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WeddingGirl Jun 13th, 2007 09:50 AM

Europe- NEWBIES! need real help planning - driving?flying?train
Hi everyone,

My new husband and I are goin to Europe for the first time to enjoy a belated honeymoon trip.

We fly into Londay July 12 reaching 8 am. We leave London July 29th evening.

In between, we need to figure out if we where/when to fly and want to travel on this route:

- London - 1 night
- Paris/surround areas? 2 nights
- Amsterdam 2 nights

- Italy- WHERE do u suggest - 7 nights:
we like Amalfi Coast, Siciy, Sarenti beauty, scenic, memorable places. We can throw in 1 day in Rome or Venice or Florence

-Barcelona 2 nights
-Madrid 2 nights

Return to London.

I need to book air tickets from london. Pls help with suggestions on which cities to fly in to in ITALY and areas we can drive to.

We also would appreciate suggestions on home/apartment rentals that are semi-reasonable too. I love to COOK!


I want this to be an amazing trip for my husband and this is first vacation since he started working 3 years ago in NYC.


sandi_travelnut Jun 13th, 2007 10:00 AM

Only a suggestion...Leave London for another time since you have only one day. Fly into Paris and spend 4 nights, maybe do a day trip or 2. Leave Amsterdam out. From there you could fly to anywhere in Italy, like Rome and spend the remainder of your trip there with day trips. You could fly out from Rome.

nytraveler Jun 13th, 2007 10:06 AM

I hate to be discouraging - but you have way too many places in so few days. Keeping in mind that moving from one city to another takes most of a day - and you're talking 8/9 cities in 17 days. You will end up seing l ittle but airports and train stations.

You need to take a deep breath, look at a map and put together a draft itinerary using no more than 5 places (I would actually do no more than 4) - so you have at least a little time to see/do anything. List each day, the city you will be in (and if you are arriving or departing) and what you hope to see or do. I think this will help you make a ore realistic plan.

You have not said what your interests are - just general tourist stuff - or specific things like hiking or wine tasting or seeing castles or ???

But - the trip as you've outlined it would be like the Bataan death march.

Also - if you haven;t already bought air tickets you're much better off with an open -jaws ticket - into the first city and back from the last. (And it isn;t even clear if you want to SEE London - or just use the airport as a jumping off point. Either way - why go there twice?)

Michel_Paris Jun 13th, 2007 10:19 AM

Well.. if you are leaving in July and have no better get moving, quick.

Your itinerary...not realistic in my opinion. Too manty places, too much travel. You're setting yourselves up for a very hectic 'holiday'.

With 16 days...and first day being jet lagged and last day getting to airport, really have ...say 14 days. Then...if you figure 1/2 day or more to travel between are losing multiple days while you sit on a train.

Your flights are would have been better to arrive in London, and leave from your final destination (Open Jaw).

I would spend at least 3 nights more in any location. With one night in London, you are not really seeing much of the city.

And trying to organize rooms one month out in 6/7 locations....

I would pick 3 locations and go with that.

So, assuming 16 days,

Julia_E Jun 13th, 2007 10:26 AM


Your itinerary is really packed, it would be 2-3 trips for most people. I would take the train because they are efficient, relatively affordable and you get to see the countryside as you travel - don't get that with flying.

You could easily do a driving trip in England, Scotland and Wales, rent a car and stay in B & B's, castles, etc.

You could add flights into Rome and rent a villa or stay in agriturismos in Tuscany or Umbria and spend your time on day trips in the area.

There is lots to see in Europe and I really recommend spending time in an area and getting to know the locals and living like the locals. It is a fantastic and very memorable experience.

Best Regards,

fnarf999 Jun 13th, 2007 10:32 AM

Yes, if you are able to, change your tickets to open-jaw, flying out of someplace other than where you arrived. And neither of those should be London.

There's nothing wrong with London; I love it. But if you're not going there, why are you flying there?

As for the rest, it's a very, very packed itinerary. It is possible, but realistically you will end up having only a few hours to relax in each of these places; the rest will be spend standing around in train stations or airports, waiting, unpacking and packing. No one should spend their honeymoon in an airport.

It IS possible to do a bit of these, though, if you trim out just a few. I would lose London, Amsterdam, and Madrid -- all lovely places but too much.

Remember, some places are slower to give up their charms than others, and may seem not to shine at all in the glare of brighter lights. A trip that short in Amsterdam, for instance, sandwiched in between all the rest, won't even register. When you get home, you won't even remember which memories were in which place. You're not Suzanne Pleshette, and this isn't "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium".

How about Paris, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast?

As for driving, flying, etc., it sort of depends on what kind of person you are. For me, flying is ten times more stressful than the train, and not always quicker, either, once you account for travel to and from the often-distant airports, checkin, security, etc. And driving in a foreign country can be stressful, too. If you or your husband loves to drive, Italy might be awesome, though. Italian drivers are crazy (but so are New Yorkers).

Michel_Paris Jun 13th, 2007 10:45 AM

I've done a trip with London, Paris and Amsterdam, and it was a nice combination. Used trains between the cities.

If you want to add in countryside, I might go to two destinations and mix in some time outside of the cities.

You really want to go to all those places...but really, you may get a chance to do mroe than one trip to Europe.

Why not go on a trip where you can say....I saw Paris, saw the sights, but also was able to relax at a few cafes, took a day trip to Champagne country for a tour and tasting...instead of a checklist of cities visited, but only long enough to see a few sights before the next city beckons.

To evaluate, create a day by day itinerary of where you are. Build into each day the time to go to the airpot/train station, the time to get to the next city, time to get to hotel and check in. Then look at how much time you will have in each location to do "the good stuff". Decide if this is efficient use fo your time. I do this whenever I plan trips that involve multiple locations.

We're here to help...keep asking questions!

montysc Jun 13th, 2007 11:08 AM

We always fly in and out of London due to using airline miles for the tickets - and we never have problems getting there and back. It would be easier to do and open jaw but that is the least of my worries about your ideas.

I would do what everyone else is suggesting and limit yourself to fewer stops and fewer coutries. Come up with your top 3 must sees and then see what is close to those for a side trip for a few days.

janisj Jun 13th, 2007 03:40 PM

as evereyone else is saying -- waaaaaay to may places and too much travel in too few days.

18 days -1 day to get over the jetlag, -1/2 to 1 day each time you move, will leave you barely 12 days free for sightseeing.

So sit down w/ your hubby and a nice bottle of wine and decide which country or maybe 2 countries are "musts" and go from there. If it is France and Italy or Italy and Spain, or whatever - then we can help you work out an itinerary. Two countries will still be rushed - but at least doable . . . .

likeswords Jun 13th, 2007 05:00 PM

Too many cities. You won't have time to get a proper feel for any of them. It sounds like Italy is your preferred destination, so spread your time out there. If you must go to London, be aware that booking air tickets to and from that city is rather a task (I tried to do it from Paris and gave up when the taxes and fees doubled and tripled the price of the plane trips). If you try to go to all the places you mention, or even half of them, you won't have any time to cook (or even unpack). Allow yourself sufficient time to treat each city as a city rather than a museum or a theme park (I'm not trying to be offensive; I say this because of my own recent experience). "Throwing in" a day here and there will just break up the trip into a big mish-mosh without any context for memories! If you spend a decent amount of time in one place, you can do day trips that don't involve packing and checking in and out of different places each night. Do have a wonderful honeymoon.

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