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Tentative Itinerary for a 14 day trip to Europe. Will it work?

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Nov 1st, 2012, 09:54 PM
  #1
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Tentative Itinerary for a 14 day trip to Europe. Will it work?

We are doing a couples trip(4 total). None of us have been to Europe before and are very much looking forward to seeing all the sites and eating some good food. We are all in agreement to Amsterdam(coffee shops & windmills), Bruges(Beer & Chocolate), and Rome(everything). I discussed two other locations with a travel agent, Florence(food ,San Gimignana, and Tuscany) and Venice(Romance).

Here is the tentative travel schedule:

Amsterdam- 3 nights
Bruges- 1 Night
Rome- 4 nights
Florence- 4 nights
Venice- 1 night

Do you think this schedule is overboard? If so, what would you change or take away?

Also, does $4500 PP sound reasonable for all travel and hotel accommodations?

I look forward to hearing all your thoughts!
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Nov 1st, 2012, 10:16 PM
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Not a bad start, but it doesn't look as if you are allowing enough time for travel. How are you getting from Brugges to Italy? Travel is going to eat up some days, so it seems tight to me, especially that one night in Venice! That doesn't even give you a full day, so not enough.

Brugges is charming, but I would cut it and add a night to Venice. Consider multi-city ticket. Arrive Amsterdam. Fly from Amsterdam to Venice, train from Venice to Florence, train from Florence to Rome. Depart from Rome.

Do you plan to rent a car at any time? You don't want/can't drive into Florence city center, so you need to plan transportation for day trips. I would choose Siena over San G and use the bus from Florence.

If Brugges is an absolute must, then cut Venice or cut a night from Florence and add it to Venice.

Budget sounds fine to me.
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Nov 1st, 2012, 10:48 PM
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With only 13 nights, I would drop Amsterdam and Bruges. You barely have enough time for your Italy list.
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Nov 1st, 2012, 11:20 PM
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What you drop is up to you, but IMO something has to go. A couple of things to consider:

• One night somewhere only nets you about 1/2 a day free after accounting for travel/checking in. This is especially bad for Venice (if you are from North America) since transatlantic flights leave VERY early in the morning.

• You'll probably be jetlagged the first day or two.
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 05:39 AM
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WIth the amount of time you have, I would consider either (1) Belgium and the Netherlands, perhaps adding Paris or (2) Rome, Florence and Venice. You have left no room in your schedule for travel.
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 11:10 AM
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Way too many places in way too little time. All of the above are correct - you have to decide on a workable itinerary that allows time to get from one place to another. Remember - 2 nights in a place equal one full day.

As for budget - it's impossible to say without knowing what your expectations are. Are you training or flying from one place to another? Are you looking for a basic, modest hotel or do you want something upscale? Will you have picnic lunches and modest dinners - or are you looking for upscale dining?
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 12:44 PM
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Thank you for all your responses!

We will definitely be starting our trip in Amsterdam. With my husbands particular job, he would need to do the cafe's at the beginning of the trip not the end.

Amsterdam, Brugges, and Rome are a must since our collective group has decided this is what we would all like to do. We will be taking a plane from Brugges to Italy to eat up time. All the other routes I believe we plan on using the train. Would it be better to rent a car between any of these destinations?

We most likely will take out Venice.

@sassafrass, why Siena over San Gimignana?
@nytraveler, for our budget we plan on staying in 3-4star hotels that provide breakfast. Lunch and dinner was not included for the above budget. Does it seem correct for travel and hotels?
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 01:18 PM
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Coffeshops may not be an option. The new government is reviewing things but there is still a chance that coffeeshops will only be for residents, not for tourists.
If that is the main reason for visiting Amsterdam then you need to keep an eye on developments.
Hopefully more will be know in the coming weeks.
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 01:35 PM
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I think you are still not taking into full consideration how much time it will take to travel from place to place: hotel to train station or airport, plane or train time, taxi or train to hotel. It adds up. Besides costs, every day traveling is, in a sense, a day lost that could be spent seeing and experiencing things.

Getting down to realism, it will take the better part of a day to go from Amsterdam to Brugges. You will probably have to go from Brugges to Brussels and fly from there to Rome (or Florence) and train or taxi into your hotel in Rome. That will certainly eat up once again, a good part of, if not most of, a day. Distance from Rome to Florence isn't great, but, again, hotel to train in Rome and taxi from train to hotel in Florence will take time, altogether another half day. If you keep Venice, that at best is a half day, even with a fast train.

Take a good hard look at travel times all around.

Just my preference, but I would cut Brugges in a skinny minute to keep Venice. I actually spent a week in Brugges once, just relaxing, biking, going to the beach, etc., but it is like a pretty little stage set. I have no desire to return. Venice is a treasure, one huge work of art, IMHO. I have been at least six times and would go again tomorrow.

San G. is charming, but Siena has a magnificent piazza and cathedral, and is interesting enough that I have returned. The history is more interesting to me also. Look at some photos.

In the end, it is narrowing the trip down to what most suits you.
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 06:03 PM
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In europe there is often a substantial difference in price between 3* and 4* hotels. And the time of year will matter both for possible deals and for amenities (if you go midsummer you will probably want AC - not always available in more modest hotels - or much at all in Amsterdam.

I would think the budget is fine if that is just hotels and travel between cities -as long as you are looking at european stars (hotels in europe are often rated a * higher than they would be in the US).

I think you have plenty of money - but not enough time for what you want to do. As for coffee shops and your husband's job - I would be very hesitant. I'm not an expert - but I do know traces can linger for quite a while. And many people have been caught by random drug testing when they thought they were safe.
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 06:41 PM
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Since you aren't allowed to drive in the centers of Rome and Florence and Venice is all canals, I can't see what you would do with a car.
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 06:44 PM
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"With my husbands particular job, he would need to do the cafe's at the beginning of the trip not the end. "

That can only mean he is subject drugs testing - can't think of any other reason to post that. If so, he could be SOL. Two weeks wouldn't get it out of his system/hair.

