UK/France trip a few years down the road
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My husband is afraid to fly. The irony is that he has always wanted to see the British Open Golf tournament and has agreed to make the flight over since he has no other choice of transportation (so we will continue to drive to disney since the option is there). Anyhow, we decided to plan and save to go in 4 years. Our kids would be older and better travelers (13, 11 and 8) at that time. I will also no longer be a stay at home mom by then and will have more income. My question is how does traveling/touring in Europe work best? We have never left the states (except Canada), and would like some basic advice, things not to miss, hotels to check into, tours, etc... I know it is a LONG time from now, but I want to figure out a target number to save for. Is it best to rent a car and tour on your own? How easy is it to get over to France (there is a tunnel through the channel, correct?) Is DLP worth a stop? Any and all advice, tips, good hotels, things not to miss, etc ... will be appreciated. I am super excited as I have always dreamed of trip to Europe and thank heaven his love of golf is greater than his fear of flying
I am interested in your question because I hope to get to Europe within the next year. One thing you m ay want to think about, however, is getting your husband on a plane for a shorter trip. Has he ever flown? Has he had a bad experience. Even with kids 8-13 they will need some assistance on a 6+ hour trip so it might be helpful to have your husband be available to you.
Southwest has some pretty cheap fares for short tips (an hour or so). I have even done day trips for work several times, catching an early flight out and coming back in the early evening. IMO it would be a much better way to get over a fear of flying.
I've flown many, many times, but I have a hard time on a long flight. 5+ hours with limited movement is just hard.
It's really so hard to speculate pricing this far in advance, and I don't want to lead you the wrong way so I'm gonna stay away from that. I did have one thing to share with you though that you might want to think about and take into account when you are planning your dates. The Euro Football (soccer) Championship will be taking place in France in the summer of 2016 (there are usually 6-8 host cities, meaning it will be taking place in various cities all over France). If you go during the time the tournament is happening, expect higher prices all the way around (air, hotels, etc) and be prepared in some towns to not even be able to find hotel rooms unless you book early. The exact dates have not been given yet, but this year's tournament (it happens every 4 yrs - this year it was in Poland/Ukraine) was June 8 - July 1. Just something to be aware of because so many in the US don't hear about/know about this tournament, but it is HUGE in Europe.
I agree about getting your husband to fly on some shorter routes before attempting the trip over here - it's a long one and I think some experience beforehand would be good to get over the initial nerves. I don't know if they don't do anything similar in the States, but over here, you can go on some Flying Without Fear courses that help you to conquer your fear - it may be worth exploring that?
I think Ashli made a great point about the price of hotels. Hotels near major sporting events will always raise their prices during major tournaments - I used to work just up the road from Sandwich, where the Open was held last year, and I know how much hotels were charging. It's also worth being aware that they will fill up in advance and quickly. I'd have a look as soon as details are out for next year's Open to start getting some ideas of hotel prices, as that may give you a ballpark figure.
As far as your question about travelling/touring Europe goes, wow - that's wide ranging! You definitely need to get your passports in order in plenty of time before your trip - that's an absolute must. Apart from that, I think you need to buy some travel guides (personally I love Dorling Kindersley and they do ones for London, Great Britain, Paris and France, as I have them all ) and see what you want to see, as it will differ from family to family. Once you've got some ideas, I'd be happy to answer any questions you've got about how long you might need in different places.
I'd personally rent a car and tour on my own, but then again, we're used to going aboard. You have to remember that, over here, you'll be driving on a different side of the road. Personally, I'd love at driving in the UK outside of London, as the public transport in London is excellent and you really don't need a car. The same applies to France, if you want to get out into the countryside. I wouldn't drive in Paris, as the traffic there is nuts - we've done it, but you do neeed to know what you're doing there.
If you just want to go to say Paris and Disneyland Paris, you can easily go on Eurostar, as that goes direct from St. Pancras International Station in London to both locations. It's a very easy way to go. You can also drive, if you want to explore the countryside (the Loire Valley and Normandy are both beautiful), using the Channel Tunnel, with trains leaving Folkestone about two or three times a year, and going to Calais.