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Best Order and Method of Travel for this Itenerary

Best Order and Method of Travel for this Itenerary

Apr 8th, 2014, 08:14 PM
  #1  
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Best Order and Method of Travel for this Itenerary

My wife and I have started to narrow down our 3 week Europe trip but I wanted to get some advice to either pull it off or narrow it down further and could use some help.

If these were the places you were going to go for 3 weeks, what order would you do it (starting point is the USA) and how would you travel between each place?

Florence
Amsterdam
Paris
Southern France (Bordeaux maybe)
Barcelona
London
Edinburgh
Dublin
Mairsile is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 08:22 PM
  #2  
 
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1. I would not visit 8 locations in 21 days. You'll only have 2 days in each place (there is travel time between locations that you must account for) and most of the cities on your list are major. Narrow down your choices.

2. Look at a map of Europe. It will soon become apparent how things should be grouped. For instance. You would put Dublin, Edinburgh, and London together since they are close to each other. You would not travel from Florence to Dublin to Barcelona, etc.

3. Where you start depends on airfare from your home. Once you have a reasonable itinerary, check prices for airfare. Fly into one city and home from another so you don't spend time and money backtracking.

4. How you travel between destinations depends on what the destinations are and how far apart they are. Take a train between London and Paris or Amsterdam and Paris. I would fly to Barcelona and Florence.

Train site for schedules:
http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml
adrienne is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 08:29 PM
  #3  
 
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What time of year are you going?

With three weeks I would pick 4 places tops. You will spend close to one full day each time you move between locations since none of these are especially close together.

Plan to fly into one city and home from another: Open Jaw. Saves backtracking.

You might want to try: Paris, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and London, or visa versa. This will give you four days in each city with four days for traveling between locations.
michele_d is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 10:03 PM
  #4  
 
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seven large to massive cities and one rural area in 3 weeks will mean you spend lots of time and money just on transport. If you truly mean 21 days you will use one day getting to Europe, one day recovering from jet lag, one day flying home and easily 4.5 days in transit between places.

So a grand total of 13.5 days give or take actually seeing/doing . . . or less than 2 days per . . .

HUGE waste IMO.
janisj is online now  
Apr 8th, 2014, 11:15 PM
  #5  
 
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It is possible to eight places but not these kind of distant locations. For example,
Rome, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Bologna, Padua, Venice is possible because many can be done as a short day trip from other places. If you insist on distant locations, you would have to trim the number of destinations. You have seven transfers with shortest one around five hours and longer transfers taking all day. Count number of full days you have. If you have, say 21 days including the flight days, take 2 days away for flying in and out and another 7 days for transfers. What do you have left? 21-2-7 = 12 full days in 8 cities!
greg is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 11:22 PM
  #6  
 
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Great advice above.

Seven countries is probably too many in three weeks. If you have 21 days total, subtract 1 day for departure from USA and 1 for arrival and 1 for departure day. Subtract another for each day you'll be in transit from one place to the next, so another 7 days. Subtract another day if you're not returning home from your last destination. That leaves you 10 days for 8 destinations. Or one or two nights in each. Two nights in any one location gives you only one full day there.

Add up the cost of getting from one place to the next.

Unless cost is no issue and you'd be satisfied with a glimpse of each of those places and some photos, and a look around for future reference, you might want to cut your list down by half. Otherwise, you'll spend more time packing and unpacking, traveling, checking into and out of hotels, than seeing and doing.

You might want to choose a cluster - Florence, Southern France, Barcelona or London, Edinburgh, Dublin plus maybe Amsterdam, or Paris, Southern France, Barcelona. Any of those are more than I'd attempt in three weeks. I prefer to go on somewhat relaxing vacation rather than a forced march.

If you're traveling in summer, planning to hit the "top spots", crowds and the weather may quickly diminish your energy and enthusiasm.
djkbooks is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 03:58 AM
  #7  
 
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Too many places for 3 weeks. The cluster idea makes sense - cut down travel time between places and spend it in sight seeing (e.g. Paris, Amsterdam, London, Edinburgh or Paris and southern France to Barcelona). Time of year will also make a difference - summer, for example, can mean big queues at top attractions.
Denisegri is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 04:59 AM
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Sorry - in 21 days (and is this 21 days on the ground or does it include the day you arrive and leave so your rally have 19?) I would do no more than 5 places - and that is quite rushed.

