Thursday, January 31, 2013

European Planning Post no. 2

European Update! We've modified the cities yet again for our fourth and final version of our 2013 trip!

Our new plan is; Frankfurt, Germany to Paris, France to Geneva, Switzerland to Barcelona, Spain to Lucerne, Switzerland to Prague, Czech Republic.

I really wanted to go to Barcelona, but it wasn't going to fit in with the time line before.  Now, since my friend in Switzerland isn't going to be IN Switzerland while we're visiting, I was able to rearrange the dates and add Barcelona!  I'm so excited, because it's my favorite city!  I always end up there when I go to Europe.  Each time, I'm not planning on going there and then somehow it gets added on to the trip!  It totally manifests itself into my life.

I'm not excited about the train ride from Barcelona to Lucerne with a 9 month old baby.  It's about 9 hours {which is the longest train ride I've ever been on, and with a baby!}.  But I think it's best to just get there instead of adding another city or stop to our trip.  Because, once we're on the train it's easier to just keep going than to get off, check into a hotel, go to sleep, wake up early and get back on the train.  This way we're only losing one day to travel as opposed to shorter train rides but two days of rushing to the train stations.

In other news, France is no longer a part of Eurail Select Pass which is extremely inconvenient!  When we started planning this trip, it was going to be about $470 for our four countries with the Select Pass. But the 2013 rates increased that too.  Now, we have to purchase the Global Pass which is $783 each for Husband and myself.  And that doesn't include reservation fees which each train station charges independently.  Even though the Eurail pass is our ticket, they require reservations to make sure you have a seat on the train... I guess you could just show up and see if there is a spot, but since we're not staying in hostels & we NEED to be in certain cities on certain days; we have to pay the reservation fees. Reservation fees range from 3  to 15  {or more} and we will have to pay that each time we go on a train.  Which is about 5 times, according to our most recent itinerary.

As far as hotels go, we've booked our Paris hotel and Geneva hotel and we're planning on booking another soon.  We're still waiting for plane tickets since it's just under a year away, is just now listing flights there and doesn't have return flights posted yet.

I've also just purchased my new jacket for the winter weather we'll be expecting while there {a big portion of our budget is getting warmer clothes to bring with us!}  I still need to get a backpacking pack for the trip and Husband needs one too.  Our plan is for each of us to pack for ourselves and one of the kids so it's just one huge backpack each and Sonja will have a little backpack with her personal items and entertainment.

That's the update for now.  I'll probably share a bit more next month, once we've made some more progress!


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