Europe Family Vacation in 4 Hours

Readers complained that I got political with my gaza post. Sorry, but we did have a war. Back to the spirit of this blog – tips for the frequent flyer to the US.

Looking around for the best airfare to the States often results in a stopover in Europe. If the stopover is more than 5 hours you can “Do Europe” (or at least one city). This is aimed at families – business people should stay in the airport and polish up the PPT and couples might get more out of Paris by spending a whole weekend. Four basic rules:

  • Check bags all the way (and get boarding passes)
  • Take almost no carryons
  • Figure out in advance (down to the level of the train schedule and stops) how you will get in and out of the airport
  • Bring Euros

If you tried this in the past and it didn’t work, try again. Because:

  • Airport Transportation is really good in many European cities (but expensive)
  • Europe is too expensive for a real trip
  • Kids will remember 3 hours in Paris as if they were there for a week
  • Not enough time to buy gifts for everyone – a four hour trip might yield as much as a 4 day trip with shopping
  • Its really not much fun waiting in the airport for 6 hours
  • What used to be considered a primitive American style of “Doing” Europe is now quite cool.

I have tested two of these trips on my own family in the past year. We Did Paris (6 hr) and Rome (3 hr).

We arrived in Paris at midnight and grabbed a rented car (no good late night public transport). Took a nighttime tour of the Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triomphe, The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Sienne. The highlight was Ice Cream at McDonalds on the Champs Elysees. Everything else was closed (saved loads on admission). Back to the airport and after a short nap – ready for the 7am flight.

Rome was public transport. 30 minute train to the city followed by a walk past the Coliseum, Forum, the Synagogue and lots of monuments. Highlight was Ice Cream at the Trevi Fountain. We had planned on hitting a second country in the 4 allotted hours – but there was a train strike which caused us to lose some time – so we cut the Vatican.

Anyone interested in the detailed plans, contact me. Or tell me some of your “4 hour Europe” experiences. And by the way, Google now has walking directions. Here is how one might walk from Rome to Paris.


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8 Responses

  1. […] York. Air France has the lowest airfare between Israel and New York and you can spend some time in Paris, to boot. And Delta can do the trip for $775, includes luggage, fuel, water, pillows, the works. […]

  2. […] Forex 24/7 and save yourself  some money in these recessionary times.  No need to monitor the Euro or the Canadian Dollar – they only sell tickets in dollars and pounds (maybe Yen, […]

  3. […] Europe Family Vacation in 4 Hours Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Snowboarding Paradises – Terrain Parks in the USDetails of Natasha Richardson’s Ski AccidentAmerica’s Ski Resorts: Saved by the SnowDeadly Avalanche in Utah […]

  4. […] can catch it (was $800 for pesach, last week) – but not on their site! Use Orbitz. And take a day off in Rome or […]

  5. My husband and I are planning on a vacation to Turkey and Greece. We are trying to decide between a nonstop flight for the US to Paris with a 8 hour layover, vs another flight. Is it worth the time to leave the airport and “see” Paris?

  6. […] can catch it (was $800 for pesach, last week) – but not on their site! Use Orbitz. And take a day off in Rome or […]

  7. […] Forex 24/7 and save yourself  some money in these recessionary times.  No need to monitor the Euro or the Canadian Dollar – they only sell tickets in dollars and pounds (maybe Yen, […]

  8. […] York. Air France has the lowest airfare between Israel and New York and you can spend some time in Paris, to boot. And Delta can do the trip for $775, includes luggage, fuel, water, pillows, the works. […]

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