Assuming you are actually on the ground 19 full days - with 8 destinations you need to allow 6 days for travel (your destinations are not close by and large) leaving you 13 days for 8 places - or 1.5 days per place.

In 1.5 days you can see a little in smaller places (Dublin, Amsterdam) but for some places - London, southern France - you need at LEAST 3 places (4 nights) each.

So don't worry about getting from one to another. Worry about how to cut at least 3 destinations first.

Also time of year will make a difference (weather, length of days, size of tourist crowds).
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 05:36 AM
  #9  
 
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Florence
Amsterdam
Paris
Southern France (Bordeaux maybe)
Barcelona
London
Edinburgh
Dublin>

Yes ambitious for 21 days for sure but:

maybe land in Ireland, work way over to London
Take Eurostar train to Amsterdam via Lille or Brussels (www.eurostar.com)
Thalys train to Paris - www.thalys.com

Train to southern France - Bordeaux is not much - at least not like the fantastic Provence or French Riviera areas which offer much more for the average tourist and can easily be reached by train.

Fly out of Nice back home.

For train info checkout these IMO superb informative sites: www.budgeteuropetravel.com (download their free and superb online European Planning & Rail Guide - a great rail trip primer); www.ricksteves.comand www.seat61.com.

You may want to look at the France-Benelux Railpass, valid on trains in Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and France as you may be taking several trains.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 06:46 AM
  #10  
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Thank you for the suggestions. We are planning on going in mid-September into early October. We know that the itinerary listed has a lot, so we are still working on what we want to cut out. So below I listed a more specific, but extremely rough draft, of what we are thinking our schedule would look like. Please go easy on me if it’s awful, we haven’t even bought the tickets yet!

We have talked to family and friends who have been and they all felt that 2-3 days was all we would need in each city. We are both 27 and although we appreciate some of the tourist attractions, we are much more interested in the culture and going to local hot spots rather than all of the touristy stuff. Most likely we will have structured 50% of our team in each city with touristy locations and a rigid schedule and the other 50% will have very little planning so we can relax and enjoy the city as it presents itself.

So having provided that information and the list below, would you still maintain that it is just too much? If so, what would you cut and where would you expand your trip with those extra days?

Sep 19: Fly to Florence
Sep 20: Recover/Florence
Sep 21: Florence
Sep 22: Florence or nearby cities
Sep 23: Florence or nearby cities
Sep 24: Travel to Amsterdam/evening Amsterdam
Sep 25: Amsterdam
Sep 26: Amsterdam
Sep 27: travel to France/France (the reason these days are not as specific is that neither one of us cares for France that much, but since it is in between Barcelona and the UK it seems silly to not at least spend some time there, but we don’t mind at all if we don’t get to do very much)
Sep 28: France
Sep 29: France
Sep 30: Travel to Barcelona/evening Barcelona
Oct 1: Barcelona
Oct 2: Barcelona
Oct 3: Travel to Dublin/Dublin
Oct 4: Dublin (my wife has been here, feels 1 day is all that is needed)
Oct 5: AM Dublin/travel to Edinburgh
Oct 6: Edinburgh
Oct 7: Travel to London/evening London
Oct 8: London
Oct 9: London
Oct 10: London
Oct 11: Fly Home
Mairsile is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 07:07 AM
  #11  
 
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I think it would help to explain "culture and local hot spot but not touristy stuff." I am envisioning some sort of party places frequented by people of your age. Does culture in your context mean the culture of your age group as opposed to culture of the regions you are visiting?

It would also help to explain "neither one of us cares for France that much." What is that you think France does not offer? What in France do you think you would not like?
greg is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 07:18 AM
  #12  
 
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Skip France - you said yourself you're not interested and it's simply in the way between Barcelona and the UK. Poor France.

Skip Dublin and Edinburgh they're simply flying visits - and you're not staying long enough.

