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9 replies
Sept. 1 - Oct. 1 2012: 1 Month - England, France, Spain, Italy
mitchflow
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My wife and I have never been to europe. We would be leaving from Maryland in the USA (flying out of BWI). We are planning a 1 month trip next year, and are tentatively planning for sept 1st through oct 1st. We are tentatively aiming for 5 days in England, 9 days in France, 5 days in Spain, and 11 days in Italy. We are budgeting $10k. We are in our late 20’s.

First and foremost i’d like a critique, or any feedback on our proposed itinerary below.
1. What am I missing?
2. What would you add?
3. What would you take away?
4. Are we trying to do too much?
5. Any other feedback is welcome.

Secondly, i’m also looking for feedback on all other aspects of planning a trip like this:
1. Logistic recommendations
2. Cost savings recommendations
3. Travel Recommendations: – Is it worth renting cars for day trips? – When getting from city to city, should i consider a combination of train/rail/flight/rental cars? Or considering the path we’re planning to take, is there a single optimal travel recommendation?
4. Lodging Recommendations – Considering I’m traveling with my wife, should I plan on mostly hotels, or is it easy to find nice hostels? – Is it easy to find hostels that have two beds or one bed to a room?

Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Tentative Itinerary:
Fly into London
London, United Kingdom for 3 days
Cambridge, United Kingdom for 1 days
(perhaps another UK day trip for 1 day)
Paris, France for 4 days
Chambord, France for 2 days
Château de Loches, France for 1 days
Bordeaux, France for 2 days
(perhaps we cut out a day or two at one of the France locations)
Barcelona, Spain for 4 days
(perhaps another day trip to a town near barcelona)
Nice, France for 2 days
Cinque Terre, Italy for 1 days
Venice, Italy for 3 days
Florence, Italy for 3 days
Rome, Italy for 4 days
Fly out of Rome

-M&M

I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 31 days
London, Cambridge, London, Bath, London, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 30 days
London, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Béziers, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 30 days
London, Bath, Cambridge, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
oldlady
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For your first set of questions…

1. Eastern Europe
2. Eastern Europe
3. Nothing, unless you want to cut Spain to spend some time in Eastern Europe
4. This looks doable, as you,ve mapped it out. I’d spend more time in UK if you want to get more than a couple of miles from London. I’d save Spain for your next trip so you can see more of it and then add a stop in central or Eastern Europe. I’d cut a day from Venice (I love the place, but it’s expensive and compact so 2 days is adequate). I’d add the day to Southern France so you can get farther afield than just Nice.
5. Don’t look at this as your one and only trip to Europe. If you enjoy yourself you WILL find a way to get back.

For your 2nd set of questions…
3. I’d plan on train for most city to city transportation. I’d look for cheap flights to/from Spain or possibly overnight trains. Rental cars are great for some day trips, but expensive and you often end up with a lot of lousy drive time getting in and out of town and perhaps the horror and expense of urban parking. Rental cars are great for a couple of days rambling more rural areas and day trips starting from a suburb or smaller town.

mitchflow
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I would like to see eastern europe, but I want to save those locations for a follow on trip a few years later.

I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 31 days
London, Cambridge, London, Bath, London, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 30 days
London, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Béziers, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 30 days
London, Bath, Cambridge, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
Ryfela
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A day trip to Bath in the UK would be really nice, I highly recommend it.

I am leaving from Toronto with $12000 for 105 days
Edinburgh, Madrid, London, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Lyon, Nice, Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Kutná Hora, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Füssen, Venice, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Rome, Pompei, Naples, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Budapest, Hunedoara, Sighişoara, Bucharest, Sofia, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Selçuk
I am leaving from Toronto with $2500 for 22 days
Porto, Guimarães, Lisbon, Tomar, Sintra, Evora, Lagos, Seville, Málaga, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
DreamingOfItaly
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I’d save Spain for another trip when you can see more. While I love Barcelona, I think those 4 days would be better allocated to adding days to other places so the trip is a little less rushed- for example, I’d want at least another day in London, Nice, and Cinque Terre (I’d actually want a minimum of 3 days in CT). 2 days in Venice is fine.

