Next stop on the tour was Amsterdam! But not after yet a little more travel drama…but this time we arrived at the train station in Paris to depart for Amsterdam. We probably got there way too early.
Unfortunately, we had to walk down to the second to the last Thalys train car (#18) for our seats only to learn that there was no more room for any of our luggage on our car. After being directed to the previous car (#17) to check for availability and being told the same.
We broke up our group of 4 into 2. Two of us ran all the way to the 5th train car, where we finally found availability for our massive luggage. We were not pleased with leaving out luggage so far out of sight and reach from the reserved seating we had in car #18, but what are you gonna do?
Returning to our seats was not a simple task as a train employee was refereeing an argument between a nice lady with kids who purchased a reserved seat and the arrogant man who was sitting in her seat and was determined not to move.
The train was full so finding an empty seat for him would probably not be easy. Getting past that drama took a few minutes. Finally we arrived at our reserved seating of 4 only to find a group of young guys playing cards and occupying them.
After making it clear that we had reserved those seats we were on our way to Amsterdam. I believe it was about a 3 hour ride.
Actual travel dates were August 4-16, 2015. It took weeks to solidify the entire trip. But ultimately it was decided to do a roundtrip flight from Philadelphia to London and piece the rest of the trip together from London.
Although I know waiting just a bit longer to purchase the that flight would have been much cheaper, the majority of my friends had the money ready to purchase this trip and wanted to get that leg of the trip out of the way. In hindsight, I should have set up a shared account or had them just send me the funds via Paypal and purchased the ticket a week or two later when it dropped by $100 dollars.
Unfortunately, I purchased our tickets at $985 USD direct from PHL to LHR on British Airways. I love British Airways because they serve free alcohol.
The next step was booking the intra-Europe travel. After searching across flights and trains it ended up being cheaper to take flights for most of the remaining travel. (At least the upfront travel costs…) in hindsight, it is really important to calculate baggage fees, baggage weight limits and the cost of the airport hassle when doing this comparison.
I was able to score a flight from Gatwick, London to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris for $66 USD. But it ended up being cheaper to take the train from Paris to Amsterdam at only $39 USD.
From Amsterdam we flew to Ibiza for $69 USD. But finding a decent priced flight to get to our return flight out of London from Ibiza was a bit more difficult. I waited a few more weeks to book that flight and got it for $186 USD.
So let’s recap for travel:
- $ 66
- $ 39
- $ 69
Total $1345 for travel.
We had a few hours layover in Germany on our way back to London from Ibiza.
In the next post I’ll detail our lodging and recommendations.