You won't be flying from Bruges to anywhere - you'll have to travel to Brussels and then fly to Italy. That journey will eat up most of a day.

re hotels - We really need to know how much you want to pay person or per couple per night. Star level does not always equate to cost. (Generally in Europe, star level related to amenities, not room rates).

$4500 seems generous -- but that depends on your airfares
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 08:19 PM
  #13
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I forgot to mention when we will be going. We plan on leaving around Sept. 25th and coming back around Oct. 11th. I will take some time to figure out travel times as I definitely don't want to be on the road for hours on end.

I would prefer to spend no more than $3500 per person. The travel agent I spoke to said the average cost for air/land travel in 2012 was $1700-$2000. That is what I was expecting.

I feel $2500 PP for hotels seems a bit high. That averages $192 for 13 nights PP. If that average was per couple, I think that is reasonable but PP seems a bit outrageous. Can you guys enlighten me?
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 08:58 PM
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schampaco01 - it certainly looks like your group is just going to have to change their mind about what they want to do and see.

And did you not know that traveling actually takes time?

This is an enlightening place, isn't it?

I suggest;

Amsterdam 3
Brugge 2
Rome 3
Florence 3
Venice 2

The "better part of a day" advice you received for Amsterdam to Brugge amounts to 3 hours, and if somebody is schoolmarmish enough to respond that 3 hours doesn't take into account traveling to and from the train station to the hotels I might just explode.

So, you can be in Brugge shortly after lunch. If you were to only spend 1 night, you would will have to travel to Brussels to fly on to Rome. That is 1.5 hours by train to BRU. If you plan to arrive at BRU 2 hours before a 2.1 hour flight to Rome (FCO), that means about 6 - 6.5 hours after leaving Brugge you will have your luggage at FCO. Add another hour to get to your hotel and you do have a long day here. It would probably mean leaving Brugge quite early in the morning so having only the 1 night there (an afternoon and evening) is not ideal. That is why I suggest the second night in Brugge.

You then have to give 1 night back from somewhere in Italy and are left with 8 nights there. If Rome is a must for your group then 3 nights is probably the minimum number of nights you should spend there. Florence is only 3 hours by train from both Rome and Venice and I think it would make sense to spend 3 in Florence and add 1 more to Venice.

Any combination of 8 nights between Rome, Florence and Venice would work, of course, but flights out of Venice to N. America usually leave very early in the morning so, again, having only 1 night planned in Venice after arriving from Florence the day before is very tight.

Take the trip you want - all you need is accurate information to make the inevitable give and take decisions.
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Nov 2nd, 2012, 10:38 PM
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"The travel agent I spoke to said the average cost for air/land travel in 2012 was $1700-$2000"

What does that mean? From your specific departure point to some specific city in Europe - or - just in general folks spend that much for transport? (FWIW - Except the few times I've flown Business, I've seldom spent anywhere near $2000 for transport)
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Nov 5th, 2012, 10:46 AM
  #16
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@Aramis, yes I am aware travel takes time. As I've never traveled to Europe that's why I am on this forum, for information and tips. Although, you come across as condescending, I do appreciate your travel information. It definitely enlightens me to a realistic expectation of travel time.

@JanisJ, the $1700-$2000 includes the flights from California to Europe. As well as any train or flights between countries.
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Nov 5th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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<<@JanisJ, the $1700-$2000 includes the flights from California to Europe. As well as any train or flights between countries.>>

That is utterly meaningless information, unless the travel agent actually knows precisely what inter-city flights and trains you are taking.

I think your thinking about the coffee shops is way off base.

And your "collective group" needs to do some homework and check train schedules and timing between places. You really can't just hop all over Europe like this in such a short timeframe if you actually want to see and experience anything but the interiors of airports and train stations.
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Nov 5th, 2012, 11:12 AM
  #18
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The amount is based on the below tentative schedule:

flying from San Francisco
Amsterdam- 3 night
train to Bruges- 1 Night
train to brussells, I believe
fly to Rome
Rome- 4 nights
train to Florence- 4 nights
train to Venice- 1 night
fly home

We most likely will take out Venice to have more time somewhere else.
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Nov 5th, 2012, 02:51 PM
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I think Aramis has suggested an excellent itinerary, considering the amount of places you want to visit in your time frame. You will be able to experience a little bit of each place... just enough to have you hooked and wanting to come back for more.

Concerning the coffeeshops (not cafes) - the Weed Pass is dead, so it should be business as usual.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/3...aps-weed-pass/

If your husband is concerned about a "hot" pee test, there are kits available to flush the system. Or he could take the route our friend did, after travelling with us to Amsterdam and going home to start a new job. He was upfront with his new boss and told him he was in Amsterdam, in a bar drinking, and didn't realize that some bars allow pot smoking, and he probably inhaled some smoke. It worked for him!

Also, if your husband, or others in your group, have questions about Amsterdam coffeeshops, I can recommend the Amsterdam Coffeeshop Directory, which also has a forum for questions and answers.

http://www.coffeeshop.freeuk.com/

One more thing... is that 4 couples, or 4 people going on your trip?

Robyn
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Nov 5th, 2012, 03:35 PM
  #20
 
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I think that your TA is either blowing smoke (or maybe inhaling ) or you misunderstood. Why would s/he talk about some 'average expenditure by others in 2012' if you have a specific/tentative itinerary like that?

Either s/he knows what things cost and can itemize it, or she's blowing you off.
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