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Best route to StJPP from the USA


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Hello! I'm trying to figure out my route from Los Angeles, California. I was reading John Brierley's book and he mentions booking a flight from London to Biarritz through Ryan Air.

Does anyone suggest a better route? Would it be better to fly into Paris or another major city in France and take a train down to StJPP?
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The London-Biarritz option via Ryan Air is popular because the airfare is relatively cheap. The challenge for most (you included?) is to find out which landing place (Paris, Biarritz, Madrid or Bilbao) will you get the best airfare. From those places listed you can take the bus or train to SJPP. If I had the time and money I'd land in London and take the train all the way to SJPP. No, let me change that. IF I had the time and money I'll take the train from Hong Kong to Beijing to Vladivostok to Moscow to Prague to Paris to SJPP. ;-)

I also flew from the west coast and after much research decided that the best way was to fly into Paris and catch a connecting flight to Biarritz. From there you catch a bus (45 min) to the train station in Bayonne and the train to SJPdP. Assuming you arrive in Paris in the morning you can get to SJ the same day. The cost may be slightly less on the train but it will take longer.
We made our ticket resevations from US to London Gatwick before checking on flights out of London. It turned out that not only was it very expensive to get to Stansted from Gatwick but we wouldn't really have time. I also wasn't how sure I would be able to find my way around with jetlag. Luckily I found a cheap flight from Gatwick to Bordeaux for the same day. On the way back we had to fly to Gatwick and our flight left too early for a flight from Madrid so we had to fly in the day before and spend the night near the airport. We found a nice place to stay but it was a bit pricey. Of course if I had had the time and money to spend I would have loved to stay in London but that wasn't the case. Next time I will try to fly to Paris instead and take the train.
Hi Yuki -

I just made reservations flying from NYC to Bordeaux and returning from Madrid to NYC for the same rates I was pulling up for round trips to/from London, Madrid, Pamplona, Paris, etc. It took a while to cobble together a route and find the right rate, but I think they're out there if you have the time to sit down and really search. I liked the idea of continuing west to go home rather than going back east and catching a plane west even if I wasn't walking . . . but I don't necessarily know which is better and eventually ends up less expensive . . .

Of course, I haven't made the journey yet, so we'll see how that choice goes!

Good luck!
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I hope you have some time to spend in the old part of Bordeaux. We fell in love with it and ended up staying a couple of extra days.
Artemis -

We may only spend one day in Bordeaux -- what would you do with that one day?

Any suggestions on an inexpensive place to stay and experience it?

I chose going to Madrid first, then a train to Pamplona then taxi to SJPdP. It appeared to me to be the simplest of the alternatives or-fewer steps, at least.
Hi , i would check out several options. of course figure out the flight from LA-london, LA-madrid and LA -Paris.
2006 i flew from Vancouver B.C. to London $686Cdn. bus from Gatwick to Stansted is $50cdn. then a $20 plane ride to Biarritz, taxi to bayonne with others on the plane then train to St.Jean.
This year i got a flight Vancouver-London $495.cdn. i watched flights with British Airways to Bordeaux., they were quoting 66 pounds. the price dropped to 31 pounds so i booked it. then a train to irun.
Watch the prices on ryan air if you book way ahead it is SO SO CHEAP. Santiago-London was $23cdn. if you show up at the airport same flight is about 120euro's.
I also had to spend a night near gatwick airport and got a great deal at a B&B for 26 pounds. do a search.By far these were the CHEAPEST way to get to Spain. Look for charter flights, here in Canada it is Air Transat, Zoom and there is also My Travel.\
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Yuki, you might also want to look into LAX-Toulouse. Another forum member did that. She said you could take the train from Toulouse to SJPdP & the good thing is that the train station is at or very near the airport! :)

I flew into CDG & then to Biarritz on AirFrance. AF can have very good deals from CDG so check their website. From Biarritz, I took the bus to Bayonne & the train to SJPdP.

i checked out Ryan Air and the fares are EXTREMELY cheap. so i think i might take John Brierley's tip and fly from LA to Stansted to Biarritz.

Has anyone had problems with Ryan Air? $20 from STN to BIQ just seems too good to be true...
Yes, the fares are cheap, but you'll have to get to Stansted from either Gatwick or Heathrow (not cheap) & depending upon what time you arrive in London, you might have to overnight it (also not cheap). RyanAir will also nickel & dime you to death, charging you if you check a bag & also if you don't, etc. And right now, the dollar to pound exchange rate is brutal. You need to calculate all that into your figures to see if it's the right thing for you, also taking into account jet lag & travel stress. :)

I flew from NYC to Madrid, then connected on an Iberia flight to San Sebastian. That flight was an hour. San Sebastian seems like it might be a nice place to spend a day in the summer, but we took off right away by taxi (ten minutes) to Hendaye where we picked up the train to Bayonne and switched to SJPDP. It was pretty easy, and I liked the idea that we didn't see Pamplona or any part of the Camino Frances before we walked it.
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I started the Camino on July 14th, 2007 in St. Jean, and finished on August 24th, 2007 in Santiago.

