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a little bit of panic, can you reassure me?

a little bit of panic, can you reassure me?

Old Dec 9th, 2007, 11:11 PM
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raspberryberet, it sounds like you REALLY need a relaxing break. When vacation planning seems too stressful, that's when you KNOW you need a vacation!

You'll be fine. You say you have guidebooks and have bookmarked pages. Trust me, you have stored the info in your brain and heart, and when you get there, you won't be totally lost. You are better prepared than you realize.

Also, you are doing 3 countries. That's a lot to get your head around! I'm doing 3 countries also...London, Prague, and Krakow, which are of course in 3 different countries. I've found that much more confusing and overwhelming to plan than when I've stuck with just one country. So you're not alone.

Try not to fret. Do whatever helps you when you fret. For me, it means reading yet another guidebook. For some reason, I had to have more guidebooks than I have days in London! And I found that the newest Rick Steves guidebook for London (2008 I think) really soothed my churning brain. Somewhere around here I've got a whole bag of London guidebooks. And do I have my London itinerary yet? Nope!

You'll have a wonderful relaxing trip. Do you have a hobby that you enjoy on vacation? Photography? Writing? Art? People-watching?

Here's an itinerary for you:
Sleep in. Let the sun wake you.
Linger over breakfast or cappucino and have a chat with whoever is sitting next to you.
Walk through an atmospheric neighborhood.

That sounds good to me!

Melissa5 is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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I know that some on this board will be absolutely horrified, but I'd recommend that you just get the Rick Steves books and follow them. At the beginning of each city, they have "London" in X days, and "Paris" in X days, and Rome in X days. He plots out where to go, like:

8:00 British Library
10:00 Tower of London (oh, you really should go there-it's fantastic
12:00 Lunch in Chinatown
1:00 Blah Blah Blah

So there's that.

But your idea of just doing whatever is a fantastic plan too.
Myownheroine is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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It's a perfectly fine plan! You just need to relax and accept that's how your going to do the trip this time.

It'a how I always travel (plane and hotel reservations only) and it works great for me. Planned daily itineraries, now THAT would give me stress.

Buy (if you don't have one) one overview guidebook for Europe and read it on the long plane ride over. Then pick up information after you arrive in each city at your hotel, train station, tourist bureaus. Plan the next day in the evenings in your room with a glass of wine or next morning over coffee and breakfast.
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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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I also don't think you need to panic. Ira has a good suggestion, just pick one thing for each morning and each afternoon. Check your guidebook to see when they are closed. This is something you could do without spending hours planning. You will find plenty of wonderful things as you wander in between, plus have time to relax in a cafe (in Rome at least, you'll still be able to sit outside...they have heaters and I believe Paris does as well).

illnative, I totally agree with you about Rome. During 4 trips over the last 2 years, I have been fortunate enough to spend 30 days there. On the last 3 trips, I planned to take a daytrip. I have yet to do so!
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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Don't over plan it causes acid reflux. Being that it is your first time, the location of your hotel is very important. It will relieve a lot of tension.

I think the only thing you have to worry about are places being closed. In all three of those cities, just walking around will keep you interested and you will find many things to do. There will be few tourist and you will have the luxury of "no reservations require" and long lunches.

My only advice...Buy three streetwise maps(Rome, London, Paris) and prepare for the weather.

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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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It sounds like the perfect vacation to me.

Ask yourself "what's the worst that can happen"? You don't see every possible tourist "must see" in the guidebook, or you can't get a reservatioin at a specific restaurant.

No real big deal, think about the freedom of simply wandering the streets and coming upon a great little neighborhood restaurant that's off the beaten path. Or simply chilling at a sidewalk cafe and watching the world go by, and yes many are open all year with plastic walls and outside heaters.

Wander around the city at a quiet pace and you'll probably experience a lot more of it than someone who has every moment scheduled so as not to miss anything and is frantically trying to get to all the sights in a few days.

Don't worry, you'll have a grand time, and come back refreshed and with new insights into different styles of travel.

Celticharper is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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You're not alone...

Did you see Tiff's thread?
Katie_H is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Don't panic.
I have done a number of trips to Europe and NEVER plan a daily itinerary. I do do research and have a rough idea in mind what I would like to see - but nothing is carved in stone. Just be sure to have GOOD guidebooks and (as others have pointed out) - because you are travelling over the holidays - check some opening times. It is not necessary to micro-plan to have a great vacation - serendipitous experiences are often the most memorable and satisfying.
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Old Dec 10th, 2007, 08:56 PM
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Thank you all, so very much, for your kindness.

I feel so so so much better just hearing you all say "it'll be okay" and in fact, "it'll be great!"

Would you believe me if I told you there are tears in my eyes?

Happy holidays, and may the remainder of this year and next bring you wonderful travels.


ps- melissa5- yep! definitely too many guidebooks to count, and strangely, that makes me content
raspberryberet is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2007, 10:42 AM
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After years of experience, I don't think that new travelers filter in the 'jet lag' factor. When we go as far as Europe, we are always tired the first few days. When we get to London (from Seattle around 6 p.m., arriving HEathrow around 9 a.m.) we go to our hotel, sleep exactly 2 hours, then try to get in the local time zone...I hate regimented tours more and more as we get older...want to do our thing at our pace....Sometimes "seeing less is seeing more."

First time I went to France (1986) DH had an itinery in his head, and, of course, everything took longer than he planned. Result: all we did is drive...like we had one week to see the entire nation!!! When we got to the Riviera, I said "STOP" I haven't really 'seen' anything yet. So we did, and our leisurely days there are all I remember about that particular trip. Take your time.
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