Europe Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Trip Report 12 Days, 2 Carry-Ons, 1 Couple in Benelux + Germany: Trip Report

Jump to last reply

The folks in the Netherlands and Belgium forums were such a great help that I wanted to repay their kindness with a trip report. Hopefully my trip report can help others that are in the planning stages.

I am swamped with work (still playing catch-up from vacation) so I will probably post a day at a time. This will give me a chance to be a little more detailed.

I'd like to start with a little background on who we are and what kind of trip we planned. This way you'll know whether or not to keep reading!

This trip was planned for myself and my husband (DH). I am 33 and a professional (PhD level researcher) and DH is 44 and more of a blue collar kind of guy. I have previously been to Europe (London x2; Stockholm) but DH had not.

I love art and culture. I love to randomly wander in neighborhoods and pop into neighborhood restaurants. I could spend hours staring at paintings and love a good book. DH affectionately refers to me as a "nerd" or a "geek." I am not an outdoorsy kind of person....nature really does nothing for me. I don't drink or smoke. My idea of a souvenir usually involves food.

DH loves to laze around and watch TV. His idea of a perfect vacation is renting a houseboat or taking the RV into the mountains. Walking is not his idea of a good time. He drinks and smokes and couldn't care less about souvenirs.

I had been wanting to visit Europe again and I figured the only way I could convince DH was if I picked a city he would be interested in. When I asked him, his first response was "Amsterdam." This is likely due to the marijuana culture. If he had his way our vacation would have been spent only in Amsterdam.

Now, I want to travel the world, so I figured I would add some countries to the trip. This way DH would still get time in Amsterdam and I'd get to see more of Europe.

We started planning the trip in March/April 2010. My work schedule is very flexible but not so much with DH. So I wanted to plan a trip around Labor Day so that he would miss one less day of work. We were originally think to leave the week before Labor Day, but prices were $300pp higher leaving 8/31 versus 9/1. Therefore it was decided we would leave 9/1 and return 9/11.

I began my research by borrowing guidebooks from the library. I had no idea which countries to add. I started reading and decided on adding Belgium. Then I noticed this little country called Luxembourg and thought "Who knows when I'll ever be in this area again, why not squeeze in this little country?" So I added more guidebooks. I relied on Fodors, Frommers, Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, and Thomas Cook. I ended up sticking with Fodors & Rick Steves.

Anyhow, with more research we realized we needed more time and so I added an extra day. Air tickets were purchased approximately 8 weeks out. I tracked fares on Kayak and snagged a great deal on Delta. For hotels I decided to use Priceline and purchased about 6 weeks out. I was able to snag some GREAT deals in Amsterdam, Brussels, Brugges, and Brussels airport.

To get around between countries I decided on using trains. I did a LOT of research about rail passes and decided that it would be financially advantageous to buy a Benelux rail pass (saved us about $20pp plus a lot of time).

I relied a lot on these forums to plan my itinerary. Everything was finalized about 4 weeks prior and I spent those last weeks tying up loose ends and creating my "travel book." This was basically a document that detailed each day's itinerary (open/closing time, train schedules, prices, etc.).

The focus of our trip was:
1. Museums: We went to a LOT of museums, and I went far out of my way to see art (note: My art interests are predominantly expressionism and impressionism).
2. Smoke shops for husband in Amsterdam
3. Churches
4. Cultural sites

We did NOT:
1. Drink any beer or wine
2. Eat at any fancy restaurants

There is the background. I hope that you'll stick around to read about my great trip!!!!

71 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcements:
  • Writers Needed for Georgia Coast
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
  • Writers Needed for Rwanda and Uganda
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
  • Writers Needed for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:11 PM
View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 Shopping for YSL/ LV Handbags
  2. 2 New !travel handbags, an update please!
  3. 3 Paris Handbags
  4. 4 Which designer handbags come out in Europe before hitting the States?
  5. 5 VAT in Greece>>Athen (Purchasing of handbags as Tourist)
  6. 6 Amalfi Coast vs Greece
  7. 7 Looking for review of 1-day Pompeii/Naples Itinerary Please :)
  8. 8 Trip Report One month in Puglia and Matera
  9. 9 Buying handbags and shoes in Italy, how much should I budget?
  10. 10 No Time for Both...so...Segovia or Salamanca
  11. 11 Best places to shop for leather handbags in Florence
  12. 12 Month in Spain in September - Itinerary Feedback please
  13. 13 Please critique my Croatia/Slovenia itinerary
  14. 14 Speeding ticket in Germany: how do I handle this?
  15. 15 Trip Report Scotland trip report July 2014, chapter 1
  16. 16 Buying Train Tickets on line in advance of Trip to Italy
  17. 17 Advice and suggestions welcome for 2 month trip
  18. 18 Florence/Tuscany and Rome - help with details!!
  19. 19 Fashion week Sept 23-Oct 1....our dates for Paris Sept 22-28
  20. 20 Help!! Need to pick up train tickets in France and credit card stolen
  21. 21 Touring Europe with 1 year old
  22. 22 London - Paris - Venice - Flight & Transport Questions
  23. 23 Scotland day tour
  24. 24 Madrid—Portugal—Northern Spain—Barcelona by car, need an itinerary...
  25. 25 England, Scotland, Ireland, and France... Where do I start?! (three weeks)
View next 25 » Back to the top