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Really need help planning this trip, please :)

Travel Forums Europe Really need help planning this trip, please :)

1. Posted by Artepthefair (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y

Hello! Forgive me if this post is long, I want to give you all the extra details you might need. Any help or opinions at all will be very helpful. n the long detailed question below I give you background info so if you think we should be doing a completely different plan vs what we have you have all the info to recommend. We really appreciate any opinions and help we can get, so thank you!

SHORT SUMMED INTO ONE QUESTION: We are going to the Czech Republic for sure but want to add additional cities to our itinerary that are cheap to fly into and get from there to the cities in Czech Republic. We also want them to be a lovely experience that is varied from that of Prague and Cesky Krumlov. Some cities we were looking at; Munich, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Milan, Venice, Dublin, but we would love any other suggestions! Our largest unnecessary cost is getting to Europe from the US. We are going end of June. We are young and want to try and minimize our budget as much as possible.

DETAILED: My boyfriend and I are planning our first trip together to Europe. I am 22 he is 23. We will probably not get another chance to travel out of the US together for a few years. I have already visited Vienna, Paris and Spain (multiple cities). It will be his first time to Europe. We will be leaving from Columbus Ohio (but can leave from another drivable airport if it is cheaper). We want to leave around June 24th (slightly flexible).

We want to try and stretch out our budget to last between two weeks or more if possible (so far with my first plan, it's around 12 days which is not bad).

Flying out of the US to Europe is very expensive. We have noticed that buying a one way ticket is more expensive than a two way, we think this means we can't fly into one city and fly out of a different one which is what we wanted at first.

I want to try and keep the budget under 6000 dollars (but if needed this can go up to $6500 maybe). So far this the trip I tried to plan is around $6206 which is higher than what I was hoping. This is considering everything from flight to entertainment and misc purchases (eg souvenirs). It looks like our plane tickets alone will be $3400 with additional transport in-between locations around $690.

Our original plan was to Fly in Amsterdam, stay there for 3 nights, fly to Prague, stay there for 4 nights, with one day-trip to Kutna Hora, take a bus to Cesky Krumlov, stay there for three nights, and somehow get to Munich, stay there for three nights and then fly back to Amsterdam where we will fly back to the US. We are going to use AirBnb for Munich and Amsterdam and stay in cute cheap hotels or bed and breakfasts in Cesky Krumlov and Prague.

How would you change the trip if you could? Do you have any suggestions on booking cheaper tickets (websites, destinations, days etc)? We definitely want to go the destinations in the Czech Republic but are willing to change our itinerary if that would cut the cost in tickets and transport/travel, especially if it were a city that would still give us a lovely experience and od varied from our destination in the Czech Republic.

The cities are we are thinking of (listed in the summed up question) tend to have cheap tickets from the US and hopefully are easy/convenient to get to either Prague or Cesky Krumlov. I haven't been to any of them (except Vienna) so which do you think are the nicest, most travel friendly, most valuable, enjoyable and different from our experience in the Czech Republic? Or should we be doing something else entirely?

Thank you so much!

2. Posted by berner256 (Travel Guru 526 posts) 1y

You'll save hundreds of dollars per ticket if you fly out of Chicago instead of Columbus. Buy an "open jaw" ticket -- flying in to one city and out of another. No sense in back-tracking. It'll save you time and money. Look at a map. Pick out the two cities you'd like to fly in and out of. Then use Web sites that can help ferret out the cheapest fares. My two favorites are and Play around with the destinations. For example, flying into Munich and flying out of Prague. Weekday travel, such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays, can be cheaper. So play around with the dates, too. Once you get to Europe there are lots of transportation options. There are discount airlines such as Air Baltic, Transavia, EasyJet, etc. I've flown many of them. Some railroads, such as those in Germany and Austria, offer discounted fares. Check out their Web sites, and For example, OBB's SparSchiene fare from Vienna to either Prague or Budapest is 19 euros, or about $21. I just bought one online from OBB using my U.S. credit card (I notified my bank first that was making the purchase). Some air destinations are cheaper than others. Flights to Russia, for example. One possible reason: A visa is required; and the visa isn't cheap; and applying takes time and effort. But some less-popular destinations, such as Belgrade, also have somewhat affordable fares as well. It pays to know airline routes. Your budget is OK. You'll be helped by the surging value of the U.S. greenback relative to most European currencies. One euro is now equivalent to about $1.10. It was $1.37 when I visited Europe last May. So you'll get about 20 percent more for your money this year than last. Generally, eastern Europe is cheaper than western Europe. If you're using debit and credit cards, make sure your banks know that you will be using your cards in Europe. Otherwise the transactions are likely to be blocked. Carry some cash (new currency if possible) in various denominations. You'll get better rates exchanging $50 and $100 bills. I'm headed to Europe next month before going to Asia. Enjoy your time in some of Europe's most-gorgeous cities.

Suggestion: OBB has a combination train/boat ticket for a day trip on the Danube to/from Vienna and Melk. It's a fantastic trip; and it's about 40 euros per person. Check out this Web link: Don't forget cultural events. The Wiener Staatsoper often is sold out; and tickets are expensive. But standing room -- stehplatz -- sold 80 minutes before each performance at a "standing room" ticket office at Operngasse 2, can be had for a song (a few euros).

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Mar-2015, at 15:49 by berner256 ]

3. Posted by Andyf (Travel Guru 648 posts) 1y

I suggest having a play at putting your different destination cities in Skyscanner - going to Prague seems cheaper than Amsterdam on those dates, Dublin cheaper still at $1000 per person. From there European flights can be had for peanuts if you're booking early.

Accepting some long flight connections often gives you lower prices but only you can decide if they're tolerable!