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Please help a novice with a 3 week Europe trip!

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My Husband and I are blessed to be able to travel to Europe for 3 weeks (21 nights) in July celebrating 30 years together! It seems the possibilities of where to go, where to stay, what to see, and how to travel are endless! I am overwhelmed and would be grateful for any and all advice with the planning process. We're already booked on an American Airlines flight to and from New York to London/LHR due to a great deal we found so that part is set in stone.

Our only European travel to date has been a canal boat trip in England including one full day/night in London and the same for Stratford-upon-Avon. Our wish list for this trip includes London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Venice. Considering some kind advice, we are trying to arrange to be in Paris on June 14 for Bastille Day. We've been advised to leave southern italy for another trip because of the crowds. But isn't it high season for Dublin and Amsterdam as well? Our thoughts are to visit the cities that are at the top of our wish list first as a second trip to Europe is not guaranteed.

We hope to use air mile awards for most of our flights, utilize high speed trains when appropriate, and hotel award nights and points to keep our expenses within our 4kish budget. For hotels we can save this way with Hyatt, Marriott, Club Carlson, Hilton, and Starwood. Hotel suggestions based on this would be welcome indeed!

July 4 RDU to JFK (hotel for fireworks booked)
July 5 JFK to LHR Arriving LHR 10:10pm local
July 5 - 9 London hotel in convenient location to the tube and main attractions (5 nights)
July 10 Eurostar to Paris
July 10 -14 Paris Hotel in a convenient location to the main tourist attractions (5nights)
July 15 Early morning flight to Rome
July 15 -18 Hotel in Rome (4 nights)
July 19 Train to Florence
July 19-21 Hotel in Florence (3 nights)
July 22 Train to Venice
July 22-24 Hotel in Venice (3 nights)
July 25 Flight from Venice to London LHR
July 25 Hotel near LHR for flight to JFK on the 26th (1 night)

Thanks in advance for helping! Hotel thoughts, attractions not to miss, best airlines for our award miles, travel –plane or train, packing suggestions….you name it, they’re all appreciated!

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