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Portugal, Ireland and a River Cruise, Or.....

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Planning for this trip is in the infantry stages and I am going to need a LOT of help.

Some background:
We have enough air miles to fly anywhere in the world but couldn't decide where we should go and it all seemed overwhelming so have sat on this for a couple of years. I am ready to take the plunge and start the process. We have heard good things about Portugal, always have wanted to see Ireland (both of our ancestors are from there). Also very intrigued by the Europe River Cruises.

My hubby has no interest in helping to plan the trip and is happy to go wherever, just point him in the right direction. :) So, I am looking for guidance from the knowledgable Fodorites here.

I had thought 2 weeks in each of Portugal and Ireland then a 2 week trip on a River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest but now I am wondering if we might be better do do about 3 or so weeks in Ireland, then the River cruise and a few days in Budapest before flying home, leaving Portugal for another trip..

We are looking at going next August, but that is not carved in stone, depending on recommendations for the best time to go, June thru Sept or Oct.

So where do I start? How do we plan our itinerary, do we use public transportation or rent a car? I don't think we want to go on a tour and follow like sheep the whole time but not against taking tours here and there.

So, I could go on and on with questions but thought I'd start with this much and see where to go from there.

Thanks for reading!

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