Don't think you're not interested 100% in the tourist stuff. You are, and that's nothing to be ashamed of.

You're left with Tuscany/Amsterdam/Barcelona/London. Focus on those four.

You're 27 and will be back. If you're not there's always google street view, which is cheaper and more relaxing than simply bouncing about all over a continent.
sofarsogood is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 07:47 AM
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Your logic is ridiculous. Visit France since it's "between" Barcelona and the UK? Come on. Jump on a plane and go where you want to.

European cities are not interchangeable. Florence is small, London is immense. Your Sept 19 is meaningless because it's your overnight flight. You don't care about France, and Dublin for a night or two is wasted time - just spend more time in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh > Dublin every day of the week and twice on Sundays. This is not close.

Do something more like this:

Sep 19: Fly to Florence
Sep 20: Recover/Florence
Sep 21: Florence
Sep 22: Day trip Siena (Siena > Pisa)
Sep 23: Florence
Sep 24: Travel to Amsterdam/evening Amsterdam
Sep 25: Amsterdam
Sep 26: Amsterdam
Sep 27: Amsterdam (go to Ajax or travel to PSV or AZ or Feyenoord soccer match)
Sep 28: Fly to Barcelona
Sep 29: Barcelona
Sep 30: Barcelona
Oct 1: Barcelona
Oct 2: Edinburgh
Oct 3: Edinburgh
Oct 4: Edinburgh
Oct 5: Day trip Stirling, etc
Oct 6: To London
Oct 7: London
Oct 8: London
Oct 9: London
Oct 10: London
Oct 11: Fly Home
BigRuss is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 08:04 AM
  #14  
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We certainly are interested in some of the tourist attractions. What I mean is that, when we travel, we are much more interested in spending time in bars, at restaurants, parks, and generally doing what locals would do (to the extent you can when you aren’t from there). The culture to us is not necessarily the culture of our age group, but the culture of the region as well. Although the major attractions provide context, we won’t be disappointed if we don’t get to see every attraction in London because we instead wound up in a pub for 4 hours.

I shouldn’t say that neither one of us cares for France, that was a poor choice of words. Of the list, is the bottom priority location. I appreciate the comment that just because it’s in between doesn’t make sense. I figured that since it such a short train ride it would be worth it, but I’ll take that into consideration.
Mairsile is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 09:11 AM
  #15  
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Also, can you help me understand this discrepancy.

When you look at travel agencies vacation packages (which we are not considering), you regularly see this kind of itinerary in a two week period. But when talking with other people, online and in person, the consensus is that this is too rushed.

Why the difference? Just because the agencies have it planed for you so you can go faster?
Mairsile is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 09:18 AM
  #16  
 
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>>Why the difference? Just because the agencies have it planed for you so you can go faster?<<

Because your luggage is in the hallway by 7AM every morning, you are on the coach by 8AM and you sit all day long w/ 45 other (mostly elderly) strangers oohing and aching at the scenery flying by outside the windows w/ no chance to stop except at roadside shops/restaurants that have coach parks.

Then you "see" most of the attractions from the outside w/o venturing inside (often w/o even getting off the bus) and only "visit" (actually go inside) a few places

That is how they cover 19 places in 25 days . . .
janisj is online now  
Apr 9th, 2014, 09:20 AM
  #17  
 
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BTW - your friends who think 2 or 3 days is plenty for London have either never been there or aren't interested in much of anything.
janisj is online now  
Apr 9th, 2014, 09:23 AM
  #18  
 
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The people on these boards are for the most part experienced and independent travelers. If you take a tour you see the world according to the tour company. If you venture out by yourself, your trip is truly your trip.

We often see visitors want to do what locals do, that include going to work, cleaning the house, laundry and grocery shopping.

I suggest you do what you want, it just might be right for you.
IMDonehere is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 09:28 AM
  #19  
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Makes sense. I wasn't aware that they fly through them.

It appears the constructiveness of this post has ended since the judgements are now flying. Have to love forums. Thanks for the help all.
Mairsile is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 09:42 AM
  #20  
 
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People are offering their experience and honest opinions. I think you are seeking reinforcement rather than alternatives.
IMDonehere is offline  

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