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Old 11-17-2006, 08:22 PM   #1
MariaTia2
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Traveling to Europe

I would like to ask how are the flights to Europe? I have only flown 2xs, about a 2 1/2 hour flight both times. I literally counted the minutes till it was over. However, I would very much love to go to Europe. So, how are the flights - it is very hard to be contained for 7 to 8 hours? Any other problems? We are looking at going on the Viva Italia trip in May, but flying into London (direct flight from Charlotte) and then either taking a overnight train to Rome or another flight of 2 1/2 hours. BTW, my Mom is going with me and has never been on a plane before.

Also, how are the trains? Any advice? I would love to hear about your travels by plane and train.

Thanks - I want to do this trip very much, but am pretty nervous about booking it

We just watched Under the Tuscan Sun, and it is beautiful there!
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Old 11-18-2006, 02:12 PM   #2
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Well I had only been in a plane for 3 hours and 45 minutes when I flew from Atlanta to LA. My wife and I went to London in 2000 and I too was worried about being in a plane for 7 to 8 hours. It was not as bad as I thought. I would not get seats in the middle of the plane, that may make you feal more cramped.

If you think you will have a problem with the flight, I asked my doctor for a small prescription for Xanax. I fly for work sometimes and flying makes me a little uneasy.

The trains are great. We took a train from London to Brussels and went throught the chunnel. The trains are a great way to see the country side. I would take a train to Rome to see as much of European country side as I could.

Hope this helps some.

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Old 11-18-2006, 03:03 PM   #3
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1) I fly to Europe twice per year.
2) And, yes, it is a LONG flight (although not as bad as the China flight).
3) Even though we sit "up front" it is still a long, boring flight.
4) My advice
. . . do take a good book, or be satisfied by the movies
. . . don't drink booze on board, due to dehydrating
. . . don't eat many carbs (eg potatoes) at least 4-hrs prior to the flight
. . . do get up and walk around the cabin every 2-hrs, or so
. . . do try to sleep, if you are able
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:07 AM   #4
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The trains in Europe are great! I have traveled throughout the UK, Brussels to London (Chunnel), London to Paris (Chunnel), Paris to Rome (overnight), and Amsterdam to Germany and France. They are all very clean and prompt! Convenient train stations usually right in the city, and my only 'beef' was the food was NOT very good (except on the Chunnel). Paris-Rome was really bad! On one trip we used a Eurail pass quite extensively and it worked like a charm!
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:35 PM   #5
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I've flown to Europe several times and my advice is to fly overnight from the US to Europe, e.g. leave at 7pm US time and arrive in Europe at 7-8am local time. Try to sleep on the plane if you can, or take a short (no more than 2 hours) nap when you get there. The first day will be tough and you will be tired, but it's the best way to get yourself on European time for the remainder of your trip. On the way home, try to leave Europe in the late afternoon-early evening, then when you get home to the US you can go to bed at your normal time and be back on schedule.

I personally love Virgin Atlantic airlines. The give you a nice little "overnight kit" (toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, sleep mask) for the night flights, and on the Europe-US flights they give several snacks and drinks to help you stay awake and get on US time. Very nice airline.
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:25 AM   #6
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we flew from det to london this past summer, planes are nice you can watch movies, listen to music etc. The trains were a little more interesting, pack as many as possible seats aren't important and let go with no a/c. The buses are the bus and so is the underground. We went solo and had a great time ,but please rememeber its not the US. Silly things we take for granted over there its like we have a third head. Beware of Paris, we could speak the language and still met nice people, but from out of town.......
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:23 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=Ava]I've flown to Europe several times and my advice is to fly overnight from the US to Europe, e.g. leave at 7pm US time and arrive in Europe at 7-8am local time. Try to sleep on the plane if you can, or take a short (no more than 2 hours) nap when you get there. The first day will be tough and you will be tired, but it's the best way to get yourself on European time for the remainder of your trip. On the way home, try to leave Europe in the late afternoon-early evening, then when you get home to the US you can go to bed at your normal time and be back on schedule. [QUOTE]

