This would be my first post ever on a travel forum. I am a PhD student studying near Chicago, USA. I am very excited about all the useful suggestions I might get from you. I am currently planning my second backpacking trip to Europe. On my first trip, I visited Spain, Portugal and Italy during the Christmas/New Year period in 2012/13 for 2 weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I am someone who loves meeting new people, learning about their lives and visiting historic places. I tend to avoid crowds as much as I can. That's one reason I like to travel in the winter. I know it will be cold but nowhere near as Cold as it gets in Wisconsin/Chicago. Now, I want to do another 2-week trip to Europe.
My plan is to visit 4 Central/Eastern European cities & Istanbul, spending about 2-3 days in each city. Here's the plan:
Jan 1-2, 2016 -> Fly into Vienna from Chicago. Arrive evening of Jan 2(Saturday). Spend next 2 days in Vienna
Jan 5 -> Take a 6 hour day train to Ljubljana. Spend next 2 days in Ljubljana/Lake Bled
Jan 8 -> Take a 8 hour day train to Budapest. Spend next 2 days in Budapest.
Jan 10-11 -> Take an overnight train to Krakow. Spend 3 days there, one of them in Auschwitz (really looking forward to Auschwitz)
Jan 14 -> Take a day train to Warsaw, immediately followed by a flight to Istanbul the same day
Jan 17 -> Take a flight back to Chicago to Istanbul on Sunday afternoon
The reason I plan to start my trip on Jan 1 is the cost of flight tickets. Ideally, I would start the trip on Dec 18 and end on Jan 3. But that seems like high season going by the air fares. If I start on Jan 1, I am getting a 850$ itinerary for CHI-VIE, WAW-IST, IST-CHI.
Do you think there are any holes in my plan? Am I spending too little time somewhere I should be spending more time in? I do want to visit 5 cities at least. On my last 2-week trip, I travelled to 7 cities. It was too much, so I want to stick to 5 this time.
Do you think I am covering enough diversity of central/Eastern Europe in this trip?
Any other suggestions are welcome.
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