I am leaving from Boston, MA with $5000 for 47 days
Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, Santorini, Rome, Sorrento, Florence, Cinque Terre, Nice, Lyon, Paris, Zagreb, Grabovac (Plitvice), Split, Dubrovnik, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
mitchflow
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Thank you for the feedback.

Based on it i’ve put together an alternate itinerary which nixes spain, add carcasonne and beziers on the way to nice, and extra time in nice. Any thoughts?
@oldlady, where would you suggest by “farther afield” in nice?

I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 31 days
London, Cambridge, London, Bath, London, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 30 days
London, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Béziers, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
I am leaving from bwi with $3801 for 30 days
London, Bath, Cambridge, Paris, Blois, Bordeaux, Nice, Cinque Terre, Venice, Florence, Rome
oldlady
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There are dozens of tiny, medieval villages in the Alpes Maritime/Provence “above” Nice and dozens of other beach resorts and interesting towns along the Riviera. If you’re into art, don’t miss the Matisse Chapel in Vence or Fondation Maeght in St. Paul. Arles and studios where several Impressionists painted are in the area. This is easiest with a rental car but can be done with train and bus if you’re willing to take the time to work it out. I’d try to get to at least one town in Provence just to wander the old town and enjoy the wonderful local food and wine.

The towns along the Riviera are connected by fast and frequent trains, so a day trip to Monaco or to sand (or at least sandier than the rocks at Nice) beaches at Antibes, Cannes or Ville Franche sur Mer would be easy. Each of these towns has it’s own flavor/feeling so do get off the beach long enough to wander at least a couple of them.

Ravidel
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I think your itinerary looks pretty awesome, albeit as several have said, a bit rushed just because some places are rather far away (e.g. Barcelona).

My thoughts are this…

1. Absolutely, positively, more time in Cinque Terre. The place is a little piece of heaven. I made the mistake of only staying 2 nights (2.5 days) on my Eurotrip… and it was one of the few places I was really, really sad to leave.

2. What are you interested in doing? I ask because Florence definitely does not need 3 days if you’re not really interested in Art — in fact, Florence really held nothing memorable for me (actually, I got some really good pizza there). Similarly, I had originally thought of going to Bordeaux, but I was so, so glad I switched my plans and went to Carcassonne.

If you’re into things like Art and wine-tasting, then your itinerary is likely wonderful for you guys. I guess what I’m saying is take some time to consider why you’re interested in the places you are. Don’t just listen to a guidebook or people on the internet saying “these are the things to do”.. or you “have to spend at least 3 days in X place”. Make sure there’s something compelling for you guys in each place you choose to go.

3. It’s a little ways out of the way and harder to get to (unless you’re driving), but Mont St. Michel in France is pretty spectacular. Again, it comes down to your interests, but you might want to look into it and think about doing that over one of the Chateaus.

luv_the_beach
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mitchflow wrote:
Chambord, France for 2 days Château de Loches, France for 1 days Bordeaux, France for 2 days (perhaps we cut out a day or two at one of the France locations)

You’re planning way too much time in the Loire valley.

Chambord is a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny village dominated by the Chambord “castle” (it’s really just a Renaissance-era palace). Stay in Blois instead, and make a trip to Chambord on a morning/afternoon. (Does Chambord even have any hotels/hostels/inns?)

Loches: lovely little town with medieval castle, highly worth visiting. But this can be a day-trip from Blois.

My recommendation: Stay in Blois 2 days and 3 nights (2 full days). On one of the two full days, rent a car, and take an all-day day-trip to Loches and nearby Tours. On the second day, spend time mostly in Blois, with a morning trip (by bus) to see Chambord.

P.S. The fact that you’re going in September: good choice!


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

wellsronald18
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As a money-saving tip, I would recommend looking into vacation apartments as an alternative to hotels. If you’re staying anywhere for more than a night or two, apartments can really save you money. [spam link removed by moderator] in particular are a great alternative to hotels. You also get the added bonus of being able to prepare you own food in the apartment kitchen; you can save a ton of money that way.