View Poll Results: Plan yourself or Tour
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16.67%
Limit Countries to Europe Only
1
16.67%
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I was told it can't be done

Old Jan 19th, 2024, 02:45 PM
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I was told it can't be done

Hi fellow travellers,
I need your help. I'd like to plan my own o/s trip. The point of the trip is to get an overview of countries and go back at a later date to the ones we loved.
My initial plans are to start in London and head to Belgium- Netherlands- Denmark- Norway- Sweden- Finland- (St Petersberg)- Estonia- Latvia-Lithuanina-Poland-Germany -Cezh Republic-Austria-Slovakia-Hungary-Croatia-Italy-Switzerland-France-back to London.
I was told it is too difficult to get around the countries and it'd end up being a nightmare trip (I only speak English) and we should find a tour instead. What do you think?

A bit about us: Aussies. 4 x 50-year-olds. Travel August 2025
I am open to suggestions as I've not been to Europe - what is achievable? What countries should I avoid? I appreciate the time you take to answer. Thank you
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 02:52 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. We removed eight additional country tags because the long list messes up the page display

Last edited by Moderator1; Jan 19th, 2024 at 02:56 PM.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 02:59 PM
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How many years do you have for this trek??? You'd need at least four full months to hit 20+ countries, and still not see very much. There won't be a tour that covers that much territory . . .
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 03:03 PM
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Well, how much time do you have? You realise that most countries in Europe belong to the Schengen Zone, which only allows for a strict 90 in 180 days. It also depends what you want to do with your trip. If it is just a tick off the countries and hustle on through, possibly you might be able to see a lot of those countries (I say 'see' with caution), but it will cost something in travel fares also. But if you really want to experience or enjoy those countries you will need to give them some time. Allow a day for travel between cities. It all comes back to time. Me, I would not be trying for all of those countries in one trip, I prefer giving them some time.

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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 03:46 PM
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Just noticed you included St Petersburg . . . how do you propose to go there? And I re-counted - you have 21 countries listed - twenty-two if you include the UK twice.

With enough time and enough money I suppose anything can be done (well, except for the St Petersburg bit) but unless you have 4 to 6 months and a boat load of money, no this is not a holiday, it is a list.

Tell us how much time you actually have and we can give examples of what might be possible.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:18 PM
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If you really want a "if this is Tuesday I think we're in Belgium" kind of trip, then an overview planned tour makes sense as you would need to spend a lot of time coordinating all of that travel and lodging.

How much time do you have for this trip? Which locations are your "must sees?" What are your interests - history? museums? hiking? nature? cathedrals? castles? food?

I recommend focusing on a few countries and staying at least three nights in each city/town you plan to visit. I like the Rick Steves travel books as he has lots of tips for first visits to different locations. It is very warm in Italy in August so I would cut that from the list and save it for a time when you can travel in the Spring or Fall.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:24 PM
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Too many unknowns to provide a solid answer so I am going to with, why can't you do a mix? You don't list an option for other with an explanation.

I have been to 14 of the countries you list with 2 more later this year so not all at once. It's possible to book it all yourself but I don't know your resources, timeframe and if your budget would allow it. I am doing a 10-day guided tour that includes Estonia- Latvia-Lithuania-Poland only later this year and I only speak English. I just did a 9-day guided tour that included Poland-Germany -Czech Republic. If I combine both, it really would 17 days as the first days were to get there. I don't like driving and why I choose them but if you don't mind you could always copy the itineraries and modify as needed. You might not see everything each place has to offer just some highlights but that might be your goal. You could get to St. Petersburg via ferry from a Nordic country and link it up for a few others (disclaimer I've actually looked at this to see about needing a visa which was not needed but don't know about now).
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:26 PM
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"Travel August 2025"

The OP would seem to think this can be done in a month.

"I was told it can't be done"

Twenty countries in 31 days. Yep, I would agree it can't be done.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by sassy27
. . . You could get to St. Petersburg via ferry from a Nordic country and link it up for a few others (disclaimer I've actually looked at this to see about needing a visa which was not needed but don't know about now).
Not now and not likely for ages to come since the borders are essentially shut. It is 'possible' but the OZ Gov't says you are on your own . . .
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Not now and not likely for ages to come since the borders are essentially shut. It is 'possible' but the OZ Gov't says you are on your own . . .
Thank you for confirming as I did write a "disclaimer" as I am not a fortune teller.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 05:16 PM
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Ditto to to replies above. You said you were "told it was difficult to get around the countries and it would be a nightmare trip." If you listed all those out like you did here, yes, I would agree, it would be a nightmare trip. Difficult to get around and/or to: not likely. Europe is fairly easy to get around, but it does take planning. And to plan that many countries - in what I assume is a fairly short time, yes, nightmare. 21 countries in 31 days is barely 1 day per country. That is insane. Even if you had 8 weeks, still insane. And with FOUR adults?! Oh H*ll no.

All four of you need to spend some time researching. Read! Read a lot. When you have a basic idea - come back with details (such as total trip time) and what your group's collective compromise is of your must sees (this is where the reading comes in), perhaps we can tell you an itinerary that works.