I echo Ava's advice. I would also add drink water during thr flight. I've found keeping myself well hydrated also helped with adjusting to the time difference and decreased the jet-lag feeling.
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Old 11-20-2006, 04:36 PM   #8
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My AbD trip this past May was my first flight longer than 2 1/2 hours. It was about 10 hours from LA to London. I, too, was worried about what it would be like, but I did plenty of research and made sure to follow the types of suggestions already given above. Definitely drink plenty of water. Get up and walk around or stretch when you can. Book an aisle seat, so you'll be able to get up easily whenever you want and you can stretch a little more, using the aisle. I flew Virgin Atlantic to London, but felt it was pretty cramped. Flew Continental on the way back and enjoyed it much more. The movies keep you occupied, but bring a book as well. An iPod is also a great idea! Bring some soap and a toothbrush, so you can go through your evening bedtime ritual before attempting to sleep ("attempting" being the key word - I think I slept for about 2 minutes) and can make yourself feel a little bit fresher near arrival time. Comfy, slip-on shoes help a lot. Comfy, non-binding clothes, too. Do whatever you can to be comfortable! And, most importantly, relax. You'll do fine. I was surprised how well I got through the experience.
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Old 12-04-2006, 02:07 PM   #9
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When we have flown overseas, it has always been an evening flight. I haven't found it to be too boring or long. You are served a meal, have time to watch a movie (most airlines have the personal tvs now I believe- ours did) and read. It really isn't as bad as you might think and it is well worth the trouble. Italy is awesome.

All of the other advice is great. My legs swelled up after our last flight from London - probably from not having gotten up to walk around. Next time I'll be sure to do this.
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Old 12-04-2006, 02:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaTia2
I would like to ask how are the flights to Europe? I have only flown 2xs, about a 2 1/2 hour flight both times. I literally counted the minutes till it was over. However, I would very much love to go to Europe. So, how are the flights - it is very hard to be contained for 7 to 8 hours? Any other problems? We are looking at going on the Viva Italia trip in May, but flying into London (direct flight from Charlotte) and then either taking a overnight train to Rome or another flight of 2 1/2 hours. BTW, my Mom is going with me and has never been on a plane before.

Also, how are the trains? Any advice? I would love to hear about your travels by plane and train.

Thanks - I want to do this trip very much, but am pretty nervous about booking it

We just watched Under the Tuscan Sun, and it is beautiful there!
Any information you get is all going to depend on your specific flight.

Where are you flying from/to?
What time are you looking at leaving?
What are your plans when you get there?

I was born in the US and spent 4 years in Australia as a kid and have been travelling the world ever since. Spent my summers in college living in Germany and travelling Europe. Feel free to PM me and I can give you lots of helpful tips/information.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:34 PM   #11
Mo-Yo
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I agree the flights are long and boring...no way around it.

I know alcohol does dehydrate, but nothing says vacation to me than a celebratory glass of wine or a Bloody Mary on a pan-Atlantic flight. It helps me sleep. I do do drink lots of water though.

I agree that an evening flight is always a bit more bearable...especially when it comes to adjusting to the time lag. Books, movies and an interesting travel companion help too

The train system in Europe is awesome. But the efficiency seems to vary greatly from country to country. For example a 6:01 am train will leave a station in Switzerland at 6:01, but the second it hits the Italian border, you can count on delays...sometimes of hours in my experience. Different trains offer different levels of comfort, too...and depending on the time of year and the time of day they can be crowded. But it is such a neat way to travel, and it offers great opportunities to meet other travelers.
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:00 PM   #12
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Remember ear plugs. The worst part of a ten hour flight becomes the incessant engine noise and impolite passengers banging their trays, opening their overheads twenty times during the trip, the flight attendants talking amongst themselves in the galley etc...

As far as intra Europe travel, time is the commodity. If you have the time, take the rail system. If you are pressed for time, a quick flight can save you a lot of time and occasional brain damage. If you are doing ABD, I suggest flying unless you are arriving three days early. The best part of the rail system is getting off of it and exploring. If all you are going to do is ride the rail from London to Rome and not get off and explore, take a plane and enjoy Rome with the extra time.
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Old 03-31-2007, 08:33 AM   #13
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I recommend that you book the best seat you can afford. If you can only afford economy, that's OK, but if you can upgrade to a premium economy or business class seat, you'll be a lot more comfortable. A flat bed comes in real handy on the overnight flights to Europe!
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:04 PM   #14
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I prefer flying in the evening so I can sleep. The way back from Europe (London usually) seems verrrry long - it is a longer flight to begin with, and a lot of time just sitting in one place.

But all in all, it's still half the time of Amtrak to get to DC for me! (which is part of the reason I don't use the train so much anymore).
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