My name is Joe and my wife and I are planning to take a month trip to Europe sometime in mid to late 2013. This will give us time to save up the money needed to make our dream trip finally a reality (probably will have about 10 grand saved by then, but don’t want to overspend either). My wife has been to Europe once as part of a multi-country escorted tour, I however have never manage to make it overseas yet . My wife is leaning towards another tour, however I feel that it wouldn’t give us the freedom to stay in an area if we really like it. However with the tours we would get to skip all the lines and have no hassle. So as a first timer which would be the way to go?
If we go independent we would like to visit the following locations:
Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice, and Verona
Germany: Munich and Berlin
Poland: Karkow with Auschwitz (I am part Polish with my grandmother being born there and leaving during WWII. I lost quite a bit of family in that place and it is a most see in my life)
Czeh Republic: Prague
Austria: Salzburg and maybe Vienna (wife loves classical music and sound of music so Salzburg is a most for her)
If I can find something there Slovakia (since we will be taking a train through it from maybe Bratislava but know nothing about it)
We would like to stay in hotels as much as we can it doesn’t have to a 5 star but I am an extremely light sleeper and being 6 foot 7 in it might not be that comfortable to stay in one. I would love any advice that you could get and I appreciate your time. Happy and safe travels to all.
You sound like a free spirit and your wife considerably less so? I say "save your money and DIY" because it's a great deal more fun, you have more freedom, and it's educational at the same time. How do you think us "regulars" got so damn smart? ha ha ha!
Independent travel is really the way to go in my book.
(hint - save considerably by traveling off season - spring or fall is the time to see Europe!)
[ Edit: Edited on 25-Jun-2012, at 19:08 by Daawgon ]
I am a bit more so yes, however I like to over plan sometimes and that is kinda why I wanted to do independent so it would be our itinerary. What I really need help with is some points on how independent is better than guided tours. Also if you think that 10 grand (US dollars) is enough for a trip though Europe based on the places that I would like to go and staying in 3-4 star hotels?
My wife's points for wanting guided:
1) It is safer
2) Less stress and hassle
3) Get to stay in better hotels
4) Doesn't cost that much more
I have given some thought to a cruise of greece, but I know very little about turkey and Istanbul. If you could shed more light would really help. The only fear I have with a cruise is that one of us would get sea sick and ruin the trip lol
Istanbul is supposedly very beautiful. Haghia Sophia (a cathedral) is one of the main attractions, and the grand bazaar which has around 5,000 vendors may be interesting. You could also walk the walls of Constantinople, I know a woman who has done it and she says that they are very, very impressive!!Turkish food also is some of the best in the world.
I am torn between doing a italy and a cruise with greece and turkey or doing italy with eastern europe + munich (plan is to go in sept. so that would be octoberfest).
I was just in Istanbul last fall, and it is fantastic and booming at the present time, and it's still on the affordable side of expensive.
Could not disagree more with the cruise idea - you never really get to learn a foreign culture when you only stop in port for a few hours. If on the other hand, you just want the lap of luxury and want to pamper yourself with midnight buffets and champagne - go for it, but don't call it "seeing" Europe!
Methinks you need a good travel agent - damn few around these days!
[ Edit: Edited on 29-Jun-2012, at 21:02 by Daawgon ]
I would look into a Inter-Rail ticket if i was doing the traveling you are doing! It gives you great flexibly in where you want to go and for how long! the trains around Europe are excellent and 99% of the time on time! I had a month long open date ticket and got a huge tour done in the time! But it would only really work for your trip if you had a month to do it! Its a big distance to cover!
Thanks for all the advice, it really help. We have made our decision on where we are going on this trip and have decided to split what we are going to do into two trips so that we can enjoy the cities for more then a day to better take them in. We are going to Italy (4 days Rome, 3 Florence, 2 Venice, 1 Milan and Verona) We then plan to take an airberlin flight from Milan to Berlin since it is only like 70 per person (just need to make sure we aren't screwed on baggage). Spend 3 days in Berlin then to Krakow for 3-4 days, then to Munich for Oktoberfest, then Salzburg since it is right there. And take the rest of eastern europe on our next trip and go from prague-vienna-budapest and then through the balkans to Istanbul.
Now we just need to find out where to stay in Munich during Oktoberfest 2013. Hoping if we book early enough it wont be too expensive. We would like to stay in hotels do you think $15,000 is enough for too ppl for the Italy, berlin, munich and krakow including flights, hotels, food, etc
Hey Joe - Istanbul is definately a fabulous choice, I moved there for 2 months to study and it is my favourite city . If you go the grand bazaar first thing in the morning you will most likely get a better deal as the vendors believe that the first sale of the day is lucky so you can haggle down very low. I also studied in Italy and it is worth knowing (as it took me 6 weeks to discover this) that Italy has special train tickets called SMART tickets, they are a fraction of the cost as they are booked in advance - i got a ticket from Milan to Switzerland for 19 euro each way. I think they also run within Italy too. They are also available online, they only sell a certain number of these tickets and when they are gone they are gone so keep checking for them. Ryanair (although terrible) are very cheap and are usually much cheaper than the rivals for Europe hopping, easyjet and BMI baby also work quite well (you may get screwed on luggage with these though, it's £15 each way for hold baggage and they are very stingy at the gate so ensure you don't overdo the limits on handluggage, the fine heavily!). When you get to Krakow, many people will try and sell you a trip to Auschwitz which includes everything, it is relatively expensive in the town and we decided to get there ourselves. The trip cost around 45 euros if I remember correctly but when we took the bus from the centre (it was direct to Auschwitz) it was about 1.50 each way and it was 12 euro entry so we saved a lot of money here . As for hotels I usually do a mix of www.trivago.com and www.lastminute.com they are both good at different times and you can often get really cheap 4* hotels, I always check both before I book either. Anyway, hope you have a great time, if you have any questions about individual places, I can usually help as more often than not in Europe I have been there !! If you want luxury in Istanbul be sure to visit the Hamam !!