Avoid looking at group tour itineraries in your research. They tend to hsve many things listed, when there is very little actual doing (be wary of words like "stop at," or "view of"). A guided tour might be an option, but they aren't going to have this 21+ monster itinerary by any means.
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 07:00 PM
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Old Jan 19th, 2024, 10:25 PM
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Your “list” would require a minimum of 80 to 90 days.
You would not actually get an overview that would be useful in determining future travel because you can only go at breakneck speed for a week to ten days, but not for much longer. By then you start to need a day of down time to regroup and to absorb some of what you have seen. Just looking at so much stuff is hard to grasp. Just looking gives you only a very superficial feeling for the country or the culture, if that. After two or three weeks, things start to become a blur. One train station leads to another. Cathedrals start to look alike. You forget which paintings were where, etc. Experiences have more of an impact. Example: hearing a concert in a church in Venice will likely be more memorable than just looking at the church. A leisurely evening with dinner, music and the sound of a fountain in a square in France or a plaza in Spain, will be more memorable than just walking through the square. Exploring local markets lets you interact with people. Experiences take time.
Are all four of you thinking the same way about this venture? I know of a few people who started trips not nearly as crazy as this, but still split from the trip planner after a short while. That would certainly be a real risk. Do the others fully comprehend that the plan you are proposing will ultimately be just a March through twenty countries?
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 12:59 AM
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not sure why you would want to do this trip. How much of Oz have you seen?

One actual concern is you are doing this in August, which suggests 30ish days at the height of the European holiday season,
None of the countries should be avoided (except the Russia bit)
Do you intend to stay a night in each country to score a win?
I have visited Latvia (where the real Crocodile Dundee came from) and what do you intend to do there? Visit the National LIbrary, visit the river front in the capital, go to a mass singing concert? Or just wander around the massive post-communist market? Are you really thinking capital to capital for your country visit?
It just seems a very odd thing to do

Last edited by bilboburgler; Jan 20th, 2024 at 01:05 AM.
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 01:01 AM
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As has also been pointed out the vast majority of those countries are in Schengen meaning you have just 90 days to whizz through them all.
You could spend your 90 days in a single country and still barely scratch the surface of some.
How are you planning to get around? I hope not flying.
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 01:32 AM
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You will get by with just English, lots of tourists do. It's also a good idea to learn a few words or phrases of each language of the country you are visiting - such as yes, no, thank you, please, where is the toilet etc. Your trip plan is possible if you had enough money and time. I'm with the others though, not a good idea.

What you could do is more research on countries, cities etc and narrow down the list. For best use of time and costs, group a few places together that are near to each other. For example, start in UK, train to France, Belgium, Netherlands (or just UK and France?). Or concentrate on Scandinavia only. Think about what you want to see or do - e.g scenery or museums? What about the others in the group?

August is not the best time to go, it's when a lot of Europeans take their annual break. Costs will be higher and accommodation etc harder to find. If you can change your dates, I think September would be better than July. You may already know that Switzerland and Scandinavian countries are expensive so if you are watching your budget, cross them off the list. You don't need a tour and if you plan it yourself, I think you'll get a lot more out of the trip.

Train travel in Europe is vastly different to Australia (I'm Australian too and our train system is woeful), this website is fantastic - https://www.seat61.com/
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 04:59 AM
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Thanks

Originally Posted by janisj
Just noticed you included St Petersburg . . . how do you propose to go there? And I re-counted - you have 21 countries listed - twenty-two if you include the UK twice.

With enough time and enough money I suppose anything can be done (well, except for the St Petersburg bit) but unless you have 4 to 6 months and a boat load of money, no this is not a holiday, it is a list.

Tell us how much time you actually have and we can give examples of what might be possible.
Thanks for your replies.
All I did was use a Contiki tour that did some of the countries and then added a few (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, St Petersberg, Lithuania etc). I thought we could do 8 weeks but I now understand by all your comments that is not achievable. I am happy to be corrected thats why I came here. I thought I'd start the trip and end it in London as that gave me a return trip from Australia. I am super excited to get your help and advice!
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 05:05 AM
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Thanks so much, I will cross the more expensive countries off the list for this trip. I am happy not to go in August. It can be changed to a later date to avoid the peak season. I guess we'd like to do some of the WWII memorial areas and see the countryside. Honestly, though, we are happy just being there and eating great food. I thought we'd go for 2 months.
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 05:10 AM
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Hi Bilboburgler,
We are only intending a 2-month stay so not enough time, now I understand. And yes, I didn't realise the Russia bit (didn't click in my brain)I seriously know very little about that part of the world. It's very odd as it was just combining a Contiki tour with more countries. I thought if they can do that is 28 days surely I could do more with more time. I was obviously wrong!
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Old Jan 20th, 2024, 05:19 AM
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We have flexible dates. Can go in September, not August. We have 8 weeks in total. I'd love to see Germany, France, and Italy, but am happy to do Poland or Finland too. Maybe I should just stick to a few...
As for what we want to do, eating is high on the list. Walking around and jumping on tours to see the Big items like the Colosseum. I'd prefer the country side but my fellow travellers are less excited about strenuous activities. I'd really like to see some WWII sites as I have military sons and love war movies. Not sure if they are worth visiting?
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