Replies: 24 - Last Post: Aug 10, 2012 10:42 PM Last Post By: gawkabout
Jul 17, 2012 7:59 AM
Europe TripHi, My wife and I plus a friend are planning a trip through Europe for early October. It will be our first trip overseas and we will be doing it on a budget. My planned itinerary so far is the following:
Boston - London (Flight)
London - Paris (Flight)
Paris - Zurich (Train)
Zurich - Venice (Train)
Venice - Rome (Flight)
Rome - Madrid (Flight)
Madrid - Ireland (Flight)
Ireland - London (Flight)
London - Boston (Flight)
We will be able to spend a couple days at each location. We will all only have 1 backpack a piece, so traveling won't be too difficult and we plan on staying in cheaper hotels and hostels when needed. All the smaller flights seem to be pretty cheap but I would like some feedback from anyone who has been through Europe with some tips or changes you would make (to either save time or money). We are very excited and open to any changes that would help. We basically want to see as much as possible in the 18 days or so that we have to work with.
Jul 17, 2012 10:49 AM
Jul 17, 2012 11:12 AM
2We will be able to spend a couple days at each location.
That's definitely short for each big city.
some tips or changes you would make (to either save time or money)
Skip some destinations and add more time to the other ones. That way you'll save in transport and you'll get a better idea of the cities visited.
Jul 17, 2012 1:22 PM
Jul 17, 2012 3:17 PM
Jul 17, 2012 9:37 PM
Jul 18, 2012 7:10 AM
6In my opinion you are trying to see too many places in too short a time; it sounds exhausting! London is fabulous so I would spend at least four days there and then fly from Gatwick on easyjet to Rome (train from London Victoria Station to Gatwick). Easyjet tickets are very reasonably priced. Spend a few days in Rome then fly to Paris (or train to Venice then on to Paris). Enjoy the delights of Paris for a few days then catch the Eurostar train back to London. If you want to add an extra city I would opt for Prague; it's very special, but probably best saved for your next trip. Austria is beautiful too. Whatever you decide to do I hope you have a great time.
Jul 18, 2012 7:53 AM
Jul 19, 2012 12:58 AM
Jul 19, 2012 7:19 AM
9Holy moly. I'm getting stressed just reading about your trip! Seven destinations involving nine separate legs in just 18 days is ridiculous. You'll spend most of your time on the move and barely see anything in each place you visit. I can appreciate that it's your first overseas trip and naturally you're excited but you won't enjoy it if you're constantly focusing on how long you've got until you have to get to your next destination.
While each of your flights may only be 2/2.5hrs at most (within Europe) you'll spend longer than you've probably realised going to/from and in airports. As others have already mentioned pick your top three cities (one each), go there and actually enjoy being there.
If you're absolutely heart set on seeing all those locations I would at least fly back to Boston from Ireland instead of London and save yourself the unnecessary Ireland-London leg of the journey since you'll have "seen" London at the start already.
Jul 19, 2012 8:11 AM
10The 2 commonest mistakes travellers make jbenner are packing too much and trying to see/do too much in too little time. I can only guess at what size backpacks you are planning to take. LOL
The usual reason for planning too many places stems from the desire 'to see as much as possible'. However, most people confuse the word 'much' with the word 'many'. They are not synonymous. The way to see as 'much' as possible is to spend time IN places not IN BETWEEN places. See the difference?
With 18 days you appear to be planning to spend 9 of them moving! That's 50% of your total time! I don't think anyone would consider that best use of your time. For planning purposes a good way to start is by using the Rule of 3's which says, never spend less than 3 full days/4 nights in a place unless it is just an overnight stop between A and B. Note the 'less than', it is a minimum. Most people (as you can see by the responses above) would suggest that you need more than 3 full days in places like London, Paris, Rome, etc. Using the rule would tell you that after taking out your arrival and departure days your remaining 16 days is only enough for a MAXIMUM of 4 places. You list 9.
Regarding saving money. It is also received wisdom that every day spent actually on the move costs double what a day spent IN a place costs. So obviously, move less, spend less.
As it stands jbenner, what you have is a 'tick off the box' plan. It is not a plan I would want to follow at all.
Jul 20, 2012 4:01 AM
Jul 22, 2012 7:02 PM
Jul 24, 2012 8:35 PM
13You guys have 18 days and you're going to spend seven of them getting to/from and waiting inside airports? You must know that taking a flight is a half day affair at minimum (if you're lucky). That's gonna suck. Do you really like airports that much? You should reconsider your itinerary, and try to spend more time in fewer cities. Then, go back and see more next time! Or, why not rent a car once you get to the Continent? As there are three of you, it might be cheaper and you'd at least be able to create your own trip more flexibly and stay on the ground and in contact with Europeans who don't work in airports or the tourist industry. You mention the single backpack. That suggests train travel as a good option. Perhaps, get yourselves rail passes before you go and ditch the flights? Also, FWIW, don't wear flip flops. Trust me.
Jul 25, 2012 2:49 PM
14For each flight, allow at least 6-8 hours from checking out of accommodation in City A to checking into accommodation in City B, then there's getting oriented to the new city. Besides security, etc., airports are not in city centers. Trains not so bad, but the more you use them, the easier they get.
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