn't check on e walking part yet.. but wanted to find out more about the duration too.. thanks for this impt info!
I'm going in june, so hopefully not as cold but i checked out the temp, it's still like 10+ degrees..
We were thinking of overnight trains to save time, will check if there are, if not will have to find alternatives because I really wanna go to arctic circle =) Do u know of any
 

cuclainne

New Member
i found a site with the bus timings but it's in finnish and is super confusing. it's a 800m walk to the tornio bus stop. maybe i can check with my MIL - she's been to everywhere in Sweden and she's a public bus driver .. who better to ask yah?
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there should be overnight trains - check here

SJ

I've used the express train to go from Stockholm to Copenhagen - takes about 5 hours. It's clean and efficient, leaves on time. The cafeteria carriage is pretty decent too.

anywhere above the arctic circle will be cold .. remember to moisturise otherwise the dry air will cause your skin to dry and itch ..

do i know of any ... ??
 

pinkglove

New Member
that' the prob, i tried finding some bus webby but i can't understand them.. thanks for this info! Oh, that'll be great if u can check with ur MIL!

i wanted to ask if u know of any overnight trains but u've helped me already =) I'm thinking of getting scandinavian train passes for sweden - finland, will check if e pass includes overnight trains, if not i'll prob buy tickets from the website u gave me.. btw,are u residing in spore or overseas now?
 

cuclainne

New Member
i found this info on a site but it was last updated June 2009.

Dep. Luleå: 0830, 1040, 1310, 1510, 1630, 1830, 2030, 2230
Arr. Haparanda: 1050, 1300, 1530, 1740, 1845, 2045, 2245, 0050
then you have 30 minutes time to walk.
Tornio to Kemi: between 25 and max. 45 minutes

Dep. Kemi: every 30 minutes
Arr. Tornio: between 25 and max. 45 minutes of bus travel
800 meter walk to Haparanda bus station
Dep. Haparanda: 0520, 0720, 1120, 1200, 1335, 1610, 1810
Arr. Luleå: 0740, 0940, 1340, 1435, 1600, 1835, 2035

There is a time difference of 1 hour between Sweden and Finland.

Ok, I will ask my MIL but she is now sleeping because of time difference
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Will sms her later. I'm living in Singapore with my husband and kids but we go back about 1-2 times a year plus my in-laws will travel down to Sg.
 

pinkglove

New Member
u are so helpful! Thanks a lot!

Have you visited any places nearby Stockholm / helsinski that has nice landscape(e.g. rivers / mountains) for photo taking but not too far away from the cities? Or within stockholm and Helsinski it's already very nice? I've been googling but it's mainly architects so far from what I've seen..

Oh.. I'm sure ur kids love going back because of the beautiful scenery over there!
 

cuclainne

New Member
no worries, pinkglove
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I have not been to helsinki before so i can't comment on that .. stockholm is generally a 'flat' city because most of the buildings there are really old and no new buildings can exceed the height limit - that's why there are no skyscrapers. stockholm itself is made up of islands so you won't be able to find mountains unless you go way out of the capital .. if you're interested in architecture, you can stay in the city .. if you're interested in nature, you can go to vasaparken, hagaparken or vitabergsparken. if you want to visit the islands, you can take the ferry out to the archipelago .. vaxholm is quite nice (1 hour by bus and you can come back by ferry), there is an old fortress there that's only open during summer, i think. the other place that's nice is sigtuna - also about 1 hour away. My MIL mentioned before that sweden is made up of 22 'cities' and each have their own website but it's in swedish!! oh, i must tell you that since stockholm is by the water, carry a sweater with you at all times - it can get quite chilly even during the day.

i doubt my kids remembered ever being there .. the eldest was 15 months and the youngest was 6 months old when we went back .. now they're 3 and 2 .. but maybe this year they might remember cos we are planning to go up in june also
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maybe can see you there
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pinkglove

New Member
that's quite rare for parents to bring such young kids overseas, esp to europe areas! which part of june are u going this yr?

by the way, how's e safety for e overnight trains? we're wondering if we can sleep at ease at night..is it better to get private cabin?
 

cuclainne

New Member
we brought them back almost every year to meet family and friends .. we are planning to go in late june, to coincide with the crown princess' wedding festivities and also midsummer .. we usually drive out of the city to celebrate midsummer at a friend's house in the country and because summer has long days and short nights, we can easily be deceived that it's not late yet.

in 2008, i was already tired by 1am but the host just started peeling apples to make apple pie!! we had to drive my mother and the kids back to the hotel first because they were falling asleep on the couch!

hopefully we'll be able to make time to visit tallinn this year - 1 hour by plane.

sweden is generally safe and you have the conductors doing their rounds ever so often. but if it puts your mind at ease, perhaps a cabin is the way to go =)
 

pinkglove

New Member
the day's really long in june! so interesting to start making apple pie at 1am..haha..

By the way, wanna ask u, do u usually change the sweden or finland currency when u are over there cos i know some currencies couldn't be changed in spore like hungarian $ we had to change when we were there..Is it better to use singaporean money to change over there or euros?
 

cuclainne

New Member
yes it is - it's generally long in summer .. it'll only start to get dark at midnight and when i said dark, it means the same kind of light we get at around 7pm-ish in Sg. i once went out for a nightcap with the husband at around 10pm after the kids have gone to sleep (left them in my mother's care) and afterwards we went out to the park and there were still so many people sitting on the grass, chatting. but then it starts to get bright again at around 4am .. really wrecks havoc on sleep. i once woke up at 4.30am thinking i've overslept - because the birds were already up and chirping away. argh!

you can get swedish kronors here - they've not changed to euros yet, still deciding on whether to change the currency or not. you can also change singapore currency in sweden - it's not a problem. i've changed singapore money in sweden, denmark with no problems. just find a forex office - they have bright yellow signs and there should be no problems.
 

pinkglove

New Member
haha.. ok, im looking fwd to this long day light! Previously I've only experience the short daylight in winters where the sky turns dark at 4pm..
Is e exchange rate better over there or in spore or it's not a great difference?
 

cuclainne

New Member
i've already 'complained' to the husband that their climate is not natural .. hahahaha ..

according to my husband, it's better to change in sweden than here (i've personally only exchanged in sweden itself) but you still need some money in hand for the train tickets, etc or you can use your credit card for this.
 


ilycd

New Member
Hi Raymond and Angel and everybody,

Just checked out the tour packages from People's Park COmplex today. My wife wants to visit Paris/Italy/Swiss for our HM. I am so torn in between. I did a F&E for my 2wks Japan tour 2 years ago and it was the best experience of our lives, and i am so anti-tour groups. However, we hope to leave before end april, and surely a budget of 4k-5k per px, is impossible for a 13-14days? I hope to get some advices on how to go about as i am simply tied down with work, and can't afford to spend 1 mth preparing as i did for my previous japan tour. My qn is

1) Since April is peak period, is it possible to still get cheap deals?

2) If i want to do Italy and Paris, should i start with Italy (which part) or Paris?

3) The tour package is close to 4k (tax inc) for a 12D10N... is it possible to visit the three countries on a similar budget with F&E?

4) Does it mean i have to buy a 2 different one way tickets for departure and return, assuming i am reaching and leaving from two different venues?

5) I am planning at the worst case, to do a tour group, and if pos, do my own extension of 3-4days in Paris. That way, i can have some personal time to explore the city on our own after the tour group ends, but extension is no guaranteed. What say u guys?
 

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