I flew to Paris CDG from Portland, Oregon, and then took the fast train from CDG to Bordeaux. Spent 3 nights there - nice town just to relax in and get mentally prepared. Bought a Nalgene Narrow Mouth water bottle, two Leki walking sticks, and a pack liner at a small outdoor store there. Despite the language barrier (my French is pretty basic), they were helpful, especially the guy who instructed me on the proper use of the sticks.

Then, took a train to Bayonne and spent a day there - another good place to take a day and prep. Bought a zip-up rain poncho at a large sporting goods store (long walk from downtown) that covered both me and my pack. All the items I bought in France served me well, but due to the dollar's low value (and France being kind of expensive) I'm sure I paid more than if I'd gotten those items at home.

Finally, the next morning I took a train to St. Jean and spent a day there before beginning the Camino early the next morning. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't have to rush to St. Jean or rush thru the Camino - wouldn't have worked out if that had been the case. Plus, I got to see some cool parts of France.

After reaching Santiago and staying for a couple of nights, I took a bus from there to Paris. Not sure I'd recommend that - it was a 25-hour ride (with some breaks here and there, but still...ugh). I hung out in Paris for 3 nights, then caught the shuttle bus from Opera to CDG and flew home early (my original ticket had me departing from CDG on Sept 5th, but I chose to leave on August 31st - had to pay extra to do that, but worth it because I missed home).

Overall, I guess you could say I basically winged it. Had no train or bus reservations - bought everything on site the day of departure. Goes to show that you can get around in Europe a lot easier than the States. Buen Camino!
Hi everyone. I'm undertaking the Camino in May 08 and like many others in this thread, I'm trying to figure out what the best way to get to StJPP is for me. My situation may be slightly different.

I'll be flying from Dallas here in the USA - but the Camino will be my first undertaking in a year long trip through europe and asia. So, in that case, time is not of the essence for me... and though money is always an issue, it's not an overly critical one either. I plan on buying a one-way ticket to europe - and buying a ticket home (from wherever I end up) later on. This is my first trip overseas.

I've been researching flight costs (mostly through Orbitz). Right now, for a one-way, May 1,08 flight from DFW - Flying into London-Heathrow is roughly 1/2 the cost of flying into Stansted or Gatwick - and its about 1/3 the cost of flying to CDG. Flying Tolouse is less than Stansted or Gatwick. What I was thinking of doing was flying into Heathrow and then making my way to SJPP via ground - mainly for the purposes of seeing the countryside/cities between.

Thoughts on doing it this way? Eurostar offers a 59GBP (about 120USD nowadays) roundtrip ticket between London and Paris (I guess it's really hard just to buy a one-way ticket? A trial 44GBP price is being used between Oct07 and May08). Then I could take a train from Paris to Bayonne and then on to SJPP.

Round trip or one way?

Hello all!
This is a question I have not seen yet, but was wondering if it is possible to purchase a one way ticket from New York City to Madrid. After I complete my Camino I would like to spend a few days in Santiago and possibly stay a week in Madrid, since I am not sure about a return date, would it be possible to purchase the return ticket back to New York while I am in Madrid. I have done some traveling in South East Asia and in all instances it was required of me to have when I arrived, a round trip ticket. Thank you for your help.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair base their fares by the individual leg rather than on one-vs roundtrip. This would allow you, for example, to fly AL from JFK to Dublin and Ryanair from Dublin to Madrid. When you decide on your return dates you could purchase the return tickets.
I used to fly to Ireland on an "open ticket" - you had the return, but could book the actual date when you decided what day you wanted to fly home (based on availability, of course!) I don't know if the airlines allow you to do that any more since my flying in the past 5-8 years has all been done with definite dates in mind. But it is worth checking.
Buen Camino,
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I'm flying to Paris CDG and taking the TGV train to Bayonne. No need to exit the airport to catch the train was a big plus for me plus I've always wanted to take this train. The train does not run all the way to Bayonne every day so timing is everything. I'm overnighting in Bayonne and will make my way to St Jean the next day.
PaultheCanuck said:
I'm flying to Paris CDG and taking the TGV train to Bayonne.

I did a similar deal back in 2007, except I went to Bordeaux instead. I thought about starting there, but decided against it after a couple days of reflection. So one morning I grabbed a regular train to Bayonne, spent a day there, and then the next morning I took another train to St. Jean, where I dithered for yet another day before starting my trek. It was kind of a nice way to ease into becoming a pilgrim... :arrow:
Is there any benefit to purchasing intra-France train tickets (TGV) ahead of time? Or are costs pretty constant?

I'm planning to do a similar route to vinotinto... but i'm flying in to LHR. I've already bought my train ticket from London to Paris... (wanted to spend a night in each larger city along the way and see the country side - so no ryan air flight for me.)



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